Is It True That Grades Aren’t Everything?


Post #59 When your Grades are Just OK

Your grades are not who you are.  They represent just a slice of what you have to offer to an employer.  There are other factors that are just as important as your grades.  I know you may be thinking, “But grades are what employers care about!”  Read on to understand what else employers seek in their candidates.

A+ grade

Grade Emphasis

We have been taught our whole lives that good grades mean you are a good student.  Good students get rewarded.  Have you ever gotten ribbons, trophies, awards, scholarships, plaques, grants, certificates, gift cards, cash, etc. for earning good grades?  Our culture teaches us that good grades, in a sense, are the key to a successful life.  But I am here to tell you that grades aren’t everything.

Societal Meaning of Good Grades

Grades do not necessarily measure how much you have learned, but society believes otherwise.  If you earned an A, that must mean you learned something new and that you worked hard.  Perhaps all you did was memorize some words.  Maybe you copied off friends to get your homework done on time.  Maybe your cheat sheet had the precise information you needed during exam time.  Or, could it be that you already knew much of the material and it wasn’t challenging?  The A or B you earned does not indicate you are smarter.  Likewise, earning a C or D does not mean you are inadequate or that you didn’t learn anything.


What Grades Don’t Show

There are many desirable qualities an employer seeks in their employees (please read Post #26).  These qualities go beyond your grades.  For example, maybe you are an expert at selling.  Maybe you understand how to run a business or you possess the tenacity to answer your own research questions.  Or, maybe your diplomatic personality allows you to build connections with people.  You could be the kind of approachable person that people turn to for advice.  Maybe you have excellent writing, speaking or negotiating skills.  Perhaps as a former athlete, you understand what it means to be a team player.  These are just a few examples that demonstrate the idea that grades aren’t everything.

As an engineering student, you possess practical skills that are impossible to measure via course grades.  If your grades are not spectacular, you can surely make up for it with your own unique strengths.  How will you display these desirable qualities to a potential employer?

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