Does GPA matter in the real world?

Grade Point Average is a hurdle every college student faces. This standardized total of grades  can seem like it determines what sort of employment a student will get. But does the number really matter?

For on-campus employment, the answer is yes.

The Missouri State University Student Employment office requires its student employees to have a minimum 2.0 GPA, as well as having a minimum of six credit hours per semester. For junior elementary education major Courtney Rasco, her 3.7 GPA has allowed her to maintain an office assistant job for a semester while on campus.

In the Graduate Program, English major Meg Alexander said graduate assistants are required to have over a 3.0 GPA to even apply. She also said internships and relationships with professors help students when applying for the program.

But when talking about her experiences outside of academics, she said she felt like GPA takes a backseat to experience.

“When thinking about GPA, I know it matters,” Alexander said. “I haven’t actually had a job outside of grad school, but when I was applying for jobs outside of education it seemed like what they cared more about was experience.”

Associate Professor and Executive Producer of  “Show-Me Chefs,” Deborah Larson agreed that employers look more towards experience than GPA. 

“Some people will look at a resume and go, ‘Oh, that student’s like a 4.0. Oh, look this student is 3.5. I might take someone with more social skills than a 4.0 person,’ So there’s that to consider,” Larson said. “In the job force, people are there to learn and hopefully have aspirations and contribute.”

Senior Instructor Leonard Horton III said in business, many company heads are “average folks.” They dropped out of school, but when constructing their businesses they figured out systems that worked for them. 

While many high-level students excel in academics, they end up working for these “average folks” managing their systems.

“The really smart people tend to do jobs that are in line with their behaviors, like drawing inside the lines,” Horton said. “And they end up working for people that are very average. Most of the people who own people and are investors, they are average folks.”

Keeping a high GPA means that a student is passing classes with flying colors. And while GPA is important to keep up, students should also focus on social experiences and producing content for the future. This helps them maintain a balanced portfolio to show to any interested employers.

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