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Which is more important to a future employer, the grades I receive in my college courses or the number of activities I am involved in at my university?

This Fall I will be an incoming college freshman and am wondering whether I should begin the school year by focusing mainly on my grades or spreading myself out and getting involved with multiple different activities and organizations. #college #career #career-counseling #career-development #job-opportunities


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Kim’s Answer

Neither! They want to know that you can do the job!


College is much different from high school. Especially if you are away from home. I would not join more than two organizations/clubs to start off. Get a feel for the academic load, types of exams, papers you have to write, and all of the studying. Once you understand all of that, you will know your limits.


What is more important than joining organizations is that you take an active role. Employers like to see leadership, planning, directing, coordinating, etc. It does not have to be all the time. For example, you can be the lead person for your organization's charitable activities.


Grades are important. You should strive for nothing lower than a B. And of course, really try for A's!


You don't mention anything about work experience. Take a look around when you start school. See how many people are also in school? All of you will be competing for jobs. All of you will have degrees. What will set YOU apart from them? You will need some work experience. At the very least, get some customer service experience. Most jobs require good "people" skills.


Once you are able to combine work, school, and activities, the next challenge will be your ability to sell yourself on your resume and in an interview. Learn to write and speak! Pay attention in your writing classes, and take at least one speech class! (and perhaps marketing - as that is what you will be doing - marketing yourself).


Put all that together, and you will have a well-rounded education experience that will carry you far!


Best of luck!
Kim


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Gerard’s Answer

That is a somewhat subjective question. Different organizations and HR directors value different criteria.


My personal opinion is to maintain decent grades (2.7-3.5 GPA) while being as involved as possible in extracurricular activities (especially those that relate to your industry/major). Intelligence without EQ and vice/versa are not as valuable as a well rounded individual.


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Theresa’s Answer

Your grades are most important as they represent your understanding of the subject matter and how much you know in your area of expertise. Participating in activities outside of your classes is important and shows you areas of interest and your ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities. You should not take on so many extra curricular activities that it negatively impacts your grades.


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Kenyana’s Answer

Please do not spread yourself out to be in so many activities and clubs that it effects your grades. An employer will most likely want to see that you have excellent grades within your major because it shows that you have an understanding of your industry/field. Try to find a healthy balance between the two or find a couple of activities/clubs that really matters to you to focus on. Hope this helps, good luck!


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