Is it better to graduate with a Cum laude qualification?
For so long, I have been wondering why there are grades in every level of studies and I always wanted to get a clear understanding on what is believed as the difference between an excellence performer and an average student. It is indeed debatable to judge a student by the grade of the qualification which one got as some students can score the 90%+ as a result of cramming rather than studying for understanding yet someone could get a 60% average degree but with a great understanding of the degree content covered. Despite that, high percentage degrees are preferred in the job market as they are always attached with the level of intelligence to the qualification holder.
During my primary, my report was characterized by numerical grades i.e. 1, 2, 3 up to 9 (from the highest to lowest), my secondary education was however characterized by the following grades: A, B, C, D, E and U. however, passes from A to C resembling the highest grade to the average pass respectively. When I did my Advanced level of education, grades almost similar to Ordinary level were used with a ‘U’ replaced by ‘F’ and an ‘O’ grade being an additional grade which is higher than ‘F’. However, an ‘E’ is rendered as a pass different from the Ordinary level standard which has a ‘C’ as a least pass grade. To me, these grades translated the level of intelligence to the results bearer. Does it resemble performance or intelligence of the student? I always got confused to strike the difference. Well, my opinion might not be legitimate without supporting evidence. Different universities have different grades of passes however, mostly 50% being the pass mark. I always told myself that there is a reason why there are these entire grades instead of merely having failure and pass.
This article dwells much on tertiary level qualification grades and particularly – a cum laude. I learnt that there are also different levels of passes also at tertiary level with the common being: ‘Fail’, ‘Pass’ and ‘Pass-with-Distinction’. Some universities use grades such as 3; 2.2; 2.1 and 1 which classifies a qualification from average to highest grade. Most employers prefer graduates with highest grade especially in the private sector where competence, efficiency and productivity are a priority. This tend to be contrary when it comes to the public sectors which does not emphasises on top achievers as it ensures to be mean as it also strives to reduce unemployment by employing graduates who cannot be absorbed in the private sector.
Let me not focus on the difference of getting a ‘fail’ compared to passing because it is simple in that one is rendered not competent for a job whereas those who ‘pass’ stand a better chance to get a job. In a different note, those who fail to get a qualification tend to mostly get absorbed in family or friend’s businesses. Surprisingly, such individuals can be found doing extremely well which could prove that getting a qualification is not the only way out to a greater life.
In the mind of an entrepreneur, failing to attain a qualification does not mean much but signals ‘a need of another way of doing things’. There exists a difference in the quality of qualification as discussed below. For every qualification, there are admission requirements hence at some institutions, some lower level grade qualifications are not good enough unless where work experience counts as an advantage. In this regard, high grade qualification becomes an added advantage when a graduate seeks to study further as an admission enabler or when opting to join the private sector for employment. Also, when one seeks for a sponsor to further one’s studies, a need to have attained a high quality qualification is highly recommended.
With the growth of the usage of internet, educators or lecturers are capable of collaborating with learners in achieving maximum possible performance hence the competition among graduates can be said to be high with the use of this logical explanation. However, how good can be the qualification? A cum laude is title used to describe a qualification which is excellent such as attaining an average of at least 75% to 100%. With Latin honours, these are the following grades of cum laude qualifications as presented by encyclopedia:
“Cum laude – with honour”
“Magna cum laude – with great honour”
“Egregia cum laude – with outstanding honour”
“Summa cum laude – with highest honour”
“Maxima cum laude – with very great honour”
However, different countries use different categories for grading criteria which is, unfortunately, not covered in this article. These grades are much used to undergraduates and rarely used to students taking masters or doctorate.
A different perception presents an objection with regards to getting cum laude grade. A friend of mine once told me that some employers do not go for high performing students simply because they might be lacking a skill of ‘managing failure’. A graduate with a mark range of, for example 82% to 98, on a transcript in other words could symbolise that the graduate has never experienced failure hence if employed in a business; the graduate might find it extremely challenging to cope with failure if ever the business gets into trouble. Such employers mostly prefer graduates with transcripts with varying marks which could reveal that the graduate somehow faced some challenges which the graduate managed to overcome. However, this is debatable on the basis of the perceptions of different managers.
I managed to graduate with a cum laude in Diploma in Entrepreneurship due to various factors. The most crucial was the love of the subjects that forms part of the qualification. At times, I never studied to pass but to improve my understanding in the field of entrepreneurship hence I could even read more that what was required for the assessments giving me a holistic understanding of the whole qualification. However, there were modules which I thought they should not have been part of the course which happened to be de-motivating to study. At times, I just studied to pass but not to understand as I viewed them as time wasters.
In conclusion, a high grade qualification is more preferable as indicated above. As indicated above, when a graduate aims to pursue another qualification to gain admission preference and sponsor during studies, a high grade qualification in crucial. It has also been identified that when understanding of the qualification content is the priority, from the content covered, an ordinary qualification is good enough for mastering the skills. Therefore, the most crucial thing is for the individual student to know what they want to accomplish after attaining their qualification. This puts one in a better understanding on whether one will be able to get admission in the chosen field of study and institution. This prepares for the elimination of some frustrations such as to be rendered as incompetent for further studies or having challenges to secure a sponsor.