Would You Bet On Your Own Academic Success?

I’ve written about investing in yourself a couple of times. Nothing to me is more motivating than getting a cash return on something I set out to do. Not many things in this world are as controllable as you yourself, in fact that is probably the only thing in the world you have control over. So today when I heard there is a new company out there that lets you place bets on your own grades, I was intrigued to say the least.

The company is called Ultrinsic and it was started by two college kids who liked to spend their Sunday afternoons relaxing instead of studying. One of them, lets call him the house, tried to motivate the other, the gambler, and bet him 5:1 odds (I’m not a gambler so correct me if I’m wrong here) offering $100 if the gambler was able to get an A in his current course. If he lost, the gambler would pay the house $20.

After this, they decided that other students could benefit from the relationship and they started the company which 36 schools are now participating in.

In my experience, many parents, especially those footing the bill for their kids college, have offered cash rewards if their kids are able to make grades, so starting a company to back these bets is a pretty great idea.

Here is how the system works:

When you initially set up your account, Ultrinsic requires you provide your academic history. You can either upload an official transcript, or manually enter your previous courses and grades. The company uses this information to calculate the odds for all of your bets. Any type of student can join and participate in Ultrinsic but odds ratios will all be different as they are based on your previous grades as well as the courses you will be taking and how difficult those courses are deemed to be.

Initially, the amount you can bet on yourself is capped at $25 but as you continue to use the system, your cap is lifted so you can bet more on yourself.

There are multiple ways to bet on yourself. First there is the single course incentive. If you are taking a single course that you want extra incentive to pass you can put a wager on your grade for that single course. If you hit your grade mark, you get paid.

You can bet on courses in groups as well, up to three courses in a single bet. If you get all the grades you bet on, you get the reward. Grouping courses together like this in a single bet increases the odds that you could fail to get any reward, which increases the reward if you succeed.

If you think you need extra incentive on your entire semester of courses, you can bet on your GPA for that semester. The wager you set and the amount paid is a little different but it operates on the same concept as betting on a single grade or groups of grades.

For Freshmen, they offer the best incentive. You contribute $20, and they pay you $2000 (or $10:$1000;$5:$500) if you get a 4.0 after completing all four years of your college career. This is a great bonus but will be the most difficult to achieve.

Additionally they offer insurance for those really difficult courses you think you may fail. You pay the premium, one time, and if you fail the course, you are given some amount of money back. Insurance is available on a semester basis as well.

Why I think this is a great idea:

Most students claim to want good grades and now you can put your money where your mouth is. Not too many things in this world are as motivating to me as cash rewards.

Ultrinsic is promoting success and rewarding with real world rewards; Cold hard cash. Getting good grades is important. As a college grad navigating the workplace, I know this, but to far too many students, grades just don’t matter all that much or at least they don’t seem to matter at the time. With a cash incentive, you are better motivated to not only finish your degree, but to get good grades which will help you land that great job and become successful.

Would you have gotten better grades in school if there was a cash incentive dangling before you? I know I certainly would have tried harder.

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{ Aug 12, 2010 - 03:08:36 } Yakezie Thursday — Financially Poor

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