Here is Why Cum Laude is an Amazing Building Block on Your Resume


When applying for an open position, you want to include anything that can help your resume stand out from the bunch, especially if you’re new to the employment domain. One thing that can set your resume apart is the designation of graduating cum laude.

As your career advances, your cum laude achievement may become less relevant, as it’s replaced by professional qualifications and achievements. But the distinction can help secure your first or second job in the academia field. Once you have your foot in the door, there’s no stopping your rise to the top of your field.

Just like cum laude honorees stand out at graduation, the distinction puts your resume at the top of the pile. But what is “cum laude,” and how do you achieve such honors? 

What “Cum Laude” Means

What does “cum laude” mean, and why is it so special? Cum laude is an honor some collegiates receive upon graduation. Summa cum laude and magna cum laude round out the three achievements that take their name from Latin phrases. They are often called “Latin honors” because of their names.

The term “laude” literally means “distinction” or “honor.” Therefore, “cum laude” translates to “with distinction” or “with honor.”

Summa cum laude is the highest tier of the three, followed by magna cum laude and then cum laude.

Those who reach the three cum laude statuses are among the most highly-educated and revered students on campus. The award signifies a level of unprecedented dedication to their studies. However, achieving the distinction isn’t an easy feat.

But how are such honors achieved? First of all, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to your studies. How are the cum laude honors calculated?

How to Reach Each Level of Status

Surprisingly, not every higher education institution has cum laude honors. And when they do, there isn’t one set criteria across all institutions for graduating cum laude. Some institutions base solely on grade point average while others consider class rank as well as GPA.

A school’s cum laude requirements are something to consider when looking at where to continue your education. Some high schools around the country do have cum laude honors, but it’s not common.

Certain higher learning institutions require recommendations from faculty or an honors thesis before granting cum laude status, in addition to a high GPA. Many cum laude honors require taking advanced classes, where one must maintain a certain GPA.

When a college or university considers only class rank, it’s easier to achieve cum laude honors at smaller schools. Harvard University, the oldest college in America, was the first in the country to offer the cum laude distinctions.  

While there isn’t a nationwide set criterion for cum laude, there are averages that one must meet. Those receiving summa cum laude honors typically have a GPA over 4.0. For magna cum laude, the GPA requirement is between 3.8 and 3.9. A GPA between 3.5 and 3.7 can get you cum laude honors. 

Taking a look at Harvard again, its GPA requirements for cum laude honors aren’t set in stone. Between 2009 and 2022, the GPA requirements became more strict, with higher grade point averages required.

For example, in 2009, a 3.7 GPA was the threshold for magna cum laude honors. By 2022, the requirement changed to a 3.9 GPA.

Why the Cum Laude Designation is Important for Your Resume

Some may think that a cum laude honor won’t mean anything beyond college (or high school.) However, a cum laude distinction bolsters your resume throughout your professional career. A cum laude honor can put you over the top against other applicants when you’re just entering the workforce. Why?

The cum laude distinction is often seen as an indication of a strong work ethic and dedication. Those are two things all employers are looking for in their hires. As your career progresses, the cum laude honors may have less of an impact but are still respectable achievements on a resume. 

Other Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Having cum laude honors isn’t the only way to make your resume stand out. If you don’t have the distinction on your resume, there’s no need to feel discouraged with your career prospects. Just head to Impactio, America’s leading networking platform in the field of academics.

Highly esteemed researchers and scholars utilize the platform to connect with others in their field. The networking connections made on the platform can help bolster your resume. Create your profile today to start making use of Impactio’s resources.


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