Editorial: Do not let numbers define self-worth

Students often forget that grades and test scores do not accurately determine our character

November 6, 2014

Editorial%3A++Do+not+let+numbers+define+self-worth

Sunny Hong

It’s November. Say hello to pumpkin spice lattes, fall leaves crunching under boots and Washington rain. But, most of all, say hello to the official season of college application chaos and midterm grades. As many of us transform into large combustible balls of anxiety, we are confronted with numbers that seek to define us.

In this number-centralized education system – standardized test scores, cumiliative GPAs, class ranks and individual class grades – we must acknowledge that numbers are not the only representations of who we are nor does it accurately gauge our self worth.

Let’s be honest, we will not be going around in 30 years, shaking hands and saying, “Nice to meet you, 2390.” Although it is crucial to do our best, the world will not end if we receive a C+ in our chemistry class. Our intelligence simply cannot be placed on a number scale.

In fact, a recent study from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) discovered that there is no direct correlation between scores on standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, and how well students do in college classes.

There may be some numbers that do help identify our academic strengths and weaknesses, espcially since numbers play a large role in high school and the application process. After all, the former study concluded that students with strong high school GPAs were more likely to succeed in college. However, this does not mean that such numbers, like class ranks, gives the full picture of who we are. Thankfully, our counseling department shares our concern. Starting with the class of 2015, class ranks will not be provided for college applications.

“[Class ranks] are really not this overarching reflective picture of your ability,” counselor Lori Tighe said. “So [getting rid of class ranks] is requiring colleges to dig a little deeper – what are the classes you have taken, what are the rigor embedded in those classes – and looking at different elements that define you as a student versus that number.”

Numbers issued by schools and organizations are not the single – or fully accurate – representations of ourself. As we continue through the rest of high school and the laboring college process, let’s not fall into the trap of determining our self worth by what the numbers say.

Many classes stress the importance of in-class discussions and in-depth self learning as much as grades. Colleges with ‘holistic admissions’ look at their applicants beyond the numbers through essays, supplements and interviews. Given this, we definitely have more to offer the  schools than just our numbers.

Instead of self-labling our abilities, qualities and personality through GPAs and test scores, let’s go show our school and colleges that we are worth more than just mere numbers.

The Nordic News editorial board is comprised of opinion editor Sunny Hong and co-editors-in-chief Chris Beswetherick and Maia Stiber.  The views expressed herein represent the opinion of the large majority of the staff. Nordic News invites the comments and opinions of all readers.  If you have a letter that you would like to be published, please submit your signed letter to the editor to [email protected] or to Room 122

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