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Is GPA Really that Important?

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By Eric Krzyzanowski

GPA, every student has one, but is it as important as it’s made out to be? A student always gets pressured to get the best grades possible. Will all this effort mean something to our future success?

GPA is one of the first things that a college admission office and some employers check. It’s a major factor if an employer wants to hire you for the job if you have no prior experience. GPA tells a lot about a person: it can show that the person is hard-working and responsible. Dan Black, who spoke to forbes.com and is the director of recruiting for the Americas of Professional Services for Ernest and Young, said “Grades certainly do matter when we’re recruiting students.” He goes on to say, “It’s really one of the only indications we have of a student’s technical ability or competence to do the job.”

Keeping a good GPA can have incentives along the way, including scholarships, which can be key to success. Most scholarships have a minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, but there are some scholarships that only require a 2.0 GPA. The Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarship offered by SPC requires a weighted cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 at the end of the seventh semester of high school. Huy Nguyen, 20, a SPC student with a 3.5 GPA says, “It’s a great feeling to get rewarded for your GPA”

Going to a local college such as SPC before a major university can be helpful for people with lower GPAs. GPA requirements at multiple major educational institutions will be lower for transfer students: most universities will accept a transferring student who has acquired their AA from a Florida public institution with only a 2.0 average GPA. University of South Florida (USF) has a minimum of a 2.5 GPA required for transferring students, while both the University of Florida and Florida State both have a minimum GPA of a 3.0 to transfer. This can be a major advantage for students who did not take high school seriously.

Some programs within schools are more competitive. Due to the popularity of SPCs nursing program, GPA is everything. As of October 2013, 259 students had applied for the nursing program. Out of the 259 students, only 82 students were in the program during the Spring 2014 term, according to Melissa Sharp at the Nursing program directory. Ashley Mattair, 20, a nursing major who lives in north St. Petersburg says, “GPA is everything and it can get stressful at times.”

At some point most of us have struggled in a particular area such as math or science. Even though you may have received a lower grade in these areas, you can excel in other areas. Volunteering, taking leadership positions at school, or even getting jobs that are relevant to your career will help you. This will show a university or an employer that, even with a lower GPA, you can be as hard-working as a person with a high GPA. Most graduate schools focus on the important junior and senior years, which can help you if your grades were lower in freshmen and sophomore year and you did well later.

For those who have a lower GPA there are steps to take to raise the GPA up.

  1. Doing extra credit is the best way to raise your grade up (if offered).
  2. Buy a planner to add important test dates or homework due dates
  3. Be assertive to your teacher if you feel that the grade you received is unfair
  4. Attend study groups
  5. Be motivated and set goals.

SPC also offers wonderful tutoring services for those classes you might be struggling in. You can receive tutoring at any SPC campus, no matter where your home campus us. Hours are located on the Learning Services website.

Originally published March 12, 2014.

Header photo by Lower Columbia College (flickr creative commons)

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