Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

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ValiantVic
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Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:57 pm

Here are a 10 things I've learned along the way. Feel free to add yours

1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number

2. Don't major or minor in something you don't have a natural talent in to begin with.
If you major in liberal arts, play to your strengths. Either take a paper class or an exam class.

3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

4. NEVER TAKE A CLASS WITH A NEW PROFESSOR IF YOU CAN HELP IT (this is like walking into a minefield of questinos re: teaching style, grading curve, etc.)

5. Never enroll in a class where the comments are along the lines of "tough grader, but worth it," "gives you the grade you deserve, not the one you want," or "challenges you to do your best."

6. Look at old exams as soon as you can to determine what material the professor asks about on the exam (textbook, class lecture notes, outlines, etc.). The professor will usually tell you about this up front.

7. Another potential minefield: TAs. Be very careful about these people. They have little to no accountability and don't give a crap what grade they give you. They also tend to have something to prove. There's a saying that our peers are much harder on us than our elders, this could not be more true for the people just a few years older than you telling you how it is. If you have a sense that a TA will be hard grader (try and get on this early by seeing how they approach the class, attendance, or how they grade assignments) GET OUT OF THAT CLASS PRONTO!!!

8. Biases. Everyone is biased. If you think your professor is biased and you feel you can't write what he/she wants, GET OUT OF THAT CLASS. No matter what is said by that professor we all carry our biases that will influence us whether we are concious of it or not.

9. Group projects. If you can help it, never, ever, ever and I mean EVER enroll in a class where a group project makes up a significatn part of your grade. Chances are out of a group of randomly selected people, someone will either a) not care, b) not be very talented in that subject matter or c) be a control freak who ruins the group.

10. As a last piece of advice, generally the longer a class has been around the more reliable its reputation. Ask the people a few years ahead of you how they liked it. Get a few opinions, some will hate it, some will love it. What is important is not so much their opinions, but whether you resonate with the strengths of the class (which they may dislike for one reason or another) or will be susceptible to its weaknesses. Don't force yourself to take a class to prove you can, you may very well end up doing well in that class but the amount of effort you will have expended to do so will suck up time for other classes and life in general.

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flyingpanda
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby flyingpanda » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:59 pm

To be honest, this advice seems like a way to have a terrible time in college.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:01 pm

aznflyingpanda wrote:To be honest, this advice seems like a way to have a terrible time in college.


Indeed it is. :)

erniesto
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby erniesto » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:03 pm

+10000000 to number 1. My small public university did not grade on a curve, and in fact discouraged curves. While I wasn't the greatest student, most of my professors considered B the grade to achieve. I ended somewhere in the top 1/3 of my grad class, but had a 3.0 GPA. Fucked in grad admissions right? Yep.

Also, don't major in the sciences if you want a high GPA. You can go to medical school with a degree in Philosophy if you so choose.

zephyr36
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby zephyr36 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:07 pm

ValiantVic wrote:Here are a 10 things I've learned along the way. Feel free to add yours

1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number

Not true. I go to a state school with 13,000 undergrads. I have above a 4.0, and I'm not a genius by any stretch of the imagination

2. Don't major or minor in something you don't have a natural talent in to begin with.
If you major in liberal arts, play to your strengths. Either take a paper class or an exam class.

This is true. If you're not good at writing state the hell away from the liberal arts

3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

If you're good at something chances are you'll enjoy it. The grades will come with that Studying in something for fours years just because you think that it will give you good grades doesn't mean you will enjoy it. You'll end up having a terrible time.

4. NEVER TAKE A CLASS WITH A NEW PROFESSOR IF YOU CAN HELP IT (this is like walking into a minefield of questinos re: teaching style, grading curve, etc.)

It's hard to know what a professor wants new or otherwise. If you're confused go to office hours.

5. Never enroll in a class where the comments are along the lines of "tough grader, but worth it," "gives you the grade you deserve, not the one you want," or "challenges you to do your best."

I tend to thrive in classes that challenge me. Easy classes I tend to blow off and then I have to save myself at the end of the term

6. Look at old exams as soon as you can to determine what material the professor asks about on the exam (textbook, class lecture notes, outlines, etc.). The professor will usually tell you about this up front.

Duh. Looking at old exams = better performance on the test

7. Another potential minefield: TAs. Be very careful about these people. They have little to no accountability and don't give a crap what grade they give you. They also tend to have something to prove. There's a saying that our peers are much harder on us than our elders, this could not be more true for the people just a few years older than you telling you how it is. If you have a sense that a TA will be hard grader (try and get on this early by seeing how they approach the class, attendance, or how they grade assignments) GET OUT OF THAT CLASS PRONTO!!!

At my school the TAs are all graduate students. Undergrads don't TA (with few exceptions) for undergrad courses. Also, professors almost always oversee the grading process to make sure it's consistent and to his/her liking.

8. Biases. Everyone is biased. If you think your professor is biased and you feel you can't write what he/she wants, GET OUT OF THAT CLASS. No matter what is said by that professor we all carry our biases that will influence us whether we are concious of it or not.

I've had professors that I radically disagree with, and put forth my point of view in my assignments. As long as I can put forth a argument with examples to back it up I get an A

9. Group projects. If you can help it, never, ever, ever and I mean EVER enroll in a class where a group project makes up a significatn part of your grade. Chances are out of a group of randomly selected people, someone will either a) not care, b) not be very talented in that subject matter or c) be a control freak who ruins the group.

This is probably the only portion that I 100% agree with.

10. As a last piece of advice, generally the longer a class has been around the more reliable its reputation. Ask the people a few years ahead of you how they liked it. Get a few opinions, some will hate it, some will love it. What is important is not so much their opinions, but whether you resonate with the strengths of the class (which they may dislike for one reason or another) or will be susceptible to its weaknesses. Don't force yourself to take a class to prove you can, you may very well end up doing well in that class but the amount of effort you will have expended to do so will suck up time for other classes and life in general.

Also true. Ask around to see how people liked the class.

notanumber
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby notanumber » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:10 pm

erniesto wrote:You can go to medical school with a degree in Philosophy if you so choose.


Yes, but you still need the science prerequisites.


ValiantVic wrote:3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

This is the worst advice I've ever read here on TLS. What the hell is the point of getting an education if you're not interested in what you're studying? If all you want to do is make money, there are certainly easier and more sure ways to do that than getting a B.A. and then going to a top law school. . .

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:14 pm

notanumber wrote:
erniesto wrote:You can go to medical school with a degree in Philosophy if you so choose.


Yes, but you still need the science prerequisites.


ValiantVic wrote:3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

This is the worst advice I've ever read here on TLS. What the hell is the point of getting an education if you're not interested in what you're studying? If all you want to do is make money, there are certainly easier and more sure ways to do that than getting a B.A. and then going to a top law school. . .


To be honest my tongue was a little in my cheek on #3. What I was really trying to convey was don't sacrifice your GPA (if it's important to you) to take a very difficult class that you may be interested in. If you don't care about your GPA go ahead. It was more a comment on the negatives of our educational system putting such a high emphasis on GPA than anything else. I certainly don't agree with that policy but that's the way it is.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:15 pm

notanumber wrote:
erniesto wrote:You can go to medical school with a degree in Philosophy if you so choose.


Yes, but you still need the science prerequisites.


ValiantVic wrote:3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

This is the worst advice I've ever read here on TLS. What the hell is the point of getting an education if you're not interested in what you're studying? If all you want to do is make money, there are certainly easier and more sure ways to do that than getting a B.A. and then going to a top law school. . .


I'm curious as to what those would be. Because if there was an easier and more sure way to make money I'd think the most intelligent people would be going after that instead (and investment banking is out at this point).

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gatorlion
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby gatorlion » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:24 pm

ValiantVic wrote:Here are a 10 things I've learned along the way. Feel free to add yours

1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number


Not sure how relevant this is if you are concerned with earning a high GPA. Speaking from experience, I found that my relative obscurity in really large classes (i.e. over 600 students) did nothing to hamper my performance at all. If anything, this is more of a warning for people who need to be coddled in college to excel. Conversely, don't go to a strong liberal arts college with grade deflation because it's not worth either the $$$ or the low GPA if law school is your goal.

ValiantVic wrote:2. Don't major or minor in something you don't have a natural talent in to begin with.
If you major in liberal arts, play to your strengths. Either take a paper class or an exam class.


I completely agree with this one. I have so many students in my political science courses who "used to be a bio major" until they discovered that 1) they were not good in science and/or 2) they hated science. The result of such a poor decision early on in college is that you wind up desperately trying to increase your GPA for 2-3 years. Not fun.

ValiantVic wrote:7. Another potential minefield: TAs. Be very careful about these people. They have little to no accountability and don't give a crap what grade they give you. They also tend to have something to prove. There's a saying that our peers are much harder on us than our elders, this could not be more true for the people just a few years older than you telling you how it is. If you have a sense that a TA will be hard grader (try and get on this early by seeing how they approach the class, attendance, or how they grade assignments) GET OUT OF THAT CLASS PRONTO!!!


I've been a TA for almost 3 years. We are a mixed bag of individuals. I will say that some of my friends are absolutely excellent instructors who consistently receive high marks on their student evaluations (which the department takes seriously). Others are more of the pure researcher variety and, while they do not blatantly despise UGs, definitely do not lose sleep over them. I have found myself to be a combination- someone who grades harshly but commands the respect of his students. One time I was even woken up from a nap by the other TA for a class (he called me on my cell while I was back in my apartment) who had a student in his office who absolutely had to know the score on her midterm so she could decide whether or not to drop the class. I'm human so I obliged. Not every TA would go to such lengths, however...

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Knock
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby Knock » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:28 pm

ValiantVic wrote:Here are a 10 things I've learned along the way. Feel free to add yours

1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number

2. Don't major or minor in something you don't have a natural talent in to begin with.
If you major in liberal arts, play to your strengths. Either take a paper class or an exam class.

3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

4. NEVER TAKE A CLASS WITH A NEW PROFESSOR IF YOU CAN HELP IT (this is like walking into a minefield of questinos re: teaching style, grading curve, etc.)

5. Never enroll in a class where the comments are along the lines of "tough grader, but worth it," "gives you the grade you deserve, not the one you want," or "challenges you to do your best."

6. Look at old exams as soon as you can to determine what material the professor asks about on the exam (textbook, class lecture notes, outlines, etc.). The professor will usually tell you about this up front.

7. Another potential minefield: TAs. Be very careful about these people. They have little to no accountability and don't give a crap what grade they give you. They also tend to have something to prove. There's a saying that our peers are much harder on us than our elders, this could not be more true for the people just a few years older than you telling you how it is. If you have a sense that a TA will be hard grader (try and get on this early by seeing how they approach the class, attendance, or how they grade assignments) GET OUT OF THAT CLASS PRONTO!!!

8. Biases. Everyone is biased. If you think your professor is biased and you feel you can't write what he/she wants, GET OUT OF THAT CLASS. No matter what is said by that professor we all carry our biases that will influence us whether we are concious of it or not.

9. Group projects. If you can help it, never, ever, ever and I mean EVER enroll in a class where a group project makes up a significatn part of your grade. Chances are out of a group of randomly selected people, someone will either a) not care, b) not be very talented in that subject matter or c) be a control freak who ruins the group.

10. As a last piece of advice, generally the longer a class has been around the more reliable its reputation. Ask the people a few years ahead of you how they liked it. Get a few opinions, some will hate it, some will love it. What is important is not so much their opinions, but whether you resonate with the strengths of the class (which they may dislike for one reason or another) or will be susceptible to its weaknesses. Don't force yourself to take a class to prove you can, you may very well end up doing well in that class but the amount of effort you will have expended to do so will suck up time for other classes and life in general.


Great advice, thank you. Unfortunately, this is the game we have to play, and it isn't usually a level playing field. But I completely agree with what you said, and I agree with all your points, except #1. I especially agree with the advice on group projects. With the exception of one group EVER (out of probably around 20 groups in my time so far in undergrad) was my group actually good. Many times it was more work and more time for a worse grade than if I had just done everything myself. Unfortunately, a high percentage of my major (Communications) classes involved groups and/or group projects, and the average Communications student is, well, not the sharpest tool in the shed to say the least. I would say that a cheaper state school is worth it rather than paying tons of money for an undergraduate degree.

Could someone please explain this view of state schools to me? Is it just that they don't really care about you at all? If so, I completely agree with this, and it has cost me a little bit, but overall I still think it is preferable to dropping tons of money on undergrad, especially if you know you want to do a graduate program.
Last edited by Knock on Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

notanumber
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby notanumber » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:31 pm

ValiantVic wrote:
notanumber wrote:
erniesto wrote:You can go to medical school with a degree in Philosophy if you so choose.


Yes, but you still need the science prerequisites.


ValiantVic wrote:3. Don't care if what you're studying is intellectually interesting as long as you get a good grade in it

This is the worst advice I've ever read here on TLS. What the hell is the point of getting an education if you're not interested in what you're studying? If all you want to do is make money, there are certainly easier and more sure ways to do that than getting a B.A. and then going to a top law school. . .


I'm curious as to what those would be. Because if there was an easier and more sure way to make money I'd think the most intelligent people would be going after that instead (and investment banking is out at this point).


For pure $ it seems that investment banking remains a better bet than Biglaw. Biglaw is not a sure thing, even at T14 schools ITE (HYS perhaps excepted) and working for a bank still requires less schooling with less debt and has a much, much higher potential upside. If investment banking is out for you at this point, then wouldn't the better advice to give be "prepare yourself for a banking career in college." Again, if one doesn't care about intellectual development then one is best off just going for the upside. Which remains banking.

If you're looking for a comfortable middle-class living that is secure then municipal government jobs often pay 80K+ after a few years with easy hours and high job security. If you're willing to accept more danger then look at police departments and prisons - they only require a high school diploma and with overtime you can often clear six figures. Very good Engineering and C.S. jobs can be had with a B.A. Actuaries can do quite well. Nursing is certainly more secure, pays reasonably well, requires less schooling, and has better hours.

Of course, if you're looking at BigLaw because you finished a humanities UGrad degree, have no marketable skills, didn't prepare yourself for banking in college, are at a loss over what to do, and only care about money, and can get into HYS or a T14 w/ a scholarship, it might be a decent bet to make out of desperation. But your advice was aimed at folk who are starting the process.
Last edited by notanumber on Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lebob
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby lebob » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:36 pm

Completely agree, and I'll add:

1) Big public schools (I went to a UC) = you are 1 out of 100000000000 so they don't really care about you. Your GPA will suffer. I never knew this was such a big deal until I went to one. Moreover, it's harder to get a job after graduation as well. Yea those 3.9's exist, but it's just a lot harder, trust me on this one.

2) If you go to a huge public school, the TEACHING ASSISTANT of your section will be giving you your grade, NOT the professor of the lecture hall. Professors oversee the process, but ultimately the TA is the person who takes attendance (yes, they took attendance at Berkeley!), reads most of your papers, etc. Professors don't have time to read 300+ papers. Keep this in mind.

3) I don't know about new professors, but definitely don't take classes with NEW teaching assistants. Generally, these fresh TA's are PhD candidate students who reaaaaaallly start power-tripping and mercilessly screw over gpas. They're young, cool, fresh, but boy will they surprise you when you get your midterm grades. The older/experienced TA's realize that power-tripping is overrated. They might never really talk to you during the semester, but you'll find that they're more lenient with the grading.
*Again, the TA's hand out the grades.
*Yet again, the TA's hand out the grades.

4) If you ever have to choose between what you LIKE vs what you're GOOD at, choose what you're good at (AT LEAST during your undergrad years. You'll have time to experiment later). At the very least, the things you're good at WON'T change. Also, law schools don't care how much passion you have for something if your GPA sucks/doesn't back it up.

5) Study for the EXAMS, not the subject in general. You're not gonna need most of the reading the classes give you. Just find out what the test is going to be like and study for that. Your grades come from your exams, not the crap-ton of useless information they'll feed you in 85% of the lectures. Yea yea you're in college to learn and expand your mind and whatnot, but honestly, never forget that there's a next step (law school).

6) If you have graduate school plans, you MUST remember that undergrad is just a stepping stone. Suck it up and choose the path that will give you the highest GPA, no matter what others say/judge/make fun of/etc etc. Try not to get sucked up into peoples' conceptions/standards of prestige, there is more to undergrad than "pre-med/business/making bank," you'll end up screwing yourself over. Example: We all used to inwardly raise eyebrows at a performing arts major, but hey, she's off to Boalt now so she owns us all in the end.

7) Double majoring, taking 20+ units each semester, blahhh blahh is useless if you don't pull off a high GPA. I'm serious about this one.

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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby im_blue » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:12 pm

I agree with all of your points. You can still pick classes that interest you, even within these constraints. People who think "the professor was tough, but I learned a lot" are missing the point of college even more than the grade grubbers, IMO. If you want to broaden your horizons, audit some classes or go to the library.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:37 pm

lebob wrote:Completely agree, and I'll add:

1) Big public schools (I went to a UC) = you are 1 out of 100000000000 so they don't really care about you. Your GPA will suffer. I never knew this was such a big deal until I went to one. Moreover, it's harder to get a job after graduation as well. Yea those 3.9's exist, but it's just a lot harder, trust me on this one.

2) If you go to a huge public school, the TEACHING ASSISTANT of your section will be giving you your grade, NOT the professor of the lecture hall. Professors oversee the process, but ultimately the TA is the person who takes attendance (yes, they took attendance at Berkeley!), reads most of your papers, etc. Professors don't have time to read 300+ papers. Keep this in mind.

3) I don't know about new professors, but definitely don't take classes with NEW teaching assistants. Generally, these fresh TA's are PhD candidate students who reaaaaaallly start power-tripping and mercilessly screw over gpas. They're young, cool, fresh, but boy will they surprise you when you get your midterm grades. The older/experienced TA's realize that power-tripping is overrated. They might never really talk to you during the semester, but you'll find that they're more lenient with the grading.
*Again, the TA's hand out the grades.
*Yet again, the TA's hand out the grades.


4) If you ever have to choose between what you LIKE vs what you're GOOD at, choose what you're good at (AT LEAST during your undergrad years. You'll have time to experiment later). At the very least, the things you're good at WON'T change. Also, law schools don't care how much passion you have for something if your GPA sucks/doesn't back it up.

5) Study for the EXAMS, not the subject in general. You're not gonna need most of the reading the classes give you. Just find out what the test is going to be like and study for that. Your grades come from your exams, not the crap-ton of useless information they'll feed you in 85% of the lectures. Yea yea you're in college to learn and expand your mind and whatnot, but honestly, never forget that there's a next step (law school).

6) If you have graduate school plans, you MUST remember that undergrad is just a stepping stone. Suck it up and choose the path that will give you the highest GPA, no matter what others say/judge/make fun of/etc etc. Try not to get sucked up into peoples' conceptions/standards of prestige, there is more to undergrad than "pre-med/business/making bank," you'll end up screwing yourself over. Example: We all used to inwardly raise eyebrows at a performing arts major, but hey, she's off to Boalt now so she owns us all in the end.

7) Double majoring, taking 20+ units each semester, blahhh blahh is useless if you don't pull off a high GPA. I'm serious about this one.


TITCR + million. The "coolest" TAs can end up being the hardest graders.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:41 pm

im_blue wrote:I agree with all of your points. You can still pick classes that interest you, even within these constraints. People who think "the professor was tough, but I learned a lot" are missing the point of college even more than the grade grubbers, IMO. If you want to broaden your horizons, audit some classes or go to the library.


TITCR as well. IMO college is a job. If you want an education you can find a great one at your public library. College is nothing more than an institution that mandates what you study IMO. I follow the Good Will Hunting approach in that respect.

lawduder
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby lawduder » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:46 pm

ValiantVic wrote:
lebob wrote:Completely agree, and I'll add:

1) Big public schools (I went to a UC) = you are 1 out of 100000000000 so they don't really care about you. Your GPA will suffer. I never knew this was such a big deal until I went to one. Moreover, it's harder to get a job after graduation as well. Yea those 3.9's exist, but it's just a lot harder, trust me on this one.

2) If you go to a huge public school, the TEACHING ASSISTANT of your section will be giving you your grade, NOT the professor of the lecture hall. Professors oversee the process, but ultimately the TA is the person who takes attendance (yes, they took attendance at Berkeley!), reads most of your papers, etc. Professors don't have time to read 300+ papers. Keep this in mind.

3) I don't know about new professors, but definitely don't take classes with NEW teaching assistants. Generally, these fresh TA's are PhD candidate students who reaaaaaallly start power-tripping and mercilessly screw over gpas. They're young, cool, fresh, but boy will they surprise you when you get your midterm grades. The older/experienced TA's realize that power-tripping is overrated. They might never really talk to you during the semester, but you'll find that they're more lenient with the grading.
*Again, the TA's hand out the grades.
*Yet again, the TA's hand out the grades.


4) If you ever have to choose between what you LIKE vs what you're GOOD at, choose what you're good at (AT LEAST during your undergrad years. You'll have time to experiment later). At the very least, the things you're good at WON'T change. Also, law schools don't care how much passion you have for something if your GPA sucks/doesn't back it up.

5) Study for the EXAMS, not the subject in general. You're not gonna need most of the reading the classes give you. Just find out what the test is going to be like and study for that. Your grades come from your exams, not the crap-ton of useless information they'll feed you in 85% of the lectures. Yea yea you're in college to learn and expand your mind and whatnot, but honestly, never forget that there's a next step (law school).

6) If you have graduate school plans, you MUST remember that undergrad is just a stepping stone. Suck it up and choose the path that will give you the highest GPA, no matter what others say/judge/make fun of/etc etc. Try not to get sucked up into peoples' conceptions/standards of prestige, there is more to undergrad than "pre-med/business/making bank," you'll end up screwing yourself over. Example: We all used to inwardly raise eyebrows at a performing arts major, but hey, she's off to Boalt now so she owns us all in the end.

7) Double majoring, taking 20+ units each semester, blahhh blahh is useless if you don't pull off a high GPA. I'm serious about this one.


TITCR + million. The "coolest" TAs can end up being the hardest graders.

+1, (philosophy) TAs took at least .2 from my GPA

tasteofred
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby tasteofred » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:49 pm

I go to one of the 10 largest universities in the country and I just can't see myself agreeing with #1. I have a 3.8 GPA at a school with a 2.95 average, and the only courses I really work hard for are the hard sciences (i.e. chemistry,physics, etc.). Otherwise, it's really not that challenging and from what I can tell, the people who don't have a good GPA just don't bother trying hard enough. Unless they're science or engineering majors.. I'm just a pseudo-science major (environmental science).

& this is coming from someone who failed 10th grade and got a very mediocre score on the SAT, so I'm not some genius. It's just really not that hard to excel at a huge state school.


... but maybe I just got lucky.

reverendt
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby reverendt » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:54 pm

OP...you sound a little nuts. Chill out.
Work hard, and if you have half a brain you'll have a fine GPA in college.

slider
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby slider » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:01 pm

With the exception of going to a private school, I did none of this and ended up with a 3.9

But I suppose it can help.

sch6les
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Postby sch6les » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:03 pm

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Last edited by sch6les on Tue May 01, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:10 pm

reverendt wrote:OP...you sound a little nuts. Chill out.
Work hard, and if you have half a brain you'll have a fine GPA in college.


Appreciate the sentiment. The advice wasn't geared towards people who want a "fine" GPA in college but rather people who want a "great" GPA (3.8+). The advice is somewhat meant as a satire about our the arbitrariness of the college grading system but also a rather realistic portrayal of what it takes to get a high GPA.

IMHO, hard work doesn't guarantee a great grade on a given course. You may do well in general, but unfortunately many students are subject to the subjective opinions of their graders. This advice is meant to try and prevent that from happening.

As far as state schools go. Of course one can do well in a state school. It's just that, on average, state institutions are not as concerned about inflating their GPAs as other private institutions. This applies to law school as well. Pick a school such as NYU and compare it with a given T2 and you'll see the discrepancy between the GPAs of two given students who have equivalent percentage ranks.

This discrepancy applies to undergraduate as well. I'll give an actual example but keep it vague as to the schools. Two given students graduate cum laude. One from a top state schoo (ala Berkeley) l and another from a top private school (ala HYS). There is greater than .15 difference in their GPAs. Guess who has the higher one. What this does is helps to boost the perception of the quality of the private institution whereas the large state institution, which is more invested in its research than its student body, could really care less.

This is what I'm talking about in regards to state schools. Of course one can succeed. But, on average, two people with an equivalent rank will have disparate GPAs. This has a direct impact on placement in graduate school as well as a job out of college. This is what I was trying to point to.

Even if a graduate school wanted to put that in to perspective, and they do to a certain extent, the rankings system prevent them from giving that discrepancy the full consideration it deserves.

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wadeny
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby wadeny » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:11 pm

ValiantVic wrote:1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number


I agree with most of your other points, but this one is a little ridiculous. While some public schools can be tough, the bigger state schools can have larger student bodies and more classes/profs to choose from. FWIW, this worked to my advantage in college (3.8+ GPA) because it gave me many more options for my general requirements, rather than worrying about having to choose from a narrower selection of courses with some crazy profs and assignments.

If I had to choose the most important factor to doing consistently well (simply to boost your GPA), it is not so much the classes you take, but the professors you choose to take your classes from. Sure, you want to enroll in classes (and a major) you're interested in and feel you can do well in, but the grading policy/course load/general attitude of the professor can make an enormous difference (or even the difference between a B+ and A-, which when added up over time, can make or break your GPA). Try to get a feel for what profs are difficult from your friends and other classmates before registration. If you can't, this site (http://ratemyprofessors.com/) usually has some great info as well.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:14 pm

sch6les wrote:Nah, #1 isn't true. State schools, especially those that are so large that they will treat you like a number, tend to have a very low quality of students. This makes beating the competition much easier. And in the end that's all it comes down to in order to get a high GPA: you have to beat the curve.

Just basing it off personal exp.


Any school you go to that has a crappy student body talent wise will make it easy for you to succeed. I will concede that because they must accept so many people the "talent" of the student body lowers as a result. I still believe that if you took equivalent schools rankings wise, that grade inflation would benefit the private institution.

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ValiantVic
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby ValiantVic » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:16 pm

wadeny wrote:
ValiantVic wrote:1. Don't go to a state school or any school that treats you like a number


I agree with most of your other points, but this one is a little ridiculous. While some public schools can be tough, the bigger state schools can have larger student bodies and more classes/profs to choose from. FWIW, this worked to my advantage in college (3.8+ GPA) because it gave me many more options for my general requirements, rather than worrying about having to choose from a narrower selection of courses with some crazy profs and assignments.

If I had to choose the most important factor to doing consistently well (simply to boost your GPA), it is not so much the classes you take, but the professors you choose to take your classes from. Sure, you want to enroll in classes (and a major) you're interested in and feel you can do well in, but the grading policy/course load/general attitude of the professor can make an enormous difference (or even the difference between a B+ and A-, which when added up over time, can make or break your GPA). Try to get a feel for what profs are difficult from your friends and other classmates before registration. If you can't, this site (http://ratemyprofessors.com/) usually has some great info as well.


I agree with the above. One can be successful, the only point I was trying to make was the relative lack of grade inflation at state institutions vs. private ones.

sluguy14
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Re: Advice for people who want high GPAs in college

Postby sluguy14 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:25 pm

And going to a school that gives A+'s (without the harsh curve that seems to be prevalent at these schools) is always a plus.

But really, I think the best advice is to choose the college that best suits you (in terms of student body, size, atmosphere, programs, location, etc), major in something you both enjoy and have some natural ability in, and balance your school work with everything else. A 4.0 is great, but if you've achieved that 4.0 at the cost of your relationships, quality of life, and general sanity, then what have you really accomplished? I would much rather have a 3.5 and leave undergrad a well-rounded person than have a perfect GPA and nothing else.

I think it's important to remember that college is about more than developing your mind- it's also about enhancing your people-skills and exploring new relationships, honing your time-management ability, and introducing you to new experiences and opportunities- many of which you will never have again. All of these skills and abilities will be useful and will contribute to a higher QOL as you grow older. And besides, there's plenty of time in law school and beyond to tear your eyes out studying and working.




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