Why are Arab American Students Among the Highest GPA Achievers?
Written By Randa Necola/Arab America Contributor Writer
As we enter graduation season this May, a higher than the average number of Arab American students will be graduating with high marks from colleges and universities across America. Why is it that?
Arab Americans care tremendously about their children’s education. To them, education is not only an important matter but rather it’s the most important matter. It takes them tremendous amounts of time, money, and effort to help their children to be one of the highest GPA earners in schools and colleges. It’s the one single achievement that they are entitled to brag about. It is highly noticed that Arab American students worry too much about their grades, GPA, and the choice of university majors that will give them high status and high paid jobs. It is all because of their Arab American parents and their values in life.
Arab American Parents Apply Pressure On Their Children
Because Arabs were taught in their country that education is the most important thing in their life, they successfully transfer that value to their children even after leaving the Arab world. Many Arab parents apply pressure on their children to earn a high GPA and to choose specific majors. They encourage them to study medicine, law, engineering, pharmacy or other majors that lead to jobs in demand and high pay. The pressure on the children is huge and it’s of a great challenge for the grown children to convince their parents of an alternative major.
Parents Immigrate, Leaving their Homes and Families for a Better Education
Many Arab Americans left their country for a better education for their children; they make sure that their children understand the sacrifices they made. In Arab culture, parents usually live life for their children who learn to depend on their parents until they graduate. So, parents sacrifice a lot to see their children achieve excellence and become the best in all facets. The parents often remind their children that they (the parents) left their life in their home country and sought strange lands just to see their children achieve the highest possible dreams and be better than their parents; of course, that would add the extra pressure on the Arab American children.
Parents are Competitive
Because Arab American parents seek excellence in education, competition with other children is very high. Many Arab parents want their children to be ahead in the education competition among students their age; they do everything possible to help them accomplish such a goal. So, many Arab American parents brag about their children’s educational excellence and they share with friends and family the high grades or smart majors their children have selected.
They Avoid Distractions
Distractions are the enemy of Arab American Parents when it comes to their children’s education and career. Arab American parents seek to eliminate all distractions; Their clocks run around their children schedule of school and study. Very often they eliminate television, cell phones, trips, games, internet, and even distracting friends. Arab parents observe their children’s behaviors and watch them closely to make sure that they are on the right track to achieve educational excellence.
They Avoid Romantic Relationships
In general, love relationships take a lot of time and effort from any human being. Arab American parents realize that and discourage children to go that path; they think it’s a prime distraction to their academic goals and success. Arab American parents believe that there is a later time for a romantic relationship and a marriage after the attainment of successful schooling and the landing of a job that produces financial security.
The Support of The Extended Family
The burden of educational success does not depend only on the child and the parents only, but also it falls on the entire family and friends as well. Arabs practice the African proverb that states: It takes a whole village to raise a child. Many of the extended family and friends help with driving children to schools or tutoring centers. They feel obligated to help the children academically, psychologically, financially and even nutritionally. In some cases, when parents are unable to guide their children, they totally rely on the guidance of dear uncles, aunts, cousins, and dear friends.
If an Arab American student decides not to attend college, such a decision might kill the parents! It is a disaster for any Arab American parent to know that their child is not going to college. One of the pillars that shape an Arab’s reputation is education and the choice of a major for a professional career. In the process of making their parents proud, Arab American children avoid at all cost the idea of not attending college or dropping out of college. They certainly make sure that they graduate from college with the highest GPA to preserve family reputation and pride.