Elite
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How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:20 pm

Is a college GPA really important when it comes to hiring and/or applying to graduate school? I know that in high school, there were a lot of people who made a huge fuss about the difference between 3.7 or a 3.71, but is it equally important in college?
 
us330
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:23 pm



Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Is a college GPA really important when it comes to hiring and/or applying to graduate school?

It honestly depends. In terms of hiring, most employers will set a bar saying that you can only apply if your gpa is above a certain level.
In terms of professional school/phD programs, GPA is a major consideration (except for business schools, who put a premium on work experience and the like). Law School, for example, is essentially a numbers game. The two numbers admissions officers care about are your LSAT score and your GPA. If you have any interest in getting a phD or going to Med school, your grades also should be very good.

That said, a 3.7 and 3.71 are essentially the same number to these admissions officials, but a 3.7 and a 3.5 are not. It also sometimes depends on where you went to school as well--some schools are more notorious for grade inflation or grade deflation (like Princeton)--and there is also reputation as well (ie a 3.3 from an Ivy generally looks a lot better than a 3.3 from a community college) .

Bottom line: do your best in school, but don't worry too much about gpa. If you put in the effort, the work, and take your classes seriously, the grades should come.
 
MoltenRock
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:25 pm

It depends.

Where it matters is pursuing your post grad work, or your first job. Assuming you have your degree is all that matters beyond that be it a BA/BS, MA/MS, or MD/PhD.

As far as getting into a post-grad study program also matters, a lot. Along with your MCATs, LSATs, etc..., scores.
 
planeguy727
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:26 pm

The answer is very field dependent. For example, if you are planning medical school - doing well is very important (according to GPA, though some courses are more important than others), in some other fields less so. Overall balance of courses and co-curricular involvement often shows the ability to focus on goals and find success.

I work at a University and we have little variation in the GPA of students that apply to our graduate programs - as such the difference is in the other details. For those applying for a full time employment position, we require transcripts, so we can see all of the work, not just the GPA.

And, for those that list a GPA for graduate level degrees on a resume - take it off. At least in the US - there are minimum GPA requirements to stay in the programs, so we know you kept to that level or above. It doesn't set you apart.
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fr8mech
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:54 pm

It all depends on the field.

Let's say you're geting into a professional field (accounting). You're fresh from college. You may not have an extensive work background, in related areas. What is the recruiter going to use as a tool to figure out if you know anything? Your GPA. Not the best tool, but the only real measuring stick he has.
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PacNWjet
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:00 pm



Quoting MoltenRock (Reply 2):
As far as getting into a post-grad study program also matters, a lot. Along with your MCATs, LSATs, etc..., scores.

...and letters of recommendation. One or more stellar letters of recommendation can compensate for shortcomings in other areas. Similarly, someone with a high GPA but only lukewarm letters of recommendation can be at a disadvantage. Good letters of recommendation typically highlight specific aspects of an applicant's educational experience, so it is worthwhile for students to establish a working relationship with professors and not simply be another face in the classroom (even one with a 4.0 GPA).
 
iairallie
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:21 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 1):
In terms of hiring, most employers will set a bar saying that you can only apply if your gpa is above a certain level

Change most to some. It is pretty rare to be asked your GPA in a job hiring environment.

GPA is really important though when it comes to applying to grad school. A bad grade is forever. The LSAC (law school admissions council) uses every grade to calculate your gpa. Lets say you got a D in a class retake then get an A they use both the A and the D to calculate your overall UGPA. They do take note of trends though so if you started out with poor grades and then became a model student it is taken into consideration.
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L-188
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:14 pm

Depends on where you are in your life.

If you just got out of college and are trying to get into grad school...very important.

If you graduated 30 years ago....not so much.
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comorin
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:36 pm

Hey, don't sweat your GPA! It's all 'book knowledge' anyway! Party On, dudes !!

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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:03 pm

When applying for a first job out of whatever level of education you are taking, I believe a GPA is important not because of what it shows about what you learned in school (because that is irrelevant most of the times anyways) but because it shows commitment and willingness to succeed. If you set to start your own company that might not be as relevant but if you are working for "the man" then it is somewhat important.
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:09 pm



Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 6):
Change most to some. It is pretty rare to be asked your GPA in a job hiring environment.

I've filled out hundreds of on-line applications for jobs in the past two years (and these are for mid-level and higher professional positions - training manager, business analyst, project manager) and almost all of them have a space for your GPA in the education section.
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:12 pm



Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Is a college GPA really important when it comes to hiring and/or applying to graduate school? I know that in high school, there were a lot of people who made a huge fuss about the difference between 3.7 or a 3.71, but is it equally important in college?

Most graduate programs would consider a 3.7 statistically equivalent to a 3.71.

To answer your question: college GPA is important for grad school, but it is not the end-all and be-all of admission criteria. Your reason for interest, your compatibility with the program, your recommendations, your interview, and any other materials they ask for may be more important.

GPAs can be inflated or deflated given different schools, limiting their utility. This is why standardized tests have emerged (flawed though they may be). A 3.7 and a great standardized test score carries more weight than a 3.7 and a crappy standardized test score.

That said, I can guarantee you that nobody cares about my high school, college, grad school, or med school grades now. But at the time, they were very important in determining the next step in my life, which does have lasting consequences.
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:16 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 1):
Law School, for example, is essentially a numbers game. The two numbers admissions officers care about are your LSAT score and your GPA.

But even then, the LSAT is often more important than your GPA. Some schools such as Berkley and Stanford seem to place more emphasis on a candidate's GPA but, more often than not, a higher emphasis is placed on your LSAT. Of course, YMMV.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
To answer your question: college GPA is important for grad school, but it is not the end-all and be-all of admission criteria. Your reason for interest, your compatibility with the program, your recommendations, your interview, and any other materials they ask for may be more important.

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falstaff
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:42 pm



Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Is a college GPA really important when it comes to hiring and/or applying to graduate school? I know that in high school, there were a lot of people who made a huge fuss about the difference between 3.7 or a 3.71, but is it equally important in college?

I have never been asked what my GPA was. I had a 2.0 in high school and a 2.9 in college. I am a high school teacher and I get a long just fine.

Quoting Us330 (Reply 1):
It honestly depends. In terms of hiring, most employers will set a bar saying that you can only apply if your gpa is above a certain level.



Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 4):
It all depends on the field.

I would agree

Quoting L-188 (Reply 7):
If you just got out of college and are trying to get into grad school...very important.

If you graduated 30 years ago....not so much.

I am in grad school right now, if I just graduated from an undergrad school they would never have taken me with my low GPA. I graduated 10 years ago and have been teaching for nine. They didn't care what my GPA was.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
GPAs can be inflated or deflated given different schools,

I used to teach at a dump of a school in Detroit and if you had a 3.5 GPA it really didn't mean anything. Getting an A in our classes was like getting a D in a good high school. The school I teach at know actually has real standards and a 3.5 GPA means a lot.
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StuckInCA
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:58 pm

For employment in Engineering jobs, it's pretty important. It's not a big deal if we're talking about the difference between, say, 3.38 and 3.5. The difference between 2.8 and 3.1 would be noticeable though. Obviously, the more experience you have the less it matters. I had one potential employer get hung up on my undergrad GPA (I had gratuated 10 years before the interview and had a 3.7 in graduate school). They offered the job anyway, but I was so put off that they cared about that that I didn't consider the offer.
 
texan
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:05 pm

It is field dependent. When applying for jobs in aviation I was never asked for my GPA, just if I had graduated (GPA was pretty darn good, I worked hard in college and was hoping that would give me an extra leg up!). If you are going into law, while GPA is not the end all be all for getting into law school, it is close to the end all be all of getting a job in Big Law after law school. That and law review. This is not a great system, but it is a system that won't change in the foreseeable future.

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casinterest
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:44 pm

I agree with a lot of the above.

Just remember. Your GPA shows a commitment to work and excellence by quite a few folks, so if you don't have internships or letters of recommendation, it is pretty much the only thing you have against the next guy when interviewing.

Always remember it is not just how good an impression you make, but it is also about how good a fit you are for the organization that you are interviewing for.

I have to interview quite a few people these days, and I am always looking for their
1. Experience
2. Applicable work skills/GPA to show what they are capable of.
3. Understanding of our operation
4. Enthusiasm of the position they are interviewing for.

Then I take all that and provide my best recommendation to my superior and see how the rest of the hiring process goes. I stay away from the HR discussion on salary/benefits.
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:04 am

If you are getting a business degree and trying to find a job I would say it is extremely important. Many companies won't even look at you without an outstanding GPA. In addition, in this economy, all things being equal if there are two candidates for a job that they like equally as much, the GPA just might play the tiebreaker.
 
UAL747
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:37 am

Screw it all.....college seems to be a waste these days. They let everyone in and it deflates the value of your education. I can tell you from experience that if I were up against a similar candidate with more experience community college associate's graduate vs. my high GPA private school education, they will take the experience in most instances.

It's not about what you do, but who you know, and possibly who you screw, if you are that lucky. That's as real as it gets. Any Harvard grad could tell you that.

-Unless you want to go to grad school, med school, law school. (Well, law school could be up in the air as well).

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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:02 am



Quoting UAL747 (Reply 18):
Screw it all.....college seems to be a waste these days.

for many people it is. They would be better off to learn a trade. I know plenty of business majors who are unemployed right now. I don't know any welders, car mechanics (not assembly workers), or plumbers that are out of work.

We need welders... This keeps coming up in the various educational workshops that I have been attending in the last year. I was even at a green jobs symposium back in November and the state of Michigan needs welders. There was a wind turbine builder, from near Grand Rapids there and he told me that he can't hire enough good welders. A lot of welders that were "skilled trades" in auto plants don't have the skills and know how to do things. They worked on assembly lines too long where everything was the same. He needed welders who could look at plans and build stuff. One day build one thing the next day build another kind of thing. My neighbor is a custom chassis fabricator and fantastic welder. He lost his job, due to the firm closing, back in October. That was a Friday. He had a new job on Wednesday.

I have been pushing my students to learn welding. I teach auto repair and I am sending kids to trade schools after graduation from high school. Many of them are doing just fine after a 1 or 2 year program. They are making good money and having fun while other kids are still stuck in school, many times majoring in something that will never get them a job. I have a four year degree, but it is in a trade, Automotive Technology (from Southern Illinois University). Not only did I go to class, but we had to fix cars. I got an education and actual job skills at the same time. The GPA didn't meant squat to people hiring guys like me. They wanted to know if we could fix cars.
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sv7887
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:12 am



Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Is a college GPA really important when it comes to hiring and/or applying to graduate school? I know that in high school, there were a lot of people who made a huge fuss about the difference between 3.7 or a 3.71, but is it equally important in college?

It depends on the field as some have mentioned here. For Consulting and Investment Banking usually they request a 3.5/4.0 and top standardized test scores. A lot of them will say "from a top tier school" but those with excellent grades from a non-Ivy top 15 or so school will have a good chance too. Most often you'll see them explicitly state a minimum GPA.

Also it depends what you really want to do. A lot of grad schools do require some sort of minimum GPA. When I applied for my masters in England, they told me their accepted candidate pool usually had a first class honors or upper second class. When I got my acceptance letter they stated I had to graduate with a minimum of a 3.3 in order to confirm my offer.

All of my jobs in the Consulting sector have all asked for my GPA. A lot of them ask you to show a transcript too. Once you have a few years of experience these things will matter less. It will be more about what you've done in the working world and what you can offer the employer.

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 18):
It's not about what you do, but who you know, and possibly who you screw, if you are that lucky. That's as real as it gets. Any Harvard grad could tell you that.

Boy am I finding that out now. Boston is such a who you know kind of town.

Quoting COrocks (Reply 17):
If you are getting a business degree and trying to find a job I would say it is extremely important. Many companies won't even look at you without an outstanding GPA. In addition, in this economy, all things being equal if there are two candidates for a job that they like equally as much, the GPA just might play the tiebreaker.



Quoting CasInterest (Reply 16):
I have to interview quite a few people these days, and I am always looking for their
1. Experience
2. Applicable work skills/GPA to show what they are capable of.
3. Understanding of our operation
4. Enthusiasm of the position they are interviewing for.

I have to say ALL of these posters make great comments.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:45 pm

For the bulk of my consulting work I've never been asked for a GPA, as when dealing with foreign companies and governments it's not much of a consideration, if any. Past experience and ability to deliver on contractual matters are the only thing that matter in these parts.
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clemsonaj
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:20 pm

I would say that outside of law/med school your GPA is important, but your other credentials (recommendations, internships, etc) are more important. However with that said, don't pad your GPA with fluff classes. Make sure your GPA in classes that matter to your grad school application is as good if not better than your electives. That all being said, I've seen cases where grad students were brought in on probation because their undergrad GPA was so low. The professor they were going to work for wanted them for various reasons, mostly lab experience, but they got in. It's rare but it happens.
 
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:33 pm

Rarely do I hear anything about a GPA being asked in interviews or applications in the entertainment sector. It's all about 'who you know' and if you can communicate well verbally. Either way, if your GPA is halfway decent (like 3.0 and above) you can certainly put it on your resume.

With law though, OMG better have a REALLY good GPA if you actually want to attend a decent law school. Nowadays I hear that if you want to be a secretarial assistant in a law office you basically now have to graduate from law school. And if you have a degree from a relatively "unknown" law school, forget about it. With all the business majors who couldn't get jobs after they graduated this past year, they all went to go on to take the LSATs and go to law school. Its more competitive now than ever.

I hear with engineering you need to have a good GPA as well. A lot of business majors make a point about keeping a GPA but in the end I don't think it matters much at all. I think its all about your interview skills, if you know any older folks who can pull strings, and previous internships you had in the past. I know some friends (ex-girlfriend as well) who graduated from business schools and found jobs pretty damn easily.
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sw733
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:59 pm



Quoting Us330 (Reply 1):
It honestly depends



Quoting Us330 (Reply 1):
It depends.



Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 4):
It all depends on the field.

Yep, yep, yep. My undergrad GPA really only mattered when I tried to get into grad school. I had a great undergrad GPA in aerospace engineering, but nobody who was hiring me asked. I'm about to get my master's, and again, nobody cares until I go to get a doctorate or another master's.

I also do a lot of hiring in my current position, and the only way I know a GPA is if someone says it or puts it on their resume...and to be honest, it doesn't impress me much. A 4.0 from Harvard...great...can you be an effective employee? No? Have a nice life.
 
texan
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:11 pm

There is a great article titled The Disadvantages of an Elite Education that I would recommend to everyone. Just a quick paragraph long excerpt:

Quote:
[S]tudents who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it’s almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it’s even there. Long before they got to college, they turned themselves into world-class hoop-jumpers and teacher-pleasers, getting A’s in every class no matter how boring they found the teacher or how pointless the subject, racking up eight or 10 extracurricular activities no matter what else they wanted to do with their time. Paradoxically, the situation may be better at second-tier schools and, in particular, again, at liberal arts colleges than at the most prestigious universities. Some students end up at second-tier schools because they’re exactly like students at Harvard or Yale, only less gifted or driven. But others end up there because they have a more independent spirit. They didn’t get straight A’s because they couldn’t be bothered to give everything in every class. They concentrated on the ones that meant the most to them or on a single strong extracurricular passion or on projects that had nothing to do with school or even with looking good on a college application. Maybe they just sat in their room, reading a lot and writing in their journal. These are the kinds of kids who are likely, once they get to college, to be more interested in the human spirit than in school spirit, and to think about leaving college bearing questions, not resumés.

Not all employers see it this way yet. It is slowly changing, though, in some industries.

Texan
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steeler83
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:48 am

As many others have said on here, I also think it depends on your field as well as whether or not you intend to attend grad school. And when you get into grad school, I think that's where your GPA really counts regardless of field of study...

I'm trying to find something in the field of planning and/or GIS, and generally GPA is really not considered. Only a select few have wanted to discuss grades and the like...
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texan
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:56 am

Something I literally just read and found interesting:

Quote:
"[W]hile grades may play an important role in hiring decisions, they don’t guarantee or define success once an attorney is employed.” He states that the firm looked beyond the grades even back when he graduated from Harvard Law. In fact the firm has informally evaluated the traits of people who have become successful partners at the firm. Some of the traits that they identified as important beyond academic achievement, include interpersonal and communications skills.

That is from a partner at Bingham McCutchen. Hooray for at least one major law firm stepping up!

Texan
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PacNWjet
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:47 am



Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 26):
And when you get into grad school, I think that's where your GPA really counts regardless of field of study...

Nope. I teach at a small liberal arts college. Since I joined the faculty my department has conducted searches for six open faculty positions. All applicants had or were in the process of completing their Ph.D.s In none of these cases was even more than cursory attention paid to the applicants' GPAs in their graduate courses. Obviously a graduate school transcript is required as part of the application materials, but the search committees only needed to see that relevant courses were taken and a degree granted (or would be granted upon completion of each applicant's Ph.D.). I can't remember a single instance in which applicants' grad school GPAs were given any consideration at all when coming up with short lists of candidates to bring to campus for on-site interviews. I am fairly certain this is true at other institutions as well. When you are talking about hiring for faculty positions, grad school GPAs are among the least important considerations. Much more important are the subject matter and quality of applicants' dissertation and other written works, teaching experience and teaching evaluations, letters of recommendation, potential to offer courses needed in the department, research agenda, etc. Grad school GPAs are at the absolute bottom of the list.
 
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:52 am

In my experience in Canada, average/marks are not used for hiring purposes. If you made the honor roll or graduated with honors/dean's list you may put it on your resume but otherwise, I have never heard of an employer asking for your academic transcript.
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:27 am







[Edited 2010-01-19 20:36:20]
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sw733
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:37 pm



Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 26):
And when you get into grad school, I think that's where your GPA really counts regardless of field of study...

I disagree. When I hire people, I look to see if they have a master's, but don't care about their GPA. Like with their undergrad GPA, I don't know it unless they brag about it.

Heck, I don't even remember my undergrad GPA and I am only 3.5 years out of school. I am working on my master's and I can guess about what my GPA is, but I have no idea off the top of my head what exactly it is. Does not really matter.

People put a lot of undo stress on a GPA. Do good in school, but unless you're applying for another school (and even then, many times), all that matters is that you did decently and graduated. I laugh at those people that are so obsessed with school that they feel their GPA defines them...I feel sorry that they've never had a date  Wink  duck 
 
clemsonaj
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:52 pm



Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 26):
And when you get into grad school, I think that's where your GPA really counts regardless of field of study...

I disagree with this one. My experience in grad school is that to "pass" a course you have to make a B or better (really should since it's what you WANT to be doing). At that rate your GPA would be at least 3.0. Most folks see that you have a masters or Ph.D. and they assume that you have a decent average.
 
steeler83
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:49 pm



Quoting SW733 (Reply 31):
I disagree. When I hire people, I look to see if they have a master's, but don't care about their GPA. Like with their undergrad GPA, I don't know it unless they brag about it.



Quoting Clemsonaj (Reply 32):
I disagree with this one. My experience in grad school is that to "pass" a course you have to make a B or better (really should since it's what you WANT to be doing). At that rate your GPA would be at least 3.0. Most folks see that you have a masters or Ph.D. and they assume that you have a decent average.

Fair enough, especially the latter post. That's also my experience that you have to have a B or better. Even if you get a C+, you'll at the very least be placed on academic probation even regardless of GPA. So, you could have a 3.44 GPA, but have grades of 2 "A"s and a C+. You'd get academic probation because of the C...
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clemsonaj
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RE: How Important Is Your College GPA?

Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:30 am



Quoting Steeler83 (Reply 33):
Fair enough, especially the latter post. That's also my experience that you have to have a B or better. Even if you get a C+, you'll at the very least be placed on academic probation even regardless of GPA. So, you could have a 3.44 GPA, but have grades of 2 "A"s and a C+. You'd get academic probation because of the C...

Though it's not a rule generally at my university if you make anything below a B you have to retake the class. However, you are correct a C will net you a stint on AP.

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