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Should I make excuses about my GPA, or suck it up? (longish)

  1. Mar 22, 2008 #1
    Should I make excuses about my GPA or suck it up? (longish)

    I was recently hired by a consulting firm for an intern position. There's been alot of mutual excitement about bringing me on board and getting me involved in alot of their projects.

    So far, everything has been great. They are a tough firm to get in with - considering the notability of their projects, and their national-level consulting work for the federal government.Fortunately, I'm very versatile and I have great assets to pad my resume; various skills with software/hardware, good previous internship, great personal experience like living overseas. Plus, I'm a charming son of a ***** (joking, not really).

    Recently, I had lunch with one of the engineers and he brought up the topic of my GPA. My GPA is not my strong point, because I made some very stupid mistakes. Instead of saying 'it's going good' or something, I blurted out '2.8' (it's a 2.88, to be exact).

    Perhaps it was all in my head, but I almost felt like he grew a little distant from me, after being very endearing and interested in my academic and proffessional development. After all, the majority of their firm has PhDs, and there is only one that I know of among them that has a lowly master's. Clearly, my employers are capable when it comes to academia.

    I can't stop thinking about it for some reason. I feel like some sort of low-GPA-having monster that has invaded a place reserved only for overacheivers and winners. I'm even afraid that they might regret hiring me, and might feel betrayed for thinking I was a great prospect.

    Anyways, enough schitzophrenia (sp?), here are the details of my issue:

    I took my 'easy A's classes at a community college, so the grades do not transfer.
    English 101, English 102, General Chemistry 1, General Chemistry 2, ALL GENERAL EDUCATION CLASSES (18 credits worth)

    I pretty much aced all of those classes, but the grades do not transfer as anything more than pass/fail. I did this because all kinds of retarded people including my parents thought it was a great idea for me to 'save money' by going to a community college.

    Here are my grades from the university.
    Calculus II B
    Intro to **** engineering A
    Physics for engineers B
    Intro to engineering B
    Engineering Econ (1 unit) A
    Computer Prg. for Engineers D

    Here's the real kicker - the computer programming class WASNT EVEN REQUIRED BY MY MAJOR! Without it, I have a 3.3 GPA. I practically took that class for posterity. I only took it because it's accepted by alot of engineering departments, and I wasn't sure what I was going into at the time.
    As you can see, I normally get A's and B's. I'm getting mostly A's and B's this semester (highest grade in my E&M class tyvm). So I'm not completely stupid. Except that I am completely stupid for taking that ****ty computer programming that I didn't need.

    Should I try to sneak some kind of explanation in when speaking to my employer? One of them used to be the civil department head at our U so he's going to be a secondary academic advisor to me. Maybe I can explain why my GPA is not 3.3+, as it rightfully should be. I can only imagine how high my GPA would be if I could factor in the 30-odd credits of A that I transfered from that community college. In fact, my imagination keeps backtracking on me and sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to make myself believe that I didn't make those stupid decisions I made.

    Or, should I just stop worrying about this and not mention anything to my employer? I could easily make the explanation, but it might sound like I'm trying to justify something.

    What do engineers think when they come accross an intern with a 2.8, at the sophomore-about-to-be-junior level?

    Okay now I'm just ranting. Shutting up now.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2008 #2
    whoops. I guess we will think before we speak next time.

    -Stop making excuses and rationalizatons. Your GPA is what it is. You know it, and now he knows it. What can you do about it? Raise it with your future classes. Thats ALL you can do. Period.

    The end.

    Trust me, if they are not happy with you they would have fired you already.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  4. Mar 22, 2008 #3
    Allright! I absolutely agree Cyrus. But should I mention that I have all A's and B's in my major, or not?
  5. Mar 22, 2008 #4
    Did he ask you?
  6. Mar 22, 2008 #5
    Ask what? If I have all A's and B's in my major? nope
  7. Mar 22, 2008 #6
    Then dont waste his time going up to him apologizing for yourself.

    You wont impress him by showing him your gradings in your major. Impress him by doing good work and taking pride in your work.
  8. Mar 22, 2008 #7
    What cyrus said, impress them with your work not your resume.

    and in the future, you can put your major gpa on your resume
  9. Mar 22, 2008 #8


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    Excellent advice there! Before long, your GPA will be meaningless. Okay, so one bad class dragged down your GPA, so what? I've long said I'd rather take a B-average student who has the motivation to work, a positive attitude, and a strong lick of common sense, than the straight-A student who expects to coast on their laurels and is only book smart, but completely lacking in common sense.
  10. Mar 22, 2008 #9
    Thanks. I found your post uplifting.

    I kept annoying my father (he's an engineer) about this today during a family get together and he kept telling me to not worry about it.

    I think I blew the whole thing out of proportion because I wanted things to go so smoothly and am very avid to impress employers.

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm going to focus on doing what I do best - working hard.
  11. Mar 22, 2008 #10
    What kind of schools don't transfer grades?

    I've never heard of that before. In my experience, they either transfer the class, or they don't accept it at all.
  12. Mar 22, 2008 #11
    They transfer the class. But the grade on the class does not factor into your GPA at the university.

    I'm sorry if my previous explanation was misleading.
  13. Mar 23, 2008 #12
    Thats true when I transfered as well.
  14. Mar 23, 2008 #13
    The only thing to worry about is whether or not you deserved that D.
  15. Mar 23, 2008 #14
    So, you transferred and your GPA bounced. That's normal. Recover from it by bringing up your GPA. Take a note from politicians and talk about your strengths, not your weaknesses.
  16. Mar 23, 2008 #15
    I have an excellent GPA if you look at my last 60 credit hours; I've basically aced all my upper division classes. However, my first two years I didn't put in the time required to get good grades. So, I have a great GPA for the last 60 credit hours, and a crappy cumulative GPA.

    I have been able to get interviews with great companies because of my higher GPA, but come time to figuring out my starting salary... it is always on the lower side. The reason for this (as I was explained), is that typically when starting at a job, they give you a base salary, and then adjust it upwards based on various factors. Factors such as leadership roles, past internships, high cumulative GPA all cause it to go up.

    The bottom line is that GPA can and will make a difference for your starting salary. However, if you are actually sitting down at an interview... your GPA doesn't mean anything... you already got through the door! In your case, you already have the job! ... so as Cyrus said, do good work.

    Take this as a learning experience though ;-)
  17. Mar 23, 2008 #16
    Yes sir. I intend to plan things around optimizing my GPA for now on. Also, I'm going to put some thought into coming up with methods to keep track of what I'm studying.
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