From the first day in the college life of a confused fresher to the convocation day of a senior, one question that haunts every students’ mind and gives him sleepless nights is “Does the GPA really matter?” and if it does matter, then to what extent. Are only the ones with a perfect GPA acceptable in the world outside or is anything above 3.0 considered a decent score?
Well there is no hard and fast rule to answer this question and it varies a lot from individual to individual but the most important and distinguishing factor that needs to be taken into account is the aim of the student!
The students graduating out of college can be broadly classified into two categories:
1. Those who wish to join the top-notch graduate schools such as the Harvard Medical School, business schools like LSE or MIT for the engineering students.
2. Those who wish to go into the job market directly after their undergraduate studies.
For the former lot, grades are actually very important, given the cut-throat competition among the applicants. Most of the admission officers consider the grades of the students as the main distinguishing factor among the students. Although it is a widespread myth that many higher education colleges take in students based on their extra-curricular activities. This might be true to some extent and could have worked in some of cases but it is not such a hard-core reality that one can risk one’s career for!
Many top-notch graduate schools that these students dream of getting in look for a well-rounded package but the emphasis remains on the grades because it is mere wishful thinking to expect that MIT will accept you in the masters of engineering programme just because you have always been good at football!!
But for the latter category things might be a little different. They can do better and achieve their goals even with a mediocre GPA but that too needs to be backed up rather compensated by other activities like good interpersonal skills, performance in extra-curricular activities and internships to distinguish them from the other applicants.
But in particular when a student is looking for the first ever job of his/her career good grades can come in really handy but afterwards in most of the cases the experience in the previous job and the professional proficiency is what really matters in the long run!
This does not mean that the students take their studies lightly because is a fact that good grades do help in making a good first impression and also enabling the recruitment team to gauge the commitment that one has towards one’s work. I am no advocate of getting into rote-learning or negative competition. But one should learn to strike a balance as there is no sure way of success!
The writer is the Pakistan correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of Science.
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