9 Reasons why students shouldn’t stress over their GPA

29 Nov

I remember all throughout high school all my teachers and guidance counselors would tell me to focus on getting good grades because my grades were what mattered when it came to getting into college and my future. They were right about good grades get you into college but as for the rest of my future, they are only letters on paper.

An article posted on Ragan’s PR Daily laid out the 9 aspects that are more important to getting a professional job than your GPA. In today’s professional world and especially in journalism there is a large gap between book smart and experience.  So for all those upcoming college graduates that are worrying whether or not your GPA will keep you from your perfect job; don’t fret! Take a deep breath and relax, learn to be a professional and the skills of the trade and professional success will be in the palm of your hand.

Knowing how you learn

Spend time during college determining how you best learn and retain information. Some people need to see it, some need to hear it, some need to write it, and some need to practice it before it sticks. As an employee, you’ll need to learn new things as you go, remember them, and prove you’ve absorbed the information.

Applying theory to real-life situations

It’s one thing to recite the 4 P’s of marketing or learn how the purchase decision funnel looks on paper, but things won’t always happen in the marketplace the way they do in your textbooks. Learn how to take fundamental information and proven best practices and apply them in new situations or projects. The real world will always throw new variables at you, so knowing how to adapt theory to practice is crucial.

Time management

Learn how much time you need to research and write a paper, get to your classes and jobs on time, fit a workout in your day, and still have something of a social life. Time management is a vital skill. In your professional life, you’ll need to know how to manage your time to meet deadlines, tackle to-do lists, and avoid banging your head against the wall in the process.

Relevant professional experience

Jobs, internships, student organizations, and volunteer projects in your industry will prepare you best for the working world. Do as much as you can to work in your field during college and learn about what you want to do (or in same cases, what you don’t want to do). Your future employer will take your experience as the absolute best indicator for your potential in a new position.

A portfolio proving you can produce work

Keep samples of your best work from classes and internships. Many employers will want to see your work before hiring you. If you’re not building a portfolio through things you’re required to do before you graduate, then produce these things on your own time. Practice writing articles, press releases, pitches, designing publications, compiling clip reports, research summaries, or anything else you might be hired to do. Practice is important. 

The ability to give and receive feedback

Learning to accept praise and criticism is incredibly important. You’ll participate in employee reviews with your boss someday, so the ability to hear different types of feedback, internalize it, and adjust accordingly will matter to your job performance.

It’s also important to learn to how to give feedback to others. When you collaborate with colleagues, you’ll have to offer positive and negative comments on others’ work.

Presentation skills

Offer to be the speaker on behalf of your group in your classes, and learn how to present your projects as an intern. The ability to convey ideas clearly, speak confidently with your bosses, and discuss your experience in interviews will be an important part of your professional life.

Writing skills

It’s sad how many students leave college lacking solid writing ability. Focus on developing this skill, because it will matter in everything from reports to pitches to emails. You don’t have to become a blogger, but finding places to practice writing content and have it edited will really help improve your skills.

Your network

You’ve heard it many times: “Who you know is more important than what you know.” It’s true. (It’s what you need and who you know.) Start building your network right away. Get in the habit of meeting new people, nourishing your relationships, and helping others by making introductions. You are most likely to find job opportunities through your network. Build it!


I’m not saying from this article students should stop going to class, rather quite the opposite. Going to class doing the work and making connections with other students and faculty is the key to success! College is supposed to prepare you for the professional world, just remember to not let the letters on paper defer you from thinking you can’t get the job you want.


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