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When to take orchestra

thatshot....thatshot.... 20 replies9 threads Junior Member
I need one year of visual or performing arts to graduate high school and fulfill uc requirements. I was wondering whether I should take it freshman year or senior year. I don't want to take it freshman year so I can take an engineering class, but if I take it in senior year, it would bring down my weighted gpa. It would not bring down my weighted gpa freshman year because we are not allowed to take weighted courses. What should I do?
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Replies to: When to take orchestra

  • skieuropeskieurope 40471 replies7518 threads Super Moderator
    It really does not matter when you take it, but one unweighted class on a 3 or 4 year GPA is akin to a pimple on an elephant's butt, so don't let that impact your decision. That said, without knowing the specifics, I cannot imagine a freshman HS engineering class would be of much benefit since the math/science needed to make it most useful won't come until later in the HS career.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1875 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Do you already play an instrument and plan to keep it up?

    In our district, students start on instruments in 4th grade and by the time they reach HS they are relatively proficient. To sign up for any of the bands, you either need to have been in the program or audition for the band directors. It’s not the place to be starting on an instrument.

    Be sure to check you school’s expectation, especially if waiting until Senior year.
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  • thatshot....thatshot.... 20 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I currently play violin and I am in my school orchestra.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 903 replies7 threads Member
    I would suggest taking orchestra in 9th grade. You might love high school band and want to do it all 4 years which is a great ec.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1875 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I’m not sure it matters when you take it.

    Why would taking it Sr year impact your weighted GPA but not Freshman year? Does your school have some weighting scheme where freshman year doesn’t count? In a typical arrangement, Sr. Year would be better, as an unweighted class wouldn’t go into GPA for early applications, and only one semester of the grade for regular applications.

    Is the engineering course you want to take specific to Freshman? Ours were for juniors and seniors as they have Alg2 and Physics pre-recs.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2281 replies47 threads Senior Member
    I would go ahead and take orchestra your first year. Three reasons:
    1) Social factors are important too, in your first year of high school, and performing arts programs can be one of the best social incubators as you establish the social support system that will take you through all of high school.
    2) You'd be giving the music program a chance to become important enough to you that you'd want to continue throughout high school. If not, fine - but better to try it out than to do it at the end and regret that you didn't get on board earlier. (Please don't avoid ongoing involvement in the arts just because you're afraid of losing "weighting." Depth of commitment to the arts has value that offsets tiny increments of weighted GPA.)
    3) Dropping your instrument for three years and then trying to tack on a year of orchestra... you're going to lose skills, and it's not going to feel good as a senior to be a weaker player than you were in middle school, in a program where your same-age peers have spent three years getting better.

    IMHO, if you don't want to do orchestra freshman year, just decide you're not going to do orchestra at all. Take an art class or something instead, at whatever point you want.
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