B's are Academic Suicide?

Discussion in 'College' started by Peregrin5, May 16, 2012.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 16, 2012

    I graduated college barely with a 3.02 and that's only because I did a field school where you basically had to breathe and not get TOO drunk every night to get 12 units of A. (Otherwise I'd have ended up with a 2.8)

    I am just a bit lost, because looking at my grades, they aren't all that bad. I would have what I would call a pretty good spread, mostly B's, and a smattering of A's and 1 or 2 C's. I wasn't dumb, and I was definitely capable of getting A's, but I simply wasn't disciplined or organized enough to juggle all of the stresses of college at that stage in my life, in addition to the fact, that I thought B's were okay, and it would be fine to stop there.

    The thing is, they condition us in K-12 to think that C's are acceptable/average, B's are considered good, and A's are just exceptional.

    However, it seems that if you have under a 3.5 GPA (meaning mostly A's) that you just won't find a good job or get accepted into grad school.

    Ironically, I didn't end up getting straight A's until after I had graduated after I read the book "How to be a Straight A Student" (aptly named) by Cal Newport, however my undergraduate grades still haunt me (applications for research internships, etc.), and I find it hard for people to believe me when I tell them that I am a different student now.

    What do you think?
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    This has been on my mind a lot the last few days. It worries me a lot that my grades are so "average". I mean, the only math classes I've taken toward my degree are Calc I (AP credit), Calc II (god help me), and Statistics (got an A).

    So all the other classes I've taken are gen eds (mostly As, smattering of Bs, one C+).

    After this semester my GPA is definitely going down and it's sitting at a 3.5 right now.

    After I transfer it'll get reset though, so I can then focus on math and hopefully graduate with a 3.7+.

    I don't know. I don't think I realized how important grades are when getting hired. I figured once I had certification that was it. Maybe they'd look at my GPA. But nothing like this.

    Stress stress stress.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Don't stress too much, but also don't get too complacent with your grades once you transfer. From what I've heard, is that most places disregard your first two years, and only focus on your last two years at the place you transferred to. When I transferred, the stress was great, and I got way more Bs and Cs, and my grades went down.

    I would DEFINITELY recommend, at this point in your student career to read that book I mentioned. "How to Become a Straight A Student" http://calnewport.com/books/howtobecome.html

    It sounds like a cheesy quick-fix how-to book, but it really has some effective strategies, and is research based. It is definitely not easy, but if you arm yourself with these strategies, and dedicate effort to practicing them, not only will you be organized enough to make straight A's every quarter, but you'll also have free time to enjoy yourself and enjoy college life!

    I went from student who did nothing but attending classes (sometimes) and making B's, to a student who works three jobs, networks like crazy, president of clubs, scholarship winning, community service participating, intern teaching, straight-A student who also has a life. DO IT.
     
  5. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I have never had a single boss look at my transcript! No one has ever asked me about my GPA. I don't know if that the norm or not, but I wouldn't stress too much about it.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I will be honest at my highly selective high school, you wouldn't get hired with below a 3.5 major GPA or a 3.3 total GPA.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I feel like it missed all the important points, and some of the best strategies are not even mentioned in that summary. In addition, the book gives you specific tips on implementing those strategies, that the summary misses out on.

    The book is cheap and you can get it on Kindle, and I really wished someone had given that book to me when I was in college.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Hope you don't mind a bit of a hijack to the post. I have a question for Mike about transferring AP substitution for Calc 1. Do you feel that not repeating Calc 1 in college may have set you back in terms of your performance in Calc 2. I wonder sometimes being AP classes in HS vary so much even though they are supposed to be the same, if it may have had something to do with not getting an A in Calc 2.

    We didn't have AP in our HS years ago. We had Calc, but that meant we had to re-take Calc 1 at the university. It was a breeze and I remember that some things just made more sense the 2nd time around even though I had a solid A in HS and probably would have had AP credits had the Calc course been AP.

    Just wondering your thoughts....
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Yes, a B is now academic suicide due to grade inflation at all levels. A B at many schools is now the old C. In some it is even a D. I know a fair number of kids at college now and many say, most of the classes are a joke. They have a few tough ones, but from their explanations of the courses, they are nothing like university used to be.

    Sad to say, but true.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I would love to know as well--I'm transferring AP Calc AB credit next year.
     
  12. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    As much as I would like to blame AP Calc for my problems, I don't think so.

    Obviously you need Calc I for Calc II. However, Calc II just takes basic concepts from Calc I and expands on it in ways you didn't see in Calc I or AP Calc.

    For example, you learn basic integration in AP Calc/Calc I. Then, in Calc II, you switch gears. You're no longer integrating easy-peasy functions like e^x/sinx. You're integrating beast functions like tan^2x + 1 / xe^x - sec^2x. You need to think about which technique to use: integration by parts, partial fractions, trig substitutions, polar conversion, etc.

    Calc II also introduces differential equations. You use algebra to separate them and then you integrate the two sides of the equation to get y in terms of x. Sometimes the functions are easy, sometimes not.

    Infinite series are the three-headed beasts of Calc II. You don't cover them at ALL in Calc I or AP Calc. It's completely new.

    So, in short, the nuances you may miss by taking AP Calc instead of Calc I are really not that important in Calc II.

    However, I think taking Calc I and Calc II ith the same professor is a good idea. Taking Calc I with them will prepare you and familiarize you with their teaching style and their expectations in terms of exams.

    :soapbox:
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Hm. I knew I could definitely do better in my courses, but the courses I took for my major didn't seem like a joke to me. I felt they were sufficient rigorous.

    Now my education classes on my other hand, are a total joke.

    But in my undergraduate years, we had sizeable work and study loads. We had to create original research and analysis of research for my Primatology class, read journal articles in the fields we were studying in almost all of my classes and be able to present on them, memorize TONS of reaction mechanisms for Organic Chem and be able to use them properly, understand all of the mechanisms and proteins from DNA transcription and Protein synthesis for my Genetics course, memorize the artists, time periods, locations, and even critically analyze styles and compare them to the prevalent styles in the time period for art history (an elective class which was harder than all of my hard science courses), enumerate animal remains and complete a full faunal analysis to determine the number of species, how many of each species, and a theory regarding that analysis for my Zooarchaeology course, develop a fully graphical magazine for our popular science publication project in my Science Writing course, and tons of other amazing things which I wish I could have spent more time doing. God I miss college.

    The only class I thought was a joke was my Human Anthropological Genetics course and that was because the teacher did nothing but give us a book, and make us teach the course to each other in a series of presentations, (which was difficult in and of itself, and one of the things that really made me realize that I love teaching).

    Then again, I went to one of the top research colleges in California (UC Davis) and took only difficult full science courses, even though my major only required the simplistic courses. I can see how someone taking a different major or at a different school might see how it's a joke (because the school I'm getting my credential at right now is a joke).
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I took AP Calc, but only one semester so I took it in college again too. I do remember Calc II being tough, but I think it was also kind of fun because it really gave you an arsenal of tools to try and figure out a puzzle, and its just so satisfying when you're able to cross everything out and come out with a simple answer. (Definite Integrals are my favorite.)

    You may experience something different, but I found Calc III to be really hard. You deal more in different types of environments including parametric and radial environments, and do a lot of three dimensional vector work. I ended up with a C in Calc III.
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I thought differential equations were in Calc 1. They were on the AP exam.

    Thanks for the info!!
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think he meant integral equations. At least his follow-up sentence seems to suggest that.
     
  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't know what integral equations are, but it seemed to me that he was talking about separation of variables.

    But I'm not sure--I'm probably wrong.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Haha! I'm kind of confused as well, but I haven't taken Calc for like 5 years.

    And integral equations are basically the opposite of differentials. You're doing the opposite operation, so where a differential of y=x^n would be dy/dx=nx^(n-1), the integral of that derivative would be y=x^n. You'll catch it in Calc II.
     
  19. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Yup, first-order separable differential equations.

    I didn't know they were on the AP exam now. We definitely didn't learn them when I took it!
     
  20. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    By the way, I've also been adjusting to being a math major. I used to be a musical theatre/music education double major before this, so my homework went from being singing to grinding through problem sets. My exams went from performing, to staring at a piece of paper and crying (kidding :haha:).
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    We did a lot with differential equations, which is why I was a bit surprised. It seemed like my teacher said "separation of variables" every other day!
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    They were on my Calc 1 AP. (Ok, I don't remember the questions, but I definitely learned it in high school!)
     
  23. HMM

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    I'd love to see the solution to that integral :)
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think the way you learned it Mike has been different from what I experienced.

    Calc I was just differential equations. No integration was even introduced.

    Calc II is where we hit integration.

    and Calc III was multi-variable calculus, vectors, and working in more than 2 dimensions.
     
  25. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Keeping you math teachers on your toes. :lol:

    (Whoops!)
     
  26. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Just wait until Calc 5 AKA Real Analysis...that's where it gets really fun. My AP Calc AB class was a joke, and so, I knew to retake calc 1 in college. I got an A, but I actually thought calc 2 was the easiest for me followed by calc 1 followed by calc 3. Sequences and series make me happier than anything.
     
  27. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    @ Mathemagician: There is Calculus past Calculus 3? D:

    Btw, I like how this thread has turned into a calculus discussion thread.
     
  28. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Calc 3 - Multivariable
    Calc 4 - Diff Eq
    Calc 5 - Real Analysis

    They're interchangeable.
     
  29. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I am with you...in fact, my last job I was asked for my transcript AFTER I was hired.


    Also, I was told that GPA did not matter as much if you had a lot extra curriculum activities to be a part of.
     
  30. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've had to list my gpa on every application. Some wanted a gpa for each core subject.
     
  31. Peachyness

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    I could be wrong, but I think a section to write your GPA was just added onto Edjoin. Before than, I never had to share my GPA and transcripts were only used to figure out your pay (based on how many post-bac units you earned). I don't remember what my GPA is anymore, but I do know that I graduated cum laude.
     
  32. JustMe

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    All applications I have completed required you to list your GPA and transcripts had to be attached to be complete.

    I agree that our thoughts about grades have changed...I would have cried had I earned a C as I most certainly did not see that as "average". I made a B in a ridiculously challenging art history course and a B in a one hour biology lab...those have been my lowest grades and I didn't feel "good" about either.

    That system is becoming outdated...
     
  33. Longfellow

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    I agree with A2z, most B's do appear as academic suicide. Even worse is that some employers cannot tell if the class you took was a B you earned or a B that was just given. The grade scale is all messed up.
     
  34. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    At my university, a C in many upper level science and math classes was considered pretty good.

    My p-chem prof curved by assigning the top 10% As and then scaling downward from there. That means that out of over 250 people, over 200 got a B or lower, yet still went on to grad school or employment as chemical engineers.

    This doesn't seem atypical of science majors. I wonder if grade inflation is more rampant in liberal arts majors? There were certai ly many, many more graduating with honors than those of us in the college of science.

    Unless you are talking about grad school? I suppose that's all done on a mastery learning basis with a B considered adequate. I'm not quite sure what one have needed to do (or not do) to get less than an A in my education courses.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah, whatever it is, the grading scale across all classes and disciplines is certainly not uniform. (For instance, education classes are a joke and you get an A breathing--and upper-level chemistry classes are ridiculously hard to even pass)

    I really think that's unfair because we raise all our students with an understanding that Cs are average, and B's are good, but if that's not how it is in the real world, we need to change the grading scale.

    Though it seems ridiculous to change it to:

    A: passing
    B: below average
    C: failing
    D: failing
    F: really sad... :(

    Either that or just get rid of the notion that "A 'C' is okay because you tried your best" stuff that teachers and parents feed their children.

    @JustMe: I feel you on the art history. It was more difficult than my O. Chem classes! O_O Way more to memorize.
     
  36. waterfall

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    I've been asked for my GPA on every application I've filled out for teaching. However, unless your GPA is really bad, I definitely don't think that's a make-or-break situation. Teaching is about so much more than being "smart"- I sincerely doubt an employer would automatically go with a 4.0 over a 3.0 simply based on the 4.0. If that's all their basing decisions on, they don't know much about teaching. I had a 3.7 in college and never heard anyone comment either way. I was on some of the interview committees at my former school and I never once heard GPA come up when deciding who to interview or who to hire- we always just looked at resumes and CLs.

    What really irked me about GPAs though was that it has so much bearing on scholarship decisions for college, and my high school's grading scale was WAY harder than any other school in the area. Everywhere else did a 90, 80,70,60 scale. We did 93-100, 85-92,77-85, 70-76, and 69 and below and we didn't get any "weighted" GPA even if we took AP classes. Some people would try to insist that colleges un-weighted and recalculated anyway, but our report cards didn't have percentages on them. They had no way of knowing that my B was a 91, which would have been an A everywhere else, or that I could have just taken college prep instead of AP and gotten straight A's. I also ended up with a 3.7 in HS and the cut off for a lot of scholarships was a 3.8. My best friend got a full ride to a state school based on GPA and ACT score. I got a higher ACT score than her, but due to my 3.7, I would have literally only qualified for 2-3,000 in scholarships vs. her full scholarship. I honestly think HS GPA has a lot more bearing than college GPA unless your college GPA is just really terrible. From what I've heard, masters education programs aren't hard to get into and it's pretty hard to not get an A- so I doubt they really look that closely at your undergrad GPA either, again unless it's really, really low.
     
  37. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    I worry about this too, because at my university you have to get 100% in a course to receive a 4.0
    In the art department, most professors I encountered didn't believe in giving 100% because your artwork could always be better. My GPA is fine, but I'm a bit jealous of people who have a 4.0 overall!
     
  38. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I know at my son's highly selective liberal art's college, the science and liberal arts major average about the same graduation honors. However, I know in even intro level science classes an A can be scaled down to anywhere as low as 85% (that may have been an A-) in even Intro Level classes. Granted these classes expect lower proficiency on their exams.
     
  39. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I've only worked for one school district over the past eight years, and never once has anyone inquired about my GPA. Although I did work my tail off for a 3.93 overall GPA, I highly doubt anyone really cared when they hired me. My parents, on the other hand, made sure to tell everyone what my final GPA was! :rolleyes:
     
  40. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Nobody has ever looked at my undergrad transcript. However, HR's have always looked closely at my grad school transcript, with particular emphasis on my elective choices.

    For which I thank God, fasting.
     
  41. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I graduated with a 3.5, mostly As, a few Bs and 2 Cs that I hate. Both were in Chemistry, that I also hate. In O Chemistry 2 I got a B and I swear to you that is still one of my greatest accomplishments of all time. I busted my freaking butt to get a B in Org Chem 2!

    I know people don't look so much that I have an okay GPA, but more that I did a lot of "balancing" in college. I was on my university swim team, had a job to pay for college, studied abroad, and came out with a pretty decent GPA. In all honesty, I went to a lower than mediocre school, because I couldn't afford anything nicer. So I don't know that a 3.5 GPA from "unheard of small state school" means that much to anyone. I always play up my balancing act in college as my strength on my resumes.
     

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