University Grades Lower than Expected? Don’t Worry .. It’s Not Over!

So semester one uni grades came out last week, and you’ve spent the weekend either celebrating or drowning your sorrows. What now? While having stellar grades is certainly nice to have, plenty of candidates get job offers with less than excellent grades (and I was one of them). Here’s the reality.

1. Up to a point, people just stop caring

Some industries will require a 70+ grade average to be a real contender. These are generally bulge bracket banks or top tier consulting firms.

Good news, plenty of other players in the same space will have more relaxed criteria (including boutique and mid market firms). So don’t write yourself off completely if you’re on the cusp or below this mark. Remember, many companies are expanding the types of university studies / degrees from which they accept candidates from (beyond Commerce, including Law, STEM etc).

Outside of these elite firms, many of the larger employers have much more manageable grade average requirements (generally 65 or above is acceptable).

2. Up Up and Away

It’s always a good story to show an upward progression in your university grades. It’s understandable that the first year of university can be distracting with pub crawls, new friends, social events and these days… not even having to attend classes to pass. If your grades aren’t good in the earlier years of your degree but get better each semester, you can at least highlight that you identified poor habits early on and addressed them accordingly to put yourself in a better position at graduation.

3. Just one part of the story

You will hear this cheesy statement everywhere… but it is certainly true that grades are only one component of your profile.

You can overcome poor grades with amazing experience across part-time roles, extracurriculars or other accomplishments. On the flipside, having a 90 WAM isn’t going to get you a role if you have poor communication skills, zero evidence of teamwork or no achievements to speak to. I’ve seen candidates with the worst grades on the day beat out the others with great personality, attitude and impressive experiences that really set them apart.

So if studies aren’t your thing, make sure you go hard on the other stuff.

Hope this article helps get to you on track with strengthening your game when it comes to recruitment season. More on this in our Applications Series and in future posts.

Enjoy your holidays!