GPA over Experience: Foolish Preference

For many, the most important and exciting year in college is the graduating year. This is the time when many students build a strong resume and attend as many career fairs as possible. Some students don’t have much to add to their resume other than class projects and a high GPA – but zero experience. Other students have outstanding experience that they have been building up since sophomore year but not the best GPA. Of course, there is also a small group of outstanding students who have perfect grades and the perfect experience.

So when employers look for a potential employee, they have to select somebody from one of these 3 groups. To no surprise, the first employees to be picked are those with the perfect GPA and perfect experience. But once this small group is out, the most interesting selection happens. Many employers actually have a minimum GPA from 3.0-3.5. If you fall anywhere below that bracket, they won’t even look at your resume. So this means that they give preference to those students with a high GPA and not much or zero experience. To them, your outstanding experience is worthless. WTF.

In my personal opinion, experience is a lot more valuable than GPA. Experience is gold. Why? It’s simple. In America, only about 30% of the population obtains a college degree. So no matter what your grades are, if you get a college degree, you have proved to be on that 30%. This means that you have the dedication and determination to finish something you started. So if you have a degree and great experience, what is the big deal of what your college GPA is? I’m not saying a good GPA is not important, but it definitely should not be emphasized more than experience. What is the GPA represent anyway? It represents about 50% general education classes and 50% major related classes. I’m sure the Witch Craft elective would not benefit your engineering position so why count it? About 75% of todays college graduates say they only use a small amount of knowledge they learned in college. Some copanies even tell their new employees to forget most of what they learned in college because it won’t be used for work. Isn’t that Ironic? Companies select you by looking at your college grades but then they tell you to forget about what you learned in class.

Take President George W. Bush, for example. He is an average ‘C’ student and there is no way he became the U.S. President because he has a good college GPA. He became President because he had the experience. Let’s look at this on a different way. Let’s say a company’s system crashed and it’s very urgent to fix it. There are only 2 candidates and they can only pick one. Would they choose someone who has 4 year experience fixing systems or someone who got an ‘A’ in his Operating Systems class? If they are smart, they’ll go for the experience.

If you are one of the persons in the small group, with perfect grades and perfect experience – Congratulations! Your only worry should be which company is best for you. If you are a person with a good GPA and no experience, maybe you should give it a try at creating some experience. You may just find out this field is not for you. If you are a person with not the best GPA but great experience – Congratulations to you! You are far more ahead than many.

GPA over Experience: Foolish Preference

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