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Do C students actually become more successful than A students?

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College Student at Taro Community3 months ago

There is a very popular headline that has gone around and I remember this back when I was in high school. It was a theory that C students usually do better than A students. From your guys experience, is this the norm or is this an anomaly that is being overly glorified. I've been very curious about this and you guys have probably had more experience in the workforce and in life than me so I wanted to know your opinion. I feel like an answer to this can help get an idea of the relationship between academia and career. Also does this apply to all fields that are even outside of software engineering?



  • 8
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    Team Lead (people manager) at Mistplay
    3 months ago

    If you know you want to be a software engineer in college I totally agree it’s better to spend your time building your own projects than absolutely maxing out grades. Knowing how to have good work and learning habits is important but the content of college CS classes is not super relevant to software engineering.

    My very small sample size study of myself is: I had mostly A’s and wish I hadn’t. I didn’t get a return offer from my Junior year internship and didn’t have a job lined up after graduating because I was burnt out. And there’s so much I didn’t really know as a junior engineer because I hadn’t built my own projects

  • 11
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    3 months ago

    I doubt that's true (a GPA of 2.0 will screen you out of many interviews), but I 100% agree with Ryan in that getting straight A's as a Computer Science student is extremely overrated and almost certainly not worth it.

    Back during my time at UCLA, projects very much followed the 80/20 rule in that getting an 80% (B-) was generally not too bad, but getting 100% was almost impossible and took 5x the effort of getting a B-. So you could only get straight As if you either:

    1. Burned yourself out working 80 hour weeks with 0 social life
    2. Cheated (many students took this option 🤣)

    It took me a while to learn that pushing for a 4.0 GPA was foolish, and I wish I had learned so sooner in college (I didn't make the mindset shift until later junior year). After my freshman year, I had around a 3.6 GPA and by the time I graduated, it was around a 3.1. I'm not the brightest engineer in the world, but I feel like I'm doing okay 😁

    When it comes to school, do the following:

    1. Maintain a 3.0 GPA (B average, this will clear almost all GPA checks in interviews)
    2. Aggressively network and make friends with your fellow students. Form study groups!
    3. Build tons of side projects

    All in all, just follow the advice here: "How to make the most of my time in school?"

  • 6
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    Eng @ Taro
    3 months ago

    Grades are a very clearly defined metric of success. When you are in school, you can develop a mindset for prioritizing good grades at the expense of other things, like social connection. And, this can work really well as a student because good grades are a path to getting into a good school or good internship. There are a few dangers to this:

    • When you sacrifice social connection for studying more, it means you are getting less practice with how to communicate effectively with other people. This is very important in the after-school life because a large part of being effective is being able to manage expectations with other people.
    • You can become too boxed in to pleasing other people. A large part of doing well in tests is coming up with the answer that someone expects of you. After school, there's a part of you that becomes independent and people pleasing can hold you back because you are more concerned with how others perceive you. So, you might not go after what you truly want in life.

    That being said, I don't think there's a higher proportion of average students that do better than high performing students. If you can figure out how to solve a test, you can probably figure out how to communicate with people even if it's later in life.