Every semester, college or university students receive a grade point average (GPA) based on the grades they earned in all of their subjects. This number is important, as it offers an indication of an individual’s achievements and academic performance in school.
College students who will be graduating soon and looking for a job usually put their GPA on their resume. After all, a high GPA can be a strong selling point that can set yourself apart from candidates who are fresh out of college.
What is a Good GPA?
A good college GPA should be at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. This is equivalent to a “C” if the school is following the letter grading system. Depending on the guidelines of the university, a 2.0 GPA may be necessary to graduate and remain qualified for federal financial aid. Program enrollment and institutional scholarships at some universities often require a grade point average above 2.0.
Does a Good GPA Matter in College?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Students whose GPA dip below 2.0 (or fall below the university’s minimum requirement) may face consequences. The school, for instance, may place these individuals on academic probation. Students who fail to shape up could eventually face dismissal from their chosen program — and the university, as well.
If you’re aiming high and looking to be on top of the pack, shoot for a high GPA. This means getting a grade between 3.5 and 4.0. This academic achievement is worthy of praise, as it shows commitment to excellence — something that employers want to see.
Take note, though, that hitting a high GPA can be difficult. Only a small number of college or university graduates achieve this academic excellence. Large companies use this as a benchmark to effectively whittle down the number of contending applicants.
Do Employers Care About GPA?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. The reality is that the GPA on the resume may mean a lot to one employer, but may not matter much to another.
Although this answer does seem strange at first glance, you need to understand that companies have different workforce requirements, culture and processes of assessing job candidates. When you’re applying for a position in large corporations and multinational firms, your college GPA may serve as baseline criteria for employment. Some of these companies recruit on university campuses and need an effective way to differentiate applicants. Your GPA provides a useful metric to help these firms achieve that goal.
On the other hand, less well-known businesses, small companies and startup ventures are more likely to zero in on overall achievements and key competencies. They do this, as they may not have the luxury of selecting candidates from a larger pool of available talent. This does not mean, however, that they are completely disregarding college GPA from the hiring equation. It simply means that they’re not giving the grade point average a bigger weight when evaluating job applicants.
When to Include the GPA on Your Resume
Mentioning your GPA on your resume can help or hurt your likelihood of getting a job interview. You, therefore, need to know when to add and exclude this information.
Unfortunately, no hard and fast rule exists about adding the GPA to the resume. The general rule, however, is to keep your college grade point average and Latin honors on your resume a year or two after you graduate from college or university.
If you’re a recent graduate with limited work experience, you could use your GPA to tip the scales to your favor. A high GPA can reflect your work ethic, skills and drive to succeed in life.
When you have a so-so GPA, you could leave out this information from your resume and replace it with something more noteworthy, such as relevant experience, awards and recognitions. Take note, though, that you still need to list your college GPA on your resume if the employer specifically asks for it.
As soon as you have a few years of work experience under your belt, you can omit the college GPA from your resume. During this period in your life, your work experience, professional development certifications and transferable skills will speak more volumes compared to your GPA.
Omit your past academic achievements and use that additional space to enumerate examples of recent work accomplishments, such as acquiring and honing key clerical skills. This demonstrates to hiring companies that you’re not resting on your laurels after you’ve graduated from college or university. It also shows that you’ve developed into a forward-looking and career-driven professional.
How to List Your GPA on Your Resume
When a recruiting employer asks for your GPA on your resume, follow their instructions and put that information on paper.
Here’s how to do this properly:
Place Your College GPA on the Education Section
The education section of your resume consists of the degree you received, your major or specialization and the schools you’ve attended. Put your GPA right beside your major. Also, don’t forget to indicate the Latin honors on your resume if you earned one. If you’ve garnered special awards, such as leadership and sports awards, go ahead and put those in the same section.
Think About Adding the GPA for Your Major
You could include the GPA for your major if it’s higher than the overall or cumulative GPA. Another option is to mention both if they’re both high. Just make sure that you specify these details on your resume.
Never Misrepresent Your GPA
Some graduates “round off” their college GPA to make their academic records look better in front of recruiting companies. An example is rounding up a 2.6 GPA to a 3.0.
Never lie about the GPA on your resume. Employers can easily verify this information by looking at your school transcript. If you misrepresent yourself, you could lose your chance of landing a job.
Still in School? Maintain a Good College GPA
When you’re in college, you need to do your best to keep your college GPA as high as you can. Here are some tips to help you achieve this goal:
Allocate Time for Studying
Although making friends and attending awesome college parties can make your campus life more enjoyable, you also need to allow time to study. Studying doesn’t have to eat up your whole college life, but you need to put in the work to get the grade you want. You could join a study group, partner with a buddy and review at the library to help you get ready for your exams. Make studying fun by completing practice problems, quizzing yourself and your classmates and creating flashcards.
Check Your Syllabus
If your professor hands out a syllabus, read it carefully. This important piece of paper will tell you the following information:
- An outline of the topics and lessons you’ll be learning for that subject
- The expectations you need to meet in the class
- How the grading system works
- The assignments, term papers and projects you need to complete
- Your professor’s consultation hours (if available)
Make sure that you mark the assignment due dates on your calendar, so you don’t miss important deadlines. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher if you have questions about the details printed on the syllabus.
Get Adequate Sleep
Although you need to spend a decent amount of time studying for upcoming tests, you need to make sure that you take care of your body by getting enough rest. A good night’s sleep will help solidify what you’ve learned, boost your concentration and improve your ability to recall and organize information.
Look for a Tutor If You Need Help
Getting extra help to pull your grades up is perfectly fine. The last thing you want to happen is to bomb your tests and receive marks that will ruin your college GPA. Look for someone in the class who can tutor you on difficult-to-understand lessons or topics. Alternatively, enroll in a tutoring center online or in your local community.
The college GPA on the resume plays an important role in helping you pursue the job you want. An excellent academic performance may just be your ticket to joining large, multinational or well-known companies that can kickstart your career.