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August 23, 2012


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Sorry to say that if you are just learning these in qualities and traits in college it is too late.

All these qualities and traits need to be learned in grade school, middle school and high school and sharpened in college and continue to improve with experience.

They are learned in all different activites outside of school like sports, drama, robotics, jazz band, boy and girl scouts, you name it some skill will be learned doin any of these activites.

The biggest influence on helping develope these skill will be the parent who is involved with there child and helping them underdstand the importance of these traits.

My oldest son is doing quite well in college and next year my youngest will be testing the waters of college. I feel confident that we have done our best with both of them and the rest is up to them.

Wow, this is so, so true. Well worded. As a parent, I firmly agree with Matt above. For older people though, this is an updated Dale Carnegie-ish reminder of what to focus on at work, what new books to read, and what continuing education perks one should ask the boss/company for. Thanks FMF for adding fuel to the fire! Gran Torino

I have BS and MS degrees in engineering but one thing that I wish I hadn't missed out on was living on campus. I lived at home with my parents for the BS, and at home with my wife for the MS.

I didn't miss out on the "skill sets" but unfortunately I did miss out on college life and all the extra curricular pleasures that it can bring.

I'm sure Old Limey managed to squeeze a few keg stands in there somewhere! ;)

I went steady with my wife when I was 15, got married at 21 and have been together ever since. I'm a pretty square guy and a fairly typical engineer. When we lived in Denver for two years, every weekend in the Winter someone at work would host a party in their basement and kegs of beer were plentiful. I did get drunk on one occasion and it was such an unpleasant experience I vowed never to repeat it.

Old Limey,
It seems you are definitely living a well rounded life. And to find a lasting partner at that age is something extraordinary! Since college, I am in the same mindset when it comes to excessive drinking though, nothing good ever comes of it. I hope I didn't offend you. My apologies.

I agree with the general point that a high GPA isn't the primary concern of employers. If your GPA is high enough to get you into an interview then how you impress them after that matters more and good experience in industry related jobs and good references is key too.

But I hope people don't assume from this that GPA doesn't matter. I think the point is that a 'very high' GPA isn't a requirement. Its not as if simply having a 3.8 GPA will guarantee you a job over someone with a 3.3 or 3.5. Other skills, job experience and references certainly matter and can easily outweigh 0.2 GPA difference. A 3.0-3.2 GPA in college is about average and you should of course try to do better than average if you can.

The university has really been the best time of my life, I definitely frame for good and forever. Everything I am today I owe to the university, however much or little I feel that helped me a lot, I "opened the head" as some people say.
It always helps to study and learn your way around with people your own age or similar, with teachers, etc, that helps a lot to the performance of a person for the rest of his life.

I cannot agree more with the list of skill sets college graduates need to land on a job and be successful. However, I would rather say that these skills should be developed as early as grade school days. We still have approximately 10 years before my kids go to college but I am trying my best to teach my kids and develop these skills as early as now.

I can vouch for initiative being a great attribute valued by employers. Nothing says "here I am, ready to work" like coming in way over prepared by figuring out exactly what the employer is after (which involves doing research, figuring out their problems and coming up with potential solutions BEFORE coming to an interview).

One's investment in college is just the first step towards success.
My first step in 1951 was to work on getting a BS in mechanical engineering. When that was over and after working for 4 years I switched to a company that paid my tuition to get an MS, allowing me to make up the time I took off to attend class. The company also encouraged me to take programming classes offered in house on company time.

Up to that point in time my education was totally oriented towards my career with no thoughts about retirement. It wasn't until I had retired in 1992 and had consolidated our investments at Fidelity that I gave thought to how to best manage them. That led me down a path that never crossed my mind while I was working. That path led to writing a comprehensive mutual fund and market analysis program that I was able to market very successfully and that I also used to manage my own investments, coincidentally during a great period for the market and the economy.

My bottom line is that some of the best things that can happen to you after retirement are the result of skills that you learned at college and skills that you learned at work. However, while you are acquiring those skills it's highly unlikely that it will occur to you just how useful they may become after you retire.

I was always a bright kid but never tried hard... I graduated with a 3.3 and got a valuable, yet inexpensive degree at a satellite campus of a national brand name. To this day I regret not trying just a LITTLE harder and hitting a 3.5, because my school was ready to offer me a full ride and save me 45 thousand dollars. Oh, to be young and dumb...

Advice for kids and parents alike:
Freshman year, sit down and review your college goals, and their admissions processes. Set a target for GPA, and then spend all your free time gaining these awesome experience as they really are incredibly valuable

from my experience interviewing and hiring freshers and mid level managers,

we focus on and prize only one aspect and all our questions are geared to that aspect. it is rightly number one on your list.


I have found a countless number of times that a responsible person (even without great GPA, from noname school etc etc) eventually develops or trains all the other skill sets to do the job and go even beyond.

I really liked this article. Although the older generation may have placed a heavier emphasis on the idea of the GPA, I think these days a good amount of college students understand that it is the skills you acquire, as well as the networking you do that can get you a job. Unless your Dad or Mom knows where to tiny you a job, meeting the right people and attending internship/job fairs is crucial to gaining experience, to demonstrate your expertise and therefore get letters of recommendation. A GPA really does not reflect in any way how someone will perform at a job.

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