GPA Questions Answered & How to Get a Job

The comments came fast and furious yesterday as I expected after the GPA post, but they were surprisingly less vitriolic than they’ve been in the past. That must be Counselor Buddy’s soothing effect on you.

You brought up a lot more varied questions on the GPA topic, so I’m taking today to answer some of those specific concerns that you guys had. Great feedback, thank you! Here’s what some of you had to say:

Iza writes:

I don’t know about this article. I’m a senior at a public university and received most of my funding this year through departmental scholarships. In order to even be eligible for those scholarships I had to have a 3.5 GPA. I also had to have a history of community service, good references, financial need, etc… but just to be considered I had to have a good GPA.

Sure. Listen, definitely do NOT take my earlier articles on GPA to mean that you should blow off your grades entirely and not try to get good ones, and that GPA is as useless as your inseam measurement. That’s not what I mean at all. I simply mean you shouldn’t obsess over your GPA to the point that it obscures your actual educational goal of learning things, acquiring knowledge, etc.

"It's all about makin' that G.P.A."

NOW — here’s an important point. Let’s say there’s an automatic scholarship in your state, or your college department, or whatever, for students with a 3.0 average or above. For example, Northern State University here in South Dakota has what’s called the Wolf Pact Scholarship that requires a 3.0 to renew it. If you’re right on the brink of being eligible for that scholarship, to the point where a B or a C would drop you below the threshhold, then no, I would not advise some killer advanced class that you don’t feel you can get an A in.

At all times, you have to look at the big picture. Is the $10,000 (or however much it is) that could you lose by slipping below your renewable-scholarship threshhold GPA worth whatever enrichment a certain course will give you? Eh, probably not. I’m guessing if you’re reading this site right now, then $10,000 is no small matter, and you want to protect that kind of money if you’ve got it coming your way.

But again, let’s get back to what started this whole discussion in the first place. If you’ve got a 3.85 GPA and you want to drop a challenging, advanced class because you might get a C and your GPA might then drop to 3.73 or something like that? That’s just silly.

David says:

If you are a pre-med college student, GPA is VERY IMPORTANT to get into medical school. In fact, the first thing that most medical school admissions departments do with an application is see if the student’s GPA (science and overall) and MCAT scores pass their threshold numbers (as well as making sure the student fulfilled all requirements) before moving on to considering other factors like what university the student attended, how difficult were the courses he took, what the student actually did outside of the classroom (like research, leadership roles, volunteering, jobs, etc.), and carry a certain weight with you into the interview and when the admission’s committee makes their decision. In addition, there are many scholarships for medical school based simply on gpa and maybe an essay requirement, but if the student does not have the GPA, then that opportunity is gone.

Yes, as I mentioned yesterday, graduate school is a different animal. If you’re going to grad school of any kind — any master’s or Ph.D program, MBA, med school, law school, dentistry school, etc. — then GPA is much more important than it is to students who are out the door into the job world once they graduate. I’ll say what I always say — GPA, for the most part, measures your ability to do homework, write papers and take tests. If there’s more of that in your future (e.g., grad school), then GPA’s going to matter more. If you’re looking for a paying job that involves no test-taking, paper-writing or textbook-reading, then GPA doesn’t mean much on its own.

MM writes:

I graduated from high school with a 2.8 GPA having gone through a very rigorous magnet curriculum. Went into college with 48 transfer credits and the opportunity to graduate in two years. I was denied by my first choice–fair enough, a 2.8 isn’t great–and went instead to my second choice. The difficult high school courses prepared me very well for college, where I found it much easier to get a high GPA (3.5+) than I had in HS.

Wow, 48 transfer credits and graduating in two years? Yeah, I’d say that’s rigorous. Too rigorous for most people’s blood, that’s for sure. Yeah, that’s an outstanding achievement, and I’m sure the difficulty of those courses — and taking so many of them at once that you graduated in two years — made college seem like a piece of cake. Well done!

Jonest writes:

I strongly disagree with the “go for the hard courses and take a hit on the GPA”, to get into college. I have a daughter who don’t test very well…but she’s a brilliant student. Because she took all honor courses during the crucial time during High School (junior year), her GPA took a really hard hit…”challenging courses”.

I don’t know your daughter personally, of course, so I’m having to speak generally here. But it sounds like the best move for her would be to work on improving her test-taking abilities, not to take a big step down in the rigor of her coursework to accommodate her test-taking weakness. College grades are going to come from tests just like high school grades have, and if she really is brilliant, then some improvement in her test-taking skills will allow her to put that intelligence on display via strong testing and the resultant good grades that come from it.

Which made it impossible to get scholarships for college and she was not able to get into the College of her choice, although she’s there now. She transferred after a years at another college. She’s quite an accomplished student, she’s a member of the Honor society at her present school.

Great! You know, you brought up another point that I haven’t yet thought to write about, and that’s the phenomenon of getting rejected by one’s chosen school straight out of high school, then transferring into that school a year or so later. I think this is one of the easiest yet most hidden ways to get to the school you want.

Sometimes you get rejected from your chosen school. Shit happens. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s not. BUT…lots of states have policies where they take just about any transfer student from other state institutions, as long as the student’s GPA is over a 2.0 or 2.5 or something like that. So, even if you’re rejected by the school you want, lots of times you can just go to a school in the same system (or even state) that DID accept you, keep a minimal GPA, then after a year passes, transfer into the school you wanted to go to in the first place.

And it’s not just intra-state transfers that work that way — it’s a lot of schools. I mean, Harvard probably isn’t going to accept your cooking-class credits at Palookaville Community College toward a baccalaureate degree. But otherwise, generally speaking, credits transfer between institutions without a ton of hassle.

Yes, there are exceptions for specialized classes and the game definitely changes once you’re into upper-level coursework, but at the lower levels, it’s still relatively easy to transfer from one school to another. You see, as a freshman, if State U. rejects you, they’ve only pissed you off. Big deal, they don’t care. But if you go to another school for a year and they stopped you from transferring in, then they’d be pissing off an entire other college or university, and the governments and endowments that fund it. They’re a lot less likely to do that under normal circumstances.

So keep that in mind if at first you don’t succeed. Lots of times you can just walk around and go in the back door.

May writes:

I wish I could agree that no one outside of school cares about GPA… but I have been to an interview that specifically asked for my college transcript to see my strengths and weaknesses. And I still think it is good to have your GPA as high as possible for if you ever do decide to go back to school. Most grad programs only admit students with a 3.0 and above.

I’m not sure what industry you were interviewing in, but that’s definitely a first for me — hearing of a potential employer wanting to see a college transcript. Was it an intern who was interviewing you? Without any other evidence or details of the situation, I’ll make the assumption that he was a lousy hiring manager.

And it’s true, grad-school cutoff is usually around 3.0. Grad schools figure that if you can’t break a 3.0 in undergrad school, then you’re probably going to fail out of grad school. I don’t really blame them for that. They’re going to be wrong sometimes, sure, but overall it seems like decent logic.

I never wanted to go to grad school and therefore enjoyed a heavy workload, worked part time on campus, joined a community service co-ed fraternity, and graduated from UC Davis in 3 years with a B.S. in Biology. Now I regret everything because I’m stuck not knowing what I want to do with my life and wishing that I took the time to do that in college.

Well, don’t beat yourself up over not knowing what you want to do with your life. I’m 36 and I still don’t really know. Lots of people older than I am are still trying to figure it out. Even though society has changed a lot in the last few decades, it still asks too much of young people in this area — knowing “what you want to be when you grow up.” It’s an evolving thing. I wrote about it last week in a blog post called “Everyone’s On Plan C” if you want to read it.

Terry’s back, and writes:

We had an admissions counselor from the Big Ten school in our community come and talk to parents. Sure enough, a parent asked the proverbial question, “Is it better for my student to take an AP class and not get an A or a regular class and get the better grade?” His answer was, “Take the AP class or most rigorous classes offered…and get an A!”

Perfect answer! 🙂

Obviously this didn’t quite directly answer the question, but reading between the lines the answer is there. You need to challenge yourself. An admissions counselor is going to look at your coursework, along with your GPA, volunteer work, participation in school activities, etc. They want to see a complete, well-rounded person.

Perfectly said. I have nothing to add!

Emi writes:

GPA isn’t that important today. If you plan to go into grad school you need research experience to market yourself or you’re basically screwed.

Well, I wouldn’t go that far, although you may be referring to a specific field that I’m not aware of. Although that gives me an idea for a post that I’d like your feedback on.

As a guy who’s played just about every role that can be played in these discussions: undergrad student, grad student, job-seeker and now employer — I can now say with certainty that what employers look for in a job applicant isn’t really that complicated.

In fact, I think I can nail it down to four qualities that I look for, and that you should display if you want to get a job in this tough economy. Anybody interested in reading a post like that? If so, leave a comment below and let me know, and I’ll do it Thursday or Friday.

Second question: Is there anyone reading these posts who is a native speaker of a different language AND would like to translate them into your native language? I would love to add versions of the posts in other languages so that students who don’t speak English can learn them. There’s no pay involved, but you could translate them at your chosen pace and get yourself an easy resume entry and recommendation/reference from me if you do some of them. If you’re interested, email me at judgejosh (@) .

Thanks everyone — have a great rest of the week!

53 thoughts on “GPA Questions Answered & How to Get a Job”

  1. 1.Do tell us the four qualities.
    2. Please answer Thomas Wright’s question…
    3. I could translate into french, the other language (Sesotho) is only spoken by 2 million people.

  2. personally, i just finished a really tough undergrad programme in Electrical& electronic engineering. Like someone said- i went with the “challenging” kind of programme and oh boy, have i regretted it. I consider myself extremely smart, i finished High school with a GPA of almost 4.0 but after my undergrad it was 2.7. (i know right). so now i’m stuck, with a bad grade i know i totally dont deserve, with a programme i dont have much interest in and no hope of any kind of schorlaship or wonderful school to upgrade myself. My advice- Do something in your undergrad that you totally feel comfortable with. Something you enjoy doing and your GPA will shoot up so high, just cz you’re not struggling with what you’re studying. Good Luck!!

  3. Hi Judge Josh
    I would be interested in learning about, what you had to say, four things employers look for. As for translating your posts into my native language I might be interested but like you my native language is English so I would not be of much help.
    By the way I enjoy your post

  4. I am interested in the four qualities as well, GPA has been a touchy subject for me, as there are professor who waste my parents time and more making a simple subject much more difficult

  5. Counselor Buddy

    I have been employed in two different school districts and both have required my college transcripts, which currently reside in my personnel file. I have never been asked any questions about the transcripts but had to provide them none-the-less. I think part of the reason is because teachers/counselors must re-certify every so often, and to re-certify you must have taken a certain number of credits since your last certification (6 credits every 5 years in our state). Our personnel office sends staff reminders when they are nearing their re-certification date.

  6. Hey Josh,

    I’d definitely like to see a post on the four qualities that you’re looking for. Thanks for your pearls of wisdom!

    1. hi Tony chontong. how are you today . you need a friend ? if you need can i make your friend ? i live in cambodia .if you ok please contacte me with my email.

  7. Yep, as a teacher in Alberta those transcripts follow you. Even when you move to another school in the same District / County 10 years later, you send off another copy of your transcripts with another police report and social services report. I doubt if your GPA is what they are looking at, though. They just want to confirm that when they want to make you teach Social and Biology that you have the Curriculum and Instruction courses for both. So yet another reason to transfer from a cheaper school: most transcripts just list the “accepted as equivalent” courses and don’t mention marks, thus excluding that embarassing 2.2 in first year Statistics…

  8. Hi Josh,
    I took great interest in reading this article. I just finished my master’s degree [in a discipline that many people have never heard of, but surprisingly has presence in the psychology world] and wanted to offer my .50 cents:

    My undergrad degree was in something I took no particular interest in [Criminal Justice], and I graduate with a 2.8 GPA. My transcript speaks volumes though: courses I excelled should have been my focus, but I followed what ‘society’ thought would be best. Working for a PD later to go to the Feds, well that’s a typical track and favorable, than to be an artist in any genre.

    So with a breakdown and breakthrough, I found a Master’s program that fit me well. Only, I had to prove to the department chair in a interview that I was capable of finishing my coursework in the 6 weeks alloted time [quarters instead of semesters] and cultivate my personal and professional growth and development as a Global student [an online degree program]. I also had to take two prerequisites because, hey, my 2.8 raised a red flag. I don’t blame them, but I did whatever it took to get in because I knew that that’s what I wanted. Nothing could deter me.

    Now, with choosing grad schools, I hadn’t thought about the grading system; I just loved the program, how it could help me develop so that I can better serve people and all the things I could do with it. For my first year my writing skills, comprehension of the coursework, and my ability to apply what I learned in my professional life, were all assessed on a scale of 1-5 with an overall grade of P or F [pass or fail]. And my second year, which was a concentration of my interest, was all P/F with instructor comments [yes, this school and all of its programs is accredited].

    Do I worry about what a future employer may think? No, I don’t worry. But am I prepared to answer a ton of questions, yes. Have I done other things to add greater weight and shine to my grad experience, yes of course. Was it one hell of a strenuous program…oh Heck yes!

    And I agree, undergrads shouldn’t be so pressured to figure it out right away. Take the four years as a learning experience. Grad and post grad is where the real school work begins. If I’d known that, I would have changed my major to psychology or dance, and minored in either one.

    But since I can articulate what Transpersonal Psychology is and what I plan to do with it, well it blows a lot of people away. Now that, is one of my greatest accomplishments!

    PS- In fact, I think I can nail it down to four qualities that I look for, and that you should display if you want to get a job in this tough economy. Anybody interested in reading a post like that? If so, leave a comment below and let me know, and I’ll do it Thursday or Friday.

    YES, YES and yes….

  9. I don’t have too much to add; I tend to buy into the “courses are more important than GPA” philosophy. My GPA is a measly 3.33 (just enough to keep a scholarship or two), but I’d like to think I am far smarter than that number indicates. In fact, I intend to go to graduate school for philosophy, and I am certain that my experience, course work, and writing samples will be sufficient for admission. So far, I’ve expressed no problem. My girlfriend, however, is the complete opposite. She’s currently going to a prominent school in Boston, MA, for mechanical engineering, and her GPA is around a 3.85. (I tell her how smart and accomplished she is all the time.) She recently applied for a summer co-op with a firm in Washington, D.C. Her major advisor/co-op advisor actually LAUGHED at her for even thinking she would get the internship (thus showing how hard it should have been to get). Nonetheless, she not only got the internship, but she got the internship without an interview, without a meeting, without discussing terms. When the hiring manager called to confirm she would work with them for the summer, he explained that it’s not normal for them to hire without interviews, but her GPA was so extraordinary for an engineering student that they didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

    My worry, then, is two-fold. First, and less important, that GPA might actually matter a great deal. Second, and much more significant, that my girlfriend might now be convinced her GPA matters more than anything. I’ve spent countless nights of consoling her after getting a B+ on a presentation, or for getting a 99 instead of a 101 on a test. With this new GPA confirmation, she is worse now more than ever. Is there any advice you could give regarding the situation? How can I help her discover that what she learns and how she learns is over and above what her GPA reads, especially after this crushing confirmation? I wouldn’t be upset about her caring so much, but it makes her miserable. She doesn’t take any time to enjoy herself or enjoy where she is or what she is doing. She’s outrageously stressed, cries often, gets little sleep. Any input would be most helpful.


    1. I’m a philosophy major too, plan to go onto a masters program. The GPA being high in our program does matter a bit for two reasons – The first is that alot of people don’t even know what a philosophy degree entails or what you are supposed to do with it, which is ridiculous since employers are always going on about how they want their employees to have good critical thinking and problem solving skills and no one is more well versed in that than someone whose degree was learning to do just that. Also, since it has become a somewhat obscure degree, many schools will not take you into a grad program without a minimum of a 3.5 because so many people with a bachelors in philosophy go on to grad school, without many other job prospects, in order to be able to teach. So, I’d recommend boosting it a tad bit, just to get your foot in the door, and then you can talk your way into anything once you are there.
      As for your girlfriend, I was once the same way. A B+ was devastating. After a while I figured out that an A- figured into my GPA and showed on my transcript exactly the same as a 100 average did, in other words, no one but me would ever know it was a 91 that put that A on my transcript, not a 99. I still make straight A’s. I’m still deans list. I’m still in the top 10% of my university, but I don’t feel like jumping off a building from the stress all the time. Your girlfriend sounds like a smart girl. I highly doubt that she will drop below an A average if she calms down a bit, I know I haven’t and I study half as much as I used to. Just explain to her that no one but her will ever be aware of whether her score was perfect or 10 points short of perfect and that she will be much happier, healthier, and able to just do her work if she lets a thing or two be a bit less than perfect now and then. Hope this helps.

  10. Hi josh,

    I would very much like hear about those four qualities ^_^ I’ll be a second semester senior in the fall..crunch time!

  11. I was homeschooled throughout high school, so when I applied to colleges my GPA meant absolutely nothing to them (despite it being quite high). The quality of a GPA, especially in high school, is very dependent upon the quality of the school. Granted I feel that my education in high school was excellent, and this was supported by my success at a community college during my senior year. However it is obvious that a homeschooler’s GPA is potentially very biased. I got accepted into all but one of the schools that I applied for not because of my GPA, but because of the college courses I took (instead of AP classes), extracurriculars, and writing skills.

  12. My bid for the four qualities: Adaptability, Creativity, Motivation & Dedication

    Looking forward to yours though =]

    Keep up the good posts!

  13. hmm, is the 3.0 cutoff as a level of undergraduate achievement also translate into the job world? Now I feel like I’ll graduate as a BME but I won’t get into school or a job anywhere outside of Taco Bell

  14. Who ever said that Junior year was your most crucial in high school? My own experience, and talking to others, has shown that Freshman year is most important in your GPA. And yes, employers regularly ask for college transcripts at interviews. And going to graduate school is not one way or the other, you can’t have a horrible GPA but awesome work experience. I am graduating with a 3.6 with a BS in Zoology and a minor in Chemistry and had about 2 years of work experience. I didn’t have a 4.0 but I wasn’t working in every lab known to man kind and I have never been rejected from any college choice, either now or in high school. Just do what you love, stop worrying about who wants what quality. If they want a quality that you don’t have then you probably don’t fit in there anyways. Search elsewhere.

  15. Yes, judge Josh, do share thy wisdom on what it is employers are looking for, lol. Especially since I was just recently declined for a job, -_-“

  16. I have two thoughts on the GPA issue:

    1. I am nearing the end of my undergrad program in Education, so I have talked to various recruiters about their hiring practices. Nearly every time I have spoken to these HR people, I have been told to bring transcripts to any future interviews. I would greatly expect that teachers, of any career category, would be expected to have high grades. After all, who wants their children to be taught by a “C” student? My school also uses a very structured course of study in regards to earning our degree, particularly for those of us pursuing Secondary education. That, in essence, means we have few options for the courses we take, and don’t necessarily have the choice to take more challenging courses. In many cases there is only one option for the course, with the only variation being which professor to take, though that isn’t always the case, either. For those attending my university, that means grades are the difference.

    2. I am also thinking of the way the economy is right now and how finding jobs is not terribly easy. Potential employers don’t need a reason not to hire someone, so why give them one? GPA may not be the first or highest priority, but there is no reason it can’t be a factor in the hiring process.

  17. @Keythe: You, and the rest of us, and a lot of our children, have been and will continue to be taught by “C” students. If today’s students weren’t meant to be taught by yesterday’s “C” students, then “C’s” wouldn’t “get degrees” as the old saying goes. 🙂 Peer tutors can help their fellow secondary students learn a great deal, and those tutors have zero college, so the argument that your child will get a subpar education from teachers who got C’s in college doesn’t hold water.

    But on the challenging courses thing — that all was meant mainly for high school students trying to get into college in the first place. Once you’re in college, yeah, your upper-level courses become more prescribed and you get less choice in the matter.

    Maybe education/teacher programs are big on seeing college transcripts — I don’t know about that (edu students, wanna chime in here?). In most industries, though, no one asks for them.

  18. Josh,
    PLEASE post the ‘four points’ article.

    I’m an undergraduate and a member of my university’s Honors College which requires a GPA of 3.5 at the end of your junior year, but I’m currently finishing up a year abroad and the university I’m studying abroad at has a different grading and evaluation system, which I’m afraid will drop my GPA below a 3.5. Of course, I’ll be able to bring it back up, but I’m pretty sure that once I’m out of the Honors College I won’t be able to get back in. I’m hoping to go to grad school and I know graduating from the Honors College would be a big plus. Should I be worried?

  19. i am a college student my gpa has dropped to 2.765 because i have real responsibilities. I work, care for my mother whom had several strokes, my father with cancer of the prostate, my two sons, ages 9 and 5 both with ashma and, i refuse to go on welfare, the only thing i asked the goverment for is health coverage for my sons, and to please assist me with paying for college. I have an Associates in Biology and is struggling to obtain my second degree. Is there help out there for people like me? those who refuse to ride the system yet struggle to survive? Please let me know someone! anyone!

  20. I completely agree with you on the GPA issue, and have some additional words regarding graduate studies. Namely, GPA isn’t the be-all and end-all even when it comes to grad school.

    Now I’m not holding myself up as a role model on this–quite the opposite, really–but my undergrad GPA finished at 2.37 (long story, and let’s just say I regret not seeking psychological counseling). And yet, I recently enrolled as a Master’s student in Information Management at a prestigious university. How did I get around this? Relevant work experience and good grades in a couple of continuing education courses demonstrated that I’m committed to my field and that I really can hold down a class, and volunteer work involving a lot of mentoring and leadership roles (nothing fancy, either, just stuff like serving as president of a community group and tutoring neighbors’s kids in subjects I’m good at) gave my application the kind of boost that no amount of good grades or hard work can provide alone.

    Of the five graduate schools I applied to, all with top-notch programs in my field, I was accepted to three of them. A fourth contacted me requesting further information because while my GPA was below their usual cut-off point, my other experience had them extremely interested (by then I had already gotten the nod from my top pick, so I begged off). Two of the schools that accepted me did so on “conditional” status, which meant merely that they planned to watch to make sure I kept my grades up for the first year.

    Like others have said, my low undergrad GPA has definitely gotten in the way of scholarship money. My school gave me some funding, and I’ve applied for over $25,000 in scholarships, but I’ve had to watch another $15,000 or so sail on by because I didn’t have the GPA required for application. So I’ll be paying a fair amount of my first year of grad studies with student loans, but *next* year I plan to have a stronger position, and we’ll just see how much I’ll have to take out in loans then!

    And YES I want to read about your four points!

  21. Trevor McIntosh

    Hey Judge Josh,

    I’ve been the following the blog on this GPA issue and I seen some very good points on your end as well as others whose opinion and experiences are helpful to a lot just entering college or about to. I, personally, have gone through the college gauntlet and have successfully graduated college way differently than how I started. Before I digress, I am out of college a year now with a BA in Communications and I am looking for employment in this career field but I have not had much success. Furthermore, in my collegiate journey, I also became a Certified Graphic Artist through an accredited program at Skidmore College ICC. Still, with this vocational experience, I am unable to land much interviews at all. So I, for sure would like to know the qualities you suggest that employers would look at to employ somebody like myself?
    Now, I began my college career at 18, like a lot of students do straight out of HS, and did not complete my undergrad until I was 27. Does age or the length of time one takes to complete ones undergrad matters to employers? Grant it, I did transfer schools in that time. I left U of Albany with ~2.7-2.8 GPA as a Business Major and graduated from a smaller college, [College of Mt. St. Vincent] with a 3.8 GPA in Communications.
    So, if I may offer my advice, based on my experience, I would suggest that for those of who are concerned about their GPA [as I was] as student you have a choice to make. Sometimes, changing the environment and/ or major could make a world of difference in what your GPA looks like. [This could bring up another issue, if the school you graduate from matters more than how your GPA looks at that particular or a less prominent school wherein your GPA is a lot better?]

    Anyhow, now that I am on the other side of that issue, I agree with you [Josh] that when you do graduate, the kind of work/ professional experience does resonate more with employers than your GPA. So one should think about what he/she wants to do and the courses necessary to be successful and hopefully not spend a whole lot of time and money sorting that out. Sometimes, you may have to take longer to finish but, as I found for myself, in the end, it is better to finish well than to just finish look back and be questionable about how you finished.

  22. I finish high school and Associate of Arts degree in June of 2009. I taking dual enrollement classes while in high school. Before I started taking dual enrollment I had a 2.0. I wanted to attend a University so I combined my credit together and was accepted at uf and ucf university. I never taking honor classes and /or AP. I knew if I volunteer in my community and be involved in school activities I would win some scholarship. I work for one year working three hours a week, because I needed to be well-rounded to gain funds to attend college. I received eighteen thousand dollars in scholarship; which, cover my first year. I have one year left and I now applying for more funding to cover my last year of college. Yes I had a 3.3 gpa when finishing high school. I found many scholarship without having a higher gpa.
    fortune 500 scholarship

  23. I have finally realized that as a mom, I have blown it big time. I mistakenly thought I was doing the right thing by making sure my kids did their best on assignments, training them to be courteous, respectful citizens, limiting their extra-curricular activities so we could actually eat supper together every night, and getting them interested and involved in just a few things they were passionate about and encouraging them to pour their hearts into them (also known as “follow-through”). Wading through the scholarship process for my son in his senior year has shown me the errors of my ways. I failed to produce a winner. He didn’t find a cure for any disease, establish any kind of pediatric medical research foundation, save the world from hunger, or start an orphanage in Nepal. (Yes, I have seen all of these feats on profiles of national scholarship winners.) I entered the scholarship process last summer with wide-eyed excitement, and am now officially throwing in the towel. Thankfully, he won a couple of smaller scholarships at his college of choice. If I had it to do over again, I would have saved ourselves many hours of research and essay writing by forgoing the national scholarship route. But, I enjoy your emails, Judge Josh, except for the salty language. You are honest at least! Blessings to all of you who are still in the running for scholarships. Go get ’em!

  24. In a class that I had, the professor gave the students a copy of his daughter’s resume. On the resume, she put her GPA for her bachelor’s degree program. I assume the point of mentioning the GPA was as a way to impress potential employers. I think there may be a necessity to place your GPA on a resume and/or give a copy of your transcript, if asked as one way of distinguishing yourself from other applicants. How would this apply if you had a professor who was the kind of teacher who just stands at the front of the room and talks about the subject rather than breaking down in a way that the students could understand and that caused you to make less than a B or if you had a teacher who did not do a very good job teaching the subject material and gave work that was probably too advanced for that class level, causing the student to do work that was not at teacher’s standards and made less than a B? As for the four qualities, that would be a good post for any jobseeker regardless of the economic situation, so you should definitely do it.

  25. I understand what you wrote yesterday and some of what you wrote today. However, it is so difficult to not focus on GPA sometimes. That is just how this world functions. GPA says it all. People that look at your applications right out of school barely get to see your true character, work ethic, attitude…..the things that truly matter. So, in present day, GPA matters to other people which indirectly should matter to you. If this ideal of employers changes, maybe we will have a domino affect in which students appreciate more what they learn from a class. This will result in less stress and less health issues and a HAPPY society.

    I think we are FAAARRR from that presently, but we can always hope.

    Bye For Now. Love Your Articles.


    I am interested in your article and I want to comment as follows:

    I am an undergraduate of Lagos State Polytechnic. Studying Accountancy. I want to participate in the Scholarship procedure so as to be able to attain my goal in life and to be useful for myself and my community and to be a good ambassador of my country in every facet of life that I find myself. I want to honour my career and to be able to defend my profession anytime and anywhere to love my country and anyone that come in contact with me. I will be glad if I win the scholarship so as to forge ahead and not to be behind.

  27. I have two son’s one that has already graduated from high school in which he came out with a 3.0 we were not able to get any scholarships he was not sent college letters until his junior year. I believe you should make all efforts to achieve the highest GPA that you can if possible, but not at all cost of course. Don’t stress your child out or cause him or her emotional damage by pushing them to hard. My baby son is a junior in high school he is in the top 5% percent in his class always have been he has a 5.14 or something GPA, I can not beleieve the difference I have seen his teachers made between him and his brothers. He has been getting offers from colleges from all over the world since his sophmore year. So when I say GPA matters it’s because I have seen the difference first hand it can make. He has had all types of oppurtunities to travel the world because he was picked because of his academic achievements.

  28. Charlotte Hyatt

    ‘If you have a professor who is the kind of teacher who just stands at the front of the room and talks about the subject rather than breaking (it) down in a way that the students can understand’ means you have to do a lot of extra work RESEARCHING the subject on your own. That may not seem fair to you but the point of higher education is to make you stretch yourself and improve your skills.

    ‘If you have a teacher who does not do a very good job teaching the subject material and gives work that too advanced for that class level’ has the same answer.

    Yes, college is harder than high school because YOU are required to figure out how to get the most out of it – and that includes getting the highest grade you can.

  29. So much good stuff :]

    The thing that was bugging me was addressed here about taking the tough classes and succeeding in them. And yes, please post that job info about qualities please.

    About translating, if I could write in my native language well enough, I’d try for it, but that’s tough. Chinese is difficult without having someone next to me helping with the words 😡 Though if it’s just pinying, I think I could do it.

    Thanks Judge Josh :]

  30. I personally, find this topic ironic. I am a 4.0 student, graduating with 48 college credits including Calculus, overcoming a medical malpractice surgery, and was recruited by Division 1 athletic teams, and a 28 ACT. Yet,the University I wanted to go to is offering me less than my friend who has a 3.0 and a 23. All things being equal I have no idea how they decide. Since I can’t aford that I have to go somewhere else.

  31. I really like all of your posts, and I have found them extremely helpful while enduring the process of writing scholarship essay after scholarship essay.
    I would read the 4 qualities post. I really like that your posts have a lot of knowledge in them, but they’re neither difficult nor really long. It makes for a really easy read. Thanks! 😀

  32. I am interested in knowing the 4 qualities that you as an employer look for during your interview process.

    Thanks for taking the time to enlighten those who seek knowledge.

  33. I am sometimes worried about using GPA as the basic yard stick for admitting students to post graduate studies. This is because not all schools have the same grading system. My under graduate university in Ghana, university of Cape Coast uses 80% and above as an A with 5 interval downward to the rest of the grades and anything below 50% is a failure. The remaining two major universities in Ghana put their grade A at 70% and above where even 40% would give you a pass. During scholarship and admission to any undergraduate study they do not consider these things they only concentrate on the grades and the GPA to make selection, why this is so?
    I combined my academic work at Cape Coast with odd jobs because of financial difficulties, though my GPA is above 3.0, do they reject my scholarship and my application to universities who peg their cut off points at GPA of 3.5 for post grad programmes? If yes, are they fair at all? If no, please kindly give me colleges in Britain that can give me free scholarship to study master in health administration.

  34. I would love to hear the four qualities that employers look for. I also have another question that is completely unrelated to this article.

    I am entering my first year of college next week. I”m majoring in English, sub-category Creative Writing. I am also doing pre-med, but not as a double major. In am using English as a back up plan in case either a.) I don’t make it into med school or b.) I decide to drop pre-med altogether. There is no required major for pre-med in case you were wondering.

    I’ve been told that I should either do a double major in a science field or just drop English altogether and major in a science. This person told me that a science degree would carry more weight than an English degree. However, the pre-med advisor at my school spoke at orientation. She told us to make sure that you are in the right major for you in case your plans do change.

    What should I do? English is my first love, but I do really like science. Should I drop English and major in Biology or should I follow my head and keep English as a major?

  35. About the interviewer asking to see a college transcript.. every application I have filled out over about a year and a half has asked for mine. Do they look at it? Not sure.. but it does get quite expensive when it has to be “official.” I am trying to get a job as a teacher. 😛

  36. I am currently a sophomore at Hamline University, a school which I thought I would never get accepted into. I graduated high school with a 2.98 GPA and I only got a 19 on my ACT. I wasn’t involved in any activities at school, nor did I do any volunteer work. With my GPA and scores I thought I would not get accepted into any of the schools I wanted to attend. However, throughout high school I took mostly AP classes and I also did PSEO every Saturday throughout the school year and Mon-Thurs during the summer. By the start of my senior year I had a 2.8 and 20 college credits. My counselor at the time told me that I would not get accepted into any “good” colleges with my GPA and scores. However, I didn’t listen to him. I wrote my essays, and received 2 very good recommendation letters. Even though I did not get very many scholarships, I was accepted into colleges that I thought would never consider me as one of their students. I am now currently majoring in Biology (BA) and wanting to get my forensics certificate. I would say that yes, it is easier for students with higher GPA’s to get accepted and earn more scholarships, but for those with lower GPA’s and lower scores, it is almost just as easy, as long as you have the right materials to work with.

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