Unlike me, however, C-Buddy works face-to-face with high school students every day (which may be why she has learned to censor all the R-rated language from her posts, also unlike me). So I’ll try to bring her in as often as she can spare the time, because she brings another important perspective to the table about the things you (students) are doing and knows a lot of things that you can improve upon.
Anyhow, here’s Counselor Buddy today on one of my favorite subjects, although I don’t think she knew it was one of my favorites when she sent it to me.
Counselor Buddy comes through in a pinch, even when she’s busy shepherding young people through the college-application process. Or calling Social Services on rotten parents. Or whatever she does all day.
Oh God, don’t get me started.
I routinely get students each semester that want to drop a solid, rigorous college-prep class because they are pulling a C and do not want the class to drop their GPA.
You’re going to get me started, aren’t you?
I explain (usually to deaf ears) that colleges and scholarship committees would much rather see tough courses on a transcript with a C versus some fluff class, such as Weights or Student Aide, with an A.
That is 100% right. If it were possible to be MORE than 100% right, then that’s the percentage of right you would be, C-Buddy.
They don’t seem to understand that despite the possible lower grade and lower GPA, the material they will learn in the class is much more valuable to them in the long run.
Yeah, there are two issues in that sentence. 1) The issue of a transcript showing more rigorous courses, and 2) The whole, bigger idea of actually learning useful information that will help you later on. Novel, eh?
Anyhow, not sure if that can be worked into anything, but that’s
another misstep I see a lot of seniors take. 🙂
Oh, c’mon, I once did an entire post on a guy who wants to kill me with bits of ground-up glass. You think I can’t work this in?
This issue resonates with me for a few reasons:
1) As a scholarship judge for many years now, I know that high GPAs in and of themselves are not terribly impressive to scholarship committees. Too many applicants have very high GPAs to make that high number carry as much weight as it used to. Now, again, for the gazillionth time to head off the next round of butt-hurt 4.0 students — YES, you should be proud of your GPA, and NO, it’s not meaningless, and YES, I know how hard you worked for it. It just doesn’t mean EVERYTHING. A high GPA alone won’t win you much these days.
2) Again, as a scholarship judge, take this to the bank: Judges are MUCH more impressed by someone who takes the hardest courses they can take and gets B’s and C’s than they are by someone who takes easier courses and gets A’s. Students who take hard courses are seen as aggressive kids who want to learn as much as they can, grades be damned. Risk-takers, if you will.
On the other hand, if you skate by with A’s as a student aide for your favorite sports coach, then — well, you’re not going to be seen in the same light. Does that mean you’re damned to dig ditches for the rest of your life if you’re a student aide? No, of course not — but academically speaking, you’re just not as solid on paper as the student who chooses a tough academic course instead.
3) I’m not a guy who lives life with many regrets — I’m OK even with most of my phenomenal screwups. You know, the butterfly effect and all. But one of the things I truly DO regret in life is doing exactly what C-Buddy mentioned above — dropping a course because it was going to hurt my GPA. Except I did it in college. And I didn’t just drop a course — I dropped an entire MINOR. I was a double minor in Spanish and French when I was an undergrad, and I was struggling in French 3 and falling behind a bit. Not falling behind to the point where I was going to fail — just falling behind to where I wasn’t going to get an A.
And so, in one of the truly dumbest moves I’ve ever made as an adult human being, I dropped the course AND the minor. All because I was vain asshole who wanted desperately to keep the 4.0 I had going in college. I can actually feel physical pain seeping out of my fingertips as I type this. My fingertips are actually perceiving how stupid I was and are trying to revolt against my body for that display of stupidity back in 1994.
I actually love foreign languages, to this day. I study them still. My children study them, and they’re only 4 and 5 years old. And I absolutely BLEW a chance to be a fluent French speaker because of GPA-mania. I went to Paris on my honeymoon with my wife, and I had to order pizza, French fries and Diet Coke (un Coca Light, s’il vous plait!) everywhere I went because my French skills had degenerated so badly.
Look, man, I can’t say this any more strongly: your GPA is just ONE factor for getting into college. It can’t be terrible because schools are still forcing themselves to look at it and give it some degree of weight in the admissions process, but really, if you’re above the threshhold for the school you want to attend, then let it go and focus on actually learning and understanding the material. (You may find that doing this actually enables you to come out with better grades, but I digress).
If you’re already in college and you’re wanting to go to grad school, then see the above paragraph. You need good grades there, too, because grades are an indicator of how well you write papers and take tests, and there will be more of those in grad school, and they’ll be harder. So if your’e going to grad school, do try and keep your GPA as high as you can.
If you’re already in college and do NOT want to go to grad school, then please, take the advice I gave above and multiply it by 10,000. Stop caring about the holy grail of your GPA right. This. Minute. Instead, focus on learning the material in your courses and as much about the industry you want to work in as you possibly can.
Knowledge and experience are what employers like to see, and neither of those is accurately measured by GPA. I don’t want this to slide into a work-and-jobs discussion that’s a more natural fit over on my other site, GiveMeaResume.com, but just understand that once you’ve been admitted to your last academic program, then there are very few people left in the world who are ever going to care about your GPA again.
Thanks again to C-Buddy for the posting help. I gleefully await your comments below. Have a great day. Go Phoenix Coyotes tonight in Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings!!