Myth: I Should Take Easier Classes to Boost My GPA and Increase My Acceptance Odds

Don't relax just yet! You can't just raise your GPA through easy classes.

Flickr user Justin Snow

It’s an understandable thing to believe, right? The higher your GPA, the better. Thus, shouldn’t you try to raise GPA? Well, yes, but it’s not that simple. There are many elements in play when it comes to acceptance chances, and while GPA is a major part, it would be a mistake to put all your eggs in that one basket.

Academic Rigor Factors In

College is going to be more academically challenging than high school. It’s a step up, and admissions officers want to know that you can handle that step. If you only take standard high school classes, even if you get good grades, you won’t wow the people looking at your application.

This is where academic rigor comes into play—or how difficult your high school course load is. By adding AP or dual-credit classes into your schedule, you increase the academic rigor of your education.

Some students shy away from AP classes, worrying it’ll hurt their GPA and thus their acceptance odds. But AP classes are graded on a different point scale than the typical 4.0. And a B in an AP class can be just as impressive as an A in a standard class. Admissions officers do take academic rigor into consideration while looking over your grades. AP classes are harder, require more work, understanding, and dedication. By sprinkling a few AP courses into your high school years, you prove you can handle that next educational step.

GPA is Only One Piece of the Larger Picture

You, as a student and person, are not just a series of numbers. You would never just submit your GPA to a college and have them judge that alone. Just like you’d never only submit your ACT/SAT scores, or just your extracurricular activities. All of these elements come together to create your college “resume.” GPA is important, and you should always strive to raise it, but it’s not the be-all-end-all of your application.

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