You Graduated With A Third Class? So?

After spending two, four, six or even many more years in a tertiary institution, you’ve finally graduated. Congratulations! Right? Well, yeah, but. There’s a but, you came first from behind, you came out with a third class or worse still, a pass. Hmmm!

If I tell you I know how it feels, I’d be telling you a big fat lie. What I do know however, is what results like that can do to the psyche of the average graduate. Add that to the paper driven mentality of the Nigerian employer and you have enough grounds to wallow in perpetual self-pity. Thing is, I won’t allow you do that to yourself; there’s a way out, so keep the faith yeah?

Speaking from the perspective of someone who recruits, every time I stumble on a CV with 3rd class or Pass I find myself wondering ‘So what were they doing in school? Where they that unserious, that unintelligent? Even worse if it’s a lady because the immediate thing most people will think of is ‘Hmmm. Aristo’. She was too busy dating rich men! Forgive me, but that’s how the society works. No Trial, no conviction. You’re hanged at the gallows before you have the chance to sneeze or say your name.

From experience I know a lot of factors can play out and make you end up with such embarrassing scores. You didn’t like the course so there was very low interest, it wasn’t what you applied for that you were given, but having stayed at home for four years, thanks to jamb, you decide, ‘you know what? Let me just go to school!

You were victimized by the HoD who wanted to sleep with you and couldn’t have his way.

You hated Math and ended up studying computer science or never really liked English as a subject but ended up studying literature.

It could also be that you had siblings to look after, so you schooled and worked, infact, you worked more than you schooled, so your grades suffered.

Or you weren’t just cut out for school but went anyway ‘cos you think that’s the only way to get a job.

Whatever the reason, here you are, with very poor prospects in a very competitive market. In the words of an applicant who approached me with this same predicament, you may ask: Do I even stand a chance? Cheer up. The answer is an unwavering yes!

Yes because, whatever you believe will eventually become your reality. Yes, because education is more than a degree, it’s the sum total of what you’ve learnt in and outside the classroom. Yes because employers will pay for value, irrespective of where they get it, yes because in a way history has favoured your kind. Remember Wole Soyinka, Bill Gates; Steve Jobs and our very own Steve Harris?

Yes because your destiny is in your hands and you can create the future you want to see. Stop waiting for things to happen to you. Make things happen!

How? Simple.

Understand that it starts with your mind. Uh huh! No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. If you feel unintelligent, then you are. If you feel inferior to graduates who came out with better grades, then you are. If you feel there are no jobs for people like you, then there aren’t. Start by cleansing your mind of all the toxic and negative thoughts your experience and conditioning has put it through. Think of only what is bright and beautiful. 

Assess yourself. What are the things you like to do? What skills do you possess? What’s your personality type? What kind of work will you thrive in? If money or opportunity or your grades were not a challenge, what would you be doing? Allow yourself to think and dream big …

You do have more to prove than other graduates because of your background so you have to go out of your way:

  • Read like your life depends on it.
  • Go online and look for free e-books, materials that you can download and consume. Offer your services free for a period of time, to a company within the industry where you want to work. Ask them for an objective assessment at the end of that period.
  • If you can afford it, learn a vocational skill; keep yourself busy and productive so you can account for your time when an employer asks.
  • Be honest to potential employers about why your grades are poor and ask for a chance to prove your mettle.
  • Start a business if you have the wherewithal.
  • Get professional certification and join industry associations. It expands your network.
  • Attend employability trainings so you can understand the secrets of successful job hunting.

Experience is critical if you want to get a job with those grades; so stay productive and focused.

Don’t get it twisted, a third class is not the end of the world; it could have been a lot worse, there are people who haven’t been and would never be in the four walls of a university classroom. Com’on, that’s something to be thankful for.

 Finally, eat the humble pie. Pride and a third class don’t mix. Be teachable, flexible and ready to learn.

That’s all from me for today, have a fabulous week.

Naomi Lucas



19 thoughts on “You Graduated With A Third Class? So?”

  1. Hi

    I graduated with a Third in business management from UK. I was a bright student, but I ended up with this due to my mother’s sudden ill health and I had to take care of her in between all this and my studies got affected real bad. I sometimes feel very low and I think I would never be able to get a job. Though I have completed a postgraduate certificate programme in digital marketing recently and I am looking to find an internship program for myself, it is really hard to into one. Could you guide me with what wrong am I doing here? I could forward you my CV and if you could let me know what I can do next, would be a great favour. I am not loosing hope. Looking forward to hear from you soon. Cheerx 🙂


  2. I will graduate that class but em happy because I triedmky best always. I think is my destiny cus I’m studying the course that em jot dreaming of studying. AGRIC ENGINEERING.


  3. I graduated with a 3rd class from one of the biggest private universities in Nigeria in 2013. Life has been really difficult since then. I can’t do anything without a reminder about my grade. I lived a perfect life in uni. Obeyed school rules, never attended a party, never took exeat, I was always in school.
    My Uncle bought me a bag in 2011 for me to use during my service year, but bcos my supposed sister wanted the bag and I refused to give her, my mom took knife and divided the bag into two last year. She is always ready to open the 3rd class wound.
    I am writing this because am tired and in case I give up in the race. Please not all 3rd class people don’t or dint know what they were doing. We tried and we couldn’t get involved in some negative factors.


  4. Just stumbled on this from google, thank you very much, wish i could get in touch with you, but this post is old so u myt ve dumpd it or smetn, all in all.. Thank you for the article.


      1. I just noticed dis really grateful for the encouragement u have given out to people..i just graduated from the university,sadly I came out with. a third class just becos I refused having an affair with a lecturer..Anyway I give glory to God,i believe it not the end of the world..God knows best..pls be strong,3rd class doesn’t make u a NOBODY”


        1. Hi Mabel! welcome on board.It’s good to know you are not discouraged looking at your current circumstance. Stay glued to our page for more relevant info. You are sure to get an interesting guide on how to move from where you are to where you NEED to be in your career. Congratulations once again on your graduation.You are RELEVANT.


  5. Tnks alot, rely need 2 wk on my inferiorty complex though didnt graduated wit 3rd class bt at times feel dat others ar beta dan dan i do in terms of my field.


    1. Others are better? Why are you torturing yourself? Comparing yourself with other people is the perfect recipe for frustration. To stay on top of your game never stop learning. Acquire relevant skills that will make your job more efficient; this in turn will boost your sense of confidence and belief. All the best.


      1. That’s the best I have ever come across, kudos. I will really appriciate it if u could drop some hint or a link on how we can more of these, thanks


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