Handling the GPA question with a bad GPA.

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of 1 vote

You sound a lot like me. Jst don't focus on it too much. Most tech companies don't care much. Don't discuss it if they don't ask. If they do, say that your marks aren't a good representation of you because they were some time ago and you've changed a lot since then. Mention a lot of the bad marks happened in the earlier years of university, and that you now understand what you didn't understand then. Don't defend yourself too much, just say that and move on. Don't appear to be emotionally affected by the question.

- Anonymous February 14, 2015 | Flag Reply
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of 0 votes

Thanks, this is some good advice!

Truth be told, the head of a PHD program at a (somewhat) prestigious university told me that some of his best students have traditionally had a low undergrad GPA. He gave me a little bit of his theory on the matter, and assured me that it is actually really silly to associate GPA with intelligence. Obviously I'm on the same page as him, but my word wont carry the same weight.

So with that in mind, I tried to get into grad school right out of college. I scored something like 89% on the quantitative section of the GRE and IIRC top 12% overall. Still, failed to make it into any of 7 applied masters programs (ranging from 70-100 rank on the US News College Rankings) and I'm inclined to think that the GRE score was quite good and the low GPA was the deciding factor. Maybe it was overly ambitious of me, but I'm hoping that some real world experience will give me another opportunity at a good grad-school.

So I sometimes get pretty emotional about that. I've had companies refuse to give me a tech test after screening me for what feels like the GPA reason alone. They wouldn't even consider me after that one thing. It's hard for me not to be opinionated about it after that...I mean heck, I sound defensive already don't I? It feels like I haven't been able to escape this thing no matter what I do.

So anyway, I had a screener yesterday that I am thinking went pretty well. The two fellas on the other end seemed to like me just fine, and I handled the anticipated GPA question fairly well, albeit a little long-winded (like this post). We'll see how it goes.

- charstar February 14, 2015 | Flag
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of 0 vote

I had a weak GPA too. I now interview (on the hiring side) quite a lot and I can tell you this: a long-winded and defensive answer is a lot weaker than a short and confident explanation. Practice a short answer and get comfortable with it. Try to reduce your own emotions (easier to say than to do); your own defensiveness will only hurt.

Also, some places just won't ask about GPA. If they ask, have your short prepared answer. But some places won't, so just keep looking.

Or to put it another way: is your defensiveness helping you? If not, then let go of it.

- Tony March 16, 2015 | Flag Reply

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