Question about HS GPA

SamSpade

Well-Known Member
I know that since the Dark Ages when I went to high school, some schools do things a LITTLE differently, weighting GPA based at least PARTLY on difficulty (for example, honors or AP classes). When I was in high school, we had two valedictorians - one without question one of the smartest kids I've ever known - by graduation he had taken every math and science class offered AND had a few added just for HIM AND took advance placement classes at a local college -

And he shared it with a girl who took basic classes, typing, chorus, basic math, business. Nothing anyone would regard as academically challenging.

They both had straight A's. The guy was in a class by himself, and worse - he was as uncharacteristically geeky as anyone you'd know, especially for a math/science nerd. Extensive knowledge of literature and philosophy, and knew a couple languages. Supremely brilliant.

I always thought it was unfair. He was so smart, he deserved the first five places all by himself.

Do they take difficulty into account?

I have a reason, of course. I have a VERY smart girl who is taking almost all advanced classes - and having a little difficulty (as in, B's mostly). I'd really hate to see her GPA look poor when she takes on such a heavy academic load.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
I know that since the Dark Ages when I went to high school, some schools do things a LITTLE differently, weighting GPA based at least PARTLY on difficulty (for example, honors or AP classes). When I was in high school, we had two valedictorians - one without question one of the smartest kids I've ever known - by graduation he had taken every math and science class offered AND had a few added just for HIM AND took advance placement classes at a local college -

And he shared it with a girl who took basic classes, typing, chorus, basic math, business. Nothing anyone would regard as academically challenging.

They both had straight A's. The guy was in a class by himself, and worse - he was as uncharacteristically geeky as anyone you'd know, especially for a math/science nerd. Extensive knowledge of literature and philosophy, and knew a couple languages. Supremely brilliant.

I always thought it was unfair. He was so smart, he deserved the first five places all by himself.

Do they take difficulty into account?

I have a reason, of course. I have a VERY smart girl who is taking almost all advanced classes - and having a little difficulty (as in, B's mostly). I'd really hate to see her GPA look poor when she takes on such a heavy academic load.
Unless you have eyes set on an ivy league school or MIT I wouldn't worry about Bs.

Doesnt her report card have a calculated GPA on it?
 

SamSpade

Well-Known Member
Unless you have eyes set on an ivy league school or MIT I wouldn't worry about Bs.

Doesnt her report card have a calculated GPA on it?
I've only just looked at her raw grades - I haven't seen a calculated GPA.
She's only a freshman - I've tried to tell her that unlike eighth grade, every grade she gets from here on out affects her chances at college.
She's not going to Ivy League and there's no academics at MIT that would ever interest her - but she needs SOME scholarship, because I can't afford college at all.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
I've only just looked at her raw grades - I haven't seen a calculated GPA.
She's only a freshman - I've tried to tell her that unlike eighth grade, every grade she gets from here on out affects her chances at college.
She's not going to Ivy League and there's no academics at MIT that would ever interest her - but she needs SOME scholarship, because I can't afford college at all.
I will say a lot of parents and students make the mistake of thinking the chance at a scholarship ends with high school graduation.

When I was in my junior year of college my professors begged us to apply for some department scholarships, most didn't bother. I spent an hour filling out a form, a month or so later I get passed a message by a professor to go to the admin office after class, the department head shook my hand and handed me a $300 check, next semester I got a $500 check. It was completely outside of the normal financial aid channels, it also is one reason I have had a life long relationship with the department I got my degree from.

A good way to get a scholarship is to pay an unusual instrument like bassoon, oboe, even tuba, high school students I was in band with switched over to those for one to make all-state band and one girl that just picked up bassoon the year earlier got a college scholarship for it. To get a musical scholarship for a popular instrument, you have to be very very very good.
 

NorthBeachPerso

Honorary SMIB
To answer the question yes, for the most part colleges take difficulty of classes into account.

While school systems will weight grades, typically those for AP or IB classes, colleges will factor those weights out when looking at the grades, that's when the difficulty factor comes into play (as does the reputation of the school system for (buzzword alert) rigor).

So if you have two kids apply for the same program with the same unweighted GPA of, let's say, 3.8 the fact that Kid A took AP classes and Kid B didn't, Kid A should get the nod for admission before Kid B if all things are equal.

Now, sometimes all things aren't equal and Kid B gets first crack due to being in an underrepresented group (Black female wanting to be an engineer comes to mind from personal experience. Kid A was all AP, 4.5 weighted GPA, Co-Valedictorian, a couple sports, bunches of clubs, White. Kid B wasn't any of those things with a 3.2 in all non-AP classes and without Calculus or Physics. UMDCP accepted her in the Engineering program while Kid A was admitted to it as a provisional student. This was around 2005).
 
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Unless the kiddo is going for a highly competitive major, such as engineering or pre-med, an A in a regular course beats a C in an AP course. Of course, getting a high mark on the AP test can get you out of a college course, but I've seen many kids burn themselves out on too many AP courses.

Also, be open to private colleges. They know they are competing with the cheaper in-state schools and often award scholarships just because they want you.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
He doesn't seem concerned with admissions as much as scholarships.

Private schools are good about giving scholarships to people who can't afford them, however they are usually still more than state schools. Enrollment is dropping everywhere though, so maybe they will throw more money out there to keep it up.

Colleges in the traditional sense received a huge punch to the face with Covid and people figuring out that online learning can work. They will go kicking and screaming though because they love their fancy buildings and such, no traditional college wants to be compared to the University of Phoenix.
 

NorthBeachPerso

Honorary SMIB
He doesn't seem concerned with admissions as much as scholarships.

Private schools are good about giving scholarships to people who can't afford them, however they are usually still more than state schools. Enrollment is dropping everywhere though, so maybe they will throw more money out there to keep it up.

Colleges in the traditional sense received a huge punch to the face with Covid and people figuring out that online learning can work. They will go kicking and screaming though because they love their fancy buildings and such, no traditional college wants to be compared to the University of Phoenix.
Well, online really didn't work that well whether college or the lower grades. Yes, it worked for some but many more it didn't work for. The ones it worked for were typically those that teach themselves anyway. Like AP students used to do.

What's funny is the University of Phoenix was accepted for years for grad degrees. It's also always been accredited.

Something to ponder:
 
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SamSpade, my daughter was able to accrue 43 college credits by the time she finished HS. If you are counting on using AP class credits, you will want to be sure she is applying to colleges that will accept them. Some of her classmates chose to take local community college classes instead of focusing on AP classes and this allowed them to start an AA degree before they even graduated HS. This is beneficial in several ways. If she doesn't have a fixed major she wants to lock into, she can knock out basic requirements with the AA degree and finish her BA at another college that she can select to match the major she settles on. Some degrees (such as forensic chemistry) require being obtained at a college accredited in that specific degree for it to count. You can find out by looking at actual job descriptions for the types of jobs your daughter would want to pursue.

Now for advice regarding scholarships. All three colleges that were within driving distance and accredited for the degree my daughter chose were out of state. Scholarships are rarely full coverage. Typically, it is coverage for the credits only and does not cover the cost of boarding, food, fees, books, etc. VCU gave her what they called a 'full in-state' scholarship which means the in-state cost of each semester was paid for by them. Out of state credits cost are nothing to sneeze at. That additional cost goes in the "not covered by the school" bucket I mention next.

You need to factor in the very expensive costs of housing, transportation, food, etc. that comes out of your pocket for the 2-4 years she is gone. That is all stuff typically not covered by the school. You and her both will be required to register with FAFSA. Each semester will require you to report the full cost of that semester. The student and the parents are required to update their financial status down to the very last penny each and then FAFSA will determine what portion of that semester total is covered by the scholarship, what part is expected to be covered by the parents and then the rest will become a student loan agreement for your daughter. Note, her part can be broken into multiple loans and each can have different variables (interest rate, type of loan, etc. There is an assumption the parents will figure out how their portion is to be paid for that semester, so be prepared. If it takes your daughter longer than 4 years to gradate, you can expect to pay full cost for anything beyond the 4 years. If she has to take extra classes to make up for others or because the classes she needs aren't available when she needs them, you will cover the cost of any credits beyond the amount stated in the scholarship. If her GPA drops below the stated scholarship requirement, she may forfeit scholarship coverage for the subsequent semesters.

In my daughter's case, it was the absolute right choice and she is in a career that she would not be in without a college degree and only a few years in is already making the kind of money that makes it well worth it. Her dad and I were lucky to figure out how to cover the THOUSANDS it cost for our part each semester, but it most definitely put a hit on us preparing for our retirement. We have no regrets, but only learned of all I just typed as we went along. No one told us all of this stuff. Hope it helps you start preparing now.
 

Tech

Well-Known Member
Mine gave points to the grade based on difficulty. For example a 87 in calculus gets gets 60 points while a 87 in algebra gets 50 points.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
Well, online really didn't work that well whether college or the lower grades. Yes, it worked for some but many more it didn't work for. The ones it worked for were typically those that teach themselves anyway. Like AP students used to do.

What's funny is the University of Phoenix was accepted for years for grad degrees. It's also always been accredited.

Something to ponder:
Teaching yourself is required in college whether it's online or in class. By online working I mean cost and ability to fit into people's schedules while working. I have three degrees and really only my masters research couldn't have been done online.
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
We didn't have "AP" classes. Never heard of them until the kids were in school.
We had "Honors" classes and those I was familiar with.
I don't recall any extra points (GPS inflation). The highest GPA was 4.0, that was straight A's.
You transcript was the only thing that showed if you took honors classes.

My experience may not be the norm, but I think (at least then) a variety of factors were considered
SAT, Grades (what curriculum you took) extracurricular activities both in and outside of school.
Also what electives you might have taken (band, chorus, etc).
 

LightRoasted

If I may ...
For your consideration ...

We didn't have "AP" classes. Never heard of them until the kids were in school.
We had "Honors" classes and those I was familiar with.
I don't recall any extra points (GPS inflation). The highest GPA was 4.0, that was straight A's.
You transcript was the only thing that showed if you took honors classes.

My experience may not be the norm, but I think (at least then) a variety of factors were considered
SAT, Grades (what curriculum you took) extracurricular activities both in and outside of school.
Also what electives you might have taken (band, chorus, etc).

These AP level classes and the like were once the norm in education. But then, the dumbing down came into play catering to the lowest common denominator. Which then forced school systems to develop these AP courses, after outcry from parents because children who had intelligence were getting bored and being held back intellectually.

Ever wonder why home-schooled children always seem to do better than publicly educated school children? It's because there is no BS low-level curriculum. And with parents that oversee everything to ensure their children know and understand what they are being taught, and to encourage them and press them into harder and harder lessons.

Give a publicly educated 12th grade student today, an 8th grade test from the 1920's, or earlier, and I would bet, that at a minimum, 95% would fail that test.
 

OccamsRazor

Well-Known Member
Word I heard on the street is that the AP exams for college credit are notoriously difficult. Several friends I have with HS kids who often have no problems with AP courses usually do not get a high enough score on the exams for credit.
My guess is that they are designed that way as not to lose the $$$ for the actual college courses.
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
For your consideration ...



These AP level classes and the like were once the norm in education. But then, the dumbing down came into play catering to the lowest common denominator. Which then forced school systems to develop these AP courses, after outcry from parents because children who had intelligence were getting bored and being held back intellectually.

Ever wonder why home-schooled children always seem to do better than publicly educated school children? It's because there is no BS low-level curriculum. And with parents that oversee everything to ensure their children know and understand what they are being taught, and to encourage them and press them into harder and harder lessons.

Give a publicly educated 12th grade student today, an 8th grade test from the 1920's, or earlier, and I would bet, that at a minimum, 95% would fail that test.
Depends, when do you think this dumbing down occured?

My parents graduated in the late 60s and their high school did not even have Algebra.

I graduated in the early 90s and we had a couple honors classes that you could take an AP exam after, but the credit was only good at a couple colleges.

As a teaching assistant in college I ran into a few home schooled products, they knew their math, but were otherwise adult children. One carried a Power Rangers backpack and rode a razor scooter to class. I work with a young lady that was home schooled and I think very highly of her. So I'd say that's a crap shoot also.
 

NorthBeachPerso

Honorary SMIB
On
Word I heard on the street is that the AP exams for college credit are notoriously difficult. Several friends I have with HS kids who often have no problems with AP courses usually do not get a high enough score on the exams for credit.
My guess is that they are designed that way as not to lose the $$$ for the actual college courses.
One thing, AP courses have never been "the norm". Until fairly recently the typical neighborhood high school did well to have 10% total (and some of those would be double counted) of its kids enrolled in the various AP classes (I know that Light Roasted said that, not you but bear with me).

What was the norm was that kids were tracked in ability groups (also called homogenous groups) so you had College Prep, Academic (some of those kids would go to college), General and SPED. That was done away with because educational researchers claimed that mixing up the kids (heterogenous grouping) would have the smart kids helping and bringing up the lower kids. It didn't work out that way. What did happen, and it's called "dumbing down" was that teachers had to start, by mandate, teaching to the lowest kids in the class (it's damn near impossible to have an 11th Grade class in any subject when the ability levels range from 3rd Grade to post-High School and keep every involved. It's either too hard for the kids who can't spell Bob if you spot them the B's or too easy for the kids who can).

Then along came Jay Matthews and his goddamned Challenge Index where he advocated, and various educated activists/policy makers picked it up, that kids do better in college if they take AP classes no matter if they couldn't actually do well in those AP classes. Then equity advocates picked up on it.

I was my high school's AP Coordinator for over ten years and that drove me crazy. We were ordered to stop using teacher recommendation for AP classes and enroll anyone who signed up. We'd have kids signing up for 11th Grade AP Language and Composition who weren't able to pass the 10th Grade English High School Assessment. And then teachers would be downgraded on evaluations because their scores weren't at "target".

And, wonder of wonders, Matthews has recently started backing off from his original premise and now thinks that maybe AP really isn't for everyone.

Colleges don't really like to grant AP credit as a holistic thing, they get their money anyway since full time students pay the same whether they take 12 credits or 18. What really happens is that colleges won't typically grant AP credit or an exemption in a student's major (since there are so many STEM whores here I'll use the example of no credit/exemption for an AP Calc score fir an Engineering student).

Yes, the AP exams are difficult. Part of that is the immense amount of material that has to be covered, basically a chapter a week in the Social Studies classes and part of it is that the AP exams cover what in college would be two or three courses (World History is an example of that, as is US History and Psychology. Government, not so much. Biology is the same).
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
For your consideration ...



These AP level classes and the like were once the norm in education. But then, the dumbing down came into play catering to the lowest common denominator. Which then forced school systems to develop these AP courses, after outcry from parents because children who had intelligence were getting bored and being held back intellectually.
All I can say is my Honors European history class was taught more like college.
She just loaded up the boards with notes and it was off to the races.
There were only a few "honors" courses and as far as I remember there was no extra credit or college credit.
It was just an opportunity to learn a bit more, it just bought you a tougher class
 

BernieP

Resident PIA
What was the norm was that kids were tracked in ability groups (also called homogenous groups) so you had College Prep, Academic (some of those kids would go to college), General and SPED. That was done away with because educational researchers claimed that mixing up the kids (heterogenous grouping) would have the smart kids helping and bringing up the lower kids. It didn't work out that way.
I knew a man who had a Phd and was on the President's Council for Mental Retardation (probably not called that anymore)
He was adamant that kids with special needs should not be mixed. Physical disabilities should be kept apart for mental disorders, etc.
What the "inclusion" class does is to lower the common denominator. Not until they get into high school are they seperated.
We had 4 groups - Nerds, Greasers, Farmers and SPED(x3)
 
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