Does Graduating with Honors Help Your Resume?

 In College Life

For some of us, just walking the stage to collect our diploma brings satisfaction enough. We fulfill a promise to ourselves (and sometimes relatives) to complete a college education. Just finishing is hard enough, let alone graduating at the top of our classes! Magna Cum Laude? More like “Magna Not Happenin’.”

But for others, graduating with honors represents a major step toward graduate work or a career. Some graduates feel that if they don’t land at the top of the Dean’s list there is no hope for a successful career post-graduation. Fierce competition in school drives some to home in on the factors that would make their resume outshine the rest. They plan to let their GPA speak for them.


Does GPA Matter?

While the economic landscape has improved over the last decade, there is still fierce competition in the post-college job market. Some industries are more competitive than others. Investopedia states there are over 100 applicants for each job posting in the financial management and engineering fields. Employers can vet candidates faster when they eliminate those with lower GPAs.

Some people perceive a connection between high GPA or class rank to a level of dedication and passion for perfection. The thought is that higher GPA = Stronger Drive.  A student that spent their Friday nights studying for exams and scoring well on coursework obviously showed dedication a student who spent their Friday nights out with friends lacked.

However, Psychology Today points out that for some students an A+ grade comes easily, whereas others must apply themselves harder. Some fail to consider the students where academic success does not come easily. Maybe not the most studious or attentive, these students graduate in the middle of their class. Still, they might possess the skills to dominate in the workplace.


What if GPA Comes Up in an Interview?

Work It Daily notes that it may be necessary to explain your low GPA in an interview. The linked article provides tips on how to tell your side of the story. While you may never need to explain a low GPA in an interview, a clear plan for the future is your best defense to less than stellar grades.

Nobody knows how the college journey shaped you as a young adult more than you. Recognizing that you put the effort into the coursework, you did the best within your ability that you absolutely could, and regardless of the honors, you still gathered up that diploma with your sweaty palms. You set your course and you’re ready to sail, cum laude or not. This assured self confidence will carry you further than someone with a more easily shaken core, and confidence can trump statistics in some circumstances.


How to Include Honors on a Resume

Should you decide to go for the gold and include your GPA on your resume, follow some best practices. First, prioritize what goes on your resume upon graduation for the best possible first impression. Once you land a job, always keep your resume up to date with your accomplishments earned while in the working world, and let the college recognition begin to fall off the bottom as your career grows.

Work It Daily advises, “Ask yourself if this will matter to an employer in five to ten years. If the answer is no, then it may not be worth mentioning now.”


Graduating with honors can affect the type of job you secure upon graduation. You may miss out on some opportunities for not meeting minimum grade requirements. However, remember that each student’s college experience is different, and so are their graduation plans. Everyone takes a path slightly different than the next, and the destination determines a lot of the preparation needed to succeed.


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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