Higher education is truly an enigma sometimes. At the collegiate level, students are encouraged to succeed in every way possible — both inside the classroom and out.

College was intended to prepare young adults for a career — to pave their way to a successful life. Until the day they walk the stage, college students are pushed to be their best.

But what is each person’s personal best? How can that be gauged?

According to higher education, a student’s grade point average (GPA) is the winning number in the lottery of life.

From a young age, students of all grade levels are conditioned to associate good grades with a job well done; as well as gain you praise, a higher GPA and a better chance at a successful future.

Because of this style of education, GPA is valued above most other things.

Is a numeric representation of a student’s intelligence actually more important than the student? According to academic institutions, it is.

A university setting is, of course, different than lower levels of education.

Classes are more difficult, students have bigger decisions to make and an excess of expenses.

Students are capable of amazing accomplishments that a number could never represent.

A GPA can never take

the place of a communication student’s charisma while speaking in public; a GPA can never take the place of a science student’s ground breaking research or a business major’s impeccable sales skills.

The amount of pressure placed on students to have impressively high GPAs has the ability to stunt education, opportunity and even professional growth.

A high GPA is not meaningless — a 3.7 is an impressive academic achievement. Academia can, however, undermine the validity of personal achievement.

Walking into a job inter- view with a high GPA will not guarantee you the job of your dreams — nothing will. But experiences and personal achievements outside the classroom are equally valuable tools to success that should never be dismissed just because they can’t always be mea- sured.

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