Does Your College GPA Really Matter?

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Your grade point average is a snapshot of your academic performance. But as long as you manage to graduate, does your college GPA really count? Discover how maintaining an exemplary GPA in college not only helps you transition to the next phase of your life but can also impact your finances.

Is a Good GPA Really Worth the Effort?

You may have heard some conflicting things about the value of your college GPA. Some people will tell you that a poor GPA could hurt your chances for landing your first job. If you're fresh out of school and have no job performance evaluations to show off, prospective employers might consider your grade point average an indicator of both your willingness to work hard and your ability to learn on the job.

Still, a couple of your friends have managed to find gainful employment without even mentioning their GPAs. ''Nobody cares about your grades,'' they blithely assure you, their confidence and smugness bolstered by their six months in the workforce. ''Just as long as you have that piece of paper that proves you got your degree, you're golden. You could have a 2.0 GPA and still be a college graduate.'' That may be true, but there are still several reasons why a higher GPA is worth all the extra studying…even if it means missing a few nights on the town or having less time for those Netflix binges.

Reason #1: Happy Professors Write Better Recommendations

A good GPA may make your professors more willing to write you a recommendation.

It doesn't matter if you're planning to go on to graduate school or rushing into the workforce right after college graduation. Either way, you'll almost certainly need favorable recommendations from your professors to help you on your path.

Few professors will want to sing your praises if your GPA hits a sour note. After all, writing a glowing recommendation for a subpar student would indicate questionable judgment on the part of a respected professor. If your GPA clearly shows that you've put a lot of time and effort into achieving and maintaining respectable grades, your professors will be proud of your efforts and happy to help you advance to a higher academic level or to a rewarding career.

Reason #2: Grad Schools Look at Past Performance

Your four years of college might just be a stepping stone to business school, medical school, or other grad school training. Various exams such as the GMAT, MCAT, or GRE may largely determine your chances for grad school admittance.

Your college GPA sheds light on your academic performance, more than just your diploma does.

Along with standardized test scores, though, a decent college GPA tells admissions officers that your sheepskin means something, and that you are a worthwhile candidate to walk their ivy-covered halls. Your graduate exam test scores show your subject mastery, but a solid college GPA proves that you are willing to go the long haul to earn your degree.

Reason #3: A High GPA Can Earn You Money!

No, this isn't like high school, when your parents gave you a bump in your allowance for making the Honor Roll. You won't get paid directly for keeping your grades up. But a high GPA will certainly increase your chances of winning scholarships, whether for your current stint in college or for graduate school. Getting help with paying your tuition, based upon your academic merits, is a pretty smart way to minimize—or even prevent—student debt.

Your college GPA could help you earn scholarship money or employer tuition reimbursement.

If you're already employed and hoping to take advantage of employer tuition reimbursement, remember that maintaining an acceptable GPA is a common stipulation for receiving this valuable perk. Earning satisfactory grades seems like a small price to pay in exchange for subsidized tuition.

Paving the Way with a Great GPA

No matter what your post-college plans, you can garner consideration for future academic and career opportunities, as well as potential scholarship money, with an impressive college GPA.

For a convenient way to improve your GPA—or to maintain the excellent GPA you've already achieved—check out the thousands of online lessons on Study.com. Focused on grad school already? Make admissions test prep a breeze with Study.com's comprehensive curriculum.

By Michelle Baumgartner
November 2018
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