Overrated: College GPA a poor predictor of job hunt success

Of the many things that I find overrated, the single most highly overrated item has to be the college grade point average (GPA). Yep, that two-digit number that we slave over for four years, carefully weighing which classes we can skip and which justify an all-nighter, is, in the long run, worth less than a meal in the student union. I suppose many of you are already up in arms because of my devaluation of a college GPA, but take a minute and write down your cumulative GPA. Then write down how many jobs you've gotten as a result of your GPA. Go ahead... I'll wait. If the sum of these two numbers is less than 6 then I'm sorry, but I believe my case is made.

I wouldn't expect you to take my opinion that college GPAs are overrated. A 2006 survey by Collegegrad.com found that only 6% of employers think that a job candidates GPA is the most important piece of information about an individual. The survey found that the interview and work experience were ranked higher than GPA when determining an applicant's aptitude.

Don't miss the rest of our series on Overrated people, places and things!

Still not convinced that your GPA isn't the most important asset you picked up in college? Maybe Jon Morrow's account of why he wishes he didn't get straight A's in college will help you better understand why your GPA doesn't count for that much. In his experience, employers were far more concerned with what he did in school overall than just how well he did in the classroom.

Even though your college GPA is overrated, that doesn't mean you should necessarily skip college or zonk out in the classroom. If anything, this should serve as a wake up call to get involved in leadership roles on campus or to take internships in your field to make yourself more marketable. Don't kill yourself for a 3.3 GPA by memorizing formulas and definitions; instead, spend more time focusing on how the lessons you learn in class relate to real life. These actions will make finding a job after graduation easier for you than for Joe Schmo 4.0 with no experience!


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