Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Which is better?

Useless major, 4.0
21
70%
Useful major, 3.5
9
30%
 
Total votes: 30

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SweetTort
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Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby SweetTort » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:09 pm

This post may seem a bit redundant if you read my last thread, but bear with me.

Let's say, though obviously it's impossible to know these things with such clarity, that you could pull off a 4.0 GPA in a worthless UG degree (English/polisci/philosophy) or a 3.5 in an incredibly useful STEM major. Assuming your goals for the future included attending law school and working biglaw, which route would you take?

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Louis1127
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby Louis1127 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:33 pm

For LS, major in whatever you can get the highest GPA possible in. Batter GPA→Better LS→Better career prsospects

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SweetTort
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby SweetTort » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:11 pm

Louis1127 wrote:For LS, major in whatever you can get the highest GPA possible in. Batter GPA→Better LS→Better career prsospects



So the GPA boost is worth the relative risk of shit-employment or unemployment should LS not work out?

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:25 pm

SweetTort wrote:
Louis1127 wrote:For LS, major in whatever you can get the highest GPA possible in. Batter GPA→Better LS→Better career prsospects



So the GPA boost is worth the relative risk of shit-employment or unemployment should LS not work out?


Please do not major in something that you're not interested in just because it might make it easier to get into law school. That is not a good way to live your life.

If you're a STEM person, major in something STEM-related. If you're not, don't.

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SweetTort
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby SweetTort » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:28 pm

cotiger wrote:
SweetTort wrote:
Louis1127 wrote:For LS, major in whatever you can get the highest GPA possible in. Batter GPA→Better LS→Better career prsospects



So the GPA boost is worth the relative risk of shit-employment or unemployment should LS not work out?


Please do not major in something that you're not interested in just because it might make it easier to get into law school. That is not a good way to live your life.


No, I would major in something I am interested in but has no value without a JD. If I majored in something useful, it would be something that doesn't interest me but is very valuable without a JD.

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:31 pm

SweetTort wrote:
cotiger wrote:Please do not major in something that you're not interested in just because it might make it easier to get into law school. That is not a good way to live your life.


No, I would major in something I am interested in but has no value without a JD. If I majored in something useful, it would be something that doesn't interest me but is very valuable without a JD.


If it doesn't interest you, you most likely won't be very good at it. More than that, you will be miserable. It then ceases to be truly "useful," in the sense of useful towards helping you do what you want to do in life.

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paglababa
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby paglababa » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:52 am

STEM is obviously great, I know that I would not want to do it.

Useful degrees that are not ntensive and will get you hired straight out of college:
Finance, accounting ect.

CIS is great but I don't have experience with how hard it might be.

I would choose something employable. Why would it be hard to get a 3.8+ in accounting? You could also decide to work and get real life experience making you more marketable during OCI at law school (and save up money).

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:13 am

paglababa wrote:STEM is obviously great, I know that I would not want to do it.

Useful degrees that are not ntensive and will get you hired straight out of college:
Finance, accounting ect.

CIS is great but I don't have experience with how hard it might be.

I would choose something employable. Why would it be hard to get a 3.8+ in accounting? You could also decide to work and get real life experience making you more marketable during OCI at law school (and save up money).


Getting an accounting degree makes you employable in... accounting. If that doesn't specifically interest you, for the love of god don't do it. If you end up not wanting to be an accountant, the degree is even more useless than whatever other degree you would've gotten. This is the same reasoning as to why you shouldn't go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer. Getting a degree in something for the sole reason that you can easily imagine the job that it leads to is an obvious path to being miserable.

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DrStudMuffin
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby DrStudMuffin » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:23 am

OP - I believe it was in your previous thread where I said to pick up a minor in something useful (I believe I said Econ - which is at least comparatively more useful than political science). I don't see why this decision is binary.

Even if that isn't an option, it is also possible to build skills and make yourself more employable outside of the classroom. Work in your school's IT department, intern over the summer in places that have post-grad positions, start networking earlier than your classmates, etc.

I don't think the answer is majoring in something you don't enjoy, especially if you want to go to law school and will just get worse grades. The real point here is to make yourself attractive to employers while you're still in college, so that if you decide against law school, you won't be in a bad position.

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Louis1127
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby Louis1127 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:29 am

SweetTort wrote:
Louis1127 wrote:For LS, major in whatever you can get the highest GPA possible in. Batter GPA→Better LS→Better career prsospects



So the GPA boost is worth the relative risk of shit-employment or unemployment should LS not work out?


No, I was answering your question. Here is a quote from your question:

"Assuming your goals for the future included attending law school and working biglaw..."

You did not say "You are thinking you may do LS but you may not". Rather, you said assuming your goals included attending law school and working biglaw. So I was just answering your question.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby mr. wednesday » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:00 am

If you could not be a lawyer, what job would you want to do (that you could realistically get, not astronaut)?

Whatever degree would help you get that job, that's what you major it. That will be a useful major to you, not a passion-project type majors don't help anyone get a job in anything particular. You don't have to major in engineering, but you should have a backup plan that you can live with.

Minor in post-colonial space studies or whatever. Or just read some books about it. You don't have to get a degree to learn about a subject with no career prospects.

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:05 am

DrStudMuffin wrote:OP - I believe it was in your previous thread where I said to pick up a minor in something useful (I believe I said Econ - which is at least comparatively more useful than political science). I don't see why this decision is binary.

Even if that isn't an option, it is also possible to build skills and make yourself more employable outside of the classroom. Work in your school's IT department, intern over the summer in places that have post-grad positions, start networking earlier than your classmates, etc.

I don't think the answer is majoring in something you don't enjoy, especially if you want to go to law school and will just get worse grades. The real point here is to make yourself attractive to employers while you're still in college, so that if you decide against law school, you won't be in a bad position.


Everything Muffin said is credited.

The distinction between useless and useful UG degrees is way overly simplified here. Your UG degree (no matter what it is) will not get you a job. People who end up pursuing interesting/worthwhile things invariably started exploring those areas while in UG with internships and the like.
Last edited by cotiger on Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:11 am

mr. wednesday wrote:If you could not be a lawyer, what job would you want to do (that you could realistically get, not astronaut)?

Whatever degree would help you get that job, that's what you major it. That will be a useful major to you, not a passion-project type majors don't help anyone get a job in anything particular. You don't have to major in engineering, but you should have a backup plan that you can live with.

Minor in post-colonial space studies or whatever. Or just read some books about it. You don't have to get a degree to learn about a subject with no career prospects.


UG is not professional school or trade school. If you're choosing a major with an idea that that will get you a job, you're probably wrong.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby mr. wednesday » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:25 pm

cotiger wrote:UG is not professional school or trade school. If you're choosing a major with an idea that that will get you a job, you're probably wrong.

And if you are choosing a major with no regard to your career, you're also wrong. Of course you should choose your major with an idea that it will help you get a specific type of job. It's not a trade school but what you major in shapes what kind of internships you can do and what kind of jobs you will qualify for. If that wasn't true, this entire discussion is pointless because anyone could major in anything and have an equal chance at all jobs. That's obviously not reality.

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:33 pm

mr. wednesday wrote:
cotiger wrote:UG is not professional school or trade school. If you're choosing a major with an idea that that will get you a job, you're probably wrong.

And if you are choosing a major with no regard to your career, you're also wrong. Of course you should choose your major with an idea that it will help you get a specific type of job. It's not a trade school but what you major in shapes what kind of internships you can do and what kind of jobs you will qualify for. If that wasn't true, this entire discussion is pointless because anyone could major in anything and have an equal chance at all jobs. That's obviously not reality.


I guess I'm just not sure what these non-STEM "useful" degrees are. I don't think there are that many fields with direct applications from UG degrees, and the ones where there are (accounting, finance, etc) aren't offered at a lot of UGs.

Thinking about my friends from home who majored in "useless" areas, they haven't seemed to be hindered by them. The key really is just to do well and actively seek out opportunities in areas that interest you. No one cares about your (insert "useful" major here) if all you did was show up to class and get a 3.4. Sure, to get a job at a research lab or an engineering firm, you better have that neuroscience or chemical engineering degree, but like I said, if you're a STEM person, do STEM.

As a personal example, below are what my closest couple of friends from home are doing who have the majors that were listed in the OP. They all did internships in college in the areas that they followed up on. I'm not sure what practical majors they could have taken to help them out, but if you have any ideas..

Philosophy: consulting -> IB
Poli Sci: minor league baseball play-by-play broadcaster, director of media relations
English: magazine editor
History: TFA -> consulting

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby xylocarp » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:02 pm

SweetTort wrote:If I majored in something useful, it would be something that doesn't interest me but is very valuable without a JD.

It makes zero sense to do a STEM major if it doesn't interest you. What's the use of having an employable degree if you aren't interested in being employed in that field? If these are your only two options, get the 4.0.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby TigerDude » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:44 pm

The answer to this question is monstrously different if you are planning to go to law school or not.

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SweetTort
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby SweetTort » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:17 pm

I am planning on going to law school.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:37 pm

cotiger wrote:I guess I'm just not sure what these non-STEM "useful" degrees are. I don't think there are that many fields with direct applications from UG degrees, and the ones where there are (accounting, finance, etc) aren't offered at a lot of UGs.

Thinking about my friends from home who majored in "useless" areas, they haven't seemed to be hindered by them. The key really is just to do well and actively seek out opportunities in areas that interest you. No one cares about your (insert "useful" major here) if all you did was show up to class and get a 3.4. Sure, to get a job at a research lab or an engineering firm, you better have that neuroscience or chemical engineering degree, but like I said, if you're a STEM person, do STEM.

As a personal example, below are what my closest couple of friends from home are doing who have the majors that were listed in the OP. They all did internships in college in the areas that they followed up on. I'm not sure what practical majors they could have taken to help them out, but if you have any ideas..

Philosophy: consulting -> IB
Poli Sci: minor league baseball play-by-play broadcaster, director of media relations
English: magazine editor
History: TFA -> consulting

I think this varies hugely according to school attended. I think there are schools that have an excellent enough brand name recognition/reputation that major is much less relevant for getting a job (and they often do feed into consulting firms regardless of major). If you go to Directional State University, Regional Campus, this is much less the case, and people doing the "useless" majors will struggle much more to get something. (Not knocking the latter kind of school, just saying the experiences are different.)

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:40 pm

SweetTort wrote:I am planning on going to law school.


But you're a sophomore in UG, right? IMO, at this point you shouldn't be making decisions based on what will look best on a law school app. If you want to major in poli sci, major in poli sci. If you want to major in biochem, major in biochem. Do internships in professional areas that interest you. Everything else will work itself out.

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:51 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think this varies hugely according to school attended. I think there are schools that have an excellent enough brand name recognition/reputation that major is much less relevant for getting a job (and they often do feed into consulting firms regardless of major). If you go to Directional State University, Regional Campus, this is much less the case, and people doing the "useless" majors will struggle much more to get something. (Not knocking the latter kind of school, just saying the experiences are different.)


Fair point. I don't really know many people who went to DirectionalStateU-type schools, but I could imagine experiences might be different there.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby koalacity » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:45 pm

cotiger wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think this varies hugely according to school attended. I think there are schools that have an excellent enough brand name recognition/reputation that major is much less relevant for getting a job (and they often do feed into consulting firms regardless of major). If you go to Directional State University, Regional Campus, this is much less the case, and people doing the "useless" majors will struggle much more to get something. (Not knocking the latter kind of school, just saying the experiences are different.)


Fair point. I don't really know many people who went to Directional State U-type schools, but I could imagine experiences might be different there.

As someone who went to a large, decidedly non-elite state university, I can say that it is most certainly different at these types of schools (or at least that has been my experience). I had several years of WE and a relatively prestigious internship in UG and still struggled mightily finding gainful employment after graduation with my PoliSci degree. In retrospect, I wish I had double-majored in something more useful (such as Economics) and networked much harder/smarter than I did (though my plan was always to go to LS, it would've made the several years I've taken off much easier).

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cotiger
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby cotiger » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:17 pm

koalacity wrote:As someone who went to a large, decidedly non-elite state university, I can say that it is most certainly different at these types of schools (or at least that has been my experience). I had several years of WE and a relatively prestigious internship in UG and still struggled mightily finding gainful employment after graduation with my PoliSci degree. In retrospect, I wish I had double-majored in something more useful (such as Economics) and networked much harder/smarter than I did (though my plan was always to go to LS, it would've made the several years I've taken off much easier).


I disagree that Econ is useful in a way that PoliSci is not. Econ is more practical to the extent that you're doing math, but it seems like a lot of Econ degrees don't really require much of that. Otherwise, the theoretical components are just as esoteric and unrelated to anything you'd be doing post-graduation as PoliSci.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby TigerDude » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:26 pm

There are problems with this approach. 1. You need to know if your 4.0 will actually get you into a law school that will make financial sense. In other words, what will your LSAT be? If your SAT wasn't 95%, don't expect your LSAT to be. 2. An engineering degree will be great for not going to law school, but your GPA won't be 4.0 & frankly, not likely to be 3.5 when they curve worse than law school does.

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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby SweetTort » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:46 pm

TigerDude wrote:There are problems with this approach. 1. You need to know if your 4.0 will actually get you into a law school that will make financial sense. In other words, what will your LSAT be? If your SAT wasn't 95%, don't expect your LSAT to be. 2. An engineering degree will be great for not going to law school, but your GPA won't be 4.0 & frankly, not likely to be 3.5 when they curve worse than law school does.



My SAT was 760 reading, 780 writing, 650 math. I was dumb and didn't study, but obviously I'd go HAM on the LSAT if I'm putting all my eggs into one basket.




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