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The time has come for midterms, endless nights in the library, mass amounts of caffeine, and the overwhelming stress about grades. Unfortunately, this constant stressing over grades doesn’t begin while studying for the tests and it doesn’t end when the scores are posted.

For most college students, grades are the defining factor of their college careers and potentially their lives. They are the key to landing a decent job or an acceptance letter from a prestigious graduate school.

With all this emphasis surrounding grades, the true purpose of school gets lost in the midst of all the pressure.

According to, college graduates earn up to 75 percent more than those with just a high school diploma. But what about getting the job? Do grades matter there?

As stated on, “All other factors being equal, an employer is more likely to choose the candidate with stellar grades, but that doesn't mean a so-so student can't land a competitive job with a prestigious company.”

If this is the case, why all the stress over the difference between an A and B?

A high letter grade essentially says that a student did everything asked of them to the best of their ability, but in all honesty most college students are just trying to get everything done. I know plenty of my peers who have so much on their plate that they are just happy to complete an assignment on time, whether it is of good quality or not. Plainly said, students do the work for the points, not the content.

“Rather than students focusing on learning the material, they are focused on grades. Teachers want students to learn the material, but our society places such an importance on grades. Students end up losing sight of why they go to school,” said Brian Jurgess in his article “Grades: Letters, GPA take precedence over learning,” which appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Learning the material is the important part. The content of the classes is what will be used in jobs. Whether the grade at the end of the class is an A or a B won’t matter. Rather, your ability to complete the tasks asked of you without having to ask for help is what will matter.

Experience and actual knowledge is what employers are after, and although grades are supposed to reflect this, they often don’t.

In an article about landing jobs after college, Laura Petrecca of USA Today quotes Vicki Salemi, author of “The ABC’s of College Life,” “Many college grads will need to do more ‘out-of-the box things in order to get noticed. For some grads this may involve getting an internship this summer to get a foot in the door.’”

So while high grades are a plus, knowing the content and having experience is what will set you apart from the rest of your peers. Keep this in mind as we all trudge through midterms and the remaining years of college.

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