Any serious college student has considerable spent time worrying over his or her grade point average. How much do you need to make an A in this course? What will a B do to your GPA? Can your future be determined by this single number or should you focus on other things to improve your chances of success? The truth is that GPA is important for everyone, but the level of importance depends on your major and career goals. A few scenarios where GPA counts most:
Excellent grades (overall and major-specific) prove extremely important when competing for a spot in graduate or professional school. If you think grad school may be in your future, start researching programs and acceptance statistics to learn how be a competitive candidate. Some programs place more emphasis on grades and test scores, while others care about extracurricular activities and other factors.
For help on achieving college success, read The Secrets of College Success (Professors’ Guide) .
Industry Relevant Courses
Employers in technical fields (accounting, engineering, etc.) will likely pay special attention to grades in your major. Good grades in related coursework demonstrates a base of knowledge that is a must-have qualification for entry level professionals. While it’s important to put forth your best effort in all classes, priority should be placed on learning concepts related to your intended career (particularly in upper level courses). Employers value high grades in courses related to your profession because individuals with high grades perform better on licensing exams.
Competitive Entry Level Jobs and Internships
Factors other than GPA may be most important to employers, but GPA could be a deciding factor for certain companies and highly competitive positions. Most highly ranked professional firms have cutoff points below which applicants aren’t considered. Also, a high GPA may set you apart from other candidates and provides an easy way for hiring managers to make a decision if all other qualifications are equal.
No matter your future plans, grade point average shouldn’t be your only concern during college. Employers and graduate programs also place emphasis on experience and extracurricular activities. Although you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin, a narrow focus on grades can hurt your chances of success by inhibiting the development of other skills.