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Is it possible to keep a 3.5 GPA?

UpNorthWolverineUpNorthWolverine 1 replies1 threads New Member
I have heard it can be very difficult to keep a 3.5+ GPA in engineering programs. I graduated high school with a 4.1, and while I always did my homework, I rarely studied beyond that. I have an academic scholarship to a university which is not particularly rigorous, but it requires me to keep a 3.5 or above GPA. Is this a realistic goal? How can I do it?
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Replies to: Is it possible to keep a 3.5 GPA?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9861 replies110 threads Senior Member
    My D just finished up her second year of chemical engineering. A 3.5 is not easy for engineering. IMO that a high bar to maintain a scholarship.

    You aren’t going to be able to get by without studying. The rule of thumb is to double the amount of credit hours you are taking, and that how many of hours you should be studying outside the classroom.
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2113 replies16 threads Senior Member
    A 3.5 GPA is attainable but will require a lot of hard work.

    Your comment about rarely studying is troubling. Engineering students NEED good study skills. Classes build on what you have learned previously and require that you understand that material conceptually. That means a lot of studying and doing problems to thoroughly ring out the concepts. Those good study habits are best learned in high school.
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9390 replies83 threads Senior Member
    It's actually pretty hard to maintain a 3.5 in college... but I'd say a lot harder for Engineering, especially first semester.

    The way I did it was by "cheating" (sort of) - I had AP Physics credit from high school, 40 years ago when few schools had AP. That turned out to be a disadvantage to me later (not having as rigorous a base). But it helped my GPA freshman year. I was doing OK in Physics 3 with a reasonable amount of effort while most other engineering students were spending a ton of time on physics, some of the just praying to get a C or D to pass.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82850 replies738 threads Senior Member
    In college generally, A and B students in high school (3.0-4.0 HS GPA unweighted) get spread across the range of 2.0-4.0 college GPA (some fall below 2.0 and flunk out academically).

    A 3.5 college GPA is generally much harder to earn than a 3.5 HS GPA.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6431 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "A 3.5 GPA is attainable but will require a lot of hard work."

    This is my best guess also.

    You will need to develop study skills in a hurry. You need to attend every class and always pay attention. If you are confused about anything you need to seek out help early. You need to start your homework very close to the day that it is assigned, and well before it is due. You will find that some homework will take a lot longer than you are expecting (I still recall taking 6 hours for one single homework problem once on a Saturday). Some homework you may need to seek out help which you can do if you start your work early, but you cannot if you start the work the day before it is due. You will also need to keep track of what homework and studying you still need to do, and you will need to only party if you are way ahead in your homework.

    One daughter has a merit scholarship that requires her to maintain a GPA of 3.5. She has kept well ahead of this. This was not for engineering classes (but did include classes that double as premed classes), and she does work hard. Probably better news is that we could still afford the school even if she were to lose the scholarship.

    My best guess is that if you really want to do it then it is very likely that you can.

    How bad financially would it be if you lose your merit scholarship?
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  • sevmomsevmom 8790 replies61 threads Senior Member
    I would be concerned about needing a 3.5 if you really need the money to be able to continue to attend. I had a kid who did not do that well in high school but ended up doing much better in college (3.9+ as a freshman ), but that is not the usual way it goes. Be careful if you need money . Engineering is hard, no matter the school.
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  • hurricane314hurricane314 79 replies17 threads Junior Member
    Is this a general scholarship or engineering specific? If it’s engineering specific, surely engineering students in the past have been able to maintain it, right, otherwise they’ve would’ve changed the requirement?
    I’m asking because I’m in a similar position, going to attend a university on an Engineering Honors merit scholarship that requires a 3.5 GPA. I’m not an expert, though, so I’d appreciate any input.
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  • DankBelmontDankBelmont 18 replies21 threads Junior Member
    Well I've managed to do it thus far.
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  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering 7506 replies134 threads Forum Champion
    edited May 21
    You sound like me. I essentially cruised through high school and had a 4.0+ because it just didn't require much effort. I therefore never developed any real study skills. When I studied engineering, it took some time to develop real study skills, and prior to that, it took some time to realize I should probably develop some real study skills. As a result, I hovered just above 3.0 for my first two-ish years and "salvaged" a 3.4 by the time I graduated. I definitely could have kept it above a 3.5 if I'd have gotten my stuff together sooner.

    Long story short, I ended up in a respected graduate program after that, earned my PhD, and am now a faculty member in another engineering program. Your GPA doesn't define you (though you definitely don't want to let it block you from things).
    edited May 21
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9861 replies110 threads Senior Member
    While your GPA certainly doesn’t define you, if OP can’t afford this school without the scholarship, then there is no degree.

    I would ask if there is any grace period. If you are below one semester but above the next, is that ok or do you lose the scholarship the first time you drop below the 3.5? Is also ask about grade distribution for your program and how many students are successful in keeping their scholarship.

    My D is in honors college at her school. GPA requirement to stay in good standing was a 3.5. The average GPA for first year engineers in honors college was a 3.6. So many students were failing to meet the threshold that the college lower the GPA requirement for engineers this past semester.

    I also just watched my D for the past six weeks finishing up her semester. She was taking thermo, diff eq, linear alg based statically modeling and probabilities, organic chem, organic chem lab, and her last upper level gen ed. This is the typical chem e schedule for that semester. She worked for 14 hours/ day most days. Combination of watching lectures, attending virtual office hours, study groups, doing practice questions, studying, projects, and homework. There was some mentoring thrown in there, meetings, and her tutoring job but the vast majority of those hours was on academics. The amount of work she puts in to keep up her grades is staggering. An enormous shift from HS.

    I’m not sharing this to scare anyone. D loves what she’s doing and she’s been well above the 3.5 mark every semester, but that’s the commitment that it takes to do so. I just don’t want you to be blindsided by the amount of work it’s going to take to maintain that scholarship. If you have another affordable option without that GPA threshold, you may want to give it some thought.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6941 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I would see that the avg GPA is in your major at this school and judge from there. At my son's school his majors avg is a B-. I think the overall avg after 4 years is 3.3. Remember your going to want to do other things besides engineering. My son goes to every football game but actually did some studying afterwards. He worked all day Sunday and wasn't going to give up flag football at 10:30 pm on Sunday night. He also is very active in the college community with a student org he started with hours each week planning meetings /trainings and has a second job that takes up 10-15 /week.

    Talk to previous students /advisors to see how feasible it is. If the avg GPA is high then maybe it's reachable. Just seems like a high GPA to "have" to get to for a scholarship.

    Forget about your high school GPA. All these kids were stellar students that like never "really" studied in high school and got great grades and test scores. My son went to our top state rated school. Then started Michigan and was like.. Oh.. This is college.. Lol
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82850 replies738 threads Senior Member
    boneh3ad wrote: »
    Your GPA doesn't define you (though you definitely don't want to let it block you from things).

    That part may be of concern if the OP cannot afford the college if s/he loses the scholarship after a GPA lower than 3.5. Or for students who need to earn a 3.5 GPA to enter their desired majors.
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  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering 7506 replies134 threads Forum Champion
    I'm not saying that they shouldn't care about GPA at all. In the end, it's a reasonably effective measure of performance.

    My point was primarily to draw parallels between myself and the OP and (a) warn of the pitfalls of being someone who has always skated by, and (b) encourage them that if they don't keep it above 3.5 at first, it's not the end of the world either. Hopefully (a) helps them prevent the need for (b).
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6941 replies31 threads Senior Member
    The thing that is hard to judge is that it seems some schools getting a high GPA is attainable and some schools not so much.
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  • itsgettingreal21itsgettingreal21 319 replies5 threads Member
    Definitely do your due diligence. A 3.5 in college is harder than a 3.5 in high school and much harder in certain majors, including engineering. Find out how many students lose their scholarships. Ask about grace periods to get your GPA up if you fall short. Can you take summer school classes? Can you take a tough class at a CC? And learn proper study and time management skills now. If the risk is huge, go elsewhere.

    My D is on a scholarship that requires a 3.5. I asked these same questions before she accepted. I know a couple of students in her cohort got into trouble freshman year with the GPA requirement. They, however, were given the opportunity to bring their grades up and did. Most, however, have no trouble and graduate either summa or magna and PBK. Her program tries very hard to award the scholarship to students who will have no problem with the GPA requirement and seemS to be very successful in doing so.

    Good luck!
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  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2413 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Do you want to be an engineer? If so what are your other options? Are there less expensive options for your intended degree if you didn't keep the scholarship? Few consider engineering an "easy" major. Developing study skills will be necessary. It is very possible to keep above a 3.5. It probably won't be easy though. My D found that it's not good enough just to keep up you have to keep ahead. For her that meant reading the material before it was ever presented in class. She didn't necessarily understand it but she had seen it and it helped her understand what the professor was saying. She took notes both while reading and in class. She then combined her notes and by the time she went to study groups, recitations, or talked with the professor she had already been exposed to the material multiple times. It helped her understand what she didn't understand so to speak. She told me she never "studied" for a test. She reviewed. In the end she ended up in the top 10% of her class and definitely above a 3.5. It sounds like you probably have the brains, now you just have to develop the habits and the dedication. Good luck.
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  • cshell2cshell2 1063 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Knowsstuff wrote: »

    Get this book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/253203.How_to_Become_a_Straight_A_Student

    It has great time management lessons
    Quick fun read and do as they say. Review it this summer and thank me later.. Lol.

    I am totally ordering this for DS. He is one that got straight A's in high school with zero studying and horrible time management skills. I am extremely worried.

    Of course, I'm probably going to have to pay him to read it...

    To answer the OP, I would be worried about a 3.5 GPA requirement for a scholarship if you need that money to attend. When we got down to a few schools to decide between we even crossed off the 3.2 GPA requirement one. We'd rather not have that stress. The final two schools one we could afford without any scholarship, the other had only a 2.0 requirement.
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1612 replies45 threads Senior Member
    cshell2 wrote: »
    Knowsstuff wrote: »

    Get this book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/253203.How_to_Become_a_Straight_A_Student

    It has great time management lessons
    Quick fun read and do as they say. Review it this summer and thank me later.. Lol.

    I am totally ordering this for DS. He is one that got straight A's in high school with zero studying and horrible time management skills. I am extremely worried.

    S chose the school with the highest gpa requirement (2.5 vs 2.0) and he wasn't a superstar in hs. We bought the book, and it's required reading for him this summer.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6941 replies31 threads Senior Member
    The book can actually be read in a few hours. It's kinda a fun read the way it's done. The chapter on procrastination was the reason why I bought it for him on a suggestion of another CC parent.

    @cshell2 that was pretty much my son but with a few Bs to keep it interesting. He took 6 APs and Multivariate Calc his senior year and got all As. He learned that the harder courses are just more interesting to him. His school was all honors and the top state school at the time. Then college started and he took (and still does as a rising senior) like 18 credits with 2 sciences and labs in the same semester etc. He is doing great but found out fast.... This ain't high school anymore in his engineering program.. He tells me the easy courses are hard and that they all struggle together (somehow I find comfort in that 😉).

    Not sure if he read the whole thing but his time management skills are great. He won't admit it but we see it. This also leads to opportunities on campus that if he doesn't have his sxxt together, he would never be able to excell in them.

    To me this has nothing to do about getting all As. Very tough to do in engineering and still be an active participant in the college community (unless you don't sleep.. Lol). Plus work. Plus sports . It has more to being the best you can to reach your full potential. Does he still do some last minute stuff? Of course.. 🤔.
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