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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Do grades matter after graduation?

Photo by Kyle Heise

How much does your GPA matter after undergrad? Charis Adkins breaks down how those two digits can affect you for the rest of your life. 

If you’re anything like me, your biggest concern in college is slapping as many A’s on your transcript as possible. If any knowledge manages to osmotically force itself into your brain, that’s an added bonus.

This is a common doctrine among students. And for some — like those planning to attend grad school — it’s undeniably necessary. But, for the rest of us, do grades even matter?

“C’s get degrees,” the old idiom goes … but they carry you a lot farther than that sheet of paper. Your first job after college is often determined, at least in part, by your grades.

You start to notice this early in your undergrad. Your ability to get an internship relies heavily upon your GPA — and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how good an internship looks on your résumé. But, especially as a recent grad, these two digits matter even when applying for a full-time job.

Еmployers like to look at grades as a measure of subject understanding and relevant intelligence. This is why several companies in the STEM field will ask for both your overall GPA and your major GPA, which is a GPA calculated only from your major-specific classes.

Employers can also use your grades to create performance expectations. It’s generally understood that a student with a high GPA has a good work ethic and time-management skills because they completed most, if not all, of their assignments and adhered to deadlines for their entire undergraduate degree.

For these reasons, several industries have GPA cutoffs — get below a B average and your résumé goes straight to the shredder.

In fact, according to the Job Outlook 2019 survey, over 73% of employers screened candidates by GPA. Most industries had a cutoff of 3.0, including finance, real estate, pharmaceutical manufacturing and various engineering services.

But don’t fret! This doesn’t mean you can’t find a job with a lower GPA. It’s mostly large STEM industries that utilize the GPA cutoff, and there are several industries and companies that don’t put weight on grades.

Additionally, the survey mostly included large companies such as Amtrak, T-Mobile and Phillips 66. If you don’t pass the cutoff, that just means you’ll have to look at narrower companies or markets.

So, bottom line? Focus on your grades. Whether you’re applying for grad school or a 9 to 5 after graduation, it’s important to keep that GPA up, king.

But it’s also essential to live a little. Grades aren’t the only thing employers look at. Recently, several companies have turned to holistic reviews, putting more weight on extracurriculars and other non-numerical measures of your success.

Don’t put all your focus on grades, and don’t worry too much if you’ve already ruined your shot at a 3.0+ — there are many ways to measure success and ability. Grades are just one. Focus on leadership experience and community service, and get an internship if possible.

So, if there’s a moral to this logos-ridden story, it’s this: Grades may be more important than you think.

Consider going to that class you feel like skipping. Take 10 minutes to do the discussion post rather than scrolling through TikTok. You never know, your future (employed) self might thank you.

Charis Adkins is an English sophomore and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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Charis Adkins, Opinion Columnist
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