Are some people just smarter than others?

<p>Hello everyone,
I am a sophomore electrical engineering major at UMich right now. In high school I always thought I was, to put it bluntly, the cream of the crop for people my age, one of the smartest, as I always did very well compared to most people in my high school. I got all As too. But when I came here to Michigan, I started to maintain a gpa only slightly above average (for a freshman/rising sophomore engineer) no matter how hard I studied. Meanwhile, one of my friends managed to get a 3.94 gpa, and he definitely studies less than me. He's not the only one, i've met a handful of people who get 3.9+ gpas in engineering, yet it doesn't seem like they work THAT much harder than everyone else. In fact, one of them is quite lazy and waits 1 or 2 days before a test to start studying. Is there something I'm missing, or am I going to have to accept the fact that some people are simply smarter than others? (Wasn't sure where to post this lol, but I want to here some people's responses)</p>

<p>I had the same experience staffmat. I chose Michigan because I really liked the campus vibe and the city of Ann Arbor. I also wanted a well-rounded undergraduate experience, and of all the schools that I admitted, it seemed to fit that criterion the best. One of the side benefits, I thought, was that I would be stronger academically than the average student. Michigan's 60% admit rate (at the time) and lower SAT average created the illusion that the studend body was slighlty weaker than that of its peers. My own SAT score was 130 points higher than the Harvard average. I realized how wrong my presumption was after the first set of exams, when my results were right around the class mean. Michigan students are very capable and intense academically. Michigan admissions has its own standards (much, much higher on curricular substance and GPA than on SAT), but they definitely know how to gauge academic potential, and it goes beyond GPA and SATs.</p>

<p>Yes, some people have a higher aptitude for learning than others. College is put to a higher standard than high school so don't expect to be the superstar in college, even if it's just a public school.</p>

<p>Some people learn certain material a lot faster and effectively than others. You just need to know your strengths, but more importantly, your weaknesses as well. If you want to excel, you need to put in the extra mile to fill these voids.</p>

<p>work hard, don't worry about that, and good things will happen. Just because someone doesn't work as hard as you and gets better grades doesn't mean they will turn out better in the end.</p>

<p>"College is put to a higher standard than high school so don't expect to be the superstar in college, even if it's just a public school."</p>

<p>What do you mean by the remark, "even if it's just a public school?"</p>

<p>UMich is what...? 14th best in the world according to the Times ranking? Clearly, it's better than quite a few private universities...</p>

<p>^ I think the remark is pretty clear: there are more dumb kids in public schools in general, which is true. However, it is faulty to lump Michigan into that category, IMO.</p>

<p>3rd year engineer here. On topic, yes, some people are just smarter than others. Some have a better background/foundation to begin with, so they are usually a step ahead in terms of thinking. I would spend the same amount (actually, sometimes more hours) of time doing HW/studying as my friends, but always end up getting A-'s, whereas they always get A's. At some point, you just have to admit that you're not good enough...but it's all good though. Ive seen people study hard, and still struggles.</p>

<p>Also an EE (junior), and I'm having the same experience. I feel like no matter how hard I study, I'm always just about average. It's certainly frustrating...</p>

<p>It could also be you are not studying correctly, or the classes u taking are not good for you. My freshman year I did terrible, but right now I am a junior in ee and the past 3 terms have been better.
I think college, or atleast umich is a lot about little details. If there is a question in a hw set you dont get, dont just leave or half do it. Go and try to understand why you dont get it and try to get it. I think thats what has helped me so far, that I did not do my first year. It is vital to know and understand every single thing a prof says. Dont dismiss something and assume its not important or not on an exam. I used to do this a lot....
Won't lie though michigan is hard and I am a bit nervous about my classes for the remainder year and half.
Also a lot of them "dumb" kids get weeded out by the first term. very little dumb kids left after that.... Ialso see a lot of kids who did horrid on sat etc and do well in engineering. I think the sat etc tests something else.</p>

<p>After spending some time at the University I personally think the only think that determines a students GPA is will power. No more, no less. You can argue with me if you want but I thinks that's basically it. (well i guess good/bad professors determine some of it too)</p>

<p>For those of you feeling "average" please remember that "average" is relative. No shame whatsoever at being "average" at an awesome program that attracts some of the best minds in the biz ;) you're essentially on a global stage now, not high school. However smart you are, you will always encounter a few folks smarter than you if you're living well and challenging yourself. Use the opportunity to learn to navigate the dynamics of a profession populated by smart people. In the work world, while your facility with the eng material does count, so too does your capability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team, make a contribution, manage people or schedules, and myriad other factors that are not always reflected in grades alone. So do your best and feel good about it and don't let the existence of others who are highly talented detract from your self-confidence. Celebrate the accomplishments of your peers, and you'll become someone folks want to hire ;)</p>

<p>everyone learns differently. On top of that, teachers/professors have different teaching and testing styles and expectations. Unfortunately, many of them do not explain their expectations well. I remember one of my college professors that would require you to be present for lectures, but all of her tests were taken from the required reading. She felt that class was used to focus on a particular topic indepth, and she felt fairly confident that everyone understood that topic. But she wanted to test whether or not the students could appy the required reading material. No one knew this about this professor until after the first test. Another professor would take his lectures straight from the book, almost word for word, and his tests were taken from the review questions at the back of the chapters. Those really obscure questions that included "what if" and "how would they compare" type things. </p>

<p>My point is that some of the skill in taking tests in college is learning what the teacher is looking for and how they test to be able to prepare properly. It is not always all about understanding the material. It can be about which material, and how they expect it to be applied.</p>

<p>Yes definitely. </p>

<p>In addition, it's also about studying right. I never started studying for exams or working on final projects a day or 2 before the exam date/due date, but I work extra hard on those days. (sometimes it drives the so called "harder working kids" crazy because I would horde group project stuff to do and then not start until the day before, but I always deliver with the grade). Did I get a 4.0? No, but I graduated with summa cum laude. Can I get even better grades by working harder? Probably, but it's not going to open any more doors in terms of career opportunities, so what's the point? It's funny to see a lot of kids in my classes work their ass off throughout the entire semester and are all burnt-out towards the end, and end up with lower grades. </p>

<p>Working smart is the way to go, and working smart means getting the most impact per least amount of time/effort. </p>

<p>If you plot a chart of grade vs effort, the curve would increase exponentially at the beginning, and then increase at a decreasing rate towards a higher end. The point is to study the amount at the inflection point of the curve, where grade per unit effort is maximized.</p>

<p>Is hardwork correlated to success? Definitely, but it is not the cause of success. The sooner you realize this, the better off you are in the future.</p>

<p>
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Is hardwork correlated to success? Definitely, but it is not the cause of success. The sooner you realize this, the better off you are in the future.

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<p>Then what's the cause of success?</p>

<p>"Then what's the cause of success? "
Relationships, luck, networking ability, timing, intelligence and hardwork, probably in that order too.</p>

<p>I don't know... there's some very successful people who got that way by busting their ass that aren't exactly the smartest people in the world.</p>

<p>They are not smarter then you.</p>

<p>I hate this about college people always feel as if they are smarter then someone since they made all A's without studying. trust me, once they get deeper into their majors this type of logic will prove to be their downfall. A lot of people have trouble making the transition from high school to college because in HS they were super smart but in college they are average. well professors in college will not baby you like teachers from HS.</p>

<p>This thread reminds me of something my neighbor once said, "My son is not very smart, but he's a very hard worker." His son was a very successful engineer at the time. People at the top of their class in high school often have a rude awakening when they go to college and find there are many people more brilliant. There are always going to be some smarter than you and some less so. Hard work is the key.</p>

<p>Some people are smarter than others, but I think pure intelligence can only get you so far. Individuals that are smart and work hard are more likely to be successful. Of course networking, relationships, luck and other things play a role, but the most successful individuals in this world put in countless of hours of "work" into something they are passionate about. College is all about studying hard, but also studying smart. Don't read the book if you know you will only be tested on what is in lecture (unless you don't understand a certain concept). Don't do all the problems in the University Physics book, if you know you will only be tested on material from lecture, discussion and practice exams. Work hard the right way. Don't spend your time studying on material that won't be on exams. At the end of the day, hard work will pay off in some form. You may not get a higher GPA than a friend who you worked harder than, but just remember that you worked hard for yourself. It may be discouraging at first, but hard work always pays off.</p>