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My kid has a 3.0 in high school and is stressing out about grades not being good enough. Please share stories if you were in a similar boat. Which college did you go to? Have you been successful in life?

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I’m born and raised in the US. My immigrant parents were poor but gradually got up to lower middle class. I went to one of the top public high schools in the US. My parents wanted me to do the traditional immigrant first gen track: engineer, doctor, or lawyer. I didn’t enjoy HS and rebelled. My freshman year GPA was like a 1.7. I graduated with a 2.75 in the bottom 25% of my class. I scored 99th percentile and near perfect scores on the ACT and SAT, as well as all the AP classes I took. I dropped out of my state school university after 1 year and somehow finagled an entry level job in industry and fast promoted to manager level. However, I knew I needed a college degree to get pass that level. I was told they couldn’t promote me to senior manager without a 4 year degree. I somehow convinced a T15 university to admit me as a 26 year old non-traditional undergrad. I graduated cum laude and went back to working in industry before jumping over to consulting as an industry SME. I’m now about to become a partner in a large global consulting firm in a year. I’m already the head of my sector/practice area here. I’ve been offered senior executive level roles in well positioned early startups and mid-sized companies but I enjoy my work currently and they couldn’t match my expected partner TC. I don’t ever want to go back to a large sized industry.

High school GPA means nothing. Looking back, my partner, who knew me in high school, expected me to find a route to live a comfortable life. They didn’t expect me to hockey stick my personal growth.

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This is the thread for me.
I graduated high school with a 2.88 GPA and a 2160 SAT. i went to an OK state school, where i had a 3.3 GPA. I managed to network and interview my way into an internship at Goldman Sachs Sales and Trading where i competed amongst Ivy League candidates, and joined a Big 4 consulting firm after graduation.

My biggest takeaway: i got super lucky. I hate people sharing stories about these absurd success stories. I was at the right place at the right time and for every success story you hear like this, there’s a hundred who didn’t end up doing well.
Your son will have to network his ass off and get super lucky if he wants to work in professional services. He has to also be smart or hungry for it. I may have a 2.88 gpa but i had a 2160 SAT, so there was a significant delta in my academic performance vs standardized testing (which some people will say doesn’t measure whatever yadda yadda - you know what I’m getting at. I’ve never met a 2400 who was dumb).

Next question is to consider what industry is the most agnostic of your grades/school. McK already pointed it out - tech. If he studies CS and practices leetcode problems, he will be genuinely set for a good career. At the very least study CS to go into finance or consulting (if that’s what he wants), and have software engineering as a backup.
People are free to study and pursue what they want, but CS is just the smartest fallback degree to have. Most degrees aren’t required for the field they want to work in (save for medical, engineering and legal professions).

But i really had to play catch up at my state school, but my attitude was that Ivy League defers or acceptees who never went due to financial reasons were attending my state school, and they would most likely still be successful. So if we were staring from the same clean slate, then i could have a second shot at doing what i should’ve done in HS.

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Went to community college. Then state school. Took total of 6 years to get my bachelors degree at age 25. Never went to grad school.

Currently make close to 7 figures at big tech.

likeupliftinghelpful

I’m sure you gonna be close to 7 figure, look how Many Brain you got? Can I borrow one your ManyBrain?

There’s always community college.

likefunny

My wife did CC for one year. Completed her first two years of college in that one then transferred to UC Berkeley to complete her bachelors. Its a great option depending on the state, they just have to take the grades seriously there.

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I’ve got a good one for you 2.6 HS gpa. Went to a state college and dropped out after the first year with a 1.8 gpa and had too much fun... Enlisted in the Army as a private. Worked my way up, went to war. Then community college AA, BS state school 3.5 gpa. Started in corp finance, worked my ass off, got into top 10 MBA. Then 6 years at McK and now senior leader in big tech.

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Love how nothing says privilege right here. Amazing!

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😂 bro, half my colleagues are communications degree holders with 2.5 GPAs making $750k as L8 warehouse directors at AMZN at 31 years of age. Grades and prestige are over in the tech age. 😹

likesmart

Ah the “Day 1” formula. No thanks ☺️

funny

I didn't go to college, did do military (only 4 years). I tried once I got out and then dropped out because I was just bad at it.

I just joined a start up as a director of a business line making close to 250k. Not a single time has grades or my lack of degree hindered me.

likeuplifting

You don’t even need any special major or to graduate from a top school anymore. You can just get a university of Phoenix BA and you can end up being a partner in the big 4. It’s just a required formality, you can really be a software engineer with a music degree now as long as you have the skills. But most jobs do require a degree but they don’t care about major or grades anymore because people can learn independently online much easier now.

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You may want to consider therapy for them. The not good enough feeling doesn’t disappear and it’s better for them to learn the tools to navigate this sooner than later.

likesmart

I want to offer a dose of perspective. The first question he needs to consider is: what does he want to do with his life?

There are many paths to success, but only a few (consulting, IB, PE, VC, some elite think tank/government jobs) truly require attendance at an elite undergraduate institution. And even then in some cases there are workarounds. So q 1: does he want to do any of that? If not, breathe easy. He’ll be fine.

If he does want to do any of those roles, he’ll need to think strategically. The USA is a big country and most elite national companies will still hire from a garbage state school which he could easily get into if they have an office in that geography where said state school is the best pool of talent for 100s of miles. You just need to request a document from the career office where they keep track of which employers hired how many kids from which major and how much those kids were offered in salary. Discount any one-off situations, but if you see >10 people going to the same company, your school is probably a target school for that company.

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ALSO: I personally went to a top ranked high school, took all honors and AP classes, and graduated with a 2.9 GPA. I still got into a top 50 college that was a target school for Big 4 consulting (where I killed it, graduated with a 3.7 GPA in a hard major among other achievements) and after 3 YOE just got an offer at MBB.

Your kid should have hope. College, and high school are not the end. They are but a means to an end.

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I went to state school and still got a 3.0 In college.

And here I am rubbing shoulders with Ivy League graduates with MBAs


It’s not always about being booksmart.

likefunny

Why are you rubbing their shoulders?

Going against the current here but 3.0 GPA doesn’t mean they have to go to community college before going to a university. Sure, universities will be limited but state universities are good too and it can still open doors with no delays.

I went to a state university, graduated with a 2.9GPA and am making 100+ three years after graduating.

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Check out Wake Forest in North Carolina!

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Pwc3 what’s your GPA? This so false that it’s funny. I had a 3.2 at a great private school and knew the dean, was a underrepresented minority, and still didn’t get into Wake Forest.

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This is a wild conversation. 3.0 isn’t a bad GPA. It’s a B which is still considered above average. Plenty of people get into great schools with poorer grades. These comments are acting like this child is trying to overcome something insurmountable.

And of course this isn’t the end of the world. A 16 year old kid has their entire life to still decide what they want to do. I feel like these comments are all implying this child is somehow behind. I have seen too many friends and classmates wildly (and sometimes fatally) burnout because of the pressure around school. Have your kid focus on doing their best and enjoying their high school experience as well as they can.

They don’t need to decide what they want to be when they grow up today. I’m 33 and still figuring it out. Focus the college search on finding the right environment for your child to stay healthy and happy while getting an education. Figure out what works best financially and logistically for your family.

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That’s if it’s based on a true curve. This will make you feel really bad: google what the average GPA of your school is. The average GPA for my undergrad was 3.5, I didn’t feel as smart after I found that out. Still above that but it sucks when you find out average intelligence at your school is 2.5 (C grade)

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My husband went to high school overseas and had something that translated into a low GPA in the US when he moved to the states during his senior year. Full points on the math portion of the SAT but Verbal was a mess since he’s ESL, so that limited his options.

He went to a community college and transferred into a good state school. Got an undergrad degree in engineering and has been successful since.

likesmart

2.9 in HS. Went to Community College, transferred out to a state college.

First job out was at a utilities company making 61K as an accountant associate out of college. within 9 months moved to B4 consulting for 2 years, ended with 101k TC.
Now I’m at Google in finance, 197k TC at L4.

I would say I’ve been relatively successful within finance. Your kid will be fine

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My brother got close to a 3.0 in high school. Went to community college for 2-years, transferred to 4-year big ten university and graduated as a teacher. Was awarded a scholarship to east coast school to get his masters degree. Now his school district is paying for him to get us doctorate at the #1 program in the country and is on a path to be a future superintendent. Not all paths are the same!

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Also, my brother hit his stride after finally be able to select classes he found interesting in college vs. being forced to take classes like he was in high school.

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I graduated high school with a whopping 1.8 GPA. Went to community college for one year, transferred out to DePaul University, and 4 years after high school ended, am about to graduate from DePaul with a Bachelors + minor, with a cumulative college GPA of 3.775, this June. I start with EY as a tech consultant this August. Your high school GPA is literally irrelevant, just do good in college and get internships. At the time I thought my life was ruined because I did bad in high school, now I’m happy I enjoyed high school and didn’t care about school lol. You just have to have the prescience of mind to kick into gear in college, that’s where it matters. A high school 3.0 isn’t even bad. Your child will be more than fine.

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I don’t remember my gpa — but I can tell you my grades in high school were not great and I’m pretty happy with where I am now. Still got into a private school in NYC, learned to network and build connections, got a job in consulting, and ultimately landed a job in tech. High school grades aren’t indicative of success especially if you stay motivated and set goals for yourself (even if those goals change).

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**UNLESS YOUR KID IS TRYING TO GET INTO HARVARD, YALE, PRINCETON, or any other top Ivy League school on a full ride. A 3.0 GPA will get him into several other school for a full ride, partial scholarship and so forth….BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY “what major is he going for? I would advice him to go for major that has career titles.

To share my personal experience: Graduated high school with a 2.7- went to Old Dominion University - transferred to UVA and graduated with a 3.3 - Currently at Liberty University for post grad. I am now working for one of the BIG4.

likefunny

I can't find any examples of a 3.0 landing a full-ride scholarship. I see it's a requirement to apply, but it's not the GPA getting the scholarship. Otherwise, why would anybody take out loans?

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Also, don’t forget that you could be a terrible student and still become The POTUS in recent times. Reference our most recent presidents. POTUS Biden openly shares that he wasn’t a good student in high school nor college. Obama went to Occidental College, which isn’t a great or well-known school outside of LA area. GWB always talked about how he was a C student. We don’t even need to talk about Trump.

likefunny

In 20+ years in business, I have found that some of my best hires were kids out of lower tier schools. Give me a well rounded kid with good grades from a tier 3 school in the Midwest who has a chip on his shoulder and wants to prove he is a badass over a kid who coasted through an Ivy and expects to be CEO his first week on the job. Having personally gone to a top 10 non ivy school, I saw countless classmates I would never consider hiring for even the most menial jobs at my firm. They all have impressive degrees but are still lazy morons. A top degree may help open some doors but I think with a little effort, a solid student from a lower tier school can have the same (or more) success.

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