Why College Is More Than Grades

The key to finding a job after college isn't about your GPA; it's what you did during those four years to improve yourself as a person.

College is a time of growth. It’s where we find ourselves laughing at matters we once found important, like finding the right outfit or whether or not your crush likes you back, and worrying about more important things, like getting a job after college and finding financial stability. With these worries comes the concern of how to solve them.

In high school we’re taught the path to success is related to getting good grades. It’s how you become valedictorian, how you get into top colleges, etc. So why wouldn’t the same go for college? But even with all the late-night studying stress, energy drinks, and cramming, the A’s and B’s aren’t going to promise anything. Once your degree is handed to you on graduation day, the job market doesn’t seem as sure as you’d hoped. And after you’ve been to numerous companies, showing them your résumé full of your scholastic achievements, you’re still being passed for the position.

So now you may be wondering: if grades aren’t the only thing employers care about, then what do they care about? Many employers when asked this question want the same thing. So what could this key to landing a job be? Well, the answer is simple: people. Employers want people. They don’t want people who know how to study for tests—they want employees who can relate to people, work well together, and think outside the box. The key to finding a job after college isn’t about your GPA; the key is what you did during those four years to improve yourself as a person.

So now that you know the secret to job success, what can you do to improve your stock among the rest of the potential candidates? In a survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the qualities more than 75% of employers were looking for in candidates’ résumés were leadership skills, as well as their ability to work well in a team structure. The method to improving these skills may seem simple, but that’s because the answer is simple: get involved. Join student organizations, meet new people, and take on challenging roles that would normally scare you. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to join student government or a fraternity or sorority. Student organizations are supposed to be fun, so join something you’re passionate about. Because there’s nothing easier than being involved in something you love.

Now that you’ve become a leader and can work well with others, what are some other attributes employers are looking for? According to an article published by Forbes, employers want people who can communicate well with others not only in the workplace, but out in the world. They also want employees who can take in information and apply it to the task at hand. This is where studying in school and getting good grades is important, especially since it’s one of the top four influential attributes companies look for in future employees. Employers want to know that you can apply yourself to a task with the information you’ve learned, which is the purpose of a test. You take the information the teacher has given you and apply it to the task. So just because grades aren’t the #1 factor in getting a job, it doesn’t mean you can take it easy in class.

Since you’ve learned the keys to getting a job after college, the only thing left to do is actually go out and apply this knowledge. Get involved in student organizations, take leadership roles, talk to your classmates and teachers, and expand your mind. Doing well in school is important, but being well rounded and cultured matters so much more. Employers want people they can have conversations with, not students who only know how to answer questions. They want employees who can provide fresh ideas to old systems of thinking, working with others to achieve those goals. So the next time you get a C on that term paper, just know that your future boss won’t remember you for it. 

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your stance in the comments!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

career search college GPA college grades extracurricular activities finding a job job search job success leadership

About Daren Colbert

I'm a writer, poet, and creator. But most importantly, I'm just a kid with big dreams, looking to make something of them. So hopefully I can help like-minded people with challenges I faced and provide better solutions. Or just good laughs. Laughs are nice too.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

College Matches