by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17
You’ve heard it both ways: GPA matters in college, but maybe it doesn’t. I have good and bad news for you. On one hand, GPA does matter in your life beyond college. On the bright-side, how much it matters can be dependent on several things.
A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that out of 200 employers sampled, 67% of them considered GPA during the hiring process. Larger companies are more likely to look at your GPA, and if you don’t list it on your resume, this can often be a red flag.
Smaller companies are less likely to look or expect you to list your GPA on your resume because they often have fewer applicants and can use other methods than GPA to filter through candidates.
Another article I consulted listed reasons why GPA doesn’t matter as much now as it used to, and it’s worth considering.
- Grade inflation, or a lack of standardized measures among colleges, means that a GPA of 4.0 doesn’t necessarily mean anything. 43% of grades given are A’s, according to the Teachers College Record, which means that having a 4.0 may only put you at the top 43% of your class. Some employers go as far as learning what grades mean from different schools that they recruit from, meaning they’ll know when you come in for the interview what it took for you to earn a B average at Champlain College. This gives them insight into how much time you had for other activities, and whether or not your B average is as impressive as it looks.
- Job experience comes first. This is true in most cases: employers care primarily about your relevant experience and skills. However, in larger companies where the sheer volume of applicants makes looking at each person’s work experience impossible, GPA becomes the next best indication of how well someone will do in the position.
- Your network is most important. If you have a 4.0 and no network, you’ll probably have a harder time finding a job than someone with a 3.0 and an expansive network they took time to foster in college.
In further support of the idea that GPA doesn’t matter, Lazlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations for Google said, “GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless…We found that they don’t predict anything.”
It’s important to remember that not all company’s standards are the same, and you have to play to as many as you can, which means you should go through college with the notion that your GPA will matter when you graduate.