Choosing between Slam dunk Grades and Competitive Classes

by A Guest Author

"Slam dunk" grades are top grades at really uncompetitive classes. We are not exactly talking about Basket Weaving 101, but close to these classes. For example, classes that don't take much thinking or very easy to dominate or those that have very liberal (grading-wise if not politically speaking) professors. Some students are tempted to pad their academic record with as many of these classes as possible. Who can turn down an easy way to skew your cumulative GPA to the right side of the distribution curve, right? Sadly, this would be a tragic mistake. Why? Because admission committees are wise enough to see through this old trick. They are focused on comparing apples to apples. Your 4.0 taking lightweight classes is very easy to see through.

You are basically trying to fool the committee into thinking that taking easy classes to achieve your 4.0 is the same as taking difficult science and math classes. Also, it raises questions about fairness. More often that not, the other student who took those difficult classes struggled for their grades, demonstrated more academic excellence and discipline. While the other person just structured their schedules well to take in more easy classes.

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Does this scenario only happen in high school?

This scenario just does not play out in high school; it also plays out in college. If you're in college and your goal is to get into law or medical school, you might be tempted to pad your undergraduate GPA by taking in very basic and easy classes. Just as it is wrong to do this in high school, the same goes for college. Somebody with a 3.5 GPA, who took more challenging classes, would get in whereas someone with a 4.0 will not. This actually happens. Why? Admission committee members look at the actual classes you took and weigh them. They don't focus exclusively on your GPA.

On another related note, some students think that if they came from a less competitive school, the grading curve is skewed to the left, would look like heroes and use it as a platform in applying for top colleges or graduate programs. Academic committees also pay attention to this detail. Certain circumstances like graduating from a rural school can also help you on the whole. Nevertheless, graduating from an uncompetitive school with very few people can actually harm your chances instead of enhancing it.

This guest post was written by Chris Walker, an avid blogger and prolific writers of model personal statements. You can get more high quality personal statement writing tips and model essays from

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

eugene February 18, 2013 at 2:01 am

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