Job applications, GPAs, and your first year at MIT

You have found a great opportunity. You have your resume set, your cover letter is the best you have ever written, and right as you go to submit your application you see it: Please enter your GPA. What do you do? You just started at MIT and you don’t have a GPA… at least not from the Institute, yet.

The blessing of P/NR in your fall semester is great, but can add some confounds to your application processes. Here are some tips to help you get through your job application process:

1. Resume – Since you will not receive a GPA from the Institute until the end of your spring semester, keep your high school GPA on your resume to show a high scholastic aptitude. You may also want to add “GPA: N/A” for your entry for MIT so that the employer/recruiter know that you do not have one yet.

2. MIT’s Handshake System – The GPA field asks for a numerical value. Keep this blank to indicate no GPA. You may also select the option to hide your GPA from employers by checking the box that says “Hide from Employers” under the “Education” section in your user profile.

3. Other application systems (ATSs) – different companies may use a variety of systems to organize and process job and internship applications. Since these systems vary, you may have to adjust how you share this information:

  • If the field allows text, enter “GPA: Not Given” or “GPA: Not Applicable” as MIT does not award a GPA during your first semester.
  • If the GPA field only allows numbers but is not a required field, follow the advice for MIT’s Handshake system: leave blank to indicate no GPA.
  • If the field only allows numbers and is required, please enter your high school GPA. Review the applicant tracking system for a “Comment” text field to explain that the GPA listed is your high school GPA, and that MIT does not award grades during the first semester.

With P/NR, we strongly discourage estimating your GPA. The Registrars Office will not supply you with anything to support it if the employer/recruiter asks for it, so you may run into issues if the employer eventually seeks verification. You may find it helpful to review the Registrar’s website for additional information about first-year grading policies.

If you need additional guidance on this topic, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor in CAPD.

By Erik Pavesic
Erik Pavesic Assistant Director, First Year Engagement Erik Pavesic