When I hit college I heard a line that shocked me. If it happened once, I would have simply deemed that person disconnected from reality. However, the more I went, the more I heard it. It was stated as fact, on a daily basis, by professors, faculty, and students. I of course, ended up arguing with professors, faculty, and students. But, they seemed grounded in their ways, as I was in mine. The troublesome line, was ‘GPA doesn’t matter’. I heard this stated so adamantly, and so frequently, that I came up with explanations for even the most stubborn cases.
Say there’s student A, and student B. Student A has a 3.5 GPA, and wants to go to grad school. Student B has a 2.5 GPA, and wants to go to grad school. When reviewers analyze a candidate, they look at everything. This somehow makes people think they can say ‘see it’s not all about a students’ GPA, it’s about everything, therefore GPA doesn’t matter’. Well, if you have those two candidates, and all else holds constant, is the program more likely to choose A or B? When it comes to these programs, everything matters, everything is considered, including GPA. With the amount of applicants they receive, this probably happens a lot. GPA is even used for each classes stats.
So, as a result, A and B go to different grad schools. Does the grad school you graduate from affect the type of job you can get? Yes. It also affects the contacts you make, the experience you get, and the skills you learn. So, when A and B go to grad school, their lives go in completely opposite directions. They’ll have different friends, opportunities, and paychecks.
Second Scenario: A and B graduate, and simply start applying for jobs. They have the same credentials except GPA. They go to the same interview. Who is at an advantage to get the job? This is if B can even get the interview. After college, almost every position I applied for had a minimum GPA requirement ranging from 3.0 – 3.5. They were high paying jobs that wanted high quality candidates. In their eyes, one representation of this was through a high GPA. Thus, GPA matters even if you go straight from college to the work force.
Now, GPA also matters because of the skills you learn when you try to be a top achiever. If you want a good grade you have to know the course better than the professor does. You have to watch every point, policy, and procedure, so that you can only be docked for a legitimate reason. You have to spend your time analyzing homework, quizzes, and reports. It’s dull, monotonous, and tedious work. However, these are skills that transfer into the ‘real world’.
You teach yourself how to watch for inconsistencies and loopholes. You teach yourself how to write professional, intelligent, and error free papers. You teach yourself how to research, learn, and critically analyze your opponents weaknesses. You figure out how to present well, interview well, and persuade well. Your efforts towards pursuing a high GPA will no doubt affect your future.
All these things matter and will change you, where your going, and how you get there. On a side note high GPA does not mean excellence. There were kids that my school pushed through without knowing how to form a coherent sentence. The other students all knew as well. If an average student turned in their type of work, they would have failed out. Yet, those students were handed A’s. In the end, they were the one’s who suffered the most. Their level of education far exceeded their skills set. Professors are no help. If you don’t, yourself, acquire the skills you need for after college, the only thing you’ll have after graduation is debt.
Oh I almost forgot. GPA matters because if you get high grades, your school will pay for you to be there, instead of the other way around.
My final reason GPA matters is respect. I’ve had a low GPA and a high GPA, and people do treat you differently depending on this one factor. You can see the ‘Oh, not too bright’, or ”oh, wow, your really smart’. It still annoys me, but it’s just the way things are.
This also applies to yourself. A lot of people saying ‘it doesn’t matter’, just sound bitter. The best example I have is that you never hear people with actual high GPA’s saying it doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t matter, why do we have them? As a result, you will have more confidence in yourself if you have a higher GPA, and confidence does affect your life.
GPA matters because it affects your future. It could alter the course of your life for worse, or for better. In the long run, B could still surpass A. It might be harder, but it’s possible, just think of the tortoise and the hare story. Working hard now, no matter where you are in the race, will always pay off. GPA is not the determinant of your success. How dedicated you are to your goals, is. Starting with a good GPA would only help, because it does affect you, and it will change you, so it matters.
Good luck out there