Is WoW Trashing Some College Students’ Grades?

Are World and Warcraft and other MMOs leading some college students to neglect their studies?

An academic advisor at the University of Minnesota Duluth thinks so. A report in the Duluth News-Tribune cites comments from UMD’s Vince Rapesh:

"I accused one of them of coming in loaded from smoking dope, he looked so bad,” Repesh said. But the student had been up all night playing a computer game.


During freshman orientation this year, three of the 70 students Repesh talked to in groups about computer use had been to counseling for problematic gaming, one because he was too competitive to stop.


“I tell parents during talks, I believe it’s one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it,” he said.

UMD Chancellor Kathryn Martin added:

These are very, very bright kids, and if you can’t get them back on track, you’ve lost a lot of potential.

Via: Our sister-site GameCulture


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  1. Gamersmom says:

    WoW trashed my son’s college grades.  He was a B+ student at a competitive high school and started playing WoW in the middle of his senior year.  By the time he got to college, he was completely addicted.  He failed all of his classes except for Intro to Computers.  At the time, we were unaware of the potential for addiction to MMORPG’s and had no idea what his problem was.  10% of people who play MMORPG’s particularly seem to be susceptible to the same biochemical changes that occur in the addicted brain and cannot control their playing.  90% of you have no problem controlling your gaming and never become addicted, so you can feel free to come here and make fun of the other 10%.  I don’t want to see video games banned.  I know that is unrealistic.  What I would like to see is an awareness of the problem of video game addiction on college campuses, so the counselors know what questions to ask and how to explain in a sensitive manner to students that they have an addiction and to make sure that they get help, just like students with drug and alcohol addiction get help on a college campus.  This report out of UMD gives me hope that this is happening.  The future of our country and some of our brightest minds depends on it.

  2. Outrun1986 says:

    I never had a problem with any of this in college, and I played video games. I had plenty of time to have fun and never skipped a class.  Its most likely based on a person’s upbringing.  Parents need to be a little harder on their kids these days, like most college students I lived with my parents during college and I know they would have beat me if I didn’t go to class.  I had enough motivation to go anyways.  I can see why you wouldn’t want to go if you lived in a dorm though since your parents are there.  I started college at 17 and did just fine.  But I do think 18 is too young for some people, since the maturity level seems to be dropping like a rock lately.  Thats not saying that all people are like this, some people can get along at 18 and do fine.

    I haven’t seen a person’s college career crused by everquest or WoW yet but I think its only a matter of time before I run into this in life.  I did hear a story about how a person’s college career was crushed by metroid on the original gameboy but that did not happen in the college I went to.  It can happen with any video game though, not just WoW.

    I also HIGHLY recommend going to a community or 2 year college for the first 2 years which is what I did.  This can help out a lot with the younger college students who aren’t quite ready.  It can also save a big chunk of money too.  Jumping right into a 4 year university is definitely not the right choice for some people.  For some it might be a better idea to hold off a year and start when they are 19, maybe work a part time job in the meantime to see what working a part time job is all about then there will be more motivation to get educated and go to school when they see where they are headed if they don’t go to school.  If they jump into a 4 year university with everything handed to them by their parents then yes they think they can play WoW all day long and still fly by with passing grades.

    Time managment is a biggie too, if someone isn’t good at managing their time, there will be problems.  High schools should really do a better job of teaching this instead of being solely focused on learning material for a test and passing the test.

  3. jccalhoun says:

    (channelling Jacko) Yes they lower grades but on the bright side when they go crazy and kill people and themselves all the roomates of the victems will be given straight As!

    (even though that urban legend isn’t true — but that’s never stopped Jacko before…)

  4. Baruch_S says:

    College isn’t for everyone. If you can’t get the motivation and common sense to get off WoW and write your papers, maybe you shouldn’t be there right now. In college, you’re responsible for getting your work done and showing up for class. Your professors aren’t responsible for you and don’t suffer any penalties if you fail. You either do your work and go to class or suffer the consequences, lose your scholarships, and drop out to go flip burgers. Welcome to the adult world!

    I also think high schools are at least partially to blame for this problems. Having classes that can be passed without doing any work or paying attention doesn’t prepare students for college. Maybe high schools should crack down a little harder so students get used to working and paying attention. Make the tests hard enough that they have to study or fail the class.  There’s no reason to coddle students when reality is right around the corner waiting to crush them.

  5. Thad says:

    I knew a guy who played Everquest nonstop and never went to class; he dropped out, moved, and got married.  Last I heard he wasn’t doing so well.

    I’m not inclined to blame the game; the guy clearly had a problem.  Whether it was a serious addiction and he needed to seek counseling, or he was just lazy and needed a kick in the ass?  I didn’t know him well enough to make that call, but I assume the latter.

    College students have slacked off since long before there were video games.  It’s a transition; you’ve got the freedom to do whatever you want, and responsibility is a hard-learned skill.

  6. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    Thanks to the no student left behind thing they teach to the tests not actual information. And no College isn’t for everyone and when my parents where in High school there was actually two sets of people going through high school, If you were college material you were sent to Prep classes that would prepare you for college, if you weren’t you were sent to trade classes which would teach you a trade so you could go out to get a job.


    Then this interesting thing happened. The world decided that if you didn’t have a college education they wouldn’t hire you, now weather you’re college material or not…you -have- to go to college period end of discussion. In my town that view point is so bad that if you don’t have an AA from the community college you can’t even get a McDonalds job. Mayhaps the world should take a step back into reality and go back to the old ways then maybe there wouldn’t be so many troubled students and such eh?

  7. Samster says:


    WoW isn’t trashing anything. Students spending too much time on WoW and other things that aren’t going to be on the exams, on the other hand, may well be.

  8. Vash-HT says:

    I got through college right after high school and I was playing MMORPG’s all the time. I played ragnarok online my freshman year, Lineage 2 my sophomore year, played WoW and Guild Wars and various other ones my junior and senior year. I still graduated from school with an excellent GPA (in engineering even), so while mmorpg’s can destroy someone’s grades it’s really the students own fault for not managing their time.

  9. Buckeye531 says:

    …and in other news, the sun rises in the east, grass is green, fire is hot, and 1+1=2. More at ten.

  10. notgood says:

    College students staying up late and not focussing on their studies?  They better fix this quick or soon they will be drinking and smoking the mary-joo-whanna.

  11. SeanB says:

    College students are Adults, even if they rarely act like it.

    If any of them try the Video Game defense, i’l personally fly down and smack them in the ass like thier mothers should be doing.

  12. Artificial Selection says:

    “I tell parents during talks, I believe it’s one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it,” he said.

    Omg guys i just did this thing where i made this metal thing all round and stuff and now i can use it under barrows to transport things and you know what im gonna call it? "the wheel" cause it sounds all round and cosy. Im gonna go tell the world of my fantastic contraption and people are gonna think im so smart cause i found it out all by myself.

  13. cutetei says:

    Probably to the majority of student WoW players, no.

    But there are always people that have high potential but simply don’t make it. If they’re too busy playing WoW then maybe they shouldn’t be in college. In the UK its like you HAVE to go to university at 18, or at least that is how it felt at the time (third year student computer science me). I play games, but not as much as I used to since I went to uni. It’s a good learning experince living on your own – although living out of dorms and into a house with your friends is a must I feel (teaches you more I think). If you don’t want to be stacking shelves (Like many of the people I knew of who were jerks) go get some further education (Not just uni, plenty of stuff to do these days).

    WoW is a good game (I don’t play it myself) but some people just can’t stop playing becuase well, it is probably so much fun, more fun then going to lectures to lean about your chosen subject. If that is the case, then you should find something else to do – you’ll still be able to play WoW.

  14. linda says:

    I had the same problem buddy. He was playing game the whole nigth not even care about his
    essays for the day. I was struggling to complete my dissertation and he was getting thesis help from the internet. Thanks God I finish up early and he is still failing his courses.

  15. Zerodash says:

    Back when I was in college, it was Everquest that killed grades.  I had a roomate who spent 10-20 hours playing that damn game nearly every day.  The worst part is that this was during the days of dial-up, so that jerk kept the phone line busy.  Not that he cared.

  16. Archuturus says:

    This stuff happens before videogames but, usually, the pre-gamming generation of politicians see the gamming negativelly cause they understand the question.

    If a student chooses play basketball all day and forget to go to classroom he’s a sportsman, not an addicted. It just doesn’t make sense.

    Everybody who plays (basketball or WoW) too much will eventually have some problem. So why they couldn’t stop too focus on on-line or off-line gaming as an issue and start to pay more atention on the people’s behaviors? The problem is in the people and not on the gamming activity.



  17. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    Actually, most students have that problem in their first year of college. High school and College are so vastly different that you almost have to fail your first semester to get on track and know what you have to do for college. I think if High school was more like College is, then a lot more people would actually enjoy High school since they could develop their college technique early. I’m 25 years old and just now rounding in on my AA, why? Because I had to take a bunch of remedial classes since Jr. High and High school both didn’t care if I learned the material they just shipped me through so I essentially had to take Jr. High and High school all over again…which actually made it harder on me psychologically to get to where I am.


    Video games aren’t the problem it’s our school system, and no matter your age most people just aren’t ready for the shocking, mature universe that is college.

  18. sirdarkat says:

    I happen to actually agree with this Prof … my grades suffered horribly because I would rather play video games then actually study … whose fault is that well the video games of course… no wait it was mine.  I had no real discipline and since HS was so easy I figured college would be the same … you know sleep through classes do the work at the last second and not study … boy was I wrong.  Writing an AI card game 6 hours before it is due is a stupid way to go through college.  Of course I have also found that most places could care less what my gpa was and only care if a) I have a degree and b) I actually know how to code.  (which luckily for me I have and I do)

  19. kagirinai says:

    Parents share some of the responsibility, certainly, but you can’t shift all of the blame away from the kids; they should be held responsible too.

    The biggest thing I remember learning when I left home was perspective — the value of time, the value of money, but in scale. The idea of how much rent was worth or how much a sallary was worth was foreign and meaningless to me until I was in the thick of it.

    Parents can only do so much to outfit their children with the tools to deal with adult life; it is up to their children — now adults — to use them.

  20. kagirinai says:

    Then we’re in agreement. 🙂

    I just find that this is an area where a careful clarification is neccessary — I’ve met enough people who fail to take responsibility for themselves throughout my years. It’s my parent’s fault. It’s my teacher’s fault. It’s the Government’s fault. It’s my condition’s fault. It’s not MY fault.

    That kind of mentality is poisonous and it needs to be stopped whenever possible.

  21. E. Zachary Knight says:

    True. The kid holds some of the blame. If the parents make the effort to teach them and the kid goes off and ignores everything, that is not the parents fault. BUt if the parents make no attempt at teaching them, which is what I intended to mean, that is their fault when the kid screws up royally.

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  22. Vake Xeacons says:

     “I tell parents during talks, I believe it’s one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it,” 

    Classic argument. Everyone always thinks their argument is original, and that theirs is the only one that’s air-tight. Trust me, we know. We’ve heard it all. 

  23. MaskedPixelante says:

    Well, you’re never going to need to know what 6×7 is in real life, but if you can take down Ultimate Lord Sir Barglebroth, you’ll be a hero.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  24. E. Zachary Knight says:

    If they aren’t prepared to function in life as an adult, I lay the blame directly on the parents. It is one of a parent’s key jobs is to raise their kids to be functional adults. Children need to be tought time and money management. The value of work and study.

    If a parent fails to teach those, they have failed their child. Sure some kids will pick it up real quick without being tought but many suffer because they don’t know what it means to be an adult before becoming one.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
    Facebook Page:

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  25. Arell says:

    A lot of college freshmen simply aren’t used to their new freedom, and don’t know how to balance their lives.  It’s tricky from having a set high school schedule to follow every day and parents setting the rules, and then to suddenly be an adult and no one telling you what to do.  Many new students don’t fully realize that responsibility comes with their newfound freedom.

    There’s also that mistake that a lot make in thinking that they don’t need to go to class.  I did this.  The first quarter, I diligently went to class everyday.  Then at the start of the second quarter, I overslept and missed my morning classes.  After the initial panic, I realized that no one was going to get mad at me, and I could pick up the next day.  So then I missed classes once a week, then twice, until I reached the point where I thought I could simply read the text and show up for test days.

    Ended up failing every class that quarter.

  26. DeepThorn says:

    Freshmen courses are BS fluff, it just takes time to figure out the college world compared to the BS high school world.  The transition would have been smoother without the 4 years of high school where little to nothing was taught given the amount of time you are at the school.  Seriously, 7+ hours a day, and you do hardly nothing, go to college, learn more in a 3 hour class lecture than you did an entire month of high school.

    It is insane how our education system is set up, and it is going to have to change some day to actually take advantage of people’s abilities and not hurt them as bad with their inabilities.  The current system isn’t based off of any research or logic, it was just put there to be there pretty much.

    The education system needs to be research, and changed, and then even people with mild autism could become functional enough to hold more advance jobs from going to any school instead of special schools.

    You are on to something with the telling them that they are addicted thing too.  It is like telling AA people that they have a disease.  Alcohol addiction isn’t a disease at all, it lacks most of the defining thing that qualify a disease as such.  Yet people hear it, believe it, take advantage of the situation, and it is all stupid.

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  27. barra_sadei says:

    … I understand where this guy is getting at. In fact, I’ll do schoolwork instead of getting work done (yay college freshman!).

    Sometimes, though, the reason why a frshman student doesn’t do too well is that they’re not ready. Sometimes, being 18 can be too early. Waiting an extra year can sometimes help (for those that went to college, was sophomore year easier than freshman year?).

    Seriously, though, what I’m concerned about is all the media surrounding video game "addiction." Marajana (sp?)isn’t addictive… physically. Only mentally. You have to truly believe that you need to use it in order to function normally. And, sometimes, TELLING someone "you’re addicted" can make them believe it mentally, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts (this is why I wasn’t a huge fan of one side-quest in Mass Effect).

    In the end, sometimes media surrounding something like this causes the problems, not the issue at hand itself.

  28. ChrowX says:

    I had a friend who flunked several semesters of College because he kept saying, "Oh, this class is easy, I’ll just skip it and raid today…" or "I’m so close to getting my near <insert item> I’ll just show up late." That kind of thought process kept up until he had to start dropping classes. I can’t attest to him ever losing dangerous amounts of sleep over WoW but he had toq uit cold turkey so he could get his shit back in order and stop wasting his life.

  29. DeepThorn says:

    Unless you get paid $6 one a day for a week, get paid at the end of the week, and need to balance your budget, haha.

    Out of the people I knew who were gamers.  They just realized that they were going to get to the same place if their grades were amazing or barely scraping by.  So they would look at the way the class was structured, and didnt do homework for the first half of the semester where only 15% of the grade was decided, and did their normal quality of work in the second half.  Seriously, why waste your time when it isn’t worth as much.  If anything I have seen people learn to better use their time because of WoW.  After the first year they used the same concepts and used their free time for more charitable things with their frats or other groups.

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