Perspectives on Academic Performance

Photo by Katerina Holmes on

When people hear the term “academic performance” they often think of a person’s GPA. However, several factors indicate a student’s academic success. While some may not graduate top of their class, they may hold leadership positions in several student groups or score high on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT.

Scholarly Achievement and Skills

People often consider grades first when defining academic performance. This includes schools, who rank students by their GPA, awarding special designations such as valedictorian and salutatorian for those who graduate first and second in their class. Scholarship organizations and universities also start by looking at grades, as do some employers, especially when hiring recent graduates. Grades carry more weight in some industries, especially technical professions such as law, medicine and finance. Other industries place less importance on GPA, particularly creative professions such as writing or art and occupations such as sales where people skills are more crucial than technical knowledge.

Impressive Test Scores

Grades don’t always reflect a person’s knowledge or intelligence. Some students don’t perform well in a classroom setting but are very intelligent and earn high marks on IQ tests, standardized testing or college entrance exams. Universities and employers consider these scores along with other measurements and may forgive a less-than-perfect GPA for students who perform well on these tests. Some tests, such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), determine if a student is accepted into graduate school. Law firms and medical facilities also place great importance on these scores and may eliminate anyone who scores below a certain number.

Extracurricular Accomplishments

The definition of academic performance extends to achievement outside the classroom. Some of the brightest students don’t earn straight As but are extremely well-rounded, succeeding at everything from music to athletics. The ability to master a diverse set of skills illustrates intelligence, curiosity and persistence, qualities attractive to universities and employers. Some colleges will admit and even award scholarships to students who earned average grades but display a pattern of achievement by consistently learning new skills. Many businesses also see this as a selling point, thinking these candidates are eager to learn and will be easy to train.

Student Leadership

Initiative can also indicate academic performance. Some students demonstrate their competence by serving as student body president or holding officer positions in student groups such as the honor society or the science club. Or, they might regularly organize student events such as fundraisers, pep rallies or dances. Others participate in volunteer organizations and coordinate food drives or other community outreach efforts. Universities and employers look favorably on consistent leadership activities, feeling these students will bring that same drive to their classrooms or board rooms.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: