How much do grades and GPA play a role in the amount of success you will have in life?

Answer by Carolyn Cho:

GPA during college is meaningless as it relates to success after college. No one at your job cares about what types of grades you received, they care about what type of performance you will be able to deliver in your work, on the job, in the present.

In ten years of applying to jobs, my GPA has been referred to exactly twice. This was a pretty rude awakening for me, as with limited internships and work experience, a high GPA was the only "achievement" I had as a college graduate.

There are two exceptions I can think of where GPA actually matters. One is if you plan to pursue a career in academia, such as becoming a professor at the university level. For this, you will need a PhD. PhD programs will consider your GPA seriously as it is an indication of your future performance as a doctoral student. As getting a PhD is essentially being a professional student, this makes sense.

The other exception are those rotational programs you see advertised by many large companies and consulting firms, in which recent college grads get rotated through different departments for one year. These programs are quite competitive and often ask for a minimum GPA to narrow down the pool of applicants.

Again, your GPA is meaningless in terms of predicting how much success you will have in your life post-graduation. If there is a correlation between high G.P.A. and high success, this is because the personality type likely to have high grades (hardworking, competitive) are the same likely in a person to achieve professional and financial success.

The person drives the success; high grades are simply a possible side effect.

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