The One Thing That Matters More Than Grades or SAT Scores
When I was young I though my future depends on three things:
- SAT scores
Once I graduated, I realized none of that really matters.
It’s kind of sad that I spent as much time as I did worrying about SAT scores and GPA scores. I wish I would’ve spent my time learning how to program or building my first website. Or even learning to play the guitar.
Grades were crucial to get into a “good” school, but once you’re in there all this stuff is pretty irrelevant.
So What Does Matter?
Experience, plain and simple.
What do you bring to the table as an intern or as an employee? What can you do for the company? What value to you bring?
What’s your potential?
As someone who has hired interns and scanned resumes, I’ll tell you this much: GPA didn’t matter one bit. What mattered was the personality and the skills we would get if we picked one person over another.
It’s the reason you see kids getting drafted my Major League Baseball teams even when their numbers aren’t very good: the teams see the skill and the potential and they pay up for it, regardless of what the numbers say.
If you’re young and in college (or about to go to college), what do you do with this advice? Should you stop studying and get Cs from now on because grades don’t matter?
I would advice against that. Grades matter in the sense that they show how well you can play within a system.
If you can navigate the collegiate education system successfully, then that means something. It says you’re aware of what’s going on around you and you’re capable of figuring out the rules and succeeding.
This counts for something.
But my advice is to start making things you’re proud of.
Whether it’s a blog or art or a novel or a new way to use Excel—just start making things you think are cool. Things you would be proud to share with your friends.
You’ll develop some skills. You’ll have things to put in your portfolio. You’ll become more valuable.
You’ll be 10 times more interesting and twice as valuable then the other guy who comes in with his chin high because he has a perfect GPA and knows how to take a test.
Image by Mark Gstohl