For some, university is nearly over and all the hard work, late night library sessions & copious amounts of Starbucks is finally about to pay off! With the dissertations handed in & the alarm clock turned off, the only time you’re all eagerly waiting for is the results to be posted. Today a 2:1 is the average grade that’s awarded to many students, it’s deemed a well-regarded result and the pass to an array of graduate schemes, jobs & apprenticeships, congratulations! However my concerns are with the hopefuls that may not have got what they bargained for. 2:2′s & 3rd’s are quickly judged & many individuals are rather disappointed when they’re faced with these types of grade. The thing is, after listening to many people’s views & arguments on the matter, I’ve come to believe that they don’t create the ‘life ending’ circumstances that many people presume they do, there is far too much bad stigma with the lower university marks today & I wish to shake them off…
If you’re reading this and you’ve attained a 2:2, let me start by saying a huge well done for graduating from a university. It takes a lot for many of us to start a fresh, work hard, meet new people & come out with a certificate at the end of it, so remind yourself of how well you’ve done. There are many assumptions that come with the lower grades, most of them being laziness. I’ve overheard many a student use the statement ‘what she’s expected to get a 2:2? I thought she was cleverer than that?!’ and it’s stopped me in my tracks. How can anyone write someone off for a grade that still stands for success?
Research suggests that students with a 2:1 are two and a half times more likely to retain a job within six months of graduating than those with a 2:2, this probably being due to many schemes offering the minimum requirement of a 2:1 or more. I say, these statistics are just words on paper and so are your grades. Obviously whatever you achieve is something to be proud of, but I feel that too many students are writing themselves off far too early all because they haven’t attained the desired grade they wished for. I know it’s cliché, but I do believe in the saying ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’, so you didn’t pass with flying colours, what other experience do you have under your belt?
Your success will depend on your character. If you want something bad enough you’ll work your hardest to get it. In many circumstances today it’s as much about who you know as what you know. Try and network to the best of your ability & when applying for jobs make sure that your CV is slick! Companies are less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt now that your grade is lower than usually accepted so sell yourself & spell everything CORRECTLY (I know it sounds stupid, but we’ve all stared at a page so many times that we just can’t focus and we miss vital mistakes!) Realistically, it’s all about fighting your corner, you are going to be rejected a few times purely because of your results but just remember to stay thick-skinned. It may take you that little bit longer than the rest but try every avenue that’s physically possible. Look at jobs where a degree may not be essential but would work as an advantage & voluntarily offer your help to businesses that steer you in the right direction. There are plenty of top graduate employers that accept degrees lower than a 2:1, for example Nestlé, Network Rail & Jaguar Land Rover.
It’s also important to mention if there’s genuine exceptional circumstances for your grade, it’s been known for companies to still consider candidates to be eligible for jobs that require a 2:1 if there’s a valid reason. If you achieved high marks in some modules, but struggled in others, then list your degrees overall break down. This shows employers that you are capable of excelling, but certain situations may have stood in your way. It was only last week I spoke to a woman who said that travelling mid degree was the result of her 2:2, but she wouldn’t swap any of the memories she gained for a better turnout in her degree. Her experiences abroad have actually strengthened many of her applications and she mentioned that her secret to success was being constantly proactive. I think the key to all of this is to highlight your strengths, accept where your ‘weaknesses’ were and be honest with the employer, just because you received a 2:2 doesn’t mean you don’t deserve this job so make your passion known.
So if you’re feeling disappointed about your degree’s grade, don’t worry, it may seem like it’s a barrier but, by thinking differently, it shouldn’t be a major disadvantage. Just keep going & think outside of the box, write 100 letters if you have to, send out 50 CV’s and just don’t take no for an answer, many of the world’s most recognisable individuals never earned a degree, and it didn’t hurt their odds of success one bit… it’s only a bad result if you let it be one.