Traditionally a 4.0 is considered a perfect grade point average, but Dhara Patel, a high school senior at Plant City High School in Hillsborough County, Fla., has earned an off-the-charts 10.03 GPA.
Patel took 17 Advanced Placement classes. AP classes, which are on par with college courses, are often weighted, meaning that students who take them receive extra points. That helps students accumulate a GPA way off the traditional 4.0 chart.
In addition to AP classes, Patel also spent nights, weekends, and summers studying at Hillsborough Community College. To add to her accomplishments, she’s earned her associate’s degree before even graduating from high school.
It’s not just books and good grades for Patel. She is well rounded student. A member of seven high school clubs, holds leadership roles in half of them, and sits on the executive board of student government. She also volunteers at a local hospital. While none of this factors into Patel’s GPA, her resume paints the picture of what colleges and universities are looking for in a student in the 21st century.
There’s an ongoing debate among educators about what makes a student ready for college and, subsequently, a career. For years, a high GPA and high standardized test scores indicated a successful student who was prepared for college.
Annual surveys by the National Association for College Admission Counseling show that most admissions officials put a high priority on grades, especially grades in college-prep courses. The NACAC’s 2013 State of College Admission report showed that “students’ grades and the academic rigor of their course loads weigh more heavily in decisions to admit than standardized test scores, high school class rank, or demonstrated interest in attending.”
A high GPA can open more doors for high school students when the time comes to apply for college. Colleges set a minimum GPA and will only look at students’ applications if their GPA exceeds the minimum. A one-point increase in GPA doubles the likelihood of students completing college—from 21 percent to 42 percent—for both men and women.
A high GPA also leads to increased opportunities for grants and scholarships.
Employers require students to include their GPA on resumes. A higher GPA can help students get their dream job or an internship going into college. A one-point increase in high school GPA is thought to raise annual earnings in adulthood by around 12 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
Increase Your GPA
A student can increase their GPA by asking their teachers for help, searching educational websites on line or hiring a tutor to help them in subjects they are struggling with.
Even if a student’s GPA isn’t stellar, focus can be placed on other areas such as portfolios, essays, interviews, recommendations, life experiences, and community involvement to impress college admission officers.
Colleges in the 21st century are looking for well rounded individuals who have demonstrated their ability to juggle various responsibilities while still scoring high marks in their academic studies.
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