Saturday, January 29, 2011

Views: Importance of Grades Overshadows Social Competence

Dear All,

This letter below from an undergraduate shows a maturity of thought that is not often observed by high scoring CGPA students in the collegesor even universities.

In our nation's rush to elevate such individuals, we often forget the "soft skills". Even at the selection and interview level, many prospective employers will like to see how the individual is able to communicate and sell himself or herself. Such ability would indicate the ability of the person to also promote the company, a project or a policy.

Read the letter below to appreciate the wisdom of emphasizing soft skills besides having a decent CGPA average.

As an educator, I wish my students would be able to understand this and to also strive for good results in their exams and assignments. Many times I have to push and to spoon feed them because part of the reason is they view the teacher as a knowledge giver instead of a facilitator.

Rodney Tan Chai Whatt

Importance of grades overshadows social competence

THU JAN 27, 2011

My whole life, all I've ever heard is how important it is to get good grades for that all-important Grade Point Average in college. In high school, my grades would affect my high school GPA, giving me the opportunity to not only apply to certain colleges, depending on the strength of my GPA, but to also receive money from scholarships. However, I feel the need to mention that the GPA isn't necessarily as important as everyone makes it out to be.

Do not misunderstand me, please. A student's GPA is very important to overall academic success. A higher GPA grants awards and honors, and many scholarships require certain levels of GPA. These two facts alone make the GPA very important.

Yet I can't seem to feel like this becomes the sole focus of many students, and they forget how important other aspects of growing up in this world can be, such as developing personality, skill, organization, and pride, or simply living life in

In one of my classes, we were required to prepare a short speech, selling ourselves to the class as a worthy team member for a group project: an "Elevator speech." It was not a hard assignment — it had no written portion, was only two minutes in length and included a resume we had to hand out. However, I couldn't help but feel that several students in the class faltered with their speeches, bringing me to my current assessment on the importance of GPA.

More than once, a student would stand up, pass out the glowing resume (which usually had a wonderful GPA on it), and present a considerably short speech that was clearly improvised and not prepared in the slightest. The speech barely described the student's ability and made it clear that, since the speech was not for a grade, the student did not care to represent him/herself well.

At this point, a contradiction enters my mind: why would a student with such a high GPA prepare a lackluster speech on such an easy topic as telling people what kind of person he/she is? My own GPA is nothing to be proud of (2.9), yet I presented a fully prepared speech to tell the other students I'm competent, sociable, able to converse, creative, and have some general common sense. Why the drastic difference with these "smarter" students?

While not the most neutral example, this situation represents to me the overrated altar the Grade Point Average has been placed upon. It is important to do well in school and achieve high grades, however these students showcase a disregard in personal pride, preparedness, enthusiasm, and overall personality when a grade is not a concern. While some of these qualities are arguably important to a high GPA, clearly they get lost in the struggle for good grades.

Life is so much bigger than a Grade Point Average. After college, it's hardly going to matter outside the scope of one's career. There is so much more to enjoy: family, friends, hobbies, love, mistakes, and everything else the world has to offer. It's important not to forget about these things, or you may lose yourself in the process.

It seems that it can be very easy to get soaked up into your GPA and all the hard work it requires to get that wonderful job and career, but try to not lose yourself, and all that you have to offer the world, in the process.

Mitch Harp

junior in marketing



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