My journey through college

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  • Thread starter 1MileCrash
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  • #1
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I graduated highschool in 2008, low. 2.5 GPA, 20 on ACT, I did literally NOTHING throughout high school.

And that trend continued through college. No idea what I wanted to do. Started in Business Administration, 2.7 first semester, 1.* next, 0.* next, really bad. Lost my TOPS award pretty quickly. I'm starting my 4th year of college this fall.

About last september, I guess I matured. I was like, you know what, screw this. I have been doing nothing for 3 years and it doesn't make me happy. What comes after this? I am only in college to "pass the time." So, I got this crazy idea to bust my ***, actually apply myself, and transfer schools to major in physics, since I actually enjoy it.

The only problem, is that I had a 1.8 GPA. I couldn't transfer, and I couldn't major in physics at my current university. So I met with someone from my new school, who essentially showed me what I had to do. I needed to go from a 1.8 GPA to a 2.25 in one semester, after being in college for 6 semesters.

I enrolled in 20 credit hours, which were some required courses for Physics and some as a GPA boost. I took the first Biology for science majors and the lab, Chemistry, Trig, Business Administration, Health & Physical Education, Athletic Training, and an English Lit.

Motivation hit me throughout the semester, it is only because of a single screw up that I ended up with a B in biology, and a B in english due to poor attendance. In that semester my GPA was pulled up to a 2.34, and I was accepted into my new school.

Now, my GPA will be reset at my new school and I intend to take full advantage of that. I want a 4.0. Is it possible? What are some tips?

And furthermore, are any scholarships "forgiving" in that they'll see I've gotten my life on track and am making good grades now? Or did those first 3 years screw me forever?

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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Now, my GPA will be reset at my new school and I intend to take full advantage of that. I want a 4.0. Is it possible? What are some tips?
It's certainly possible to get a 4.0 at your new institution through the standard "hard work" ethos you seem to have adopted, but your old GPA is going to follow you around. You typically have to list all undergraduate institutions you attend and your GPA at that institution for jobs and graduate school.
 
  • #3
Sure it's possible, but you have to remember that most of the people in your physics class are going to be just as motivated, if not moreso. There will also be those twerps who are just plain good at everything they do, and the bell curve shifts somewhat to accommodate those twerps. You will probably not perform at the level you were in community college classes. And that's okay -- from what I hear, 3.5 GPA is really quite good. Shoot for 4.0, of course, but expect to land lower. Don't be afraid of your old GPA either. For grad schools, it'll be essentially a non-issue -- IF you've done well at the new school.
 
  • #4
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I generally shoot for a 1.0 above average in each class, not a 4.0
 
  • #5
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Don't listen to them. Aim for the 4.0, its doable. Take 12 credits to get yourself caught up in the material.

The only thing that is going to hold you back is all the years that you joked around instead of studying math. Math is cumulative. So now what you need to do is punish yourself, open these books all day, make sure you aim for perfection. Make sure you do every single problem, you may go back to a problem later but never quit on it. What ever you don't understand use cramster.com, its really helpful; or any other help site for that matter.

Practice, practice, practice, practice. You can do it. Don't listen to the other people.

This is coming from a person that came from a 3.0 average in high school to 3.96 in college now. And I know I could have got the 4.0, I missed an A by a couple points in psychology.

You can do it, the only thing holding you back is effort. You have to catch up on lost time.

Take that past GPA of humiliation and turn it into an advantage. Show the universities how much of a hard worker you are and that you are persistent and passionate. Nothing will show that more than going from a 2.34 to a 4.0 GPA in a harder university.
 
  • #6
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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To reinforce what everyone has said, yes you can get a 4.0, but those bad years are going to show up whenever you apply for scholarships and graduate schools.

The important thing for you to remember is that whatever you try to do, you'll have those horrid years behind you. At this point, you'd never get a scholarship or anything like that. You'll need to prove yourself for a few years until you would start getting awards and scholarships and stuff like that. After getting some 3.5+s for a while, then people would be convinced that you're a good student. It's simple common sense; given some time and good grades, people will realize that you're no longer a bad student. It's just like a credit score. You may have gone bankrupt 10 years ago but the more time goes on, the less it affects you.

You're definitely at a disadvantage though. You have to develop a work-ethic extremely fast and actually learn how to learn quickly as well. When it comes to Physics and other difficult subjects, you can't just "apply yourself" and expect to get good grades. People develop methods of studying that work for them over time to help them understand the subject so you're most likely lacking in that area as well after slacking off for so long. So if you want to be a 4.0ish student, forget having a social life, you have a ton of work to do.
 
  • #7
85
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Not everyone can get a 4.0. Only aim for it if you're above average intellectually.
 
  • #8
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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Not everyone can get a 4.0. Only aim for it if you're above average intellectually.

That's a silly thing to say. Don't listen to this.

It's not THAT hard to get a 4.0. What's more likely is that you're just going to screw up at some point and get a B here and there not so much because you aren't a genius, but because some subject just didn't click for you or maybe there was a bad test or whatever. So aim for a 4.0, just don't be surprised if you don't get it. 4.0s are rare and kinda meaningless, there's not much difference between a 3.9 and a 4.0. It's not like high school where you have to pretty much stop coming to class to even get a 3.5 these days :-/.
 
  • #9
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That's a silly thing to say. Don't listen to this.

It's not THAT hard to get a 4.0. What's more likely is that you're just going to screw up at some point and get a B here and there not so much because you aren't a genius, but because some subject just didn't click for you or maybe there was a bad test or whatever. So aim for a 4.0, just don't be surprised if you don't get it. 4.0s are rare and kinda meaningless, there's not much difference between a 3.9 and a 4.0. It's not like high school where you have to pretty much stop coming to class to even get a 3.5 these days :-/.

If it's not that hard to get a 4.0, you're above average intellectually (or taking easy classes or taking classes at an easy college). There is no reason to sugar-coat the difficulty that someone lower than you in intellect would face for the same attainment.

I've helped many and used to preface my tutoring with, "Oh, it's easy. Once I explain it as I understand it, you'll have no problem. The teacher just phrased the ideas complexly for no reason." Soon after, I stopped saying that, because I realized these people never saw it like I did afterward, making my earnest statement of comfort an insult. Some people cannot learn well. Sure, I helped them much (they claimed), but the aftermath was not ease for them.
 
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  • #10
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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I've helped many and used to preface my tutoring with, "Oh, it's easy. Once I explain it as I understand it, you'll have no problem. The teacher just phrased the ideas complexly for no reason." Soon after, I stopped saying that, because I realized these people never saw it like I did afterward, making my earnest statement of comfort an insult. Some people cannot learn well. Sure, I helped them much (they claimed), but the aftermath was not ease for them.

Ah I've definitely experienced the same thing. The thing is, I think it's not so much that they don't learn well, it's that they don't know how to learn. I think there is a key difference there. I believe there are some people that you can give tons of resources and tutoring and they'll simply take a long time to get it or won't get it at all. On the other hand, I think I've noticed there are people who do not even know the correct methods of studying and I think these people are the vast majority. For example, I've known other people who did tutoring claim that students didn't even know what an index was! Oh and by index, yes I mean the thing in the back of the book that tells you where key terms are. Then there are people who don't use their textbook to do their work! I love those students because I get to tell them "why are you paying $130 for a textbook you aren't using?".

People like us have experience; we know that, for example, having two texts on the same subject can be extraordinarily helpful in learning something. Using online resources helps as well. Study groups can also be useful when setup properly. Having a proper grounding in related subjects (ie you aren't going to learn physics if you can't do algebra!) is a requirement. So to me, it's not so much you need to be a good learner in the sense that you just have to be smart. To me, knowing how is just as, if not more important.

Then again, maybe not knowing how to learn is a sign of lesser intelligence in of itself. I also have to consider my experience teaching others are with people who are not physics majors so I probably should consider the fact that Physics is certainly not for people who don't know what an index is. Eh, maybe you do need to be above average or even quite intelligent to pull off a 4.0
 
  • #11
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About the 4.0 issue. At my university a 4.0 corresponds to somewhere between the top 1-5% usually (rough estimate and it varies). Usually those people have outstanding preparation for the course and/or are taking moderate course loads. So, while you can get that 4.0, don't consider anything less a failure. It depends on several variables besides work ethic and talent (the aforementioned preparation and course loads, namely).
 
  • #12
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Don't listen to them. Aim for the 4.0, its doable.

Winning the lotto is doable too, so shoot for that while you're at it. Why stop there? Might aswell go on to become the president of the USA.... I mean "it's doable".
 
  • #13
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About the 4.0 issue. At my university a 4.0 corresponds to somewhere between the top 1-5% usually (rough estimate and it varies). Usually those people have outstanding preparation for the course and/or are taking moderate course loads. So, while you can get that 4.0, don't consider anything less a failure. It depends on several variables besides work ethic and talent (the aforementioned preparation and course loads, namely).

This is truer as you get deeper into a degree, so it is harder to toggle on a 4.0 for a junior semester after having scored much worse than that the previous two semesters. But for a freshman semester, most classes should be almost independent of your high school education -- you need only to know how to read and do basic math proficiently. And the trick is that really smart people should know how to do basic math proficiently regardless of how much they tried in high school, so a 4.0 is almost always realistically doable with enough talent.
 
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  • #14
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But for a freshman semester, most classes should be almost independent of your high school education -- you need only to know how to read and do basic math proficiently. And the trick is that really smart people should know how to do math proficiently regardless of how much they tried in high school, so a 4.0 is almost always realistically doable with enough talent.

I've had freshmen courses that finished the year with 2.3 average. I don't see how expecting a 4.0 in a class like that is realistic.
 
  • #15
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Winning the lotto is doable too, so shoot for that while you're at it. Why stop there? Might aswell go on to become the president of the USA.... I mean "it's doable".

If you look at statistics and probabilities, winning the lotto is much much harder.

Attaining a 4.0 gpa, unlike the lottery, holds a different probability. In the lottery there lays so many variables that are just out of your hand. But in attaining a 4.0 gpa, all the different variables are manipulated by you. So as long as you play your cards right, you have a really high chance of achieving your goal.

I've had freshmen courses that finished the year with 2.3 average. I don't see how expecting a 4.0 in a class like that is realistic.

It is pessimism like this that lowers somebody's chance of attaining their goal. That is because you are already giving them a negative paradigm, one of failure.

Being optimistic is your best bet, if you grab hold of the belief in complete confidence that you will prevail then it becomes almost of a self-fullfilling prophecy. It gives you a motivation to put in the required time and effort.
 
  • #16
gb7nash
Homework Helper
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Getting a 4.0 isn't that bad, but once you get to the subjective classes that are outside of your major, it's harder to contest your grade if you didn't get what you expected. My instructor for public speaker was a grad student who didn't give anyone an A, as far as I know. She was a very strict grader.
 
  • #17
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If you look at statistics and probabilities, winning the lotto is much much harder.

meh, it's still "doable". My point is that just because something is "doable" doesn't mean that it's realistically attainable.

It is pessimism like this that lowers somebody's chance of attaining their goal. That is because you are already giving them a negative paradigm, one of failure.

not expecting a 4.0 == failure

sure, why the heck not.


Being optimistic is your best bet, if you grab hold of the belief in complete confidence that you will prevail then it becomes almost of a self-fullfilling prophecy.

oooohhhh, someone read "The Secret" ;p


I think one should focus on realistic goals such as obtaining a better gpa than last term, or scoring above average in every class, and not going from 2.3->4.0 in one year....
 
  • #18
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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I think one should focus on realistic goals such as obtaining a better gpa than last term, or scoring above average in every class, and not going from 2.3->4.0 in one year....

I think you're confusing what's realistic and what is a possible goal to shoot for. It's realistic that someone with 1.5 and 1.0 previous semesters won't be able to get a 4.0, but if you never attempt it, that's a guarantee that it'll never happen.
 
  • #19
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Well, that's true, I think one should try for an A+ in every class; however, that really amounts to just saying "one should try one's hardest".

So, I think you should always put as much effort as possible into your studies, but I don't think you should expect "perfection".
 
  • #20
1,331
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Sure it's possible, but you have to remember that most of the people in your physics class are going to be just as motivated, if not moreso. There will also be those twerps who are just plain good at everything they do, and the bell curve shifts somewhat to accommodate those twerps. You will probably not perform at the level you were in community college classes. And that's okay -- from what I hear, 3.5 GPA is really quite good. Shoot for 4.0, of course, but expect to land lower. Don't be afraid of your old GPA either. For grad schools, it'll be essentially a non-issue -- IF you've done well at the new school.

I wasn't in a community college, just another university that focused mainly on biological sciences.
 
  • #21
411
1
Now, my GPA will be reset at my new school and I intend to take full advantage of that. I want a 4.0. Is it possible? What are some tips?

You can do it ABSOLUTELY. The only classes I did not make A's in was one in which I could not complete an exam due to an injury, and another in which the syllabus was unclear about a requirement. I missed getting an A by .7:rolleyes: I'll give some tips, you may already know many of these :)

Tips
-Do everything to the best of your ability and go a bit beyond what is required of you when you are able. It's not always possible but just use your judgment on when you can. Make your work stand out.
-Do not take on too many classes at once. Make sure you have enough time to study.
-Pay close attention to the syllabus and due dates, and reference them often.
-If you are having trouble with anything try to work it out for yourself first and then ask for help
-Do as many problems as you can until you feel you have mastered the material
-try to work at least one chapter ahead

That's all I can think of for now...if I think of anything else I'll let you know.

Edit:
Just wanted to say for the second to last one, that is if you have to. Someone recommended this to me last term when I was not understanding something and doing a lot of problems really helped me.
 
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  • #22
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meh, it's still "doable". My point is that just because something is "doable" doesn't mean that it's realistically attainable.

His grades are going to be reset. He has a fresh new start, it is realistic to get all A's if he puts in the required effort and takes a moderate or minimal workload...

What is the required effort? Well that varies, it may even be "no-lifeing" books. But if that is what is required for him because he is behind the material then so be it. Nothing holds him back except for time and effort. If he puts in the REQUIRED time and effort then he will achieve his goal!


not expecting a 4.0 == failure

sure, why the heck not.
You misunderstand. Not expecting, but setting up a goal and planning accordingly.


General_Sax;3322261I said:
think one should focus on realistic goals such as obtaining a better gpa than last term, or scoring above average in every class, and not going from 2.3->4.0 in one year....

The grade is reseted.

It seems that you may have had a failure in meeting your goals and expectations before. No need for such pessimism. Let the guy shoot for the goal, as long as he realizes that he needs to completely revamp his study habits--and as long as he does, then he can achieve it.
 
  • #23
You've changed your attitude about being a good student a little later than I would have advised.

Getting good grades in your classes really only amounts to jumping through your professor's hoops and understanding how you jumped well enough to repeat it in the test. The funny thing is that getting a 4.0 in your classes really doesn't require a great deal of intelligence. A '4.0' means that you took the time and the effort that you needed to master the material that your professor told you master the way that your professor wanted you to master it in the time designated for you to master it.

To master the material is fairly simple. Read the book for the class about the lecture before the professor gives you the lecture. Do all of the homework in your class as soon as you can, and if you feel uncomfortable about any of the ideas or concepts in the class then it means that you need to look through the book for problems that are similar to what you done in class and solve them on your own. You don't get a grade for this, but it's more important than what you do in class... it will allow you to master more of the material than most of the rest of the students in the class. How well you know your physics is dependent on how many problems you have solved. Being able to compare your answers to something helps a lot when you're first learning something. You can find these types of resources in your library.

You'll find that there are books that have been written that are better and easier to learn from than the books that are assigned for you to read in the class. Do more problems from that book on that subject. If you have any additional questions you can ask your professor. If they are constantly unavailable even during their office hours, then it means that your professor probably isn't a good resource to learn from. You can try to make friends with another professor in the department who you can ask for help when you have questions. If you can't find this... you can try to find a graduate student in the subject who may be willing to help you.

To set your expectations straight... it's 'possible' for you to make a '4.0' from where you are at right now, it's not very likely because it will take time for you to develop the study skills that you will need to be successful. If you follow this advice at first then come up with your own system that works... then you're chances of making a '3.5', or higher, are very likely.

One more thing, if you apply for an internship or an REU, it's possible that you can find a company or an organization that will pay you to be there. The experience will be invaluable for your future in physics.

Your future isn't bleak because you still have the power to change it. Like I said, it doesn't require a whole lot of intelligence to get a '4.0', even in physics; it just requires a whole lot of work!

If you get start to feel overwhelmed... take a minute or two and tell to yourself, "All is well." It won't fix your problem, but it will give you the courage to face it. ;)
 
  • #24
"All is well." It won't fix your problem, but it will give you the courage to face it.

-- Quote taken from Bollywood film, "3 Idiots", very good movie... I recommend it.
 

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