Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Life After College

As I work on putting together the graduation ceremony for the College where I am presently employed, I have been thinking about life after college. For many seniors, the time to look for a job actually starts during their final year. Others choose to wait until after graduating. Whatever the case, it seems that many of the demons that haunted students in getting into college are reappearing in their job searches. According to a New York Times article, employers of recent or soon-to-be graduates are increasingly looking at an applicant's GPA. Some even go so far as to look at SAT scores. Deja vu.

While this practice of examining GPAs and SATs is not universal, it seems to be a growing trend. I am not sure that either of these measures provide any sort of reliable indicators of how good an applicant will be as an employee. Of course, much of modern college admissions are based on these same figures. Employers may figure that if it is good enough for Harvard or UCLA, then it must be good enough for them. The NYT article rightly points out the fact that some students, who would otherwise be excellent employees, do not have stellar GPAs. For students in these instances, it is suggested that you emphasize your GPA in only your major courses, or your GPA in your last two years of college. Likewise, if one's forte is extracurricular activities, then you would do well to emphasize your activity in those over GPA.

The bad news, or good depending on your perspective, is that high school doesn't signal the end of the importance of grades. While GPA is not the singular best indicator of future performance, many people (and institutions) believe it is better than most. Many of those people are in positions to admit you to their college or hire you into their organization. Just as in college admissions, GPA is not the final arbiter of whether you will be offered a job. It is one of many factors that can be considered. Unlike in most college admissions decisions, employers actually have the ability to talk to you, through face to face interviews, before they decide if you and your 2.85 GPA are worthy of their company.

1 comment:

excelsior said...

Don't forget that a lot of employers in the financial industries (particularly brokerage firms, but also banks, insurance companies, and other kinds of lenders) may also look at your credit report - another reason to make those student loan payments on time.