Taking easier classes to boost GPA is fair


Illustration by Katie Sullivan

There is a secret formula to impressing colleges without putting yourself through too much stress, and some students have cracked it. Taking easier classes to boost your GPA makes it easier for students to perform well in school. It is pointless to fill a schedule with a ridiculous number of AP classes if you know you won’t do well in them.

While students who can’t boast about a single digit class rank suffer restlessly through hours of homework may say that taking easy classes is cheating, in reality, it is just playing the GPA game intelligently.

In the college admissions arena, anything that gives you a leg up on another student is, most often, fair game. So when it comes to GPA, everything that can be done to make it more impressive should be done, specifically, taking easier classes.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a student is imperative to succeeding in high school, so if you know that you will succeed in an easy class, why not take it? High school is meant to be difficult, but it is not meant to be a boulder resting on your shoulders encompassing your life and depriving you of sleep.

There is nothing wrong with taking an easy class just to raise your GPA, as long as you are content with sacrificing the impressive AP classes. Although most colleges will be able to tell if a 100 in an honors class should really be a 90 in an AP course, there is no point in taking an AP class if you know your GPA will suffer significantly.

Also, taking less stressful classes gives room for more time in the evening to participate in extracurriculars, get a job, or even simply study to ensure you get a high A in the class. It’s no surprise to find valedictorians in easier classes, as their rank is often a result of their taking these classes, in addition to hours of studying and hard work.

There are incentives to take more challenging classes. The quality point average, or QPA, is used to determine rank in class and honor roll. There are three levels of classes, with the first level of classes, mostly regular, being weighted the least, the second level of classes, mostly honors, being weighted the middle, and the third level of classes, mostly AP, being weighted the most.

Weighting class rank helps to ensure that it is easier to achieve a high class rank by taking more difficult classes. In turn, it somewhat balances students’ intelligence, in relation to the rest of the class, with their class rank.

High school is all about strategy. You should plan exactly how your transcript will turn out when you submit it to colleges. Sacrificing an AP class for a 4.0 is not cheating, but rather it is a smart strategy that helps students increase their GPA without putting themselves through superfluous stress.

Billy Jump is an In-Depth Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.