1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Freshman Year Grades

  1. Jun 23, 2010 #1
    Hello all

    Next year I will be attending college for engineering (top 10 nationally). At the orientation they said that the average GPA of the freshman class at the end of the first year is a 2.9 (this is quite alarming to someone who is used to getting A's). When I asked the peer advisors how hard it would be to get like a 3.5 they looked at each other and, almost in unison, said that it would be very difficult. Do you think this is true? I mean, do you think that they are just being a bit overdramatic? It seems like 2 A's and 2 B's should be manageable.

    My schedule:

    Semester 1
    Calc 3 (4 cr)
    Intro Physics (Mech) with lab (5 cr)
    Intro to programming (4 cr)
    Undergraduate Research (3 cr)

    Semester 2
    Diff EQ (4 cr)
    Intro Physics (E&M) with lab (5 cr)
    Intro to engineering (4 cr)
    Undergraduate Research (3 cr)

    I have taken calc 3, diff eq, and physics c in high school so I should have a jump on them. I am retaking them because I figure thry are more rigorous at college and want to be sure I have a solid foundation.

    Also, I am planning on applying to grad school. Would the admissions people take into account the difficulty of the program at this college as opposed to another? I always see people on this forum saying that prestige and stuff like that doesn't matter...

    Any and all advice would be appreciated!

    Thank you for your time
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2010 #2
    The difference between college and high school is shocking. You cover significantly more material in significantly less time. You are almost certainly going to stop getting A's. The massive number of A's granted in high school is the result of something known as grade inflation. Colleges, and especially universities, are much less susceptible to the phenomenon.

    Good luck, though. If you get all A's, then y'know what, you can strut around your university and smirk. Always try for A's. Failure to get an A just results in a slightly lesser 'above average'.
  4. Jun 23, 2010 #3
    Yes, for most everyone pulling a 3.5gpa in an engineering program is very difficult. However, you're probably more accomplished academically than your peers, and the people that do pull a 3.5 are people like yourself, so you've got a decent chance. I'm just a random opinion on the Internet though, so don't put to much faith in me.
  5. Jun 23, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Congratulations on being accepted to one of the top 10 institutions nationally. You say you are used to getting straight A's. Believe me all your classmates to be are people like you, used to getting straight A's, that's whom the top 10 institutions generally accept. Do you think you and all your future classmates will get straight A's? My advice to you is to be modest about yourself and expect nothing except hard work to get where you want to go.
  6. Jun 23, 2010 #5
    I hope I am not being misunderstood. I do not expect to get all A's and I fully realize that college is a whole different ball game. I know that high school grades are falsely inflated.

    My main question is about the whole grad school thing: "Would the admissions people take into account the difficulty of the program at this college as opposed to another? I always see people on this forum saying that prestige and stuff like that doesn't matter..."

    Also, then what should my (realistic) goals be? Sure, I will strive for A's but this is obviously not reasonable to set as a goal. That being said, I do not want to settle for sub-standard and mediocre grades.

    Side note: I know that you guys cant lay out specific goals for me. It would be unreasonable for me to expect that. I just want to get the jist of what I am headed for.
  7. Jun 23, 2010 #6
    No, your realistic goal should be to get all A's. Stop being apologetic. Take all of the negative things people are saying as a motivating factor. Set out to prove all of the naysayers wrong.

    It's alright to aim a little high.
  8. Jun 23, 2010 #7


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Personally, I would not go so far as to say that "prestige and stuff like that" do not matter. Graduate school decisions are based on the courses that you took, the grades that you got, GRE scores, your letters of recommendation and your personal statement. However, all these things being equal, the applicant from the more "prestigious" school will be given first consideration. Like you say, I will not attempt to set goals for you. Just some advice above and beyond the obvious "Get as high grades as you can." It is "be known to your professors for who you are and what you can do." They are the ones who will provide letters of recommendation and if they say "This guy is actually better than he looks on paper and he has the nose for doing research", it will carry some weight. Professors in prestigious institutions tend to be better known and better connected than professors at not so prestigious institutions.
  9. Jun 24, 2010 #8
    Your aim should always be to get all A's. Your expectation should be that you probably won't.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Freshman Year Grades