The Magical World of GROs

10 Nov

Coming out of high school with a 4.0 GPA and then getting a D in your first semester of college can really make you reevaluate your life. At least I know it made me take a closer look at what I did (or didn’t do) that semester. When I was in high school, everyone referred to me as the “Hermione” of the class because I was so intent on my course work. After a while, I started to think about myself like that as well. So when I got a D in Calculus my first semester, I felt like I had not only let myself down, but I had also let Hermione down. I knew that I had a choice to make: I could accept the D and hope the A’s I got would balance it out eventually, or I could do what Hermione Granger would do, and GRO the class to prove that I could do it. For those of you who don’t know, GRO stands for Grade Replacement Opportunity, and it allows you to retake the course you didn’t do great in, and replace the grade you got with WHATEVER grade you get that semester. There are a few policies about when and how you GRO and you can find them here, but I just want to tell you my experience with GROing a class.

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Picture this: A Mathematics major getting a D in Calculus. Yeah, it sounds pretty impossible right? Nope! That is exactly what happened to me. Looking back, I know why it happened: part of it was indeed the instructor (he didn’t explain the curriculum in a way that I understood), but for the most part it was my fault. I didn’t go in and ask for help, I knew I was getting bad grades on my homework but I still didn’t go to the Think Tank (or to any of the other millions of resources available to students) and get outside help. I basically let myself fail. Regardless of how it happened, I had to deal with what I could do from this point.

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I had no choice, I either had to GRO my Calculus class or drop my math major (which for me would mean admitting defeat, something Hermione would never do), so I chose to GRO the class. GROs in general have a bad reputation and a lot of students don’t want to utilize them. Part of this could be that the original grade you got in the class goes on to your transcript so graduate schools can see that you got a D in whatever class the first time around, but one thing students don’t understand is that yes the grad schools can see your D, but they can also see that the next semester you brought that up to a B! That shows perseverance and a willingness to admit and fix your mistakes. Plus, only the second grade is factored into your GPA.

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Of course GROs aren’t for everybody. If you know for a fact that if you take Calculus again, you’re going to get the exact same grade, then maybe you shouldn’t GRO that class. If that is the case though, and your major requires at least a C in Calculus, then maybe you should rethink your major and see if there is a similar major that isn’t so intensive in the course you failed. I knew I had it in me to pass this class (I had done it in high school!), so I pulled out my inner Hermione: I buckled down, studied hard, and asked for help when I needed it. This proved to be a good choice for me because I went from a D to an A.

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Whatever situation you may be in, GROs are a chance for you to reevaluate your choice in your major and decide if that is what you truly want to be doing. Of course, you could be like me and retake the course, get an A in it, and still end up dropping the major. That’s okay too! College is all about finding different roads and ways to achieve or discover your dreams.


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