The Average Millionaire’s College GPA is 2.9 and Valedictorians Rarely Become Rich

Does it sound backward to say that the average millionaire’s college GPA is 2.9, and valedictorians rarely become rich?

It might, but it’s true. GPA is a marker of success in school but rarely translates to real-world success, at least not with enough regularity for it to really mean anything.

Karen Arnold did research at Boston College, taking a look at the success of valedictorians, and found that while they do well, they rarely reach the highest levels of success. Because what they may learn best is how to comply with rules.

This means that their best success potential aligns with careers that support the systems and perpetuates those rules they got so good at following.

But millionaires – with less focus on rule-following – are often known more for grit than compliance. They stick with goals over time, and that’s how they achieve success.

That’s not to say valedictorians can’t do both – achieve good grades and break the rules where it matters – but it could be a personality difference. A little bit of bending the rules may be exactly what’s needed to achieve the greatest success.


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