Grades vs. Experience

What if everything you have done thus far in life suddenly didn’t matter anymore? What if someone told you, your college GPA and all of the classes you took amounted to absolutely nothing? What then?

It is up for debate that the grades you get in college actually matter in the real world. It’s great to have the satisfaction of being rewarded with excellent grades for schoolwork, but what about what you do outside of school? What if you’re so focused on your grades that there’s no time for an internship? 

In an article from USA Today, the four main reasons why your grades will not matter after college are discussed. One of the reasons is “grade inflation” making your GPA worth less than it actually is. The article points out that those select 4.0 students are not entirely uncommon. There are other schools with other students who also happen to do well. In fact, there are whole schools of people who consistently get great grades. It is because of this that grades become less valuable. 

Huffington Post argues in “Why Grades Don’t Really Matter That Much After All,” that grades have an effect on one’s self-esteem. They suggest that people are so focused on getting that top mark that students aren’t realizing that they’re getting something out of just taking the class. Regardless of the grade they get, it is more about the content they absorbed and how they can apply it in the real world.

Also in this place called “the real world,” there are people out there looking to hire college students. These same people want to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Now, let’s say that the employer is looking for a specific skill that you weren’t able to take a class in because of scheduling reasons, but you learned all about that same skill through doing an internship. In this same hypothetical situation, your competitor has only taken a class on this very specific skill, got an A, but has never had any out of class experience with this skill. Who’s getting hired? The one with the real life experience or the one whose only learned about it in school?

Chances are, if you have the experience, there’s a likely possibility you’ll get the job. Just because someone has done well in a classroom with something, does not necessarily mean it has significance. The same thing also applies for someone who hasn’t done well in a class especially when it involves writing. 

Everyone’s opinions are different when it comes to the way someone writes and unfortunately this is not something for the better. Someone could do extremely well with their class writing assignments and put them in a portfolio, but what happens when the person trying to hire you hates it? “A” work to one person may not be “A” work for someone else. From my own personal experience, I can attest to this. I have gotten average grades on assignments that I have shown to others and couldn’t comprehend why I received the grade I did. I never have an answer to that question.

It is worth more to be happy with your own work because it’s something you should be proud of. If you don’t do well on something solely because it wasn’t done the way someone else wanted, that’s nothing to be upset about. If you’re confident enough in the work you do, someone will appreciate that, but that’s not something grades teach you in college.

Grades do not define a person by any means. Sure, it’s okay to be excited about making the Dean’s List, but it shouldn’t be the thing that makes you special. There are so many other talents and skills to have other than being able to get the best grades. It is more important to focus on going through real life experiences than worrying about memorizing information for a test.