Created By: SteamGoth on November 3, 2011 Last Edited By: SteamGoth on November 7, 2011

Permanent Academic Record

One little blip on it will destroy your chances of getting into college

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Really Needs a Better Title

In Real Life, when students apply to university, the admissions board looks ever the applicant's high school transcript and standardized test scores. Only occasionally will exams taken and grades received before high school be used in judging the student's ability.

Not so in the world of fiction. Here, colleges will examine your transcripts going back to nursery school. And one little slip up can obliterate any chance you have of getting in. Whether it was a B in fourth grade art class or a "Satisfactory" instead of "Outstanding" in nap time in kindergarten, it can be a completely valid reason for a college to reject you. This often goes hand-in-hand with The B Grade, partly in that we only seem to hear the "smart ones" panicking that the A- they received when they took pre-calculus in fifth grade will keep them out of the Ivy League. Basically, you know you have this trope when a character who is not yet in high school is terrified that their one non-perfect grade will jeopardize their chances of getting into a good college (or even college at all). The younger the character, the more obvious the trope.

Obviously, this doesn't make sense. Children are growing mentally and emotionally throughout elementary and middle school, and it's perfectly reasonable to expect grades to suffer when children are bored, disinterested, or going through something else in their life. In the former two, young children sometimes take time to realize that you have to do the work even if it's boring: it's a matter of maturity, which isn't always equal to intelligence (though fiction would have us believe otherwise) Also, elementary schools in real life are so different, that an A+ at one school may barely be a C in another, depending on the region, the district, the socioeconomic status of the local residents, and other factors.

Compare The B Grade
Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • November 3, 2011
    MorganWick
    "Grass received"?

    Can be related to the notion of the "permanent record" fiction sometimes mocks (do we have a trope for that?)
  • November 3, 2011
    Routerie
    Any non-parody examples of this?
  • November 4, 2011
    LoopyChew
    ^None I'm aware of.

    • Calvin And Hobbes: Something Calvin does gets both him and Susie sent to the principal's office, during which time Susie worries that it will keep her from her Master's degree.
  • November 4, 2011
    Chabal2
    The Simpsons: one episode has Lisa's test get mixed up with Ralph Wiggums', so she gets an F. While wandering dejectedly outside, she she hopes Harvard won't find out about this. Cut to a satelitte with the Harvard coat of arms zooming in on Lisa and the F paper.
  • November 4, 2011
    SteamGoth
    Morgan Wick: "Grades" received; darn you autocorrect. I fixed it, no problem. As to the permanent record, I'm not sure, I feel like there is a trope for it, but it could be one we missed. Although, I always thought the permanent record refers more to actually getting in trouble - like getting called to the principal's office or getting detention - not bad grades. I was mostly thinking of this in terms of grades, but now that I look at it, misbehavior should count, too.

    Routerie: Yeah, I think this is mostly a parody trope. I don't think I've ever seen it not played for comedy.
  • November 4, 2011
    IuraCivium
    One of the mods is going to axe this if this name retains the pronoun.
  • November 6, 2011
    SteamGoth
    • One episode of The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody featured this: seventh-grader Cody has a bad dream where he's applying to Harvard, and is rejected (then, upon consideration, offered a janitorial job) when the dean of admissions notices that Cody received a B in middle school woodshop.
      • In another episode, London attends Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow with Maddie, and proceeds to get Maddie in trouble such that she gets sent to detention. At one point, Maddie (who has an otherwise flawless academic record) laments, "Yesterday I was on my way to law school. Now I'll be lucky if I can get into Big Al's Beauty School!" Because of one afternoon in detention.
  • November 6, 2011
    Folamh3
    Suggest just renaming this trope "Permanent Record" and using encompass both this YKTTW and cases where the Stock Phrase in question is used.
  • November 6, 2011
    JRoch
    Yeah. Like in "Doug" when the vice principal is always telling him things will go on his permanent record.
  • November 7, 2011
    Stratadrake
    There are many kinds of permanent record, but this seems to be about Permanent Academic Record.
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