Courseload vs GPA?

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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:38 am

Courseload vs GPA?

Postby CommonerCoffee » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:05 am

Hello, everyone. Been lurking around here for a while and I feel like it's about time I started a profile.

I'm a freshman at a top 15ish liberal arts college about to enter my second semester and my spring schedule is currently looking like:

Methods of Experimental Physics (This is my school's lab class that follows Modern Physics)
Intro Chemistry
Intro Chinese
Linear Algebra

This is 4.5 credits (I have no idea how that translates into credit hours or units) and I was thinking about adding Classical Mechanics to the schedule, but I'm afraid that I might be overwhelming myself too early. So my question ultimately is, do graduate schools care about the intensity of the courses taken for the major or is the GPA more important for admission purposes? I am pretty sure I can finish my prospective double major in math and physics with the rest of my years at undergraduate so maybe I would be rushing things if I were to add Classical Mechanics.

Any opinions?

Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:55 am

Re: Courseload vs GPA?

Postby Hellas » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:25 pm

Well I might be able to give you a definite answer in a couple months...I recently graduated and in the midst of my year off and have finished applying to a ton of grad programs. I switched to Physics after my freshman year and for various reasons decided I wanted to still only be at college for 4 years and chose to finish the Physics major (and Astro minor) in 3 years. Doing so, in my junior and senior years I ended up taking 4-6 upper division classes at once while doing research and my GPA suffered. My advise is DO NOT rush it if you do not have to. From my experience, overloading classes was extremely difficult in the sense that I could easily get all the coursework done during the week with good grades (As and B+s) but when midterms came around they would all be in the same week and it was like finals 3 more times a semester. In the few semesters I only took a normal courseload my GPA was 3.7+

For what its worth, I talked to one the heads of the physics dept at my school about if schools acknowledge a lower GPA due to an overload of classes and take that into account and his response:

"They want to see you got good grades, not that you rushed through the major"

hope that helps

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