Archive for the ‘High School Life & Advice’ Category
What’s your GPA? If you can’t answer that question off the top of your head, you aren’t paying enough attention to this number. It seems insignificant, but it actually has a huge impact when you’re looking at colleges.
Let’s tackle some of the most important FAQs surrounding GPA.
What Exactly is a GPA?
In short, your GPA (or grade point average) takes into account all the grades you’ve gotten throughout high school. It’s a quick summary of your academic career. In general, the higher your GPA, the better grades you’ve earned.
Here’s a quick guide to how your grades translate into GPA:
A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
That means if you get straight-As, you’ll have a 4.0. Half As and half Bs will give you a 3.5.
Keep in mind that some schools calculate GPA a bit differently, and some also count Advanced Placement or honors classes as a higher number. Ask your counselor if you aren’t sure how your school determines GPA.
Why Does it Matter?
Colleges want students with high GPAs. It’s that simple. The better your GPA is, the more likely you are to get into your top-choice colleges.
A higher GPA also boosts your chances of getting grants or scholarships.
Is My GPA Above Average?
A study from the U.S. Department of Education showed the average high school GPA is 3.03. That’s just above a B average.
Help! My GPA Isn’t Where I Want it to Be.
Slacking off a little the first few years of high school won’t hurt you, right? Wrong! Every bad grade counts toward your GPA, so try your hardest in every class you’re taking.
There are a few ways you can increase your GPA if you’re getting worried. Talk to your teachers if you’re struggling to understand anything – getting help when you need it has a huge impact on your grade (and your GPA!).
Will Any Colleges Accept My Low GPA?
Yes! There’s a school for everyone, even if your GPA doesn’t really reflect what you’re capable of. Some colleges don’t put as much emphasis on GPA, and you can always save money by attending a community college before transferring to a four-year university – these schools typically accept applicants who have struggled to keep up high GPAs.
You can calculate your chances of getting into your dream school, or talk to your counselor about whether or not your college goals are realistic.
Maybe you thought about joining a club or volunteer group freshman year, but never got around to it. Then you imagined starting fresh sophomore year … but you still haven’t done it. Is it still worthwhile to get involved? Yes, and here’s why:
You’ll Meet New People
You probably made some new friends last year, but there’s never any harm in expanding your circle, right? Even if you’re perfectly happy with your group, joining a club helps you improve your social skills, learn to make small talk, and get comfortable connecting with people you don’t necessarily have anything in common with.
It’ll Look Good on College Applications
Colleges admissions counselors are on the lookout for well-rounded students or teens who have a talent in a certain area. Become one of the kids they’re dying to recruit by getting actively involved in a club, sport, or volunteer program. The thing that gets you into your favorite school on your college list could be your devotion to a certain extracurricular activity.
You’ll Make Connections
For most high schoolers, the main perk of after-school activities is all the friends they make. But what about all the teachers, parents, coaches, and administrators helping your club along the way? Getting to know one of these people well could be helpful down the road when you’re looking for help with a recommendation letter for your top-choice college or a big scholarship.
If you’re struggling to keep your grades up, you’re not alone. A few missed assignments, one bombed test, and suddenly you’re struggling to dig yourself out of a deep hole. Spare yourself the lousy transcript, low GPA, and fights with Mom and Dad. Here’s how to get ahead again.
Ask for Help
The best solution to any problem is usually the most obvious. Your teachers are there to help you, but it’s amazing how few students ask for help. Speak up! If you feel awkward asking for help during class, visit during lunch, office hours, or after school. You’ll get the help you need and your teachers will be impressed you took the initiative to come to them.
Write down every single homework assignment, test, and essay you have coming up on a calendar. You can use this to create a study schedule and make sure you don’t miss any deadlines and get started studying for tests more than a day in advance.
Try the Tutoring Center
Is there a stigma surrounding your school’s tutoring center? Ignore it. Walk in with your head held high, because this is a place you can get some one-on-one attention and finally start making sense of your algebra book.
We tell ourselves we work better under pressure, but that’s almost never true. Don’t wait to get started on an assignment, study for a test, or ask for help fixing a bad grade. Putting it off only means it’ll be harder to get started and earn the grades you want.
Make Extra Credit Your BFF
Ask every teacher for extra credit. Some don’t offer it, but those who do may let you turn in old assignments for partial credit or do some extra work on the side to boost your grade.
Better grades won’t just keep your parents off your back. Higher grades boost your chances of getting into your dream college and improve the odds you’ll win a merit scholarship. You’re in control of your future right now, so make yourself proud and start studying!
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