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Study: Do Good Looks Equal Good Grades?

Do good looks equal good grades?
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Let's face it: Good-looking people have always had it way easier. And now, a new report is more or less proving that they may have a leg-up when it comes to their grades, too.

The study, which was conducted at the University of Illinois in Chicago, found that people who were rated as more attractive were actually more likely to get higher grades—and go on to college. And no, the difference wasn't small. Researchers compared GPAs between the genetically blessed and the ... not-so-blessed, and they found the difference between the two was equal to the difference between kids who come from two-parent or single-parent homes.

Better-looking kids also got more attention from their teachers, had more friends, and showed fewer signs of depression. The final kicker? They also went on to become more successful.

Can't say we're really all that surprised; such is life. But it is interesting that researchers aren't exactly clear what's causing all of this good-looks, good-grades business. One theory: Attractive kids have more confidence, which may lead them to naturally make more friends, act assertive in class and generally just attack life more than some of us who tend to be self-conscious. On the other hand, it could be that subconsciously; we all just seem to favor more attractive faces (even when our own mugs aren't).

While definitely eye-opening, the study's scope is somewhat limited, and probably leaves a lot of room for error in terms of how "attractiveness" is determined.

To reach its conclusions, researchers combined statistical analyses of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health and qualitative analyses of a single high school. The longitudinal study started way back in the 1990s, and tracked 9,000 students across the U.S. until they reached their 30s. Interviewers then noted whether their interviewee was attractive. (Sounds really scientific.) Only after that did they analyze info about each respondent's GPAs, which were provided by their former schools.

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