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Your GPA: Turn a Foe into a Friend

Wouldn’t it be nice to have clouds made of cotton candy? Or your college admission chance depend on how quickly you can upload photos on Instagram? Or your GPA disappear into a black hole?

Everyone wishes his or her GPA to be higher, even those who have a GPA of 5.999. (Yes, this GPA really exists.) In high school, GPA is everyone’s public enemy #1. But the reality is that GPAs are not going anywhere! In fact, you will start a brand new GPA in college, then another one in grad school. And in your job, you will be evaluated on your performance for promotions and raises, and when you buy a house, how much mortgage you pay will be determined by your credit score. Report cards are forever part of your life.

So, you have two choices: 1) embrace your GPA and work at it; 2) ignore it and kiss your dream of getting into Harvard, or any college, good bye, not to mention grad school, job promotion, your future house…You get the point.

There is a famous saying, “if you can’t avoid it, enjoy it!” So, embrace your GPA and even better, learn to enjoy its company. Yes, make friends with it, and watch the numbers go up! But how? Try following these simple steps.

1. Keep your friends close but your GPA closer!

You log in to your Facebook at least once a day, so why not your online gradebook? You may see that your homework is a missing grade, or you may notice that the quiz you thought you aced actually shows a failing grade. You can then talk to your teacher and correct any errors right away or learn from your mistake quickly to ace your upcoming test. Also, through tracking your grades closely online, you will start to notice a trend. Are you getting 100s on all homework but always getting B's on quizzes? Prepare more thoroughly for quizzes, and by previewing and reviewing the materials learned that day at home, ace those pop quizzes. Are your grades in Calculus plummeting? Time to get some tutoring to prevent further damage. So don’t avoid your GPA; take a deep breath, face it, and embrace it every day.

2. Get to know your GPA better!

Does your school count all subjects into your weighted GPA and rank or just core subjects? Does your school have the same amount of GPA weight given to Pre-AP vs. AP? Are you allowed to take some classes at a community college so it won’t be counted towards your GPA? Does your school rank? Everyone or just top 10%? Understand how your particular school district or school calculates the GPA, especially the weighted GPA because it determines your rank, is a must. After all, how will you make friends with your GPA if you don’t know anything about it? Where it came from? How it operates? What its favorite flavor of ice cream is?

3. Impress your GPA!

Girls like flowers, and boys like fast cars. Your GPA likes Pre-AP, AP, and IB classes. Why? Because these classes give it an extra boost! Are you getting A's in regular classes? Why aren’t you taking Pre-AP or AP classes? Afraid it will ruin your GPA? Don’t worry. In most schools, taking advanced classes come with certain GPA boosters. In some schools, AP and IB classes are calculated with 1 GPA point higher than regular classes, so a B in AP is like getting an A in a regular class. As long as you are getting at least a B in these advanced classes, your GPA will always be higher than the GPA produced by taking all regular classes. In other schools, APs and Pre-APs have certain “Multipliers” that add extra points to your numeric grade, which may turn 80s into 85s or even 90s, resulting in a higher GPA. So, it’s time to figure out what your school’s GPA likes! Does it like AP classes and Pre-APs equally? Or AP classes more than Pre-APs? Or does it not prefer these advanced classes at all and give you the same GPA whether you took regular or advanced classes? Find out and take courses that benefit your GPA.

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