Does GPA Matter?


“GPA doesn’t matter!” As students of now, it’s a popular phrase we’ve often heard and said ourselves, not just after scoring a low GPA, but even before attempting for a fair one. Thinking about it, does it really not matter, at all? Or is it something we presume simply because it’s a much needed justification for us students to cover up our slackness? We all know that the latter is more often likely to be the case, despite trying to convince ourselves otherwise by saying, “If Google doesn’t care about our GPA, then why should we?”

In June 2013, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, in an interview with The New York Times, revealed that Google “no longer asks for the candidate’s GPA while hiring, unless someone’s a year or two out of school.”

The statement speaks for itself, but like with nearly everything else, we choose to hear only the favourable, and neglect the rest. “Selective deafness”, as one of my teachers calls it. To be as blunt as possible, as fresh graduates, our GPA is going to matter quite a bit. Where every job demands experience, and having none, the only thing we can then offer to our first employers is what our college has to say about us, most of which send us off with a number, the grade point average, to kick off our career; or push start, to be more precise.

While it can be said GPA definitely does not correlate with success, it possibly does with opportunities to attain experience and networking. Once you gather a combined package of the two and start building your career, academics will fade into the background, just as now with only a year having gone by, my decent high school grades seem meaningless. Rather than questioning the significance of GPA but moving a step back, focus should be on its purpose, standards and the criteria of assessment and grading.

At the other end, prodigies requiring no introduction like Henry Ford, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, to name a few, made it big without impressive academic backgrounds. It’s nice to hear inspirational words from these people while they tell us we don’t need good grades to shape our careers, but there are facts to face too. Not all or even a fair majority of high school drop outs and those who barely make it through college turn out anywhere close to them if not the same. Also, not all of us are going to be employed by Google. The bottom line is, a high GPA doesn’t guarantee you a priority but a low GPA is also likely to not even get you considered.

What was meant to be an encouragement for us to not worry about lacking grades but instead work an alternative way out and look for compensation that would be worth getting a low GPA, is now being taken for granted and has become nothing more than just an excuse for us to slack off completely in our comfort zone. If saying “GPA matters” is partially incorrect, then claiming “GPA doesn’t matter” is also not wholly correct. Let’s not neglect the prospects that come our way at the mercy of something as vague as that, which neither gives us the right nor the reason to laze around. Be it earning valuable experience elsewhere or expanding your network, if you’re losing out on GPA; make sure your learning process remains productive enough to get yourself pinned somewhere at the gaining end too, and a casual attitude won’t get you there.

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