Work hard, work smart

Getting good grades in “tough” classes is the surest way to make it to college. A strong GPA opens college doors, wins scholarships, maybe lets you attend school out-of-state (if that’s your wish). It also increases your chances of succeeding in college.

  1.   More than three-quarters of students who earn an A or A-plus grade average in high  school complete college, compared to one-fifth of students with a C average in high school.

  2.    Over 60 percent of students who have taken two or more Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school graduate from college in four years or less, compared with 29 percent of students who have taken no AP classes.

Some advice from seniors to ninth graders

Stay in class. Go to every class. My freshman year, I kicked it like I was a senior. This is the only year I haven’t been in any trouble. Yeah, I maintained pretty good grades, but I could have did better. When I got a B, I could’ve got an A. When I got a C, I could’ve got a B.” - Caleb


Throughout high school I really challenged myself with taking the hardest classes. When I wanted to go to a [certain] college, I wanted to have what it takes to go there. So just build up, make you the best that you can. You pretty much need to work hard all through high school. It doubly pays off.” - Edward


AP classes will probably help you with college—they didn't tell me that until last year. All the teachers are smart, but it seems like the ones that teach AP have a different view on things. They cause you to think outside the box. And they're more like, ‘This is your work and it's on you to do it.’” - Lekesha


When you come to school every day, you come to learn new stuff. You might think your teachers give you too much work, but it only gets harder when you get into college. When you're here in high school, this is the easiest.” - Robin


You have to learn how to deal with different situations. I have this to do; I have that to do. Which one should I do first? Which one’s more important? Or how much time should I spend on this, so that I can finish that?” - Jerlisa

Figuring your GPA

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. Beginning in ninth grade, every grade you earn goes into computing your GPA.

It keeps adding up: your GPA your senior year combines all the grades you received since the start of freshmen year. A bad semester brings down your overall score. A good semester lifts it.

Here’s how to compute your GPA:

Convert your grades into numbers: A = 4.0; B = 3.0; C = 2.0; D = 1.0; F = 0.  Add up all of your class grades, then divide that number by the number of classes you have. That’s your GPA.

Some high schools “weight” the GPA, assigning extra points to grades received in honors and AP classes. In a weighted GPA, grades in advanced classes earn an extra point: A = 5.0; B = 4.0; C = 3.0; D = 2.0; F = 0.

Most colleges and universities use the unweighted GPA, where A= 4.0, etc.

State colleges and universities often set a minimum GPA for admission. Inform yourself early on this score.

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