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“Am I Screwed?” Applying for Internships With a Low GPA

low gpa
Nailah Morgan
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Published on March 10, 2014

College happens in a blink of an eye and before you know it you’re sending out graduation announcements. You only have one internship under your belt and you’re afraid that your low GPA will stand in the way of obtaining your dream postgraduate entry-level or internship position. What could you do?

In a recent study, we discovered that sixty – seven percent of employers think GPA is important in student recruiting. If you are interested in interning or working in fields like finance, law, engineering, or computer science, an exceptional GPA is usually required in obtaining a position. Often times hiring managers utilize the GPA to assess problem solving skills and predict applicant success.

If you weren’t the best student in college, struggled maintaining a part-time job, or were buried under too many extracurricular activities, try applying these helpful tips to overcome the upperclassmen “GPA Blues”.

  1. Leave your GPA off of your Resume: Don’t include your GPA unless it is exceptional or the employer specifically asks. In general, if you need a certain GPA to apply, recruiters look for applicants with a 3.0 or greater. Is your major GPA higher? If so, include that score instead!

  2. Perfect your Application: Compensate your low GPA score with a strong resume application. Dazzle hiring managers by demonstrating that you are a well-rounded student with ambition, skill, and leadership ability!

  • Tailor your resume by adding action words detailed on the job description. List phrases like “quick thinking” or “complex problem solving” to demonstrate your communication and technical skills.

An employee referral is the easiest way to separate your resume from the rest. This is your chance to practice your networking skills  in order to boost your application, ultimately landing you the job. Tap into your professional network, and use peers or professors as resources for referrals.  Don’t forget, if you’re referred to a position, mention it in your cover letter. This acts as a “built in recommendation.”

  1. Focus on better opportunities that are a better fit for you: Unfortunately, various firms are strict on GPA requirements. If they require a 3.5, and you have a 2.7, your chances may be slim to none. Apply for internships and entry-level jobs that are flexible with GPA scores, and match your abilities. If you excel at these jobs, you might be able to circle back around to the company you first wished to work for. Seek a counselor who can help you reevaluate your options. You definitely won’t be the first to waltz into the career center with a GPA question.

At the end of the day, if you are unhappy with your GPA, CHANGE IT! Even if you are in the first semester of your junior year or last semester of your senior year, each grade counts. Take your GPA seriously, but understand that it is not everything when applying for certain roles.

Are you screwed? Not exactly. Every internship you apply for won’t require you to list your GPA and many companies who were strict on GPA scores are now evolving. One major company being Google:

“Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.” – Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations

Nailah Morgan

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