Good at English + Bad at Math = ?

Good at English + Bad at Math = ?

By Tasha

I am a junior in high school and I have a low GPA. I have all As and high Bs except in math in which I have Cs and Ds. I am in all advanced classes (including math) and have taken a few AP courses. I want to be a teacher and major in English. I was wondering if, because I get good grades in my english classes and everything else, my math grades will really affect my getting accepted into college for english.

I suspect many students have thought about this question, or a variation on it ("I want to study biochemistry; do my bad grades in English matter?").

You have to be admitted to a university before you are accepted into a specific college department (English, for example). While the English department may swoon over your writing skills and As in AP Lit, the more general-minded admissions officers may be put off by your low GPA.

One of the first things admissions committees will look at is your GPA. An impressive GPA will help your chances of being admitted into more academically rigorous schools—and it may help you earn academic scholarships.

Therefore, although I think it’s admirable that you have enrolled in the more difficult courses your high school offers, I don't think it's a good idea to stick it out in AP Calculus if math has always been your worst subject. The damage to your GPA outweighs the benefit of the hard class.

If you want to side-step Honors math or AP Calculus, but still be seen as a serious student, consider registering for a different sort of Advanced Placement course, one that won’t sink your GPA. For instance, have you thought about signing up for AP Biology? That course wouldn’t be as math-heavy, but would still present a challenge that would look really good on your high school transcript.

Let us know how it goes!

To contact Tasha, email advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: college admissions, APs

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