Hey Lifehacker, I was just wondering: after university, how important is your average grade? What do employers take more into consideration: your average, marks in individual courses, or or if you already have real-world experience in the field? Thanks, Grade Runner
Student picture from Shutterstock
The simple answer: it depends on what you plan to do. Here are some typical scenarios:
- If you're planning to go on to post-graduate work, grades absolutely matter — a better academic performer is almost always going to be picked ahead of someone who has only produced average results.
- If you're applying for graduate positions before you've actually finished, grades also matter — they're one of the most obvious ways to distinguish between candidates. This is often the scenario where you'll encounter specifications like "Applicants must have a distinction average". Good grades alone won't be enough — relevant experience will count too — but they're often the price of entry.
- If you're applying for general roles, expectations vary hugely. Some employers will only look at graduates, but don't care what the individual outcomes are as long as you have finished the course. Some place far more emphasis on practical experience. Some won't care about your results in every subject, but may be worried about specific courses. And some won't worry about academic performance until after the interview, when it might be a useful way of choosing between similarly appealing candidates.
Just as no-one much worries about your high school scores once you've reached university, employers aren't massively concerned about the minutiae of your transcript. But equally, just as people with better high school results have more choice about where to study, people with better university grades will have a broader range of options.
Our conclusion? Having bad grades is never going to be a disadvantage. While many employers won't pay much attention to the specifics of your course performance, you never know when it's going to come up. At the same time, a single pass in a generally solid university career doesn't mark you down as unemployable. Good luck with the job hunting!
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