Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

“Pain is Temporary, GPA is Forever.”

This post was written by Shun Ping Huang ’17, CCD Peer Career Ambassador.

The end of classes marks a bittersweet time as students celebrate the finish of another year of classes and simultaneously face the daunting finals schedule looming ahead.

As I experience this bittersweet moment every year, I  ask myself: why do we need to study, why do we need to go through the pain of finals? One common answer is: “pain is temporary, GPA is forever.” This “temporary” pain lasts at least one week, so how long is “forever?” Well, we all know that your GPA affects your career in some way and your career is literally the rest of your life. But how much does GPAs actually matter in scoring your dream job?

There are plenty of conflicting articles out there: this New York Times article stresses the importance of GPAs in job searches while other articles, such as this one: “Google executive: GPA, test scores ‘worthless’ for hiring,” will tell you that companies do not hire based only on numbers; companies also look at your leadership, experiences, and interview skills. In fact, there are cases where a candidate with a higher GPA is passed over for another candidate with a lower GPA.

So here is my advice:

  • If you have a high GPA: awesome job, but remember to invest some time in leadership positions and experiences outside of the classroom.
  • If you need some work on your GPA: do not freak out, and use other areas to compensate such as:

1) NETWORK. When you network, employers and recruiters are accessing you based on how you interact with them, whereas when you submit an online application, the first thing they see is your resume and GPA.

2) EXPERIENCE. Show that you are a good leader, have good communication and transferable skills, etc.

3) START SMALL. If you cannot get into the big name companies, try going for smaller companies. Once you are a couple years in, use that experience to get where you want to be. Keep in mind that big companies do not necessarily equal happiness.

4) GPA DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. Remember that your GPA is only a number. Keep your head up and find motivation.

  • Life advice: whatever your GPA, remember to always try your best at everything because you do not want to look back 10 years from now and know you could have done better. #noregrets

With all this said, good luck on your finals and study hard!