Being Pressured to Get Good Grades in School Can Make or Break a Student

The pressure of getting good grades in school can be caused by a variety of factors. The student may be pushed too hard by the parents to do well. The student may also be haunted by a future with no education and little financial support. The immediate effect of overwhelming pressure can result in a high amount of stress, which is unhealthy for the student’s physical and mental health. If the pressure of receiving good grades in school becomes excessive, the student may resort to cheating on assignments and tests. However, the student can obtain a rewarding job and feel proud of his work in the long run if the student remains diligent without letting the pressure overwhelm him. The pressure of earning good grades in school can be caused by the parents’ desire for the child to do well and the student’s fear of failing and becoming embarrassed; the immediate effects of this pressure can be bad but the long term effects are worth it by the end of the educational process.

A student, whether at a high school or college level, may begin to feel pressure by parents to do well. Normally, the parents apply pressure upon the student in order to keep up with school and to not allow the student to fall behind. The parents do not want to see their child fail in the classroom and wind up being unsuccessful in the working world. In this case, the parents’ decision to pressure their child is understandable. However, a problem arises when the parents apply excessive pressure on the student. In an article for the Stanford University website, Barbara Palmer quotes Denise Clark Pope, a lecturer at Stanford University, saying that some parents are creating stress levels to the point of being characterized as an epidemic. Parents of hard working students need to encourage students to do well in school but not to badger their child to an excessive point. A student can also be pressured into getting good grades when he looks into the future and becomes worried about having a job and being able to support himself. The idea of not having enough financial gain haunts the student to a point where he will force himself to do well in school and stress himself at the same time. Debra Satz, a professor at Stanford University, states, “Students are seeing what the world is like, what the downside is of not succeeding.” While looking into the future can be beneficial and motivating, a student who becomes overwhelmed with the thought of failure can worry too much and stress himself out, causing the student do poorly in school.

One of the immediate effects of a student feeling too much pressure to get good grades is a high stress level. Once the amount of school work builds to an excessive amount, the student will feel discouraged and overwhelmed by the prospect of having to finish a large amount of material in a short amount of time. A large amount of work can lead to the student having little or no free time, which also attributes to the inability for the student’s stress level to lower. The student’s work may carry on for so long that the he may not be able to sleep for an adequate amount of time, which leads to physical exhaustion and a more difficult time staying awake when class is in session. If the student becomes desperate, he may resort to cheating on assignments and tests. In an article by Claire Bessette for The Day newspaper, nearly thirty one percent of students who were surveyed stated that cheating on a test was not a bad thing to do. While the reasoning is not made clear, the stress and anxiety of school work may be a factor in the students’ opinion. The student may believe that he must do whatever it takes to do well in school, even if it means cheating on an assignment or test. This type of behavior in the student is dangerous because his influence may lead other students in his class or students that will be taking the class in the future to cheat as well. If the student is caught cheating, he will mostly likely receive a failing grade on the assignment or test, which defeats the purpose of getting good grades. In order for the student to do well in school and have less anxiety, he must learn to plan on spreading out each assignment on separate days and avoid cramming all of his assignments in one day. As a result of spreading out school work, some of the stress in the student’s life can be alleviated.

Despite the short term negative effects of being pressured to get good grades, the student will benefit from the good grades in the long term. Graduating from high school with good marks allow for the student to have a greater amount of colleges from which to choose. Once the student is accepted into college and earns good grades there, he can receive a degree and make finding a job an easier task. Earning a degree can also mean more money for the student once he earns a job. Earning good grades can help boost the student’s self esteem and he will not feel embarrassed when discussing school or work related manners with his peers. Getting good grades in school can even have positive health effects on the student when he becomes older. A report published by Health Day says that a person who earned good grades in school were less likely to become sick as he reached the age of retirement. While the long term effects of earning good grade can be very good, it is important to remember the benefits come only when the student earns his grades legitimately and manages stress so that it does not become overwhelming. When the student successfully manages the pressure of doing well in school, the benefits will come naturally.


Claire Bessette, “Student Survey: Cheating on the Rise”,

Barbara Palmer, “Pressure for good grades often leads to high stress, cheating, professors say”,

Robert Preidt, “Grades in High School Might Influence Adult Health”,