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Graduate with Bad Grades or Repeat a Year?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the student-dilemmas dept.

Education 277

An anonymous reader asks: "I'm a CS Student within one year of graduation. Due to financial reasons, I've been working on a full time basis for the past 2 years, and I've worked on an open source project. This has brought me from the B's and A's of my first two years of college to somewhere in the mists of C's and lower. I now have enough money to sustain myself for two years of schooling. I've got two choices: repeat one year, repair all my bad grades and graduate with better grades but with a mark that I repeated one school year; or graduate with lower grades but with no repeated year. I'd like to know the opinion of recruiters out there: if you had two candidates which ranked similarly during the interviews, would you choose someone who repeated classes for higher grades?"

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Yes. (4, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19622951)

Showing that you had the drive to go back and do better, scoring higher, and learning even more, would be enough to show me that you had motivation which could translate to the job. Of course, the problem is I probably wouldn't even look at your grades -- I might just check to see if you graduated and choose to check into other qualifications. In which case you might be wasting a year by going back, because that's one more you could've had either looking for the right job or already being in the right job and making money.

Sorry I couldn't be more help :)


Focus on the Open Source project. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623035)

The degree is good, but it isn't worth any where as much as the demonstration of your coding skills and how well you can work with others.

Just graduating is sufficient IF you can show solid code, good practices and the ability to work with others on that project.

I'd lead with the project and just leave everything else as resume filler.

Re:Focus on the Open Source project. (0)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623411)

There is no better choice than to repeat your courses and prove mastery. Period.

Besides, now you can learn extra material with the savings during the courses.

Re:Focus on the Open Source project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19624065)

Kinda. There are two types of places that hire.

1) Look of qualified candidates: Engineers do the final interviews, and find out what you actually know. Past experience will matter some here, grades usually don't matter much. You'll usually be expected to jump into the job running, with some minimal training.

2) Look for grades/experience: HR or Managers do the interviews, and you better have above a 3.0 or you won't even be considered unless you wrote a program that turns wood into solid gold. Once you get the interview with your 3.0, you can show what you know, and they'll nod and ask how would you handle a co-worker in some strange/difficult situation. You'll usually get trained to do what they want you to do.

IBM is #2, but I got hired at a #1 that got bought by #2, so go figure :)

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

dshaw858 (828072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623123)

I think it's worthy of note that by repeating these classes, you'd probably get more than just higher grades--you'd get a better education and actually learn the material in these higher-level (300 and 400) computer science classes. Remember that it wouldn't just be you with good grades and another year vs you with bad grades minus a year competing; it would be you with good grades, another year, more knowledge about higher-level theory and software engineering and more time to work on open source/passion projects vs. you with bad grades, no knowledge and less time.

I'm definitely not a recruiter (just an employee), but I think that this seems to make the most sense to me--especially if at your time in school you'd be able to get into some undergraduate research with a professor there.

Good luck with whatever you decide,

- dshaw

Re:Yes. (5, Interesting)

Vengeance2001 (843563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623485)

The ugly truth is that people right out of college don't know much about the real world. (They always think they do, though, so I'm sure the average /. reader will argue with me on this. :-) ) Retaking the year and "knowing the material better" is a waste of time. You will learn much more by working in a real job for that same year than studying the same stuff again. The GPA only matters in your first job search process--and that's only because no one can tell all of you recruits apart at that point. :-) Especially true at big companies that interview a lot of college kids at the same time. To me, hiring IT people at a steady but slow rate at a mid-size company, a very high GPA says you're brilliant, but all others from 3.5 on down basically all signify "not brilliant", which is fine. If you have mitigating factors like work exp or financial difficulties, you'll be able to explain your situation if anyone asks. Do not volunteer your GPA or attach your transcript to every letter. Once you have a job on your resume, I start to have things I can react to as a hiring manager looking for certain things. So think of this first job as "the job that will get you the job you want," not "the job you want" and it will help your mentality in the search a lot. Hope that helps...

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19624419)

Depending on what the poster is planning on doing, grades may matter significantly. A number of high-end software shops look very closely at their applicants' academic record. The poster has clearly been working before graduating, so a lecture about his lack of lifeskills is probably a waste of time. Further, if he feels that he is shaky in skills that he might use in future, it's obviously a good idea to polish them up. Depending on his program, doing an extra year might not necessarily entail taking the same courses again, but rather taking a new set of 4th year courses. Which would obviously broaden his skillset.

Re:Yes. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624467)

So you just lump all schools together when you consider GPA? Brilliant!

Re:Yes and no, it depends (5, Insightful)

Coldmoon (1010039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623451)

I have interviewed quite a few potential hires and can say that I spent little time looking at the education other than to see if they had the right skill set. The grades tell you nothing, what is important is that you prove to the employer that you are the right person at the right time with the right skills. Everything else is window dressing.

If you think that your current knowledge is insufficient then by all means repeat the year. If you would not learn anything that would justify the extra year, then go on and put your focus on getting better scores in the coming year...

Re:Yes. (1, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623739)

I don't even check if they've graduated unless they make a big deal out of it, then I check it just to make sure they aren't overcompensating for being a liar. For me, the interview is much more definitive than some words on you resume. As s small company, we value workaholics more than those that sail through a degree. I'd rather hire someone who had to work every day of their college years and manage to pull straight C's than someone who didn't work and pulled straight A's.

But YMMV according to the types of companies you want to work for -- or help create.

Larger companies tend to get you stuck in a singular or very small set of roles. Small companies tend to give you a wide variety of job duties, albeit with longer hours. For instance, the other day I got to design business cards. Show me a big company where an IT guy gets to design business cards? Sure as hell was a nice break from programming.

Re:Yes. (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624545)

As s small company, we value workaholics more

Translation: they want you to work 12 hour days til you burn out, then they'll replace you with a fresh grad.

Re:Yes. (2, Interesting)

FreeKill (1020271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624525)

I've had the opportunity to hire a few dozen people over the years and I have to admit grades don't mean much to me. I remember a few people I graduated CS with who were really book smart and aced all the tests with great grades. I don't know if they had photographic memories or what, but they were really capable in that aspect. When it came time to course work or projects, they could do the work but they were not the best problem solvers. In fact, I remember one guy who basically had straight A's and never realized that he could make separate directories for his projects so he didn't have to uniquely name each file across all projects. My opinion would be that you'd be smarter to get out as fast as you can and continue working on things like the Open Source project. The grades may hurt you in your first job maybe, but after that it's experience that counts and your willingness to work hard and get the job done right.

Graduate. (4, Informative)

Zack (44) | more than 7 years ago | (#19622959)

As an employer, grades really aren't a top concern. I graduated with 2.85, I know skills go beyond grade. An interview is really where I'd make my decision.

Re:Graduate. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623085)

I would agree with this; for most professions, grades really won't matter. The variance in grades from different schools is just too high.

Another piece of advice I would give is to not whine and make excuses for your bad marks. Financial reasons, full-time job, working on an open source project, drinking and partying every night, blah blah an employer won't give a damn about. You are responsible for your grades, plain and simple.

Re:Graduate. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623637)

And then there's the interviewer who asked me (even though I had 20 years experience) why my college GPA wasn't 4.0. Anyone who asks a question like that deserves to be whined at.

Re:Graduate. (1, Insightful)

Longtime_Lurker_Aces (1008565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623373)

I am not a recruiter, but speaking from personal experience, it appears grades make a huge difference. I have a really high gpa from a reputable school. When I go to career fairs the recruiters are signing me up for interviews the second they see GPA at the top of my resume.

I've had conversations go from the recruiter looking bored and distracted, then they look at my resume, see the GPA (and often comment on it) then suddenly they take a great interest in me.

Maybe you can't raise the GPA enough to really make an impact by changing a few Cs to Bs, but a top GPA has immediatly opened doors in my experience.

Re:Graduate. (3, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624163)

Yea. there are two limits.
> 3.5 = almost instant interview
> 3.0 = we'll consider and probably interview you.

If you have below a 3.0, you're best bet is to get a job where someone knows you who can speak for you, or at a small company who doesn't have the GPA filter larger companies use to narrow down the number of resumes they receive.

If the guy can't get above the 3.0 by retaking the classes, just forget it and move on. Besides, it's a gamble anyway, since something else might come up and he might be MORE Cs and Ds in the classes he's retaking! I'd rather just take an extra year to take electives that will further your educations in other ways besides what you're in now. For instance, I took Marketing, Organization Behavior, etc while in college, and it's not only interesting but easy :)

Re:Graduate. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623887)

As an employer, grades really aren't a top concern. I graduated with 2.85, I know skills go beyond grade. An interview is really where I'd make my decision.

But how do you make the initial cut that gets a candidate to an interview?

As long as you didn't fail... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19622987)

Don't bother to repeat stuff. Just do the best you can with the courses you have and try to bring up your overall GPA with a solid finish. Employers aren't generally going to be too concerned with how you did in individual courses.

Grades don't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19622989)

Graduating is important, but in almost 10 years out of college I have yet to see grades matter in the real world.

I always had poor grades and my income is in the top 10% and I love my work. I have a few friends who got very good grades in college that don't earn as much and hate their jobs. YMMV.

From what I have seen (2, Insightful)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623001)

All most recruiters seem to care about is that you have a degree and where you came from. The real question you should be asking yourself is "Did I learn the material?" and if not "Is this material worth learning (aka is the reason for my bad grades a CS class)?".

If you answer yes to the first question I wouldn't worry about going back.
If you answer no to the second question I wouldn't worry about going back. A D+ in History is nothing to be proud of but won't hurt your ability to program.
Which leaves us with you if you answer yes to the second question hell yes go back.

Also remember statistically you will probably never go back to college if you leave so if you have any remaining fears go ahead and repeat the year. You might even be able to pick up a minor in something if your credits line up right. Better to fix it now then being haunted by it later.

don't repeat, get a graduate degree (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623023)

You'd be better served by spending that 2 years focusing on a graduate degree - if you can get into a school.

The masters degree will most likely trump the bachelors degree, even if the guy with the bachelors has better grades. And in many places you'll automatically start at a higher salary.

Plus with the masters program you should be able to tailor your coursework to focus on the things that truly interest you.

On the other hand, few recruiters are going to ask you how long you were in school, and on top of that, so many people these days are doing a non-traditional route to completing a "4-year" program. Don't put your GPA's on your school lines of your resumes. They're not needed.

Where I work (a Fortune 500), merely having the degree will meet the education requirement that will get you through the automated screening system. At that point, it will be your experience and the way you present yourself that will matter.

So, only repeat if you really really want to. The GPA is probably not important. And if you must keep going to school, consider a graduate degree.

One last caveat, if you have specific employers you want to work for, contact people who work there. Schedule "informational interviews" with people who do the kind of work you want to do. Find out from them what is most important.

Good luck.

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (2, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623403)

I'm in a different field, but in my experience Master's programs are also willing to forgive bad grades if you can make a good impression otherwise in admissions. My best friend and I both got into great master's programs even though our college grades were less than stellar. I got a 4.0 in the Master's which helped me get into a PhD program that would have been inaccessible straight out of college.

I say at least apply to a few Master's programs, and structure your time next year so that if you do get in you can graduate but if you don't you can take a fifth year and do the repeats.

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623717)

Well just as long as your GPA is above 3.0. They may have some flex with 2.9+ but not much beyond that. I figure that Grad school is not an immediate concern for the poster but it may be later on in life, if his job feels like it is dead ended and wants to get an MBA to become a higher manager. Or just some classes to advance in Computer Science. I would suggest getting your GPA up to above a 3.0 that way you do not have to take undergrad classes again.

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (2, Informative)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624021)

If you pursue a master's degree later in life, your GPA really won't matter. It only matters if you try to pursue a Master's or Doctorate right from an undergrad program.

GPA depends on the school (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624205)

If you go to say Johns Hopkins or Yale - a 2.9 there probably can count for more than say a 3.5 at the Short Hills Institute of Technology. But often people overlook that fact. You might want to take that into consideration. Your education is probably much better, but some interviewers only see the number.

I've seen a bunch of people get into Medical school with a 3.5 from some little no name college, and others get denied from a prestigious University because of low grades 2.9 (where the competition if much, much tougher).

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (4, Insightful)

pmadden (209229) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623547)

I'm a CS prof (I teach both grad and undergrad, with my real job being research).

So... be brutally honest with yourself. Do you *really* understand the material, and just couldn't get it together for the exams? Or do you just think you understand the material? The number of people who are clueless to the point of being unaware of their cluelessness is staggering. Grades are an imperfect measure of what someone knows, but that doesn't mean that they're wrong.

If you know your stuff, then grades don't matter. If you don't know your stuff, high grades won't help you. If you've got a year left, and are confident that you actually are on top of things, then knock your last year out with straight As and by being the top student in every class. Recommendations from your professors will carry more weight than a GPA. And I'll agree with the parent post; a grad degree will get your foot in the door in many places, and gives you a clean GPA slate and the opportunity to gather a bunch of useful skills.

Trust in the Peter Principle. [] Your skills will determine how far you go.

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624493)

I will support the Masters idea. The value of bachelors degree has been declining rapidly. Even 40 years ago, it often made a significant difference. Now that everyone has a bachelors, the masters is the often the discriminating factor. And it is not just the value of the degree. When there are 50 applicants for every job, there must be some trivial mechanism to make the initial cuts.

I would also recommend continuing to work, but work only in the field in which you wish to make your career. It seems to me that surveys increasingly show that graduates who have appropriate work experience are the graduates that get the jobs.

Re:don't repeat, get a graduate degree (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624507)

Don't put your GPA's on your school lines of your resumes. They're not needed.

I'm not sure this is true as a general rule. Your resume is an advertisement for you--thus, you only put things on there that you want to brag about. If you have a GPA worthy of bragging about, put it on there. If not, don't. But beware that employers will then know that your GPA is not worth bragging about.

GPA not required on resume? (1)

MDiehr (1065156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624537)

When I left my GPA off my resume one year while I was looking for a work at my college's job fair, every recruiter I gave my resume to asked my GPA straight away. They penned it into the margin - Leaving it off didn't help anyone.

Don't bother repeating (4, Interesting)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623065)

The only time grades matter is in getting your first job. After that, references and a good resume will be all you need. I didn't have great grades when I finished school - it made getting my foot in the door for that first job harder, but since then, I've been offered every position I've applied for. What matters most is if you're good at what you do.

Re:Don't bother repeating (3, Insightful)

Voice of Meson (892271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624235)

I agree with this, but I would even take it further. All you really need for an interview is to have a degree, once you are in the interview your skill and personality will get you the job.

I have crappy grades (a couple of fails in there) and in my first interview I was asked about them and I told the engineers straight up that I was distracted that year and didn't put in the effort that I should have. Then I explained that I had worked hard on the last year and my results proved that. Grades were the topic of the interview for less than a minute, then it was all about what I knew.

Also, to the people saying that you may not know the material well enough all I can say is that as a graduate you know nothing anyway. 80/90% of what I know and use now as an engineer (working for some of the biggest companies in the world) was learnt on the job. If they focus too much on grades they are doing themselves a disservice. The best programmer I know has a fucking Accounting degree!

Never do anything in school unless to learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623079)

If you feel that you did so badly in the classes that you didn't learn the material, and the material is something you feel is something that you should know, and you didn't pick up even enough to fill in the gaps on your own, then by all means take over if you have the time and money.

However, a year is too much of your life to spend on society's trivia, if that is all it amounts to. Why blow a whole year, which is at least a percent of your life and probably 3 percent of your most productive part of life, to check off some goddamn corporate bureaucrat's checkbox ? You don't live in Mao's China or Stalin's Russia where everything must be done by the book or your family might starve. These corporate HR fags are not the gatekeepers to your only chance at happiness. A huge portion of the IT and computer industry has no education at all, a huge portion of us work on contract basis where our resumes are not examined, a lot of people start their own businesses. Worst of all, inside 10 years the majority of the people studying with you, whether they graduate with straight A's or fail out, will not be working in the IT industry at all. The dumb ones will have moved "up" into management, the ambitious ones will have started their own companies and have hired other people to do all the technical work, and only a few will be doing any coding or IT type stuff.

There is one and only one reason to repeat that year of school: if you are not married, and fear not being able to find a wife in the all-male world of IT. Even then, I would not repeat the same classes, I would take more classes in a different area.

Just a resume item (3, Insightful)

Herak (557381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623081)

I just graduated with a pretty high GPA. In my experience, the high GPA is helpful to get to the top of the resume stack, but by the time you get into interviews they don't really care what your GPA is. If you have other eye-catching things on your resume that will get you to the interview phase (it sounds like you do) you might not need the GPA.

However, grad schools DO care about GPA. If you're ever planning to go back, it might be worth it to retake the classes.

Re:Just a resume item (2, Insightful)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623217)

However, grad schools DO care about GPA. If you're ever planning to go back, it might be worth it to retake the classes.

That depends, in a similar skills oriented way as with a job. Applying to a graduate program directly is definitely a bad idea if you don't have a strong GPA. You'll likely get rejected, and won't be able to every apply again. But even if your GPA is low, you can often talk/walk your way into the program by taking individual courses part time. Eventually, if you have the chops, the department will offer admission into a program.

This doesn't practically work for everyone though. But it worked for me. Luckily, I live in a city with a good graduate mathematics department.

I haven't found it matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623093)

I got out of college about 2 years ago. I had also been working full time during the last two years. In fact, I was working so much I decided to take off a semester, then of course I never went back. It hasn't seemed to matter. I've worked for auction houses and banks writing websites and hardware integrations. I've never talked to a recruiter and I don't plan to. Now I've started my own contracting business.

Here is my point, I wouldn't sweat it if I was you. Graduate, yes, but don't worry about the grades. D is for degree. College is about learning, make the most out of that and continue on. This advice will change depending if you are going for a masters later.

Get the job (2, Insightful)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623117)

as an occasional interviewer, I have no knowledge of what classes you've taken or repeated. I would only know that if I asked for a transcript, which I wouldn't. HR might call and verify the GPA, but I wouldn't weigh it too heavily if you have work experience that mitigates the poor GPA. A company can''t get your transcript without your permission. Many large companies won't talk to you if you have under 3.5 GPA or some such bs. The same companies are often not considered good employers.

Focus on your strengths. OSS work does count as work experience, but only if it's verifiable work. You can even provide the code you contributed as an example of your work. Doing so provides potential employers a good example of the kind of work they could expect from you. Such a step is really only useful if the OSS project keeps records of who contributes what code. If I can't verify your sources, I may not believe you.

Consider the math. 20k to repeat a year. 60k you won't earn. 80k opportunity cost of repeating a year, plus or minus interest.

Bottom line, repeat the course if you really think you need to learn the material. Otherwise, just bone up of the material during all your free time and get on with your life.

Large companies are flexible on GPA ... (4, Informative)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623355)

Many large companies won't talk to you if you have under 3.5 GPA or some such bs ...

You are misinformed. Many large companies do have flexibility on GPAs. Specifically, GPA "minimums" are often waived if the student was also working more than 30 hours per week. Note the person asking for advice wrote "I've been working on a full time basis for the past 2 years".

... The same companies are often not considered good employers.

I believe this statement is about as accurate as your first.

Re:Large companies are flexible on GPA ... (2, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623609)

"Many large companies do X" and "Many large companies do not X" can both be true at the same time.

grades don't matter after your first job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623119)

but they certainly do matter if you're just out of college.

Your transcript will show your grades sinking lower as the courses get harder. That's not a good sign. If you try to explain it by telling your interviewer that you were "busy working on an open source project", that's actually a turn off. Are you going to slack off at work, read slashdot, and develop open source projects on company time? There are plenty of college graduates who managed to keep a decent GPA.

Can keep your options open. (2, Informative)

lorcha (464930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623135)

You can always keep your options open. Go through on-campus recruiting and see what happens. If you don't like the result, you can always go back to school.

What work did you do full time? If you were in an IT-related position, definitely don't repeat courses. You'll do fine in your job search based on your experience. If, on the other hand, you worked full time at McDonalds, you can still demonstrate your experience on the open source project.

Experience means more than grades. Many CS grads have poor grades. You will probably be pleasantly surprised when you go through on-campus recruiting.

Depends (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623169)

I ended up dropping out of mine completely... but then again that was because I realised the course was just a 2 year long advertisement for overpriced products I'd never use in a real job. Hopefully you're not in that situation.

Could be worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623593)

I had a class on building programming languages where the entire course was based around the instructor's research project / graduate project / etc. The second I heard "this is the toolkit I created for verifying programming language construction, most of the assignments and 90% of the class material will be using this toolkit to verify your work -- now it is still kind of flakey so part of this will be testing the system against the textbook material", I walked out and dropped the class.

If you think learning a proprietary tool is bad, how about doing someone's work for them (testing the system) on a tool that no one will ever use. (Let alone pay $3,000 for the course for the "honor" to do so)

Spelling . . . (1)

l0rd.47hl0n (1099499) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623173)

It's, "... somewhere in the midst of Cs," not, "... somewhere in the mists of Cs," though even this correction does not repair your overall syntax. My point is, as an employer I also look at other abilities such as proper grammar and spelling, not to mention verbal communication. You might be the smartest IT guy this side of the local galactic super-cluster, but it's all for naught if I haven't a clue what you're trying to get across to me. I would suggest that in addition to repeating one year of Computer Science that you also freshen up on English grammar and spelling. By repeating the year you not only better your grades you will, in most likelihood, better your understanding of the subject matter, which will indicate to a perspective employer/recruiter that you view your education as important, not just something you rushed through because you were in a hurry to start making money. That's my opinion, I welcome yours.

Re:Spelling . . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623263)

It's, "... somewhere in the midst of Cs," not, "... somewhere in the mists of Cs,"
Bullshit, shut the fuck up.

Hoist, own, petard (2, Insightful)

edittard (805475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623299)

which will indicate to a perspective employer/recruiter
He's going to get a job where he needs to create the impression of three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface?

Re:Spelling . . . (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623731)

I've always thought that the concern for correct grammar and spelling on a Resume is used by HR to avoid doing their work. Their job is to find the best candidate, and for a software developer, great language skills are not a significant criteria for the position.

Having said that, I try to be careful not to make mistakes on my Resume. After all, just because something is stupid, it doesn't mean it can't affect you.

Re:Spelling . . . (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624183)

If you haven't bothered to proofread your resume (or if you have trouble with spelling or grammar and didn't bother to get someone else to proof it), you're lazy or you're stupid or the resume doesn't matter much to you. Any of those is strong incentive for me to turn your application down. I mean, worst case you could go to the nearest university, find an English major, and pay them $20 to look it over.

Re:Spelling . . . (1)

Solemn Bob (16065) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624193)

I disagree. I'll quote someone else to make my opinion seem more important:

Besides a mathematical inclination, an exceptionally good mastery of one's native tongue is the most vital asset of a competent programmer.
--Edsgar Dijkstra []

Re:Spelling . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19624445)

Yes, of course, I know correct grammar and syntax sure as hell don't matter in any programming language I've ever used!

As dhasenan has pointed out, if your resume isn't perfect to a t there's simply no excuse, you're either lazy or stupid, either way... Incorrect English -> Instant Bin.

I'd suggest graduate (2, Informative)

pyro_peter_911 (447333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623177)

No one will care about your college grades after your first year of work. After that it is all experience, skills, and relationships.


Re:I'd suggest graduate (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624269)

Actually, most of them won't care about your grades your first year, either. I got a 2 yr degree with a 4.0 average (Yes, never made a B) and was (of course) valedictorian, and it didn't matter jack. Nobody was impressed. (Not even me, cuz I know it was easy, since I was taking classes I already knew how to do, just to get the paper. I had no real experience.)

HR likes higher grades (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623193)

But I would check your transcripts and see all your Ds' and Fs' if I were interviewing you.

In this day and age I would not care if you took longer if you had a real job or changed majors. It happens all the time but grades represent intelligence and dedication which mean higher productivity.

Re:HR likes higher grades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623941)

I find it amusing that someone named "Billly Gates" would say that when Microsoft makes a point of not looking at transcripts. They form opinions based on extensive interviews. Good grades != good fit. You need a BSc and that's enough. Smart kids with ass grades pick up the same jobs as the more responsible guys with masters degrees. You need genuine skills with a good foundation of course. A five hour interview doesn't spell an easy-out for bad grades.

I'm just saying that if this guy's reason for poor grades is in fact because he thinks staying out of debt is more important than the assignments and details that make up good grades, he should go for the job. Truly, I think all the core job skills happen in the first two years of computer science courses, depending on your school. Course ordering varies but if you get through two years of algorithms, data structures, and SQL, you're pretty well good to go. There are only so many things you're expected to know when heading into a closed-source world.

Graduate school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623195)

The only *practical* reason I can see is that most graduate schools prefer or require a 3.0 undergrad GPA. But given your paid and unpaid outside experience I doubt anyone else will care about your grades.

Ditch your distractions and finish the year. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623209)

If you can't work on OSS and go to school at the same time, put the OSS on a back-burner and take care of priorities - OSS isn't going to feed you and family. Pick it up again once you've settled into a job. I've found that a timely degree is more important than grades. Just finish this year making the best grades you can get and boost your GPA as much as you can and be happy with what you get - in the end it's a degree. But stop goofing off and get serious about it - that's what's going to count to recruiters.

Don't Focus On Grades - Focus on Knowledge (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623223)

The key to understanding whether or not you should re-take a course is whether or not that course is really fundamental. If it is something core to the area you wish to work in, and you feel that you missed mastering the topic then yes, do retake it, or at least take something in the same area to butress your knowledge.

Grades after your first job are not very important. But mastery of the subject material is a life-long tool for career advancement.

Do a Masters (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623255)

That's what they're for.


If you do retake... (1)

quizteamer (758717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623261)

Try to retake classes with different professors. I had a pretty high GPA, but I retook 2 of my core classes with different professors, just to get a different view. I majored in mathematics and physics, not CS, but I found that retaking with a different professor has improved my skills in different areas. While GPA is important in some cases (Grad School), knowing the material and being comfortable with it will have a larger impact on your success.

Re:If you do retake... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623401)

I had a pretty high GPA, but I retook 2 of my core classes with different professors, just to get a different view.
If I had the time and money to spare I could think of better ways of using them, but each to his own I guess.

You know what they call the guy who... (5, Insightful)

chinakow (83588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623303)

graduates last in his class at medical school?

Doctor. :-)

Re:You know what they call the guy who... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623445)

graduates last in his class at medical school?

Bah! Do you mean "physician" or "PhD"?

Re:You know what they call the guy who... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623747)

Bah! Do you mean "physician" or "PhD"?

Good one. For your next post, please explain why "orange you glad I didn't say banana" isn't quite right.

Re:You know what they call the guy who... (1)

_Splat (22170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624567)

Works better as:

You know what they call the guy who graduates last in his class at law school?

Your Honor.

Graduate with Bad Grades or Repeat a Year? (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623381)

Graduate with Bad Grades or Repeat a Year?
There is, of course, the risk of doing both. If you redo stuff there's a possibility you'll be bored & demotivated. Then there's the risk that you'll be complacent because 1) you've done it before and 2) you've (compared to when you were working) got loads of time.

i vote for going to work ASAP (2, Insightful)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623389)

I'd vote for finishing school as soon as possible. The BS is worth something but after your first job the grades won't matter.

As a firmware engineer of 27 years I'm much more interested in:
the candidate's presence (i.e. how well they handle themselves),
the extra-curriculars (are they REALLY interested in the things they work on? Do they have a passion for anything? Open source projects are good, ham radio license or private pilot is better),
and for how complete their knowledge is of the things they say they know.

Education/Accedemia is NOT the same as the real world and showing that you can spend all sorts of time working for a university is NOT as impressive as showing me that you can work for me, AND for yourself.

Education is not the same as the real world! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623733)

Truer words were never spoken. The things that are good for your academic career are poison for your working life. Education is all about your personal growth. Work isn't. There is zero correlation between your marks and how well you will do on the job. Zero. (There are many studies that prove that point.)

What will get you ahead on the job is your interpersonal skills. Get a job if you can or do more education if you have to. If you have good enough marks to get into a master's program, so much the better. Other posters have suggested that you do a master's but it seems to me that if you can get into a master's program, then your marks don't suck, which was the point of your question. (puff puff ... runon sentences make one short of breath.)

No matter what you do, start working on your interpersonal skills. Join whatever professional organization you qualify for and go to the meetings and presentations. As the parent points out, becoming a radio amateur is a very good idea. You would be amazed at the people who are hams. (Presidents of companies, presidents of countries).

Pull your grades up. (4, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623399)

You still have time. And it's midsts, with a d. Unless it's particularly foggy in the classrooms at your school.

Try neither one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623405)

Instead try taking yourself out of the gene pool by slitting your fucking wrists fucktard. Then employers will have one less whiny little fucktard to put up with when they do their inteviews.


Your transcript is not as crucial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623415)

I've had the responsibility of screening candidates for "new hire" positions in my company. I hardly had time to even read each person's resume in full, let alone request transcripts and what not. GPA was one of the major factors I looked at when evaluating the candidates (the other major factor was whether the candidate had any key words under work experience, skills, etc. that seemed to match up well with the sort of things that my development team does). In fact, I wound up calling a few people whose GPA's weren't exactly stellar if their listed skills were especially well matched with exactly what we were looking for. If the candidate then did well in the interview (i.e., they were able to demonstrate that they managed to learn something while in school), then the transcript really become inconsequential. Through that whole process, I found that there was a surprising number of people with 3.8+ GPA's who were shockingly incompetent.

If your overall GPA is below 3.5, you probably want to bring that up, since a good chunk of recruiters won't even look at your resume if it's too far down on the stack, which is usually sorted by GPA.

Emphasize work, ditch open source project (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623431)

I've been working on a full time basis for the past 2 years, and I've worked on an open source project.

Emphasize the full time job. Many companies have "minimum" GPAs, but that is pretty much due to the volume of resumes that have school and no practical experience. Long long ago when I was graduating an IBM rep told me that the GPA min would not apply to me since I had been working full time (30+ hours per week). The job was software development, that helped even more.

Unless your job has nothing to do with software development I'd drop the open source project. Spend the time on better grades in your remaining classes. Nearly all open source projects are irrelevant and regardless of whether it is fair or not assumed to be a low quality effort. Exceptions involve extremely well known projects, well known outside the FOSS community that is, or something that is specifically related to the company you are hoping to join.

Re:Emphasize work, ditch open source project (2, Informative)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624449)

Unless your job has nothing to do with software development I'd drop the open source project.

I'd advise on doing something you enjoy next to all those boring classes, and certainly not drop something you are enjoying in order to focus solely on those grades. Any hobby is potentially interesting during an interview, as you simply don't know who is sitting across the table.

Recently had an interview at IBM, the manager doing the interview was very interested in my research/publications and work experience (my company), but the couple of open source projects on page two got quite a bit of attention too. It shows that you have a technical interest, and are willing to put in your spare time to complement that part-time code job with something you enjoy. And a presentation at a FLOSS-conference goes a long way, even if you are only having fun on a small niche project.

If you are looking for a dull job, don't do anything besides those courses and work. If you are interested in a truly interesting job, spice up that resume with side-projects (commercial or not), presentations, publications and hobbies. You never know which one might trigger an interesting conversation, in which the interviewer can get to know you better.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Ace Rimmer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623433)

What was the difference between Ace Rimmer and Arnold Rimmer?

Now what you do depends on the quality of the place you are at, and what the spread of marks you have is. Certainly a lack of good marks in coursework due to time restraints is not going to look good, because that's valuable experience missing.

I'm certainly a fan of using popular TV shows dictate the actions one should take in life.

In the real world (2, Informative)

smallstepforman (121366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623583)

A degree is nothing more than a piece of paper which certifies that you can get boring shit assigned to you done. In essence, this is all an employer cares about when hiring graduates. It does not guarantee a minimum level of knowledge or skills.

At the same time, education facilities are running a business. They want to maximise profit, which is where students come in. However, they are also competing against other education facilites, so they dont want to squeeze too hard, otherwise you will take your money elsewhere.

Having looked back at my 'academic' life, all I really needed to have is the minimum 2-3 year tertiary diploma / degree (which is called differently from country to country). This provides the above mentioned certificate (get boring shit done). After a year in the industry, degrees no longer matter, it's all based on experience and specialisation. Shit, I should know, I'm an electronic engineer by education, and 7 years later, I'm a software architect in a company with 120 software engineers. I've advanced faster in this company than people with masters degrees and excellent academic marks.

If you wish to work in academia, its a different story. But then again, if you specialise in a new field untouched by academia, guess who'll be knocking at your door once the 'education business' decides it needs celebrity names to entice a new generation of students.

kill yourself now (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623597)

"mists" - what the fuck? You're a stupid shit. The word is "midst" you moron. That kind of error tells me that you don't read, ever. It's a typical error made by someone who is only accustomed to the spoken word. Therefore, you are swine. Since you don't read books and you're a fucking average piece of garage, my advice to you is to go fucking kill yourself.

Re:kill yourself now (0, Troll)

Iam9376 (1096787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623815)

"mists" - what the fuck? You're a stupid shit. The word is "midst" you moron. That kind of error tells me that you don't read, ever. It's a typical error made by someone who is only accustomed to the spoken word. Therefore, you are swine. Since you don't read books and you're a fucking average piece of garage, my advice to you is to go fucking kill yourself.

You're the garbage, jackass.

Re:kill yourself now (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624007)

Yummy, unreasonably angry nerdsniping. Let me get my tissues and a handful of Crisco and you prepare another gem.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! (2, Insightful)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623687)

I can't stress enough that you will, at some point, regret it if you graduate with bad grades. Having an extra year of school won't matter at all to most recruiters or schools (if you decide to try grad programs). I had a bad first year in school due to medical problems. I had surgery over the summer and did very well for the next 3 years. My school did not let me repeat those first year classes and I have been suffering ever since from one bad year. Without knowing your specific grades I can't say much else but for example if you have less than a 3.0/4.0 GPA and that extra year will bring you above a 3.0 then I don't think you should even consider any alternatives.

Re:Repeat, Repeat, Repeat! (2, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624195)

It might be useful to know in what way have you 'suffered'?

Let me put it this way... (2, Informative)

EagleFalconn (1058758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623697)

I've got a friend who just graduated in physics with a 2.85. You know what phrase gets him to work? "Cleanup on aisle 6." Thats right, he's a janitor at the Wal-Mart next to campus (Purdue).

Granted, physics is slightly different as a field than CS. So heres another argument. Someone mentioned this: Tuition of 20k + lost wages of 60k for one year of school is an opportunity cost of 80k. Well, if you want to work for a top company like Procter and Gamble (where I'm currently working) those extra GPA points will probably get your resume to the top of the stack. Why is that important? Because P&G recruits what they proclaim as the "Best of the best." And they really do. Forbes didn't rank P&G's employees #1 in the world for having a reputation for innovation and intelligence for shits and giggles. Regardless of your GPA, you'll start at the same salary, but first you've gotta get that far.

Re:Let me put it this way... (1)

hemp (36945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624023)

Dude - you make tampons!

Re:Let me put it this way... (1)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624285)

It's like that for him because there are too many Physics graduates and not enough work to go around. Unless he wants to teach at the High School level in which case it's a totally different story.

Graduate (2, Insightful)

W. Justice Black (11445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623699)

ObDisclaimer: I work for an Engineering college and am a part-time student. This is my opinion, not my school's.

As others have mentioned, the opportunity cost of taking that year off is a big deal. If you've been participating in projects and work outside of school, that is a Good Thing and will help you get a not-too-horrible first job out of school. Since money is looking to be a problem otherwise, save what you can and find a paletable flexible/online grad curriculum as soon as you can if you want to make up for a subpar bachelor's GPA. If you live in California, the Software Engineering (Online-only) Master's program at Fullerton is a great deal IMHO.

Your first job is unlikely to care about your undergrad grades. Your subsequent jobs won't care AT ALL. That said, you may want to keep a list of your weaker topics and review those that you aren't getting drilled on in industry. In my case, many language- and automata-related topics (e.g. grammars, push-down automata, Turing machines, computability) haven't really been hammered too much in my day-to-day work, but they've come in handy on occasion after taking the classes.

It also wouldn't hurt to live in a place with a lot of opportunity to get interesting work (like Silicon Valley) for a few years.

from someone who hasn't finished a degree... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623767)

...finish yours.

I studied physics briefly at the University of Chicago, then ran low on money and went to a Big 12 school to study engineering physics and mathematics. I was never a particularly good student, but that didn't mean that I didn't understand the material or that I didn't learn from my courses. If anything, the coursework encouraged me to explore more and more, and my grades suffered as a result of my extended exploration in the subject matter. By the time I found what I really loved, it was too late. I took my senior design lab course, learned a ton, performed phenomenally well, only to be accused of cheating by the associate dean of engineering. He could only back it up with my transcript, and judged me despite the the corroboration of my work by my peers and professors. Long story short, I told the associate dean he could burn in hell and left. Now, my engineering senior design project was graded by real engineers in industry, and one of them knew that this cheating accusation was a load of bullshit and hired me regardless. A couple years later, I have brought several projects to completion successfully for that company and am one of two R&D engineers for aerospace systems. Additionally, I am a committee chairman in an aerospace industry consortium, a board member for the county committee on science and engineering education, hold a patent for a device I recently invented, will have my invention featured on a show on a widely watched informative cable television channel, and have papers published for NASA, NSF, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). By all accounts, things look like they are going well.

But you know what? I can't leave. I can't go anywhere. I'm stuck. Not a single other company that does the work I have _demonstrated in the real world_ that I am good at gives a damn because I had bad grades and haven't finished a degree. I have bombarded companies with resumes. I have talked to hiring managers. I've had friends who have worked at these companies drop my name. None of it seems to do any good.

Finish the degree.

Girls (5, Insightful)

nyquil superstar (249173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623781)

Easy, repeat the grade. There are a lot more attractive girls at college than in the real world!

Re:Girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19623885)

Mind you, I've had a lot better luck dating those same college girls with my 75k starting salary and free time. :)

go fish (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19623787)

Why not send your resume out and see what sort of response you get? If some company you like pops up w/ a kick-ass job for you, then this question becomes moot.

Re:go fish (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624039)

Well, he can't really apply for decent jobs without the college degree (unless you're applying ahead of graduation, and you get the offer you're looking for -- I don't know how likely that is in his area, but it is worth his while to apply before graduation). Once he has that, his bachelor's degree grades are set in stone. So it seems that he does have to make the choice to either take an extra year in school or start the job hunt.

Play up your extra cirriculars (1)

ChronosWS (706209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624083)

If you were working on a project in your spare time and can demonstrate deep knowledge of that, you'll have a good leg up in the interview. I've interviewed people for software positions for nearly 10 years now, and not once has the question of grades ever come up, nor have I ever cared about it. It may be the case that certain institutions use grades as a first-cut sort of thing, but none of the places I have worked at, including at least one very large software company, ever used it to my knowledge. If, for some bizarre reason, you find yourself denied application based on grades, just look elsewhere. You *will* find a job if you are even half-competent. And once you have that first job on your resume, your education could read "G.W.B.'s School of Foreign Policy" and it won't matter. Incidentally, I have personally found the reverse to be true as well. Graduating from some big name school with honors really doesn't mean that much either. Essentially no matter how smart you were in school, you will be low man on the totem pole - and with good reason - no matter where you step in (there are some rare exceptions mostly surrounding research.) Most of us who have been in the industry a while know better that to trust the contents of a resume. I'm more interested in if you've done things before which would apply to the job you are interviewing for. So make sure they know about your open source project, provide a link to the website for it, and even give a few bullet points about what you did on the project. That'll go a long way if a real human reads your sheet.

Hard to say... (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624101)

If I'd interview you and you'd tell me that you repeated one year to get higher scores (and that you got low scores because you were working) I'd say that would be a plus. On the other hand I value work experience higher than a degree: I've seen too many people who come from university and can't code their way out of a paper bag. And noone will ask for your score if you have a few years of work experience (it's more important to say "I've worked on this project, implemented that, etc. pp."). So I'd personally recommend finishing your degree, but I think it's way more important that you do what you feel more comfortable with. Repeating a year isn't bad, IMHO, and if you feel safer with better scores then do that.

my take (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624139)

If you're even considering applying for graduate school in the next five years, I would take the extra year and improve your grades in the upper level classes. In graduate school, they are more interested in your grades in upper level classes, and your GRE test scores. Because basically, you will be doing the same old shit in graduate school that you would be doing in the upper level classes; in a lot of places, you might be a TA in classes! So for graduate school, they want to see that you are a good student. However, if you plan to work for a decade or more, and then go to graduate school, your grades in your bachelor program will matter less ( but they will still matter more than in the job hunt)

If you are just going work the rest of your life, you don't have to worry as much about grades. They are the first hurdle you have to clear in the job hunt, but the people who will be looking at them won't really care. It's either job recruiters, who might have a GPA threshold under which they will not consider you, or managers from the company, who didn't particular care for their classes when they were in school. They might view academia as an impractical ivory tower. High scores, like magna cum laude, might indicate to them that you are kind of idealist, better cut out for grad school or research, perhaps not willing to put up with compromise and other pragmatics of corporate life, or won't find corporate work interesting enough for your superior intellect. I've never worked a corporate job, just heard horror stories from friends about BS in the corporate world out-weighing academic BS.

It really depends on how 'bad' your grades are. If your GPA is under 3.0, I would consider raising them. Since you seem like you are more interested in a job than academics, you might start the job hunt, and then go back to grad school if the job is unsatisfying. But in order to get into a decent grad program, you should have at least a 3.0, and good GRE scores -- so don't burn the GPA bridge just yet. You might also go ahead and take the GREs now, while the information is fresh in your mind, and you are still in test taking mode. That would give you a better idea about how well grad school applications will go if the job market doesn't pan out.

Re:my take (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624593)

They might view academia as an impractical ivory tower. High scores, like magna cum laude, might indicate to them that you are kind of idealist, better cut out for grad school or research, perhaps not willing to put up with compromise and other pragmatics of corporate life, or won't find corporate work interesting enough for your superior intellect. I've never worked a corporate job, just heard horror stories from friends about BS in the corporate world out-weighing academic BS.

While I find that in reality it's not that difficult getting along, the worst part about that I found was the interview. Because I was so more or less directly asked "Clearly from your resume you're way above average intelligent. How do you feel about working with our clients that are more the common man?" Note, this is both taken from memory and translated to English so it's not literal, but fairly close. Trying to answer that, without sounding rude was probably the hardest questions of them all.

On the one hand you don't want to dispute that you're a bright guy cut out for a good career, on the other you have to show ability to work with people. Because when trying to hire new people, I've seen that... you have the nerds that really talk down on people that don't know what they do - they're mostly useless. IMO you need that at all levels - your manager will probably never know the tech details to the degree you do - but if you can't have respect for people that have other skills, it just won't work out.

depends on the school (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624335)

when I went to school in florida, the state school only allowed you to retake 2 classes and then did an average between any other classes. So if you have a semester ( 4 or 5 classes ) that you messed up or even 2 semesters, then retaking the year, you would have to get A's in order to really affect your GPA. For Example a D and then a retake getting a B would be a C. It would help, but not as much as you would think. I had a similar problem, as I worked 2 part time jobs ( 30 hrs each ) while going to college.

If you are planning on going to graduate school, right after college, then I would say retake them. If you are not going to graduate school soon, then get your degree and start work. After a year or two of work, grades are not important at most employeers.

welcome to the real world (1)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624343)

You don't get grades here. It is either pass or fail.

Some will want to know your GPA. Most just want to know you got the little piece of paper that says you've reached a certain level of academic achievement.

If you really want to set yourself apart, don't repeat, don't finish, but keep moving forward and get your masters degree.

A tough call (1)

avoisin (105703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624381)

Since I finished school myself in 2001, I've been working for the same company doing programming and other various tasks. In that time, I've had a chance to sit down with the other folks from my school (Cornell) to go over the various resumes that we pick up each year, looking for interns and/or full time hires. So I'm certainly not a HR person with loads of hiring experience, but I've had some with the sort of thing you're asking.

So I'll start with the good news - the bottom line is that what's on your resume only matters to a degree, and who you really "are" and what you can do and have done matters far more, especially after your first job. I'll give you total benefit of the doubt here - if you really bombed those classes because you needed the time to work to get money, than that's a very solid excuse to a recruiter (or at least, to me), and I would happily forgive it. What's more, grades in of themselves are only so important - I finished with about a 2.9 GPA or so, and landed what is for me a dream job. I didn't even list my GPA on my resume (though many folks will flag that, 'why isn't it listed, must be hiding something').

In your specific case, if the bad grades are in classes that matter, like core CS programming, etc., and you are 100% sure you would ace or do well in them the next go around, I would stay. The reasoning is it proves your excuse, and that you didn't just slack. If they're mostly in classes that don't "matter", like creative writing, then don't bother. I personally had to repeat two classes to graduate (though I still finished in 4 years).

Given all that though, I wouldn't focus on your classes anyway as far as getting a job. Remember, every kid from your major has taken more or less the same classes and done the same in-class projects. What else have you done? You said you worked on some OS stuff - emphasize that. You had to work full-time - if that's CS related, emphasize that. If you've got a strong personality that works well, show it off. Those are the things that stick in my mind when I'm going through the paper resumes later on. A good example of that was one I saw last year - on paper, this guy was sharp, near 4.0, etc., etc., seemingly a clear winner. But in person, next to no verbal skills, unfriendly, etc. He was immediately tossed in the bad pile.

Depends depends depends (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624429)

There are lots of opportunities to get job interviews without the interviewer even seeing your grades (such as job fairs). Those are perfect opportunities to show how much you know and explain those grades. Next up, how is your overall GPA? One year might drop it but if your over a 3.0 overall then dont worry about it. Finally, try to get a job anyways- if your having bad luck, then you may consider taking it again. There isn't any penalty for finishing in a longer amount of time (especially in CS, where finishing in 4 years is the more uncommon line in many schools). Once you get a job, your grades will still matter, but job performance will matter more. Odds are, you'll be trained to do something you cant even learn in school anyways.

It might matter for first job, but not career (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624471)

You're first job out of school is a throw-away. Take what you can get and move on. Seriously. I've been a recruiter and employer (in IT). Send me your resume at and I'll get you placed -- once you graduate.

Can you even do that? (1)

Faizdog (243703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624515)

Just wondering if you can even repeat courses. I remember when I was an undergrad, unless you had a D, you couldn't repeat a course. Wasn't it like that at other places too?

Depends (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624541)

Some schools will replace your prior grades on your transcript with a denotation that the class was repeated if you retake the class within a certain time frame (usually the next available opportunity). However, this replacement happens whether your original grade was an F or a C, so if you're retaking mostly C grades, it may reflect more negatively if a recruiter looks through your transcript and sees a denotation for "we're not telling you what this grade was, but it was bad enough that s/he retook the course" than if they just see some Cs.

Regardless, your grades now won't matter much once you get one or two Real Jobs on your resume.

Here's my outlook (2, Insightful)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19624733)

As long as you graduate, you'll fare better than people who drop out or go a different route. This old joke sums it all up:

Q: What do you call the med student who graduates last in his class?

A: "Doctor"
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