Underclassmen: GPA will matter one day
BY MARIA PROKOPOWICZ AND MARY SLADE DUKE ON JANUARY 11, 2013
Taking the easy route and taking “fun” classes may seem like a blessing as a freshman or sophomore, but when the college application process begins, it can seem like more of a curse. You wouldn’t think taking one standard class in place of an honors class would hurt as much as it does when it comes time to fill out those college applications.
I always heard, “Oh, you have nothing to worry about. Junior year is all that colleges really care about,” when I was an underclassman. While it is true that junior year is crucial in the application process, it isn’t everything. All grades, even from freshman year, count when you look at the big picture that is Grade Point Average. All the classes you take contribute to your GPA, and had many seniors thought about this more, they would have made the decision to challenge themselves a little more during their freshman and sophomore years. Regretting classes you took as an underclassman isn’t an easy thing to experience, especially when that little three-word acronym is staring at you application after application.
GPA can make you or break you because it determines class rank. The highest number of points possible to be earned for a standard class is 4, an honors class is 5, and an AP class is 6. This means, even if you have all As in standard classes, your weighted GPA will never be as high as a student who took honors or AP classes and made As and Bs. Many students do not realize this until their junior or senior year, when Junior Marshals are recognized and transcripts are being sent away. It comes as a shock to many when they see how one standard class as a freshman can be the difference between being number one in the class or number twenty. It is a hard pill to swallow, when one class from freshman year means not being in the top 10 percent of the class.
in a way, it is up to the student. Instead of postponing the hard work and long nights to your junior and senior years, it’s a better idea to bite the bullet and start taking those honors and APs as underclassmen.