You can’t grade potential

I want to share with you a post from Nick Black, Founder and CEO of GoodUnited. His writing in bold.

Grades and test scores can only tell part of a story. (A very small part in my opinion.)

Test scores and grades should not define us.

Our heart and our will to succeed should.

I bombed my GMAT test.

Every top 10 university I applied for rejected me.

I was stationed in Afghanistan. I had to wait 6 months to take the test in the only approved center in the country. The week of the test we were out chasing the Taliban after they stole election ballots. They didn’t believe in democracy. But we did.

“Isn’t your GMAT today?” said my Commander. “Go find a helicopter and take it.”

We’d just retrieved the ballots so I flew out, dirty and sleepless from combat. I scored 570.

All the business schools I applied for told me it was too low. I felt awful

“There’s a professor at UNC who’s always sending us food,” my unit’s chaplain told me. So I emailed him. He responded after 5 minutes. And personally submitted my application.

“I will work as hard as humanly possible,” I told the admissions officer when he interviewed me. I had the 2nd lowest score in my class. But they accepted me.

A couple years after graduating, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awarded me as a Distinguished Young Alumnus. Only 2 other individuals had ever won it in the history of the b-school. Michael Jordan won it too.

That underdog who’s not a picture-perfect candidate on paper? Give them a chance.

They might make up for it with more heart than you’ve ever seen.

We all have underdogs in our class who don’t test well, score well, and generally struggle.

Yet, what happens when we don’t give up on that student?

What happens when we place the importance on potential rather than a letter grade or score?

We get people like Nick Black.

Determined. Successful. Worldchanger.

Exactly what we want our students to be.

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