“Grades don’t matter,” the refreshing motto motivational speakers love shoving down our throats. GPA certainly isn’t everything, but preaching that it doesn’t matter is a blatant lie. This lax mentality tends to breed laziness and complacency, and can come back to bite you.
Getting low marks in engineering isn’t the end of the world, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the benefits a high GPA can offer.
For those looking for internships, first jobs, or grad school, a high average can open up countless opportunities. High grades also pays, in form scholarships which can offer greater financial support than many part time jobs. The hard work you put into getting good grades, if planned wisely, can pay off generously and make your life a lot easier.
Good grades open doors
Jobs with GPA requirements
It may seem outdated to filter job applicants by grade point average, but many companies still do it with intern and new grad positions. While they may toss out some good resumes, it’s still a quick and easy preliminary filter.
In fact, applying a GPA cut off is a smart move for top companies who want top notch candidates. They can afford to lose some good candidates here and there, because they have plenty of stellar candidates to go through.
After all, why hire Joe Schmo who built an Iron Man suit with a 2.0 GPA, when you can hire Einstein who did the same but holds a 3.9 GPA?
While it’s possible to find a job with a subpar GPA, having those high marks can give you a head start in your job search. This opens doors to valuable internships and entry level jobs, where meaningful experience are gained, and can naturally lead to a fulfilling career path.
Keep the path to grad school open
University marks are one of the most important decision factors for graduate school admissions. Even if you have no intention of continuing education, you never really know until you get to the end of your undergraduate career. Career advancement in some engineering fields often look for engineers with master’s degrees.
The most common graduate school degrees engineers tend to pursue are:
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Master of Engineering (MEng)
Technical degrees typically involve research work. Not sure whether or not research is a good match for you? Many schools have research assistant positions for undergraduate students to try their hand at research. Professors picking research assistants will heavily rely on grades for their consideration, so having those high marks in related technical courses is a must.
Student exchange program requirements
If you’re interested in travelling and learning about other cultures, then student exchange programs are a great opportunity. Student exchange programs let students earn credits at a foreign university or college. They’re extremely popular with student travelers as it’s a cheap option.
Unfortunately not all students are eligible. A common requirement for these program is a cumulative average minimum.
I’ve witnessed many friends who had to pass on a great travelling opportunity since they did not meet the GPA cutoff.
Extra financial support
Engineering degrees can be expensive and time consuming. It’s a double whammy since engineering students barely have time to study, but also need to cough up enough money for tuition and living expenses.
Many university and college students juggle part time jobs to financially support their studies. While that’s a valid way to earn money, many do so at the cost of studying, socializing, or job searching time.
Scholarships, on the other hand, can pay as much as a part time job. They are also much less demanding than a part time job. Some schools automatically enter you into scholarships while others require a submitted application. Many scholarships have a GPA requirements, so having high marks greatly increases the chance of being selected.