How Being Hot Affects Your Grades

It might not be fair, but looking good can get you far in life.

We are humans, and we are shallow, and we like to look at beautiful people. But you may still be surprised at the information uncovered by a study from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

It turns out that attractive people get better grades, even at a college level.

In the experiment, researchers Rey Hernández-Julián and Christina Peters compared students’ grades with their level of attractiveness. They found that women judged as “least attractive” had the lowest grades while women judged as “most attractive” earned the highest grades.

A professor at the University of Illinois, Rachel Gordon, conducted a similar study previously which found that both men and women who were rated more attractive also had better grades (in the Denver study the effect was only seen on females). But in Gordon’s study and many others, critics claimed that other factors fed into the higher grades given to attractive students. For example, it could be argued that a student’s intelligence is why they look so put together, or that a wealthy student is better looking and has also had access to better education.

This most recent study put those critiques to rest by enrolling the same students in an online course. Interestingly enough, when the students were taking an online course, the bias toward hot people completely disappeared.

While these results are a bit alarming, the researchers point out that although there is a bias based on appearance, the variation in grades is still very small. But it leaves you wondering about courses that lean toward more subjective grading, such as art or theater. Does a student’s attractiveness count even more in these subjects?

NPR pointed out that “better-looking people tend to make more money. They are more liked and trusted by others. They marry other good-looking people who are also better educated than average.” No, it’s not fair, but it’s fact. So next time someone gets on your case about devoting too much time and energy to your appearance, tell them science is on your side.

Photo via Elle

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