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GPA vs. Experience: An Age-Old Dilemma

March 6, 2020

By Jacqueline Pérez

If you’re reading this article, then it means that you, like millions of students around the world, have been debating a dilemma that has preoccupied most of us at some point in our lives. What do employers look for these days? Should I throw all my focus into schoolwork and get that 4.0, even if that means I won’t have time for anything else? Should I focus on my internships even if it means my GPA to be damned? If I don’t get a job before college will I never be successful?

First, slow down.

There is no rule book; no stone has been engraved with the “sacred rules of the professional world”. To tell you the truth, most people out here are just winging it. That being said, if you’re anything like me, then I know that “winging it” won’t cut it for you. So, what’s the plan? What should you be focusing on during the formative years of your life?

The answer? Balance.

Yes, it really is that simple. And no, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The fun thing about balance is that everybody has their own, and I believe that one of the most important things you’ll learn in these very formative years is how to manage yours.

Having a 4.0 GPA will not necessarily ensure you get any job you apply for – however, it does hold weight. After all, most employers will see it as a measure of academic discipline, and henceforth a measure of productivity. Good internship experiences are just as valuable or even more so. It doesn’t do a company any good to have a person who is great at multiple-choice tests and essays if they have never answered an office phone in their lives.

Simply put, you should prioritize your studies, of course, but not at the expense of gaining professional experiences. Completing at least one internship before you graduate college will mean making it easier for yourself into the labor market.

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