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

Postby xylocarp » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:35 pm

SweetTort wrote: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.

not so subtle humblebrag

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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 9:46 pm

xylocarp wrote:
SweetTort wrote: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.

not so subtle humblebrag



Haha, wasn't trying to brag. I know most of the people on this site would jump off of a bridge if they had gotten these scores. I'm going to a big state flagship, so my numbers weren't all that beneficial for the matriculation process.

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

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:04 pm

SweetTort wrote: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?


Double or triple majoring is a possibility that should not be neglected (oftentimes certain majors will have a good deal of overlapping course requirements too, so you would not necessarily have to take the full units of each major, making it easier in a lot of cases). You might have one degree that you're passionate about, but is less employable, and then another one that will land you a stable job.

But, in either case, I don't recommend majoring in something you're ultimately not good at whatsoever (i.e., it's a struggle for you to grasp and/or do the material in the lower-level classes - even after putting in a lot of work), nor something that you're not at least somewhat interested in.

Remember that being somewhat good at and/or interested in something will obviously affect your performance in those areas (not only your GPA, but your ability to do that work later down the line as part of a career). This might seem common-sensical, but oftentimes it may not be when certain shortsighted goals get in the way of good old-fashioned common sense. I've had many Asian American friends and acquaintances of mine major in engineering without either the skill and/or passion to do it and end up unemployed, switching majors very late in their college career (after having greatly damaged their GPA), or just struggling with their career post-graduation. It's an Asian cultural thing...parents pressuring their kids into majoring in lucrative fields, which they don't have interest or matching skills in.

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

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:27 pm

Also, you here's an interesting piece from yesterday's WSJ:

Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324139404579016662718868576

A job after graduation. It's what all parents want for their kids.

So, what's the smartest way to invest tuition dollars to make that happen?

The question is more complicated, and more pressing, than ever. The economy is still shaky, and many graduating students are unable to find jobs that pay well, if they can find jobs at all.

The result is that parents guiding their children through the college-application process—and college itself—have to be something like venture capitalists. They have to think through the potential returns from different paths, and pick the one that has the best chance of paying off. . .

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

Postby SweetTort » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:57 pm

I have to say, this poll has really made me feel at ease. From the general sentiment of TLS, I thought most posts would be somewhere along the lines of "Do a STEM field, get an MBA, go into I-banking."

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

Postby Gucci Mane » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:16 pm

A 3.50 in a hard major does not translate to a perfect 4 in an easy major. The big GPA dropoffs from easy to hard majors mostly applies to slackers at the lower end of the distribution. If you are already reasonably hardworking and intelligent there is no reason why you couldn't get better than a 3.5 in any major.

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

Postby TigerDude » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:22 pm

Gucci, I suggest you were not a Chemical Engineering major.

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jordan15
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Re: Which to prioritize: UG GPA or job prospects post-UG

Postby jordan15 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:33 pm

All of the STEM majors I know that got over a 3.5 had intense loves/obsessions for their major. As in, CS majors who coded in all of their spare time, bio majors who brought weird plants back to their dorm to experiment with, etc. If you have to ask between STEM and humanities/social science, you're probably not going to do well enough in STEM.

But if for some reason you do have an intense love for a STEM major but are worried about it ruining your GPA, look at the curves for each major and if the curves are too rough for one major (some are curved to a 2.7) then find an intermediate major or one that allows you to take a lot of P/NP classes. If you majored in econ, for example, and took a lot of difficult, math based classes while taking many P/NP you could graduate with very good job prospects with the combination of a useful major + high GPA.

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

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:40 pm

If you are set on law school, pick whatever major you find most interesting, assuming whatever that is doesn't tend to yield lower GPAs. You'll get a lot better grades if you find the subject matter and profs interesting.

Vis a vis job prospects, this really depends on your UG. As other posters have commented, if you go to a prestigious enough school, you'll be able to get a good job with just about any major, as long as you hustle for summer internships and the like. If you go to a less prestigious school...I don't really know what advice to give you.

P.S. Physics, philosophy, and economics tend to yield the highest LSAT scores. Maybe people who naturally do well on the LSAT tend to pick those majors, or maybe the study of those disciplines develops the kinds of skills that are tested on the LSAT, who knows...just saying.

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

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:45 pm

Gucci Mane wrote:A 3.50 in a hard major does not translate to a perfect 4 in an easy major.

+1. I know STEM people who got B+/A- in most of their STEM classes but struggled to get the same in humanities courses. Success in STEM classes and success in English classes depend on different abilities, and people who are good at the former aren't necessarily good at the latter.

The takeaway? Do what you're interested in and good at.

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

Postby SweetTort » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:52 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:If you are set on law school, pick whatever major you find most interesting, assuming whatever that is doesn't tend to yield lower GPAs. You'll get a lot better grades if you find the subject matter and profs interesting.

Vis a vis job prospects, this really depends on your UG. As other posters have commented, if you go to a prestigious enough school, you'll be able to get a good job with just about any major, as long as you hustle for summer internships and the like. If you go to a less prestigious school...I don't really know what advice to give you.

P.S. Physics, philosophy, and economics tend to yield the highest LSAT scores. Maybe people who naturally do well on the LSAT tend to pick those majors, or maybe the study of those disciplines develops the kinds of skills that are tested on the LSAT, who knows...just saying.


I'm going to a big state flagship on scholarship, so McKinsey won't exactly be banging down my door.




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