Thought on CGPA

I have very low self-esteem towards myself during my years pursuing degree in university. I thought if I could get a good CGPA then maybe I would be more confident when I first entered university, then I worked hard for it by memorising bunch of texts (my university emphasise on meaningless memorisation, yes, I got wtf-ed when I first saw the exam paper) that is not gonna be useful in real world. Gotten two president list and two dean list as a result, it didn’t cheer me up much but it opened some door for me without realising.

As much as I disliked how CGPA is graded, some companies still see CGPA as the first line of defence. Did some side mobile app project? Great! How’s your CGPA? Oh lower than 3.5? Sorry we are unable to proceed with your application as your CGPA does not meet minimum requirements. Thank you for applying. BAM.

What a cruel world, as if your side project app you happily coded as hobby didn’t matter at all. I asked an interviewer before why do they emphasise on CGPA so heavily. “Because CGPA reflects how much dedication you put into your learning and how high the standard you set to yourself”. Ah I see, seems pretty legitimate and reasonable to me at first. Then I recalled and compared how my friends got their CGPA and mine.

Case 1

For Object-Oriented Concept, I got an A while my friend Sunny got a B , we coded a lot and have similar level of competency. The difference of result is because of different lecturer, I took the subject earlier than him and taught by a kind lecturer which give reasonable amount and difficulty of assignment (command line interface UNO game) . Sunny was unlucky, his lecturer was new and without experience, the assignment given to his batch was creating a GUI stock trading application with full set of feature (have to write from scratch) and we have the same amount of time allocated for the assignment. In his semester, no one managed to finish
the assignment because it is too complex and the timeframe allocated was far too short hence no one in that semester gotten A for that subject.

Case 2

For English for IT, I get a B+ as my reading and writing skill is not well-versed at that time. I have a friend who scored worse than mine in the midterm and quiz for this subject but in the end he got an A for this subject. I asked him how he managed to improve his english within such short period of time then he replied “Oh, I went to meet the lecturer before the result is calculated and begged the lecturer to give me an A as I needed to meet certain requirement to continue my scholarship to decrease my family burden, and she agreed”.

See the similarities? Ultimately it is up to the lecturer to decide your grades and ultimately CGPA, not the subject difficulty. If you are good luck then you will have a kind lecturer that give you good result even if you do not work hard, if you are bad luck then you will have a evil lecturer that will sabotage your grade no matter how hard you have worked. This led me to believe that CGPA is pretty much based on luck because for the same subject student might be taught by different lecturer and regardless of the effort he/she have put in, it is up to the lecturer to decide their fate.

And surprising many company still use CGPA, which depended on luck heavily as the first line of defence, seems like they want to hire a lucky candidate than a competent one. I admit that I am pretty lucky as most of the lecturer I have met is pretty kind so far, except for two or three which only gave a maximum B grade no matter how much effort you have put in.

Even if you did file a complaint to the lecturer, your grade is still unchanged unless you are willing to retake the subject again which still might has the same result if the lecturer still continue his behaviour. I have seen my university continued to retain some lecturer with problematic behaviour just because they have high qualification and knowledge.

TL;DR : I think that CGPA is pretty much luck based and company should not use them as first line of defence when filtering a candidate.