I was proctoring an SAT exam recently at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles when a news article posted on the classroom wall caught my eye. It was a Los Angeles Times article titled “GPA Can Be Contagious among High School Students, Study Finds.” You can read the article here. Thinking back to my own high school days, it brought back memories. This article confirmed my suspicions that many academically high achieving students tend to be friends with other high achieving students. Perhaps it is because they motivate each other, stimulate one another’s intellect, or even thrive in a competitive atmosphere. Maybe they are friends because they are more often grouped together in classes.
What is important about this study? As a private college counselor, I would advise those students that wish to obtain a higher GPA to become friends with academically high achieving students. On the other hand, the study indicates that if a student’s friends are lower achievers, it will negatively impact their GPA.
Possibly what can be taken from this study is how we, as college counselors and educators, can best help those students that appear to be academically struggling. Rather than having clear defining lines and schools separating the high achieving students from the lesser achieving students when forming classes, maybe we should intermingle those students. This might inspire those with a lower GPA to become better students.