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Can You Be Successful In College With Low IQ?

IQ or Intelligence Quotient is a measure of human intelligence derived from a series of standardized tests. Since IQ has been widely regarded good predictor of success, can somebody with a relatively low IQ survive and thrive in the four corners of the university, or is it a broken gauge of measurement for the success of human beings? Let’s talk about this matter more in this article.

What exactly is IQ, and what is its purpose?

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IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient — a score derived from a series of standardized tests to measure and assess human intelligence. The only measured intelligence by IQ is a person’s reasoning ability and how one uses information and logical reasoning to answer specific problems. Most of the recent measures of IQ or IQ tests are heavily based on the original test by Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, back in the 1900s. IQ is good at predicting how certain people, specifically IQ gifted people, would do in certain situations such as  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses, the arts, logical reasoning, and leadership capabilities. Though this type of intelligence matters, it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. 

Multiple Intelligences

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It is now common knowledge that logical and reasoning intelligence isn’t the only measure of one’s intelligence. The multiple intelligences theory provided the thought that intelligence isn’t just a single general ability but is divided into multiple modalities, particularly; Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Naturalist, Spatial, Intra-personal, Interpersonal, Linguistic, and Logical-Mathematical Intelligence. In this theory, one’s intellectual value isn’t only constricted by the bounds of what is logical and reasonable, and it gave people the idea that intelligence comes in many forms. Because of this theory, people view IQ as a broken gauge of measuring one’s intelligence.

Average college completion rate in college

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Before we talk about the chances of low IQ students succeeding in college, what even are the chances of an average man finishing college? According to studies, among American students, those with 105 IQ have a 50 percent chance of dropping out of college. Surprisingly, even students with 130 IQ scores still have a 10 percent chance of dropping out of college. On average, four out of ten students fail to finish their degrees, and only 58 percent of students get to complete their degrees within their 6 years of stay in college.

Is it possible to graduate college even if you have a below-average IQ or “low IQ”?

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Before we can say if it is really possible to finish college with a low IQ, we must first know what is generally considered as the average IQ. Based on multiple accounts, the average IQ of human beings starts from 85 until 114. With this in mind, we can consider people with 84 IQ and below as the people with low IQ. We have to remember that IQ is a measure of how well a person would perform academically, and that’s the very reason it was made in the first place. College is heavily academic and product-oriented. Because of this fact, we can safely assume that people with low IQ are more likely to fail or at least be at the very bottom of the particular college program, but that doesn’t mean it is not possible. 

Unfortunately, there is no certain way to increase a person’s IQ through education or learning. Furthermore, intelligence isn’t fair, and it isn’t equally distributed.

Trade schools & Alternative programs

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Another factor that could affect the chances of success of a student is the institution and the particular program itself. Suppose a student is in an institution with a relatively lower bar of passing. In that case, even with low IQ, the student could do it even if they gave just the right amount of effort. Still, if they were attending an Ivy league school with fairly high standards, the student might not be able to push on through even if they were to exert double the amount of effort than in the other institution. Some institutions offer specifically-tailored degree programs for people considered among the low IQ bracket. As long as you have the means necessary to take those programs, you can certainly succeed in college. Another type of institution that one with a low IQ could attend is trade schools that offer associate programs. These programs are 2-year long programs where students also get college credits, but these programs are heavily skill-oriented in each of the specific trades.

College is a constant grind

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Before going into college, one might think that getting straight A’s in high school will do the job for you in college, but that isn’t really the case. College is more about the process, how much effort you are willing to give to achieve “success” in college. After all, IQ isn’t the be-all, end-all of intelligence. It may help boost the chances of you succeeding, but the chances of you failing are still there nonetheless. Like everything else, you first have to test the waters. You have to discover these things by yourself to get a grasp of whether you can handle them. Low IQ or not, if you think it’s worth the try, hard work and perseverance would always be your best friend throughout your entire college journey.

It all comes down to how we define success

At the end of the day, success is still dependent on how we see and define it. Maybe college success, for one, isn’t really about graduating, getting a good corporate job, and retiring comfortably. Maybe it’s the people we meet in the process that’s the definition of succeeding in college. Maybe it’s the skills we struggled to pick up because we aren’t really capable of, which means success. Or maybe, your definition of success is that even though your IQ is below the average, you still want to pursue college? Success, just like intelligence, can never be truly measured, whatever the case may be.