If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance you’re asking “is it possible to get an internship with bad grades?” To be honest, getting an internship can be tough in itself, but landing one with a low GPA is an even more difficult uphill climb.
But it’s not impossible.
Although life happens, and bad grades may occur, turning a negative into a positive is what sets successful students apart from the rest.
Typically, internships have specific prerequisites. Some require a minimum of 80% GPA or even more stringent requirements such as outstanding writing, public speaking, or presentation skills. By researching the prerequisites beforehand, you can adequately prepare and plan your approach.
Do grades matter when getting an internship?
I’ll be honest, and I guess you already know this – grades do matter when getting an internship. Doesn’t matter if it’s a student or graduate internship, many companies do have grade requirements for their internship positions.
It is always advisable to strive for the best grades. An excellent grade may not get you every job but it will open a lot of doors, like, A LOT. This is one key advantage it brings.
With one foot through most recruitment doors, it’s now left to you to prove yourself, that you’re smart and fit the company culture. With a not-so-great GPA, you don’t even get the first opportunity.
Are there internships with no GPA requirement?
Yes, but you may have to dig deep to unearth them. One place to start is to seek volunteer opportunities. If your career goals align with their interests, it can easily serve as your internship experience.
You must however be able to demonstrate that your GPA is not a reflection of your work ethic, and willingness to learn and contribute. You have to prove how valuable you are to your team. Every opportunity you get is one more step to rebuilding your work experience for someone capable, knowledgeable, and reliable to do the job.
5 tips to get an internship with bad grades
Apply for as many positions as possible
You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Take as many chances as you possibly can to increase your chance of getting an internship.
However, just don’t spray and pray.
You’re already at a disadvantage compared to others, do your due diligence, contact the decision maker in every company (where possible), and prepare your CV and cover letter properly.
Highlight other life/work experiences you may have
To increase your chances of getting an internship, it’s important to prepare a strong CV and cover letter that highlights relevant experiences, even if they’re not academic.
This could include previous volunteer work, participation in extracurricular activities such as debate or sports teams, or any other experience that demonstrates transferable skills.
By emphasizing these experiences, you can showcase your potential as a valuable intern, even if your grades aren’t as high as you’d like them to be. Remember, employers often look for well-rounded individuals who can bring diverse perspectives and skills to the table.
It’s also totally fine if you don’t have tangible relevant experience. There are still ways you can get an internship even with no experience.
Don’t mention your GPA unless asked
Unless asked, it’s best not to mention your GPA.
This doesn’t mean you’re being dishonest; people generally don’t mention their weaknesses on their CV. Your CV or cover letter is meant to present your best self.
If the question about your GPA is asked, however, don’t lie about it and don’t dwell on it. Mention it, but quickly highlight how you’ve been improving. Focus on your other strengths and experiences that make you a good fit for the internship position.
Consider getting a summer or part-time job
A summer or part-time job, even if it is at a lower level, can still be considered as an internship. This is especially true if the job is related to your field of study or your desired career path.
Like above, consider applying for volunteer positions.
Take your internship seriously
When you finally secure an internship, please take it seriously.
View it as an opportunity to rebuild and advance your career, even if your academic grades are not the best. In the real world, what matters most is the value you can bring to a company.
Therefore, prioritize learning, making contributions, and increasing your value to the organization. This will not only help you gain more practical experience, but it will also help you build a solid professional reputation and network for the future.
Document your wins
Thankfully, most student internships will require you to document your internship. Ensure you document every successful tasks and victory you have. This will help build your future CV and public profile pages.
Take a short course/certification
Fields such as computer science have a lot of short courses and certifications you can take along the way. So even where your school grades are bad, you can take these courses, to demonstrate your knowledge in the subject area.
If you’re seeking an internship as a computer science student or in the IT field, short courses and certifications can be really helpful.
Having a bad GPA is not the end of the world. You can get an internship, volunteer, get a summer job or take short courses as you rebuild yourself into the career you desire. While it may be tougher, it is possible to get an internship with bad grades.
If you read this post to the end and still wondering how you can pull this off, just know that I’m rooting for you. Keep your head up and keep trying, your future self will be glad you did.