Nobody ever hears about the 'C' students in college

Everybody I know who graduated college did well. People who were inherently poor at school generally never went to college. Thus, I do not know anyone who went to college but did a mediocre job, nobody who just ‘barely’ got their degree.

Well, except for one person- me.

Let me put it this way- ever since I’ve transfered to State college, I have never gotten an ‘A’ in any of my clases. I did pretty well in Junior college, having a 3.5 most of the way, but those classes were a crapload easier and in fact I’m kicking myself for not working harder since I probably could have gotten more or less straight A’s if I wasn’t so friggin lazy.

But state college is a lot harder than junior college. And though I am passing most of my classes I am not doing phenominal by any stretch of the imagination. Most classes I get C’s in. The occasional class which I enjoy or work my ass off on I can pull a B, but that sought-after A has still eluded me. I sometimes hear about people talking about the first semester ‘they got straight A’s’. I’m still waiting to talk about the first semester I even got ONE A.

It has me concerned for two reasons- One, I’ve been spending a year unsuccessfully trying to break out of bad habits, laziness, procrastination, etc. Each semester I get a little more organized, a little more motivated, but the grades don’t change. I work with other students, do tutoring, talk to the instructors during office hours, do EVERYTHING I am supposed to, but still do poorly. The other reason I am concerned is when I (eventually) graduate, who would want to hire someone with a BA who had a GPA of 2.X? A ‘C’ grade, while supposedly meaning ‘average’ has such negative connotations to many people. In many cases, a ‘C’ doesn’t seem any better than an ‘F’. I’ve taken so many units even if I got straight A’s from here on out it would not pull my GPA up to 3.0.

Maybe I should have taken all my classes on a pass/fail system :frowning:

“C” studenthood worked okay for Geroge Bush!

I dont know if employers check your grades when you graduate. Work history, enthusiasm, and interview techniques are generally alot mroe important to getting employed than an A average.

Grades are for grad school.

My undergraduate GPA was a 2.8. The reason for me? I went in pre-med and it took me 3 semester to realize that not only did I not enjoy it, I wasn’t particularly good at it. The other reason? I spent my sophomore year screwing around and drinking way too much.

I got a job after I graduated. Then I got laid off from that job four four years later - after being very successful at it, but the company closed. Two weeks later I had another job. Turned out to hate that one eventually, but it was a good job, paid well, and so forth. It just wasn’t for me.

Now I’m in grad school. If I’d applied straight out of undergrad there’s no way I would have gotten in, because my gpa was low. But those years of work really helped me. I’m also doing much better here than I did as an undergrad, but there are a lot of reasons for that too. Partly, I love it.

The ‘C’ students are out there. We lead lives, we get jobs. And if we do well at the jobs, we get promoted. You will graduate with the same degree as someone who got all A’s. (That’s the same reason I didn’t stress when I didn’t keep the 4.0 of my first grad school semester - I will still have the same degree as everyone else when I finish in the spring. Plus I’ll have those years of work experience).

Just remember that you get the same degree with C’s as you do with straight A’s (honorary designations excluded). Employers don’t check grades. You aren’t even supposed to put it on your resume even if they are perfect. At least at my school (Tulane) it was pretty difficult to get A’s in most classes. They were usually reserved for the top 10% or so in the class. The only problem with C’s is that you can flunk out if you slip up and get a few D’s. Other than that, I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless you want to go on to graduate or professional school.

A friend of mine went through college putting in just enough effort to pass his classes. His motto was “Ds get degrees.” He earned an economics degree, but he also worked during college, and the job he found afterward was concerned with that, rather than his degree. If I were looking at someone’s resume, I would consider what extracurricular activities they had.

Incubus - I’m an instructor at a private liberal arts college, and have been an academic advisor for my entire tenure at this college. We have apolicy that you must get at least B’s to stay off academic probation…Harsh? We prefer to say selective.
What you describe is not uncommon for students…many times transfer students have this problem, especially those who come from junior colleges. they leave those schools with 3.7’s and drop to 2.4’s upon entering the state or private colleges upper classes.
My advice to you…Take a speed reading workshop, and find the absolute best place to study and stick with it. You will fall into place, and be just fine.
Grades are generally not looked at by first employers. However, if you put Big5 State University - graduated 2004, Magna Cum Laude…they know you worked your ass off and have the ability to do it in the work force…But actual GPA’s I do not think are used at all.

In certain circles (including Bush’s, and others of the monied elite), “gemtlemen’s Cs” were the preferred grades - anything more than that was seen as a sign that you were working WAY too hard at school and missing out on all of the important stuff (parties, Skull and Bones, getting laid, and more parties).

I had a 4.74 on a 6.0 scale - what’s that: B-? C+? For my job, it didn’t matter - they just wanted to know that I had earned an engineering degree from an accredited university.

One of the best engineers I know barely had a “C” but he was an amazing designer and problem-solver. Classroom smarts don’t necessarily translate to on-the-job smarts.

I was a C-B student, I think I got a 2.727 or something like that. I only got a handful of As, mostly in music. I did however make Dean’s List once, and I’ve very happy that I did, I worked my butt off that semester. I learned just as much getting a C as I did the occasional A though.

I was a mediocre student in college (except for in my “in major” classes - those I could get As in easily enough, mostly because I was far more interested in those courses), and graduated with a 2.something. And, now I have a pretty good job, doing something that has nothing whatsoever to do with my major.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the grades unless, as already noted, you plan on going to grad school immediately. Or if you’ve got a scholarship.

I’ve done a lot of college recruiting during the course of my career, at more than one company. I can categorically state that we did look at grade point averages.

Maybe it was just that I’ve primarily done recruiting for IT.

All other things being pretty much equal (and let me say that it is hard to probe to any depth during an on-camplus 30 minute interview), the person with the higher grade point got the second interview on-site.

But, the other things had to be pretty much equal. In other words, if a student was articulate, friendly, could demonstrate a good work ethic, came across as intelligent, and had a logical reason why their grade point wasn’t as good as would be expected… they’d get the second interview if the other students had better grades but did not exhibit these characteristics.

If you get above a 3.0 GPA, then it’s worthy of being put on your resume. Anything lower than that, it just doesn’t get mentioned.

You only put your GPA on your resume for the first job you take out of college.

You can also put your “in major” GPA on your resume if it is above a 3.0.

I had a 2.7 and I’m doing just fine. My SO is still in school and will probably graduate with around a 3.5. This means she is qualified for better internships and can put it on her resume.

I think companies such as Fidelity that only take people with above a 3.5 GPA don’t do it because they think these people are smart. They do it because they figure these are the types of people who don’t have a social life and just study all day. They will be good entry level analysts at a company that expects people to work 12 and 14 hour days.


I think I made only 2 A’s my entire four years at college (which was, admittedly, a tough one). Then after a couple of indecisive years in the ‘real world’, I did 6 years of grad school (M.A., Ph.D.), during which I made only A’s, except for one B+. Not that that means much of anything. My point is just that it’s all relative, and, perhaps, you’re still figuring out exactly what the formula is for getting top grades.
Embarrassingly enough, it took me almost four years to realize that they really meant it when they said that going to all the classes, doing all the homework, turning in everything on time, and really trying made a big difference. Some people figure that out in 7th or 8th grade, while I was 21 before I really got it. Call me a slow starter. Whatever.
I wouldn’t worry too much about A’s; so long as you’re getting an occasional B, you’re probably doing fine. Top grades will, however, help you get into grad school, as others have already noted.

And don’t forget: C’s don’t even preclude you from the oval office (so long as you have the help of well-connected parents, cronies, personal wealth, and flexible principles).

I was a C student for my first two years of school. I was working three jobs and was a full time student so studying was a low priority. Once I got into my core classes junior and senior year though, I was an A/B student becasue it was stuff I was interested in. Still graduated with a C+. Two things–grades count if you’re going to get a graduate degree. In certain fields like engineering, you need grad school to do well no days. In other fields you may not. Secondly, you don’t need good grades to get a good job, but you do need an opportunity–a foot in the door so to speak. Good grades provide that opportunity but ther are other ways. My favorite is internships. Internships give you a chance to a) see what your getting into professionally, b)get experience under your belt before you graduate and c) lets outsiders see what you can do. I think a government internship is the best because there are a lot of them and the government interfaces with a lot of government contractors–where the money and cool jobs are. Take heart and muddle through.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload maybe you can take fewer courses during the regular school year and make up the credits in either summer school or extra semesters.

My BA, work experience, and good interviews did more for me than my GPA ever did. Frankly, I never kept track of it.

The only thing my GPA has ever been used for is financial aid/scholarships. It never came up otherwise.

Michael Bloomberg was a C student at Johns Hopkins, apparently.

I graduated with a 2.48 GPA, and took 5 years to get a BSEE.

I failed three classes completely, got a D in two others. All were prerequisites for other classes, or required for the degree, so I had to repeat them.

I got consistent C’s in just about every other lecture class I enrolled in from the school of engineering, and A’s in every lab class. I got an A in every single class I took in the School of Arts and Sciences, except Physics and Chemistry.

Yes, engineering school was hard. High school was so easy, I never had to form good study habits. I just showed up to class about 80% of the time, and aced the tests. So I was unprepared for how hard college was. And I insisted on doing all the work alone – no study groups for this misfit.

I worked 30 hours a week to make ends meet. Financial Aid paid for tuition and fees and most materials, but food and shelter and clothes had to be earned. Fortunately, it was a cool job, for the department of Astronomy, building satellite equipment. And I even got independant study credit for it a couple of semesters.

And starting my second year, I partied. A lot. The school was CU-Boulder, recently voted near the top of the party school list, if not #1, and it didn’t suddenly get that way. Of course, it didn’t help that my circle of friends was mostly enrolled in the department of Fine Arts…

So, how did I turn out? Just fine. I have a job I enjoy, been here nearly 14 years, I work on interesting projects and get to play with cool, expensive equipment, and I have time to hang out on SDMB.

As has been noted, your grades, and for the most part, your degree, seem to lose their impact on your future employment rather rapidly. I recognize, though, that things have changed since I went to school, with many more people going on to graduate school, where grades are a potential limiter.

Most people entering my field nowadays get a postgraduate degree, but that certainly wasn’t the case when I ambled along 23 years ago. For the last 3½ years I’ve worked in a professional position with an NYSE-traded energy corporation, and I don’t recall anyone asking me if I even went to college when they hired me.

One of my college roommates was a dedicated C student. I don’t think he ever got a grade above or below, and he graduated as an English major with a 2.0. He’s done very well in advertising.