- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 25 February 2015
As spring graduation approaches and summer comes around, Monmouth University students will begin to apply for careers and internships. They will stock their resume with every job and leadership position they have ever held, but is this what companies truly look at? While a high school GPA helped colleges decide whether they were going to accept a student or give them a scholarship, the same cannot be said in the real world.
“GPA and extra-curricular activities are just two factors, in addition to other things, that employers consider when reviewing candidates for employment,” said Assistant Dean for Career Services William Hill.
He also noted that while a GPA is important, extra-curricular activities may increase the chances of getting hired. “A student who was president of a club related to their major or career might get greater consideration over another candidate with a slightly higher GPA, all things being equal. In general, which one is given more weight may very well depend on the job for which the candidate is being considered.”
Many Outlook editors agree with Hill’s statement as most believe internships and experience outweigh a GPA.
Furthermore, The Outlook editors who have held previous internships recalled that most of these companies did not even ask for their GPA’s. These companies received an employee’s GPA through the transcript, if it was asked for; however, most editors noted that during their interview, their employer had their resume in front of them, not their transcript. Although the staff’s previous employers did not ask for their GPA’s, this does not necessarily mean that others will follow suit.
It is likely that a high profile company will ask a potential employee for both their GPA and extra-curricular to see how well-balanced an applicant is. If someone is highly involved in extra-curricular activities, maybe even on an executive board, and is able to maintain a high GPA, their appeal to the company will significantly increase.
“I think that employers look at both, extra-curricular activities and a high GPA. If they see that you were able to maintain a solid GPA while also balancing extra-curricular activities or an internship, I think that they will be impressed with your work ethic and your determination to succeed in more than one area of your life,” one editor said.
There are a few editors who believe a GPA holds little to no power while applying for internships and/or jobs.
“I think for the purposes of scholarships and graduate school applications, GPA is definitely weighed more than perhaps just applying for a job. But for a job, internships are huge. They show that you have accomplished certain tasks, you’ve done it for a prolonged period of time, and you managed to willingly volunteer your time because you have that much of a passion for it,” one editor said.
Out of eleven Outlook editors who were asked, nine said they would take a great internship over of a 4.0 GPA. While a 4.0 would be an impressive feat, especially in college, a future employer will want to see if you are equipped to take on a task, not take a test.
Even though The Outlook is rather one-sided when it comes to internships over GPA’s, they are rather torn when it comes to gaining experience via internships or via University courses.
“I’ve learned more in journalism, to be honest, in The Outlook than anything,” one editor said. “I’ve practically received hands-on learning on the ins-and-outs of journalism, learned how to edit, beat deadlines, break news, etc. That’s not something I would learn in a classroom, nor would I learn fetching coffee for someone and transcribing interviews.”
On the other hand, another editor disagreed, “I’d say I’ve learned an equal amount from both. My courses taught me a lot of the basic skills needed for a job in PR, and then my internship helped me learn how to use these skills most effectively.”
The Outlook concluded with this notion: internships and clubs on campus provide a student with hands on experience, while in a classroom, a student understands the theory behind the actual work. Thus, we learn what to do in the classroom, but prove we know what to do in our internships and extra-curricular activities. Once we prove we know how to handle certain situations, our GPA becomes just a number.