Benefits of Getting Good Grades in High School

Talking Points for Parents to Encourage Good Grades

The need to get good grades is a common topic of conversation among teenagers and their parents. Do your talks involve threats or encouragement? There's a big difference and one may actually be a better approach than the other.

When talking to your teen about grades, it may be tempting to discuss the dangers of bad grades. But scare tactics like, "You'll never get into college," or "You won't get a good job," aren't likely to be effective.

Instead, you can talk about the benefits of getting good grades. By giving real-life examples, you can provide motivation for your teen to study hard today. There are five benefits you can use to jump-start your conversation with your teen.

Good Grades Can Lead to Scholarships

Smiling student receiving test results
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Colleges and scholarship committees will review your teen's transcripts. Better grades, higher test scores, and involvement in a variety of activities can help your teen get more money for college.

Talk to your teen about the realities of student loans. Discuss how academic scholarships can help cover the costs. Explain how student debt can negatively impact your teen's future, well into his 30s.

Unfortunately, the reality is that many college graduates can't accept their dream jobs because they can't afford to do so. Instead, they have to take jobs that will help them afford their monthly college loan bills.

Good Grades Lead to Fun Opportunities

Students who get good grades are given opportunities at high schools through programs like the National Honor Society. Talk about various events that your student may be able to participate in if she gets good grades.

Your school's guidance counselor may be able to provide your teen with information on academic achievement and the opportunities that come with good grades as well. Sometimes, hearing from someone other than you can help reinforce your message.

Encourage your teen to start a conversation with her guidance counselor.

Good Grades Open the Door to Future Opportunities

If your teen strives to do well in anything set before her, she'll have more career opportunities. And yet, many teens just don't see the need to do well in school.

Sometimes they say things like, "I'm going to get into sales. I won't ever need geometry," or "I'm going in the military. They don't care about my grades." Make it clear that even if those things are true, there may be times when your teen's grades do matter.

For instance, she may want to go to college someday or apply for a job where her transcripts will be reviewed. Make it clear that it's important to keep as many opportunities open as possible.

Good Grades May Improve Social Life

Students who care about their grades will earn the respect of their teachers and their peers. However, many teens worry that good grades will cause them to be viewed as a "nerd."

Talk to your teen about successful people who did well academically in high school. Make it clear that people with good grades as a teen often go on to do great things in the future.

Encourage your teen to spend time with friends who care about their grades as well. It'll be tough for your teen to stay on track if none of his friends do their homework.

Good Grades Can Boost Confidence

Sometimes, teens are afraid to try hard because they're afraid of failure. Make sure your teen is willing to give it his best academically. The better he does, the more confident he'll become.

When your teen sees that his effort leads to better grades, he'll be more motivated to keep up the good work. It can also prepare him for the responsibilities of adulthood.

A Word From Verywell

As a parent, you know that the benefits of good grades and a high GPA extend beyond the high school environment. Your teen may not realize these things and informing them of these points may be the motivation he needs. If nothing else, a conversation that's positive is certainly better than an argument that leaves everyone feeling disappointed and angry.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Rentzsch K, Schütz A, Schröder-Abé M. Being Labeled Nerd: Factors That Influence the Social Acceptance of High-Achieving Students. J Exp Educ. 2011;79(2):143-168. doi:10.1080/00220970903292900

  2. Michou A, Vansteenkiste M, Mouratidis A, Lens W. Enriching the hierarchical model of achievement motivation: Autonomous and controlling reasons underlying achievement goals. Br J Educ Psychol. 2014;84:650-666. doi:10.1111/bjep.12055

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.