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How Your High School GPA Could Impact Your Adult Salary


"Importance of doing well in high school for both short term and longer term goals."

Your high school days might be well behind you, but how you did in those hallowed halls might have more of an impact on your current life than you realize.

A study from the University of Miami found that your high school GPA is a strong predictor for how much you'll be making salary-wise later in life.

One grade point higher on a GPA was associated with a 12 percent salary increase for men and 14 percent for women. A one-point increase was also associated with doubling the likelihood of a student finishing college.

Image source: University of Miami Image source: University of Miami

“Conventional wisdom is that academic performance in high school is important for college admission, but this is the first study to clearly demonstrate the link between high school GPA and labor market earnings many years later,” Michael French, a health economics professor and author of the study, said in a statement.

Salaries rates were measured between 24- and 34-years-old.

“High school guidance counselors and teachers can use these findings to highlight the importance of doing well in high school for both short term and longer term goals,” French said.

In addition to an overall positive correlation between a higher GPA, college graduation rates and salary, the study found that after applying controls for ability, academic performance and economic and demographic variables, the study found African-Americans performed better than white counterparts in higher education.

“One possible explanation for this finding is that African-Americans with relatively high GPAs are more motivated and determined than whites to attend college and obtain an advanced degree," French said.

Data for the study, which was published in the Eastern Economic Journal, was obtained through the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health.


Front page image via Shutterstock.

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