Do College Students Deserve an “A” For Effort?


A recent article (seriously, you are gonna want to read this one) in the New York Times studied college students and their inflated and questionably reasonable expectations when it comes to grades.

“Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.”

We decided to see where college students stood on this issue, so we asked two of the CollegeCandy writers for their perspectives. What do you think?

Mandy – Hofstra:

I’m going to have to say that I totally concur. If you show up for class, do most of the work, you deserve at least a C. I don’t think professors realize how difficult it is to show up for class amongst all sorts of pressures. We have other classes to worry about, work, parties, TV. And do these professors have any idea how hard it is to show up to a 9am class with a hangover? Hello! You’re lucky I’m even breathing at that point.

I mean, sure, some of these things seems unimportant and should not be placed before school, but let’s be real, people. College is not just about classes; it’s about the experience and I know I won’t look back on my college years and think “Gosh, I had a blast in that Bio class.” I’m going to remember the reason I probably didn’t go.

Amanda – Wagner:

Are you kidding me?!? An A for effort? That is wrong on so many levels. For starters how do you even measure effort? I’m sorry, but as much as I think I try, my effort of skimming the book and picking a topic the night before the paper is due because I was too wrapped up in the America’s Next Top Model marathon surely doesn’t match the over-achiever’s effort who starts two weeks earlier, uses both first and secondary sources, and then has a friend peer edit the paper.  Yet if you asked each of us, I’m sure we would both say that we tried really hard.

Even if you want to disagree and argue that we should be mature enough to live in a society based on trust and maturity, then think about this: What is effort going to get you after graduation? College is supposed to prepare us for the real world and the last time I checked people weren’t being hired because of all the extra effort that went into their snazzy little cover letter or buying those expensive shoes because they tried to afford them. No, we are rewarded with a job or shoes (or good grades) because of what we are able to produce and achieve.

Now in all seriousness, I think there is a definite correlation between effort and grading, meaning the harder you try, the better grade you will get. In my opinion the grade is the proof of the effort (how effort is measured, if you will). We shouldn’t get good grades because we showed up on time, or because we did the assigned work. Good grades come from working hard and succeeding at the task at hand.

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