Recently I was asked for my resume. I went to a 4 year university for computer science. The first semester I did OK (3.11 GPA), however the next two semesters I dropped several classes and didn't attend the ones I didn't drop. I wasn't struggling with the academics, I just did other things with my time (read: play games and go to parties). As a result I ended up with a pretty low overall GPA (1.08).

I'd like to put the first semester on my resume because I did well in my CS courses, is that OK to do? Also, because of the 2 semesters when I didn't do well, there is a one year gap on my resume... nothing I can do about that I suppose. I left school to start a programming job, I've been working in this field for a little over 5 years now. I am quite good at my job, which is why I was contacted and asked for my resume.

So would it be appropriate to put an education section on my resume? If so, how should I present it?

Edit: No I didn't graduate.

  • 1
    Did you graduate? – Chris May 18 '16 at 20:40
  • If your GPA is low but you haven't finished the program yet, just say that you're still completing the degree and say nothing about GPA. I assume the degree is not a requirement if you're considering saying that you just have 1 semester. – Brandin May 19 '16 at 7:44
  • @user50713: I think there is a good question in there, so I've made some edits to re-phrase things. This included removing the "Should I do ..." parts that led to the question being put on hold. If you think I've overdone things or changed the meaning or done something else you don't like, please feel free to edit it yourself. – GreenMatt May 19 '16 at 15:34

I'd like to put the first semester on there because I did well in my CS courses, is that OK to do?

So should I even put an education section on my resume? How should I handle this?

Let me see if I understand.

Overall, you did poorly in school. But you want to include a single semester because you did okay in CS during that semester, but omit the rest.

You want to do this so you can intentionally mislead the reader regarding your educational performance.

Do I have that right?

If so, this is a very bad idea. Leave your education off of your resume completely, if you like, since you didn't graduate. With five years of experience, your education is far less important than it would be if you were entry-level.

Be prepared to discuss any gap years and to come up with an answer if asked about education during an interview or a background check.

Did you graduate? If you didn't there's no point at all in mentioning education at this point. You have a long work history that should speak for itself and Computer Science is not typically a field where education is terribly important to begin with.

If you did graduate, you just list your entry and graduation date alongside the title of your degree. Your GPA doesn't matter at this point. Almost no companies will care and those that do won't hire you if it's that low. I'd say that any company that cares about the GPA of someone with five years' experience are getting the hiring process wrong.

Reading through your question, it seems like you only actually studied for a semester. That really doesn't deserve to be mentioned on your resume as it will only have a negative effect.

If you're asked about prior education you can just reply that you started a CompSci degree but lost interest in the overly academic nature of it all and chose to enter the workforce instead. No reasonable employer will hold that against you.

Unless there is a specific dependency of the position you are applying, and the education that you have, I would leave the details of the education out the resume. If you are graduated, just put the school/department name as well as the graduation year. If not graduated, you can put something like working towards blah-blah degree. If the employer is interested in how you did in school, they will ask you details. At which point I would tell them the truth, but instead of gaming and parties, I would spin it something like a family matter, where the employer would not probe any further. Of course, it is in your best interest if you did not plaster your pictures for this period, holding a weed-bong or doing a keg-stand on facebook and twitter. If you did, it is time to clean them up before they damage your reputation any further.

Don't include only one semester of school, because you did poorly on the rest of the semesters.

You have two options:

  1. List the years you attend your university, but do not list a terminal degree (e.g. Harvard University 2003 - 2004)
  2. Don't include your college experience at all. You have worked in the field for 5 years. At this point, your experience is worth more than your degree. You should feel confident to leave it off your resume.

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