What Determines Future Success?

Fall is just around the corner and students of all ages are back in the classroom. For high school upperclassmen, the new year means constant reminders that high GPA and ACT/SAT scores are the key to future success. But how much do academics actually influence future careers and earnings? Let’s examine the impact different factors have on future success.


According to a study from the University of Miami, on average, for each full point students raise their GPA, men can increase future earnings by 12 percent and women can increase future earnings by 14 percent. A higher GPA indicates better study habits, work ethic and functional knowledge, which generally lead to more lucrative career opportunities. The study also found that the probability of graduation—which is strongly correlated with higher income—roughly doubles with each full point increase in GPA. Developing good habits in high school can set a student up for success in both college and post-educational life.

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