Which is Better Between a Higher Grade and Better Course?

What matters: course or grade?
Immediately after hitting the publish button for my post, “Best Universities/Polytechnics in Nigeria: Admission Seekers Beware!”, one of my readers got back to me on how impressive it was. He then asked a familiar and related question “What is better today, higher grades or better university courses?”

If you’re on this page by search, that may be what you truly seek the answer to. And if I’m not wrong, you’re confused with the information available. 

You must have heard that what you should be serious about is the grade you will come out with. You must, as well, be hearing the course you study is more important.

And the main focus after your studies is working – jobs. Yeah, that! So what will matter in the end? The course or the grade?

This post won’t be one-sided, of course. I will take you through my practical experiences and show you what you stand to gain with each choice. However, in the end, I should give you my personal position, which you may accept, or drop.

Of course, you’re in charge of your life.

Ride along!

Where Courses May Be More Important Than Grades

I will start this with a story that will give you my quick stand on this.

Ruth visited me a few months ago. She wanted me to convince her mother to let her accept the Anatomy offered to her by the Osun State University, Osogbo.

Actually, she had applied to study Nursing. However, due to competition and a possible higher score, the university decided to offer her another course instead.

She didn’t want to stay at home for another year. Hence, she believed taking Anatomy wasn’t bad. However, the mother declined. 

The first thing I did was to invite the mother. The woman was honored and visited a day after.

Her story was touching. I’d thought I should be able to convince her but she convinced me instead.

I wasn’t a novice to her story though. It’s, in fact, what I knew right from the start. Nevertheless, she has a genuine reason to insist on Nursing Science.

Of course, in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, Nursing is a lucrative profession and ever demanding one for that matter. However, in certain parts of the world, the course is more than a hot cake. America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other developed countries place more value on nurses than in Africa.

As a result, studying Nursing will engage you almost immediately you’re done in school whether you chose to work at home or abroad. And if you’re lucky outside, you’re more than a winner.

Ruth’s mother had planned things for her to work abroad after graduation. A family, there, was ready to sponsor her if she could go for Nursing and come over to Canada on graduation.

You see the poor mother’s story?

Practically, nothing is wrong with going for Anatomy. However, in this case, it’s better for Ruth to go for Nursing instead of Anatomy.

Even at home, getting a job as a graduate nurse is easier than getting a job as a graduate anatomist. See?

It’s, as well, easier to start your profession, all on your own, as a nurse than an anatomist who may necessarily work in an organization owned by another person, government, or body. In fact, most anatomists work in colleges, universities, or medical centers. They usually teach and do research. 

Nurses are given more recognition abroad, especially, than anatomists. Nurse positions are more available to be filled in most foreign countries.

Now, back to our original question: Higher Grade or a Better University Course?

In a similar situation to Ruth's, courses may be more important than grades. And with courses like Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, etc., grades may not matter. Do you know why? Every nurse, doctor, or pharmacist is qualified once certified. 

No half nurse, no half doctor, or a half pharmacist. It’s either you’re a soldier at the end of your training or you’re dead before the training ends. I pointed this out in my post, “Why Admission Seekers Should Avoid Some Courses – The Bitter Truth”. 

In fact, it’s safe to say that some courses are automatic successes. If a nurse tells you he/she doesn’t have a job, he doesn’t mean being unemployed. He means he hasn’t got the one he wants (a very befitting one). Yet, you can find other graduates who have been jobless for more than a decade (doing nothing!).

Speaking of the importance of courses, Nursing, Medicine, Law, and Pharmacy are not the only good courses to chase. It’s all about knowing what is working in your country. It’s about knowing what will be right for you and your future.

Why should you chase Medicine if you know you can do well at teaching? Why should you chase Business Administration, if you’re a natural marketer? 

ReadEducation Graduates Now Get Automatic Jobs: Is it True?

Going for the perfect course may ease your chase for jobs no matter what. Going for the right course will also help in getting a competitive (usually highest) grade out of school.

This is the brain behind the post linked above and the one I titled “Less Competitive University Courses With Better Employment Prospects”.

Where Grades May Be More Important Than Courses

I pointed out in my post, “Best Universities/Polytechnics in Nigeria: Admission Seekers Beware!”, that there were no best universities, there were only the best students. In other words, There’re no worst universities, there are only the worst students.

You may argue that the worst universities usually produce the worst graduates. With my experiences and data shown in the post linked above, you’re wrong and I’m right.

In that post, I concluded that instead of chasing the so-called best schools, focus instead, on the best grade.

Experience has shown us that, banks, government, and organizations around are more interested in the grades graduates are done with. The higher you make, the better your chance at getting the next offer (if you have no connection and the positions don't favor influences).

Let me explain further.

With the situation of things, in this part of the world, courses may matter in the short run but in the end, you need a higher grade.

Pick the next newspaper with job adverts. What do you see?

Openings for Graduates (Positions)

Where jobs are opened to GRADUATES, it’s usually for any course. All they need is to be a graduate of a university or polytechnic.

However, there is a catch – “candidates must have at least second class upper or upper credit”. 

Do you see that?

In fact, first-class and distinctions graders stand the best chances!

Here, grade matters!

It doesn’t matter the course again. What matters is if you can present a certificate with the most competitive grade.

Of course, this may be to reduce the population of prospective applicants. Yet, once you don’t have what they want, no matter your course, you’re out of the game.

Openings to Specialized Graduates (Positions)

This is like in the case of Nursing, Medicine, etc. They’re specialists. For them, they don’t need special grades to apply for jobs or be qualified for those positions.

However, if your employer wants engineers, accountants, or managers, you’d better be ready to present distinction, first-class, upper-credit, or second-class. Other grades such as second-class lower, third-class, lower credit, or pass may hold you back for a few years.


Writing around topics like this requires no assumptions, but rather, experiences – more importantly, personal ones. Unfortunately, you may be thinking things will change around sooner. You’re wrong!

Nothing is changing in this part of the world. If you have a better course, you stand the chance to experience exactly what those before you had experienced. If you mess your grade up, your fate is as unfriendly as those who failed before you.

If you want to know my position, as to what you should give priority before seeking admission or while in school, I will say, no matter your course, go for the highest grade.

That course may not count in the end. And where it stands to count, competition may force your employer to pick only a few candidates with the most convincing grades.

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