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Choosing hard classes

  1. Jan 27, 2011 #1
    When choosing my classes, I've always picked the easier class rather than taking the harder just so I can get a higher grade. (For example, I took Calc III last semester rather than Honors Calc III). Do you guys think this is a bad idea? If I want to go to graduate school wouldn't picking the harder classes probably kill my chances to get accepted?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2011 #2


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    I think you're applying a short-term strategy that's likely to hurt you in the long run.

    A few questions you may want to ask yourself:
    1. Are these classes really so much easier?
    2. What are they not covering?
    3. How much higher are your marks really going to be? Some people actually perform better when challenged.
    4. If the only way you canget into grad school is by taking easy classes, do you think that you'll really be all that successful? Grad school isn't any easier than undergrad, and usually there aren't "easier" options.
    Once you get into grad school, and more importantly, once it's over, what really matters is what you've gotten out of the classes you took.
  4. Jan 28, 2011 #3
    To add to what Choppy said,

    1) and 2) Where I go to, it seems there's a palpable difference between the Honours and regular courses. I may be biased, since I'm taking the Honours ones, but from what I hear from other students the regular ones are much, much easier, and that's what the professors that teach our courses say, as well. I don't know how it is at your school, though, so you might want to check that out.

    Also, I see quite a lot of topics here where upper-year students are asking whether they should take a course or read a book on proofs. I don't know how your Maths courses are, but we've been doing proofs in our Honours Calculus and Linear Algebra courses almost from day one. I guess the biggest difference then comes from just that, namely that the Honours courses seem to be much more rigorous and proof-based, and I can honestly I'm not intimated by having to prove stuff anymore, since basically all of our homeworks are just prove this, prove that. That isn't to say I find it easy proving things, it's just that the techniques are not the bottle-neck. And, again, from what I hear, in regular courses it's more about computation, whereas we almost treat that as trivial. We still need to know how to compute everything those that are taking regular courses need to, but it seems that is taken almost as granted, and the hard stuff lies elsewhere.

    3) Apart from the challenge, the averages are also higher in Honours courses, since it's my university's policy not to punish those taking tougher courses. That, of course, doesn't mean, there's only A's, but instead of a C average, you'll have a B- average or something akin to that. That may or may not be the case where you're at, though.

    4) This, I think is the best point of all. If you're just taking the easy way out, then I think that's pretty weak.
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