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DS - ‘Cool Hand’ the enigma?
Old 05-09-2019, 08:17 AM   #1
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DS - ‘Cool Hand’ the enigma?

DS (Cool Hand) is home from college having finished his sophomore year and just turning 20. While his first 3 semesters were not disastrous (3.0 GPA) I explained to him in a competitive world you really need exemplary grades. Ive also come to realize its his life not mine- all i can do is provide guidance. There’s no doubt at 64 there’s a 44 year generation gap between he and I. Hence I’m not sure how much of what i say sticks. I had almost given up and thought well at least looks like he will graduate. Well this semester 5 As and a C+ in a 2 credit course.

When I questioned him about the improvement he said “Now I know how much work I need to put in.” There was also talk about avoiding certain people prone to partying.

I choose to take the improvement as another sign of growing maturity. Still it all leaves me a bit puzzled.

Major: Computer Science
Minor: Mathematics

I try to keep these heart to heart talks about grades to a minimum.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:48 AM   #2
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That's great! What is his major? Depending upon what his major is and if he wants to pursue graduate education, it may not make a bit of difference in his future work career whether he graduated with a 2.0 or a 4.0. Obviously I wouldn't tell him this though!

I barely graduated high school. Graduated #189 out of 191 students. I got a conditional acceptance into a local state university. Once there I did well, and nobody ever asked me about my high school grades again. Ever. I graduated college Magna Cum Laude with around a 3.8 GPA. I joined the honor society (solely for a line on my CV). That was great. It helped me get into medical school. Once getting into med school, nobody ever cared how I did in college. At all. I did good in med school. Graduated middle of the pack. When applying to residency, all anyone ever cared about were my board scores and med school grades. Nobody cared how I did in college. After finishing residency, nobody cared how I did in med school or how good my board scores were. They were concerned only about my work (residency) evaluations.

Obviously he should do well and learn as much as he can, but sometimes there is too much angst about how good, not great, grades will negatively impact someone IMO.

EDIT: I see his major and minor. I missed that when I first read it.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:14 AM   #3
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I has a classmate and friend who just did what was needed to pass at each level. It was amazing how he just had a sense for how much to step up his effort to make it past the post.

When he got his final job, this attitude meant that he never got fired but also never got promoted. As long as you apply the strategy appropriately, it seems to be a great approach.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:20 AM   #4
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it will be much easier to get a job if he has a 3.5 or higher overall gpa
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:21 AM   #5
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it will be much easier to get a job if he has a 3.5 or higher overall gpa

Of that we can be sure...
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:25 AM   #6
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When I went to graduate school the lowest GPA for entrance was 3.0.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:26 AM   #7
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ray--your DS seems to be doing well! He is recognizing what he needs to do to get what he wants/desires. Computer science and Math are heavy hitters, at least in my opinion.

New theories say the adolescent brain is not fully mature until mid 20's, especially for males. He is getting there!
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:40 AM   #8
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I has a classmate and friend who just did what was needed to pass at each level. It was amazing how he just had a sense for how much to step up his effort to make it past the post.

When he got his final job, this attitude meant that he never got fired but also never got promoted. As long as you apply the strategy appropriately, it seems to be a great approach.
I'm definitely not suggesting he do the bare minimum that is needed to pass. I think it's great his grades have improved. And when my kids get to college, I will have high academic expectations of them. I was just pointing out that not having high grades in college does not necessarily make someone noncompetitive in the workforce. It may be harder for them to get their first job out of college, but from then on out, not many employers care about grades in undergrad.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:48 AM   #9
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My approach was only intervene if they were heading towards the ditch. So if it were me, I'd just be supportive and proud.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:54 AM   #10
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I barely graduated high school. Graduated #189 out of 191 students. I got a conditional acceptance into a local state university. Once there I did well, and nobody ever asked me about my high school grades again. Ever. I graduated college Magna Cum Laude with around a 3.8 GPA. I joined the honor society (solely for a line on my CV). That was great. It helped me get into medical school. Once getting into med school, nobody ever cared how I did in college. At all. I did good in med school. Graduated middle of the pack. When applying to residency, all anyone ever cared about were my board scores and med school grades. Nobody cared how I did in college. After finishing residency, nobody cared how I did in med school or how good my board scores were. They were concerned only about my work (residency) evaluations.

Obviously he should do well and learn as much as he can, but sometimes there is too much angst about how good, not great, grades will negatively impact someone IMO.
Interesting post!
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:59 AM   #11
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Computer Science and a minor in math are tough curriculums, and like engineering the grades are not as high on average as some other majors.

Many students that used to go into electrical engineering and other such majors are now going into Computer Science because that's the way their brains are wired. This generation has grown up around computers, and it's a way to make a living.

My cousin was a doctorate level Computer Science Scientist at NASA. In college he'd make an A in the 5 day a week Calculus and flunk everything else. He was totally monomaniacal--the best there was at doing one thing only. That's why he was a great at interfacing numerous computers into acting as one.

I just hope your son is a well rounded person socially. Often the best thing about college is what you learn outside of the classroom.
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DS - ‘Cool Hand’ the enigma?
Old 05-09-2019, 10:21 AM   #12
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DS - ‘Cool Hand’ the enigma?

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I just hope your son is a well rounded person socially. Often the best thing about college is what you learn outside of the classroom.

“Cool Hand” seems comfortable in his own skin. He tells me he gets nervous around the ladies .. Thats a good thing i think.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:01 AM   #13
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“Cool Hand” seems comfortable in his own skin. He tells me he gets nervous around the ladies .. Thats a good thing i think.
It is a good thing.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:22 PM   #14
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The significance of grades is that it may open doors or get a resume pass a filter. As others have said, once you have the job, nobody cares. But it could make the difference in whether you get called for an interview or not.

The concept of identifying the impact of your social circle is huge. You can surround yourself with studious folks and be motivated to excel, or you can surround yourself with slackers and motivate yourself to just get by. It sounds like he has grown significantly this past year! I may have had brains, but I don't think I gained much for intelligence until I was around 30.
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:26 PM   #15
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No offense, but a 3.0 after the first 3 easiest semesters of school is pretty disastrous. It's SO hard to bring your grades up, he basically needs to make straight A's from here on out which is unlikely once in the upper level classes. Under a 3.5 is to the point where he will have to leave his GPA off of his resume. Grad school could soon be out the window if that is something that might have been of interest.

"Cool Hand" could find himself working for a crappy company soon.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:30 PM   #16
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I always enjoy the Cool Hand Updates. My DS just finished his Jr year double major (not by Choice) and a student athlete which is a full-time job in itself. Best grades ever this semester. I did get into his tail in February so hard that he actually called DW to try and do damage control. It seems he has finally 'got it' In 3 weeks he will report to DC for a paid internship with the govt. I am sure though there is more hand ringing ahead.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:37 PM   #17
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No offense, but a 3.0 after the first 3 easiest semesters of school is pretty disastrous. It's SO hard to bring your grades up, he basically needs to make straight A's from here on out which is unlikely once in the upper level classes. Under a 3.5 is to the point where he will have to leave his GPA off of his resume. Grad school could soon be out the window if that is something that might have been of interest.

"Cool Hand" could find himself working for a crappy company soon.
This is pretty alarmist. Most grad school programs require at least a 3.0 to apply and prefer a 3.5, but it is not mandatory. Particularly if the resume is padded in other areas. Average GPA in colleges now is about a 3.0 (and often lower in the tougher majors). If he's average (and going up), that's far from disastrous.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:41 PM   #18
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My approach was only intervene if they were heading towards the ditch. So if it were me, I'd just be supportive and proud.
I'm in total agreement with this approach. I get that the world is competitive. I'm not even going to explain my ups and downs of college but my epiphany came much later when I approached 30. You can tell him the ways of the world but you also must realize that this generation is more about balance than any prior generation.

More to say on this but that he's completed two years and not been on "double secret probation" has to be comforting.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:05 PM   #19
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While I didn't graduate in the top 10 of my high school class of about 300, I was in the top 15 and nobody cared. When I started college, I did OK, but high school was pretty easy and didn't really teach me the studying and learning work-ethic I needed for college. After one semester, I transferred from the small, home-town university to the big state university, I struggled including getting a "C" in a 5-hour credit course which is tough to make up for later on. But like the OP's Cool Hand, after a couple of semesters I "got it". Dean's list every time after that, as well as scholarships. For me, it wasn't about distractions - I plain just didn't know what I was doing and had to figure it out on my own since nobody else in my family had gone to college. So stories like the OP's definitely strike a chord with me!


Now I have a daughter whose high school grades are all over the place and who is graduating in a couple of weeks and starts college in the fall. Hope she "gets it" faster than I did!

Also, I totally agree with the poster that things like grades are only important for the next step. Two steps from that, nobody cares.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:19 PM   #20
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Back in my day, no potential employer asked to see my transcript, or what my GPA was. For grad school, yes, GPA is important. Is it now important for jobs too?
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