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Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


I want to get some honest opinions about my chances in getting a decent job with a sub 3.0 GPA. I'm having a great deal of difficulty finishing my last 400 level courses. Although I did great in my 200 level courses, I'm having difficulty grasping the higher-level concepts and am scraping by with a string of C's. 300 Level courses were B's. When I graduate, I expect to have an overall GPA of about 2.7-2.8. Part of the reason why my GPA is so low is that I haven't done very well in my non-engineering courses either.

All that being said, during my two internships I was noted as being a very hard worker and learned quickly on the job (processes, use of software, but not technical material).

I'm hoping to get some ideas/strategies on how to improve my job outlook. Thanks for any help!!!

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Unfortunately, when companies and hiring managers review resumes of near or recent college grads, the GPA is often the only thing they look at.  

You do have a harder road ahead than one with a 3.5 - that's just a fact (BTW - my GPA years ago was 2.8;  my daughter's GPA 2 years ago was also 2.8, so I know whee you're coming from).

That your GPA is declining rather than improving may add to you difficulty, but only with those few folks who actually look into details (the majority will never see beyong the GPA).

How do you interview?   In simple terms, the only purpose of your resume is to get you an interview, and that's where YOU have a chance to impress the prospective companies.

In the long run, my only advice is:
a) keep trying,  eventually you'll land your first real job,
b) excell at your first real job, and 24 months later no one will give a hoot about your GPA.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Keep your attitude positive.  A lot of engineering managers realize that the C student is the best of both worlds.  I say that because they tend to be accustomed to working harder for what they want than the A student and are more capable of learning than the D student.  They also don't have that annoying superiority complex of the A graduate.winky smile
These are things that I have heard from actual engineering managers.  Blitz the resume and don't give up.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Decide if engineering is something you want to do.  Be honest with yourself and if the answer is yes, decide what "part" of electrical you enjoyed the most and try to find opportunities that will get you there.  Think about the type of work done as an intern, talk to people you worked with there.  They are likely first choices for permanent positions as they already have had a chance to see how you fit within the company.  If they are not willing to hire you find out why.  Use the feedback to improve your chances of attaining a position somewhere else.  Do not dwell on having only an "average" GPA.  If you decide engineering is not for you, be assured that the background you possess is a good foundation for most anything.  

Your resume should reflect that you have received your degree.  I would not put GPA information on it rather leaving that up to an interviewer to ask.  Be prepared to answer honestly.  You note that picking up on technical material was not indicated as one of your internship strengths.  If you try for positions in larger corporations, you may have the opportunity to be mentored.  Smaller firms rely on you to get up to speed quickly.

Good luck and regards,

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

After your first job, your GPA won't mean anything.  However, to land your first job you might hang around an extra semester and take high-credit softball courses like algebra, or geology (rocks for jocks in my school).

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

As above; focus on your positive attributes and put your best foot forward.  Do you not understand the concepts, or do you have trouble with the "canned" tests.  Once you get into the real world, as a hard worker, you may be fine.  I had a 2.8 myself, but the real thing I got from college was to learn how to learn, so I frequently am counted on to take up new challenges and have done well.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

After your first job, your GPA won't mean anything.  I've been out of school for quite some time now, and in my last job switch (which happened at ~7 years out) the company I was hired by had a 3.0 GPA minimum.  I don't know whether they would still have hired me if I didn't meet the minimum - I do know that I had to both sign a form saying I swear I did better than that AND provide a transcript to back it up.  

My personal opinion is that such policies can exclude some of the best engineers.  Perhaps someone didn't get good grades because he was working 60hrs a week to pay for school (and carrying a full load), but excels in practical applications of his schoolwork?  Is that guy a worse candidate than someone with a parent-sponsored 3.5 who spent his weekends partying, and had the extra cash to buy notes at the bookstore and hire a tutor for each class, and turned in all the homework on time but really doesn't know what it all means?

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

When it came to applying for my first graduate job, my degree result meant my resume wouldn't have made it past the first HR filter. However, I'd spent some time working for the company before my degree so I applied straight to the engineering manager. He didn't care what results I got and he knew I was capable from the work I'd done before so I got straight in there. And when lay-offs were on the cards 18 months later, the next company didn't look at my degree results.

Would you be able to go back and get a job where you did your internships? Or could you use the contacts you made in those places to find a job later? Its been said before on this site but the best way to find a job is networking. Contacts that know you personally and know your strengths will help more than an anonymous GPA.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Any job openings at the companies that you interned for?

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

A recent grad's GPA figures huge in most interviews - it is all we have to go by.

Sure, internships help. But, if it wasn't at "My" company, it is hard to tell what the real work you did was. Were you playing softball most of the time, or actually contributing to a project?

For me, the fact that your GPA is going downwards would raise flags. Most student's GPA come up. Party first year. Catch up on missed work second year. Doing well third year. Doing well or better fourth year.

In the later years, students are asked to "think" more, to use what they know and apply it more. In fourth year, you typically have a design project. These are the skills that most engineering firms need. If you don't know the information, you can look it up. If you don't know what to do with the information, or can't process it, then there is a greater problem.

On the other hand, 2.7 or 2.8 isn't too low (I am assuming your GPA is out of 4?). High light what you do well, and your other accomplishments.

I would also advise that you be prepared to look for work beyond the hiring process at your school. You may need to look for yourself. Start with the company you interened for. Talk to your old manager - he will have friends that he may recommend your resume to. Talk to your parents, friends, etc.

Good Luck.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I've got about 3 years under my belt, and I was in a similar situation to you upon graduation, ie. a 2.8 GPA, the only difference was that I got better as I went along.
In my case I didn't even put my GPA on my resume which may been a bad idea, b/c I should have highlighted that I did very well in my last two years to ease the interviewers worries.
In the end my GPA didn't mean squat b/c I got a job primarily b/c I knew someone who knew the engineering manager. I got laid off from that job 14 months later and the second place to hire me on didn't blink an eye about my GPA.

An interesting trend though, it took me 4 months to find my first job out of university, 2 months to find my second and no time to find my present job (my second employer shut down and I started here the next day).

The only time I can see your GPA being a problem is if you want to go to grad school with less than about 5 years of experience under your belt. Any more than that and they won't really care, especially if you have taken some continuing education courses (and done well) in between.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Okay, ShiftF4, let’s role play.  You just sat down for the interview; we got the pleasantries out of the way. Now the question,

“I see you are having difficultly in your senior level courses.  Why is that?”

Take a few minutes and try to answer this on the forum as you would in the interview.  Then we will give you some tips / comments based upon your answer.

Some follow up questions from me would be:

“How will you overcome a general lack of theoretical knowledge?”

“How do you approach your design projects? Especially if it is in an area of knowledge you are weak in?

“Is there anything you can tell me from your internships that would offset your difficulty with senior level EE classes?”

ShiftF4, please note that a lot of interviewers will look at what those classes were you were having trouble in…..if for instance you can’t do circuit boards but can do power and my company is in the high power business, then you are probably okay.

But if you have low grades across the board in all senior level EE courses, then it is not too late to consider a new major.  If you swapped over to IE for instance and made awesome grades, then I would be impressed that you were willing to work at it and finally found what you were good at….overall GPA would not matter in that case.


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

My professor once told me:

Students with 4.0s will get their PhDs and become professors
Students with 3.0s will get a job, working for someone
Students with 2.0s will start their own company and hire the 3.0s

I graduated with a 2.6 and four offers.  How did I do it?

-I went to every career fair offered by the school.  
-I looked at all sources that had job postings (i.e. Craigslist, Monster, Eng-Tips, etc).  
-I submitted my resume to every job posting that I was qualified for.  
-I went onto company's website to see if they're hiring.  
-I interviewed with whoever gave me an interview.  
-I worked on my interview skills by interviewing with companies that I knew wouldn't hire me, i.e. sales management positions ( I had a lot of sales jobs including a sales management internship).
-I didn't list my gpa on my resume and when they asked what it was, I gave them my reason, i.e. "Before I tell you my gpa, (insert reason).  My gpa is (insert gpa)."

I hope that helps...

BTW, I graduated 3 months ago and have been working for a company with a minimum gpa of 2.75.


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

forgot the exception for libras and scorpios...

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


I heard it this way:

The professor said,

"Be nice to the PhDs, they bring in research grants."
"Be very nice to the MSs, they teach the students."
"Be especially nice to the BSs, they build the university."

Good luck,

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Shift, I can tell you that from the other side of the mark, it's not all roses either.  I graduated long ago with a very good GPA, but that didn't really seem to impress anyone at the time.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

It's funny but that comment is really true, all my friends at uni with 4s went into grad school right after uni...to become professors, all the 3s found jobs fairly quickly and are happy being sedentary and me...I was a 2.85, I spend most of my days at hoem and at work (in management or something resembling it...I don't know how I got that)thinking about what sort of business I can start.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Does your school break out your major GPA and your overall GPA?  For instance, when I graduated, I had a 2.995 overall GPA (they won't round up on my transcript - it's listed as 2.99).  I was slightly over a 3.0 in my engineering coursework and slightly under in my gen-ed coursework.  You said that many of your non-engineering (gen-ed) courses are pulling you down.  You may want to mention only your engineering coursework GPA on a resume (but spell it out that way).

Personally, I didn't put my GPA on my resume.  I felt that, if the company was more concerned with how I did test-wise and not how I fit into their picture, then it wasn't a place I wanted to work.  It's a bit of a utopian point of view, but it's worked well for me.  That being said, I never had a problem telling them my overall GPA and my major (engineering) GPA as well as explaining that I brought it up in the last 1.5 years of schooling.

2.8 is not a bad GPA to have.  It may cause a bit of concern up front, but I tend to think that experience, interview skills, and proven ability are more important than some stupid little number.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I can whole heartedly see where you concern is.  I myself was in the same situation, possibly worse than you but there is hope.  I graduated in Fall 2003 from a 4 year Engineering College that I started in Spring of 99.  Well if you do the math you can see that I graduated a semester late.  As fate would have it I didn't even graduate with an Engineering degree.  I did start my initial two years under the engineering program, passed the preliminary classes but was put on academic suspension for low grades.  Mind you it was not due to partying as I'm not that sort of person but thats how my cards were dealt.  After a semester off, I decided that I should leave the engineering program to stave off the possibility of even lower grades upon return which, in turn would result in another year long suspension.  Well after this huge wake up call, it was nose to the grindstone having to do summer school every summer just to catch up since I switched out majors and was basically undeclared half way through my college career.  After having many doors closed in front of me and countless of people saying that there was no hope of graduating in four years with what you could hardly call a decent GPA I was in a huge rut.  Now it is in my nature to build things and I love to do that sort of work so my heart was still set on landing an engineering job.  In the end I brought my overall GPA to a 2.94 but my in-major GPA was considerably higher at 3.76 and my two minors at 3.52 and 3.54.  Compare those numbers to the 0.8 GPA (yes you are reading it correctly) that I earned the semester I got put on academic suspension.  After a year of unrelated work, I managed to land an Engineering job eventhough I didn't graduate with an engineering degree. These factors (as others have mentioned) helped me:

Motivation and wanting to do Engineering work (ie. applying for engineering jobs I know I wouldn't get but landed some interviews).

Knowing how and what to say during the interview process either on phone and ultimately in-person.  Highlight your strengths and explain what happened in your situation and what you did to overcome those past obstacles.  As a previous poster had mentioned, if your college splits up overall and in-major/minor GPA's highlight whichever one is higher during the interview.  I sure did!

Having the motivation and ability to learn and adapt to change and new experiences (ie. being a fast learner and wanting to know everything about a job, problem, etc not just provide end results without understanding the aggregate picture).

Contacts and networking also plays a big part in where you end up.  Be professional with all you meet and don't burn your bridges because those people can be vital contacts in landing your next job.  Sometimes its who you know and not what you know and while I have my own reservations on that issue, it usually turns out to be true.

I hope my experience can help to enlighten you on your situation and help you overcome all the negativity you may feel, have felt or my encounter.  Its been a struggle for me too but I can honestly say that I am happier at my new job.  It may take a while but with perseverence you will see it through.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Consider also the reputation of the school.  Employers know the difference between a 2.5 at a good school and a 3.9 at a diploma mill.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I don't think that a 2.8 GPA is that bad at all.  Engineering is a tough program to get through.  I think that you have pretty good grades considering the program you are in.  I graduated with a 2.95 and I got a job right out of college.  I think the fact that you have had 2 internships is VERY good.  That alone with your decent GPA should make you stand out in the job market.  Especially if the internships are willing to give you good reviews.  Finding a job is tough for anyone these days.  Be persistent and keep pluggin' away at it and I'm sure you'll be able to get a job offer that you'll be satisfied with.

Plus, as "pse" mentioned above, you have a good background for just about anything.  Be glad you chose a solid career path like engineering.  I have friends who were english majors in college and they got straight A's and they couldn't find a job at all.  My wife has a psychology degree and she doesn't have many options available to her either.  Whenever I browse for jobs, I see tons of jobs that I'm qualified for.  There is a lot of opportunity out there for you even outside of engineering.  So if you have trouble finding an engineering job for a while, find something to tide you over in the meantime and keep sending out resumes.  I have a friend that did terrible in engineering.  He barely graduated.  He probably had around a 2.0 GPA.  He didn't have any internship experience either.  He didn't get a job right out of college.  He had to settle as a data entry clerk for a few years (which I'm sure pretty much sucked) but then ,after much persistence and patience, he finally landed an engineering job.  So if HE can do it, I'm sure you can.

What about the internships you worked at?  I knew a lot of students who got there first full-time jobs by becoming permanent hires at the same place they had their internships.  They already know you're a hard worker.  It would be a good back-up plan at least.  Good luck.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Just to clarify, for someone who came from a school with marks in percents, and from a different era.

2.8 GPA out of 4 is about 70%?

The passing mark for my degree is 60% average, with no more than 2 courses below 50% in  a given semester.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I don't remember my GPA... I think it was 2.65... no one ever asked about it. My technical concentration studies were 4.0 and 3.8s. But I got a poor grade in some silly management course.

My graduate level courses were better... 3.somethings.

Don't sweat it... it is what it is.

I own my own company, I don't hire graduates at all. I hire people that work.


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Quote (FACS):

I own my own company, I don't hire graduates at all. I hire people that work.
No offense FACS, but it is nice that not everyone follows this mentality.  If they did, we'd have quite the Catch 22 situation on our hands.

That being said, I understand and appreciate your general premise of wanting experience over education.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I would recommend you to go abroad. It would broad your horizons, would give you an international experience that all employers like and after a while nobody cares about your GPA.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I would like to give you some perspective on your delima, from a guy who is probebly old enough to be your grandfather. When you talk about GPAs you are only talking about a small time frame in your life. yes it's nice to get high GPAs but believe me, it's not the whole story by a long shot. I graduated high school with a "C" average, I only did that because I loved playing baseball and football, I really never had any mentors and my parents worked all the time to put food on the table. I never had any thoughts of going to college because I didn't think I was smart enough, so I joined the Marine Corps and I found I really loved it and I was good at it this gave me so much confidence in myself that I was able to win the distinction as the best Individual Marine in competitions held over a 3 day period. Little by little I was building confidence in my ability to do better in life and become somebuddy I could like and respect.  When I got out of the servive I found the perfect life mate had two boys and started working at North American Aircraft as a template maker. I went through a series of layoffs so I decided to learn a trade I could depend on. I went to a community college and took all their air conditioning classes and received my AA degree in 1962 By this time I got a job at Aerospace Corp as a "B" mechanic on 2nd shift and my job consisted of carrying a vacuum cleaner mop and bucket where I would lean and vacuum out the plenums and clean the boller rooms. I wqs in heaven because I was actually working around real and big equipment. I kept going to college and got another AA Dergee in Electronic tTechnology because even back in 1965 I knew the future would be in electronic controls. Moving along, I worked in many places, for many contractors and I always went to some type of class in this field. I became a member of the United Association, Local#250 and got certified many times in various aspects of the trade. Then in 1972 I got employment wirh the County of Los Angeles as a service mechanic reponsible for a service area consisting on various large buildings uch as Court houses, sheriff stations,probation camps, hospitals, if you can think of it the county probably has one. we were also required to do some steamfitting.This story could go on for many pages but the point I'm trying to make is that if you want to be an Engineer bad enough than that's what youl be no matter what. By the way I happen to teach HVACR part time at the very community college I graduated from why back when, and I love it and I love all my students, many of whom come from well shall I say .. not the best of ircumstances. But Hay, what a pleasure when they really start to get it. Life is good ,especially when you believe in yourself

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

One of the very best engineers I know graduated from college back in the early '80s with a 1.9 GPA.  It was tough in general to get a job back then, but he eventually did and later got his MS from a top school.

Meanwhile I have worked with some very muddle-headed 4.0ers who could not engineer themselves out of a paper bag.  I attribute this, in part, to the grade inflation that has occurred over the years.  But it is also due to the fact that engineering is an art that one either feels in his or her bones or doesn't.

The most important thing to do when you get your first job is to ask lots of questions and make sure you have the right idea about what is expected.  You do not have to know everything; you just have to be aware of what you do not know, and you have to figure out how to get the answer.

Take every assignment seriously.  Even if someone gives you some xeroxing (not an uncommon assignment for a junior engineer), ask if the copies should be collated, 3 hole punched, stapled, etc.  Before presenting the finished product, check them scrupulously to make sure nothing is missing or upside down.  Do this and you will soon have a reputation for being responsible.  The more worthy assignments will come rolling in.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

You may have a hard time at first, but then you have to expect that.  No one knows you at this point, all they have is a GPA which is not very good whether or not it accurately represents you.  After reading this thread I notice most of the people saying GPA doesn't matter also had their own bad GPA, and then proceed to try to underrate or knock down those who actually did good in class.  That all sounds like excuses to me.  Don't make excuses and don't try to bring down someone else just to make yourself feel better about your own short comings.  I'm not saying you're doing that per se, but that's just a bad mindset to be in.  Believe me that for every 4.0 who can't do squat there's a dozen with a 2.0 who still can't do squat.

Anyway, in most of these stories, you also notice they went on to do better, meaning they didn't stay the same mediocre or poor student but rather changed their work habits, work ethic, or what-have-you.  Of course, some didn't or don't and still slack and make excuses.  What's important from all of this is you have the opportunity to overcome a bad mark and compensate for everything.  It will take some work but that's to be expected and can certinaly be done if you want it bad enough.  Good luck!

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Well, I graduated with a 2.41 GPA (out of 4.00), which is prett much horrible.  I withdrew one semester because I was doing poorly and I had a few Fs.  Also, we had a zero credit-hour seminar every semester that I skipped almost every semester.  I also got Fs in those, however, they didn't count on my GPA, but they looked bad.

I had to work 40 hours throughout college and I had some personal issues with drinking and a horrific break-up.

Somehow, with those crappy grades I was able to land a job at a very respectable consulting firm within 3 months of graduating.  They apparently didn't hire anyone with less than a 3.0 GPA.  

The point is that the GPA is just a guideline.  It's basically to get your foot in the door for an interview.  Once you get that interview it's up to you.  Regardless of whether you have a 4.0 or a 2.0, you will get the job if they like you and you seem competent.  In entry-level positions you don't need a lot of technical skills anyway.  Usually, they will mold you to what you need to be doing and you'll be trained, and all of your work will be checked.  For that reason, they usually don't need a genius.  

So, the secret to finding a good job (or any job) is to blow them away in the interview.  Remain calm and act confident.  I think that I was able to get my job because I was so calm and confident in the interview.  I was almost certain that I wouldn't get the job (because of the GPA requirements), so I was not nervous at all.  I was at ease and this allowed me to be myself and I think the employers saw that and liked it.

Good luck

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Quote (ShiftF4):

Part of the reason why my GPA is so low is that I haven't done very well in my non-engineering courses either.

I put two different GPA's on my resume:  My overall and my engineering course GPA's.  I did this because I was in the same boat.  I had a higher GPA in my major than I did overall.  Mainly because I had some real bad grades lingering from my first major (computer science) and it was bringing down my average.  Most likely your prospective employers won't give a rat's behind about how well you did in "sociology" or "intro to music" or "anthropology" or any of those elective non-engineering classes.  So it would definitely be a good idea to distinguish between your major GPA and overall GPA on your resume.  I imagine it would increase your chances of being considered.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

It seems that alot of people here had a problem with their non-engineering electives. I must be the odd one out, I used those courses to boost my marks, except philosophy (shudder), I hated philosophy, I couldn't understand a thing.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I am with you on this one ziggi, the non-engineering courses were great because you had to do little to no work and they boosted your GPA.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Ziggi, Philosophy is the only course I got a "D" in. OK, so were not philosophers. However, I love to give advice!! should'nt I at least got a "C" :>)

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

My stoner friends managed to pull off A's in philosophy, I got a D+, apparently drinking doesn't allow you to appreciate philosophy as much as other recreational habits do.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

With hindsight to my advantage, I can suggest that you remove all distractions in your college career. I was B+ until I joined a tech fraternity; then it went down to C+. The only advantage I could project in my resume was being active on campus with ASME and part-time jobs in the registar's office and the ME dept. I got good references that way.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering.  My GPA was around 2.4.  I worked all through college and was in a Fraternity.  Needless to say my activities sometimes got in the way of my studies.  I pulled a 3.0 my last year and did a Summer Intership.  
I landed my first job from a friend of family and got fired after 6 months!  My next job was through a temp agency which gave me very good experience at a small engineering consulting firm, and was a much better job fit.  They hired me temp to perm after 3 months.

You'll find the right job fit after interviewing at several places.  My experience is only one company asked to see my transcript.  

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I wouldn't stress out about a 2.8 if you have good internships to back you up.  I had several great internships throughout college in the two fields I wanted to work (environmental and chemical).  Even though my grade point average wasn't stellar, two of the places I interned at told me I could have a job after graduation if I wanted one.  However, during my senior year I panicked, like you, about my grad point average and whether I would be a good engineer.  One of my professors convinced me to enter the master's degree program.  By the time I finished, I was more confident in my engineering ability and earned a higher grade point average (3.5).  

When I went out and interviewed, I found a few people really cared about grade point averages (engineers with PhD and PE) but most people cared more about my past internships and my references.  During my 5 years working, I have met engineers that are very book smart but were completely useless when placed in a field or plant situation.  I have also met engineers that weren't at the top of their class but know process/equipment/etc inside, outside, and probably in their sleep.  

If you are willing to work hard, someone will take a chance on you.  Even if you don't like the first (or sometimes the only) job offer you get, learn what you can and use that experience to move onto another job.  
-AW (chemical and environmental engineer)

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Painted on the roof of the labs, and visible from the ME building, was my favorite piece of grafitti: "You can still get a job with a 2.0".

Big companies, that get lots of resumes, will use GPA as a first pass filter.  Look at smaller companies, especially somewhere that you might have a personal connection.

Alternatively you could stick around school another year.  I got my MS degree, and landed a much better job than I would have had I left immediately after my BS.  I attribute it more to the maturity I gained that year than to the piece of paper.  It might be worth your while to postpone graduation to take more classes and raise your GPA.


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Quote (bvanhiel):

It might be worth your while to postpone graduation to take more classes and raise your GPA.
Or to just avoid the mundane drudgery that is a 9-5 gig :)  All those ads that tell you to 'Stay In School' are dead on.  The real world ain't all it's cracked up to be...

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

The HR manager who hired me for my first job once told me she would rather see a 3.0 GPA with some campus activities (engineering groups, government participation, etc.) than a 4.0 with no activities.  I had a 3.1 out of 4.0 which I spent 3 years raising to after my abysmal 2.3 freshman year.  However, the lady who replaced that HR manager wouldn't consider anyone with less than a 3.3 for an open position that later came up.  

So it really depends on the company and the person doing the screening and hiring.  I have found what is most important is to get your resume into the right hands.  Most hiring managers will not look at your GPA first, where the screening (HR) manager will use GPA to dwindle down the resumes to a manageable number.  The person who is making the hiring decision will take notice that you used your time and resources to get your resume directly to them.  That usually will earn you at least an interview and then you have a chance to explain why your GPA is not as high as others.

Try to draw attention on your resume to your two internships and your accomplishments there and on-campus activities.  After your land your first job, nothing but having earned your degree will matter so drop your GPA from your resume.  It won't be an issue after that with most companies.  Someone above said to focus on smaller companies, and that is probably your best bet for your first job.  Good luck.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

First of all, count me as one who thinks a high twos GPA is good enough in engineering.  From my experience getting good at your job relies partly on intelligence, but a lot on effort.  My boss once said we need A-players and C-players.  The C-players get more mundane work, but are often ok with it.  If your boss hires you thinking you will be a C-player, you will be able to change his mind over time if you want to.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Grades don't usually measure common sense or work ethic.  Give me an engineer with a 2.5 GPA, common sense, and a good work ethic any day over a 3.5 GPA without either of the other two assets.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

It depends on what job you're doing.

If it's a judgement call kinda job, yeah, common sense prevails over GPA.

But low GPA probably means not so good at doing calculations on paper.  For a design job, I wouldn't want someone who's not so good at doing calculations on paper.


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RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


I agree with you about judgement calls and common sense but not the part about low GPA meaning poor calculations.  A low GPA could mean the student was just not good at or interested in physics, calculus, fluid mechanics, chemistry, or EE.  However, that same student could have done very, very well with structures, soil mechanics, transportation, hydraulics, surveying, etc.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

That's where upperclass & underclass GPA (or major concentration vs. "other") comes in, and except for online forms, one can usually manage to squeeze in a subdivided GPA (I've done it myself).  If someone has over a 3.0 in upper-division classes, that's great.  If they were a consistent 2.5 all the way through, that's a different story.

The original poster in this thread was getting worse and worse grades as the classes got more advanced.  To me that's a bad sign--as one specializes more and more in one's chosen area, one should be doing better and better.  I really don't see that as a "no big deal" situation.  Again, unless it's not the kind of job that requires deep analysis or calculation skills.


Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

The only problem with making judgement calls as part of your job, is that you have to have a reason behind those judgements.  Typically a young engineer will double check things with a quick calculation as they do not have the experience to draw on when making judgement calls.  In this case, the original poster is a fresh graduate, and therefore does not have the experience, and if their grades were getting worse with the more advanced classes, might not have the necessary critical thinking skills to solve real life situations.  From my experience, the advanced classes became more like the real world, as the problems did not state the equation needed, the known data, and the required solution as the basic classes did.  You had to search for information and make a lot of judgement calls.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I graduated with a GPA of 2.8 last year while many of my friends and classmates (as far as I know) graduated with at least a 3.0 (and were employed by the time they graduated).  I didn't have a job when I graduated and didn't land a job until 4 months later.  Like you, I've had problems with the higher-level courses.  Not that I don't understand the concept it's just that the grades are weighted too much on the tests - I'm a terrible test-taker.  I learned that tests and exams are just there to see how well you memorize what you learn.  They don't test you the concepts.  At least, that's my experience.  Besides, what are the chances of "remembering" everything when you get into the real world?  References are everywhere, they are there to be used.  Like you, I wasn't very confident about find a job, even landing an interview would be a dream.

I landed a job 4 months later and have been here for over 6 months.  I didn't put my GPA on my resume and all the companies I interviewed with didn't bother asking me about my GPA.  Of course, it also depends on what type of companies you interview with.  The more competitive the company the more likely they will be looking at your GPA.  If you try small companies they are less likely to care about your grades (in my experience).  I put all my experiences on my resume and apparently that has impressed my employer.

Up until this day, my employer believes I am talented even though I do not think so myself - because of what I graduated with.  This is enough for me to feel more confident about myself and my career goals.  Even my previous professor didn't think 2.8 was that bad!  It's a B- :)

Here's another story: a friend of mine graduated with a 3.5 GPA (or higher)...she didn't find a job until 4 months later after graduation as well.  I saw her resume and it looked impressive, I just didn't understand why it took her so long.

If you're not too keen on large/competitive companies, I would think you have just as much of a chance of landing a job as a student who graduates with a 3.5 and above.

Good luck!

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Quick question, was reading the thread (because I found the topic interesting) the one thing that held me up is I kept having to get my calculator to work out what 2.7/4 was.

Up in Canada (and many other places) we use a % based grading system, what is the history and purpose of the 4 point GPA system?

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

A, B, C, D converts to 4, 3, 2, 1.  Makes it possible to get a numerically averaged grade


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I was told some GPA are out of 3. Is that true IRstuff?

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
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RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

And some are out of 5.  But most are out of 4.  There should be some fine print on the transcript explaining what the scale is, but no one reads it.

My sister's high school switched to some kind of unusual system (I forget exactly what) in which the numbers came out looking lower for a certain performance level than for most other high schools.  Surprise, surprise--hardly anyone that year got into really good universities.  No one reads the fine print.


Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Reading the above responses strengthen my opinion that examination is not always the best way of testing ones capability to perform.
Most people even with poor GPA in school they excell in their carrears,There are many instances where people with lower grades performing much better in job interviews.
My advice to you is to try and develop confidence in yourself and have a mindset that you will succeed.
Good luck.


RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Interesting points everyone.

I wonder how many of us here who hire/have hired university/college graduates (people without professional experience), have also used a "cutoff" rule (eg GPA above 2.9 only) to reduce all the resumes that comes across our desk, to determine who we interview?

"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater."   
Albert Einstein
Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

It all depends on the person, personally I'm a visual person, I did horribly in my first year at univ b/c all the tests were on theory. For some reason unless there's an example present I cannot learn theoretical knowledge. As the years wore on I got excellent marks in my tests b/c they became more about application and troubleshooting than about the derivative of the stress of a cube in space with various forces acting on it in x,y,z directions etc etc. My friends who did well in the theory were struggling with the application though and their marks dropped as a consequence.

For the same reason I don't do standarised tests very well, without a clear background/framework to the question I cannot properly evaluate the problem. I think it's b/c I cannot accept the logic the question is trying to force on me, I intuitively know that a beam cannot hover in midair with forces acting on it, I need to know what the beam is attached to b/c I know that it relates to the answer.

Hopefully I'm not the only freak who thinks this way :)

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Take the FE exam ASAP.  Passing that will aide in your quest.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

In the interview for my current job I was asked what my GPA was....."I looked the interviewer (President of the Co) right in the eye and said "I was a very solid C student, sir!"

Be confident....you can do it.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

alright guys, doesn't a lower GPA mean that the student has a slightly weaker grasp of the engineering concepts/fundamentals??  this suggests that you don't value what is taught in college coursework or that its not that critical to getting a job done.  i'm just not seeing how a 2.5 is more desirable than a 3.5.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

flch95, yes and no.  A lower GPA usually does mean a weaker grasp of the fundamentals, but not always.  At my previous job, I actually used about 5% of everything that I learned in college while on the job.  Everything else was on-the-job training or self-taught as the need arose.  The degree signified that I had the capacity and background knowledge to apply and learn what I needed to.  I dare say most companies are that way, and they want the new grads like that so that they can mold them a certain way.

I don't think that anyone has suggested that a 2.5 is more desirable than a 3.5.  However, for some companies a 3.5 isn't always more desirable than a 2.5 either.  The GPA is just another tool to pick the right person.  Some companies use it to pare down the pile of resumes, some don't care.  I am sure that a lot of companies have passed over some excellent candidates because their GPA was too low (or too high) but they have always found someone they thought was a good fit.  Sometimes they are wrong, there's no perfect system.  As an example, when I was interviewing with companies after my MS, one company (who I thought sounded really cool-defense contractor) asked me in my interview if I had ever received any D grades in my classes and why.  I explained to him why I thought I had not done well enough in the couple classes where I received D's.  It seemed like that interview was cut very short.  The other companies I interviewed with never even asked for a transcript.  I can't imagine a better fit for me than my current job and the D I got in Physical Chemistry will not be noticed by my boss (but it still dragged down my GPA a little).   

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

"on the job training", never heard of it..its a nice concept though, lol!!

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Its been my experience (from knowing what has happened to buddies from college):

If you have a low gpa from doing the bare minimum to pass the courses mixed with poor study habits: You'll be just fine in landing a job (although perhaps not as quickly as those with higher gpa's) and establishing a career as you've probably developed good social interaction skills from spending too much time in bars and chasing women.

If you have a low gpa because you truly lack the mental capacity to understand and apply engineering priciples and concepts no matter how much you study....then don't expect to land a job anytime soon.

*Put the laziest man on the hardest job....and he'll find the fastest way to get it done.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

Senseless a star for that truly accurate statement at the end of your post. Laziness leads to a better, quicker, cheaper way to do something, but only if you HAVE to do it.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


IMHO, it depends on what the GPA is measuring and what the courses taken are and who the students holding the GPA are.  I don't know how true this is but some schools use certain courses for grad work while others use the same courses for undergrad work.  

If GPA measures how well one understands the basic concepts of engineering, tell me why is it that a (engineering) classmate of mine with a 3.5 GPA had a hard time trying to explain the basic concept of engineering to me?  Her answer was "I don't know why the solution is that, it just is".  Either I've been asking way too complicated questions or she just had no idea what I was talking about.

I have a low GPA, how hard of a question would it be asked by someone like me?

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

What the GPA does not take into count is the social aspect of school.  I believe my GPA in Beer and Parties was higher than in the academic portions.  That being said, my GPA was held down by things such as a 5 credit D in Chem.. I did not want to take that again, so I left it.

The social aspect is definitely key in many ways, and likely means more than the GPA.  You have graduated, so you have shown competence.  When you get to the interview, you need to show you are socially competent to be able to work among the rest of us.

I was flown out to an interview, with my 2.? GPA, and following the interview was told, “You seem normal.”  Three weeks later, I was moving to start my new job.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...

I've found that who you know is far more important that what you know.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


i think that's more cliche..the times i've actually known someone, it never really made a difference.  i've gotten more interviews and interest from jobs advertised (even on monster) than any other source..of course the pool of applicants was incredibly huge though.

RE: Graduating soon but with poor GPA...


I've had 4 jobs.  The first I found via a campus interview.  The rest all came from networking.

Somewhere there's a statistic on how many people had to turn down a job before it ended up in the want ads.  It certainly encouraged me to find the inside track.


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