Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin sought to answer these questions in a comprehensive 2014 study. They discovered this attractiveness gap starts in high school and gets more pronounced over time.
The researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a project that evaluated students from over 80 high schools over a period spanning several decades. They also conducted an in-depth study of students at one particular high school to confirm their statistical results.
What they found was that attractiveness makes a big difference in students' lives. Those students who were rated as attractive had increased social opportunities, more support from teachers, higher self-esteem, and better grades. By contrast, the students who were rated as unattractive had to overcome more social hurdles than the attractive students, and they tended to be less successful.
These results held true over time, with the attractive students leveraging their gains in high school into college and early career success, while the unattractive students started to fall more and more behind...[read more and watch video]