Our childhood experiences directly influence who we become as an adult. From our early relationships, to the food we eat and daily chores – every piece from our early life affects our future path and careers we choose. In fact, most professionals will agree that childhood habits tend to take root by age 9.
This is especially true when it comes to our education and school experiences. Clearly high school performance can have a direct effect on our careers by way of college options…but what about earlier education? Could elementary and middle school achievements predict future success?
Office Depot recently conducted a study exploring the role grade school plays in predicting people’s future career success and salary. While there’s no one path to success, the study shows that forming habits early is a great way to start. Elementary and middle school students with a strong work ethic and above-average performance were more likely to earn higher degrees, make more money, and be more satisfied with their life. But it’s not just about the grades. Just as important is one’s mindset and attitudes around the significance of their childhood education.
Early education and postgraduate degrees
Those who earned above-average grades early on were significantly more likely to earn a postgraduate degree. Of the respondents who typically got A’s in elementary and middle school, 38.1% went on to earn a postgraduate degree.
On the other hand, 22% and 27% of students earning average or below-average grades, respectively, in elementary and middle school cut ties with formal education after high school. However, struggling to succeed in elementary and middle school doesn’t always mean limited education or success in the future – 20% of those who earned D’s and F’s in their younger years went on to earn a postgraduate degree.
Early education and salary
While top grades don’t necessarily lead to wealth, the highest-paying jobs often require higher education. Considering early grades are linked to more advanced degrees, it would only make sense that higher grades are linked to higher salaries.
When it came to elementary school grades, the difference in salary was slim – while above-average students earned an average of $38,355, those who got below-average grades went on to earn an average of $38,049 per year.
That gap widens in middle school. Students earning A’s in middle school grew up to earn more than their average or below-average counterparts. While those who got D’s and F’s in middle school went on to earn an average of $30,419 annually, straight-A students grew up to earn an average of nearly $11,000 more per year.
In addition to good grades, your mindset about your early education seems to affect your future earnings. Those who believe their early school years mattered in the larger scope of their lives report the highest salaries – on average $42,553.
Early education and life satisfaction
Mindset doesn’t just affect the money you make. Those who thought their early school habits had no impact on life satisfaction ultimately reported the lowest average life satisfaction, scoring in the 35th percentile.
On the other hand, those believing early school habits had a major impact on their life satisfaction were more satisfied than 65% of all respondents.