Careers: Geology/GPA

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Question
How much does it matter? I foolishly skipped some university classes when I was fresh out of high school (art classes, history class, etc.), so my GPA is 1.95. I hadn't declared a major back then; I didn't know what I wanted to do in college.

7 years later, I'm back in college and taking it very seriously, but my GPA is tainted. I should make all As and Bs this semester, which will raise it over 2.0. I'm completely dedicated and responsible now, but even if I make all As, my GPA won't be too great. Plus, I already have all my easy-A classes out of the way (general core classes like history and liberal arts stuff), so I'll only be taking major-related classes in which I doubt I can make all As, although I'll try. I also wasted 5 out of my 6 allowed withdrawals from classes when I was younger, so I don't have a lot of room for error.

I hope to work for an oil company as a mudlogger or something for a couple years after graduation, and then get a master's degree... Will I be able to get into a decent grad school?

The good news is that I live in Houston and I have pretty good people skills. I meet people in the oil industry all the time; hopefully I can get a job or internship through a recommendation. I've read that it's good to get internships each summer during school, but if my GPA is so low, I don't know if I can get one.

Do companies look at trajectory GPA, or only cumulative GPA? Is there a way to explain things on my resume so that they'll take me seriously?

I'm considering transferring to a different college, because (I think) my GPA would not be transferred along with my credits, but I don't know if I can transfer with such a low GPA in the first place. I could also pad my courseload with a few easy-A classes to try to raise my GPA.

Thank you very much for your advice and time.

Answer
Ryan:

GPA is usually only considered for a new hire, and then that varies from company to company.  What you do need to worry about is whether you can be considered for graduate school.

The dirty secret of the geosciences is that no oil company or environmental consulting firm will hire you for a professional level (salaried) position with a BS. BS is the geotech level and you will be hourly, and consigned to doing grunt work your whole career.

There are a few exceptions with small companies or support companies where you do mud logging etc, but you burn out in these jobs fast: on the road alot, in remote locations, long hours.  It makes it hard to live a normal live unless you are a life long loner.

A lot of grad schools require a minimum GPA to be considered for acceptance.  You could always retake some classes and try to get those lower scores to average out to a higher one.

A lot of schools have much more lenient policies than in the past with regard to grades.

Transferring might be the wise choice, which might mean you have to retake some of those classes, since the low scores might not transfer at all.  You'll get a clean slate so to speak.
The easy A route is a sound strategy too. I flunked Calculus the first time around...4 cred hours of F, and had to retake it and got an A in a 3 credit hour calculus class so it averaged out to a low C.  So you might be able to salvage it.

Careers: Geology

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Keith Patton

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Career and educational options open for fledgling geoscience students. What courses you should take to prepare for the current job market.

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24 years experience in Petroleum, Environmental Consulting and geological and geophysical computer software development.

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Registered Geologist in Texas
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