Tag Archives: GRO

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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Soooo…. Now What?

5 Nov

College teaches you a plethora of lessons.

Lesson 1: Procrastination is real.

Lesson 2: Networking is real and it’s crucial to successes in life.

But the lesson I learned that was the hardest to grasp and come to terms with was that things will not always go the way you planned them to.

And this realization is worse when associated with your academic well-being.

Let me rewind so I can provide crucial background that explains why I’m so caught up on my academics.

All throughout my academic career of K-12 I was the straight ‘A’ student who obsessed over her grades and connections with her teachers. I guess you could say I was a “goody two shoes” of sorts.


To me, there was nothing worse than failing academically. Not even failing, a ‘C’ was a heart attack waiting to happen.


I was overly obsessed with getting the good grades. This had just been my character since I started school back in kindergarten.

Well, that same mentality followed me to high school where I made sure to build a strong, impressive academic foundation for myself. I came to college and that same fiery passion burned in my being, but was rapidly and sadly put out by the reality of college courses. These courses weren’t going to be easy! Most classes, I have had the ability to breeze through and excel at effortlessly. Some not so much.

Perfect example: Race and Ethnic Relations.

This course was a 400-level class and I was a puny, inexperienced freshman. What was I doing in such a class?


Anyways, this class sort of kicked my butt. As much as I tried ‘B’s’ were always printed on my papers whether it was an exam, an essay, or simply 4 questions on a piece of paper. I couldn’t get past the ‘B’ curse. Don’t get me wrong…this was an AWESOME class! I loved the topics and material I learned. The professor was witty and knowledgeable beyond belief. But this was one of those classes that made me realize that sometimes things wouldn’t go my way and that was OK!

So what am I trying to get at here?


Life will sometimes not go the way you plan it to and that is ok.

You might now always get the grades you want, but what matters is that you give it your best shot and find ways to succeed from what could be a tragedy.

Here is what can happen next after you realize your semester isn’t going the way you want it to academically:

1. If time allows, SAVE YOUR GRADE! Sure your first exam(s) didn’t go the way you wanted them to, but perhaps the remaining assignments will have sufficient grade weight that they can save your grade! For these remaining assignments, make sure to consult your professors, TAs, preceptors, everyone and anyone to assure that you get a good grade that will help you and not hinder you.


2. If it seems that your grade is a lost cause, strategize. Sure one class might have gotten the best of you, but there are still other classes. Focus on these courses to make sure that your GPA doesn’t take the hit for a bad class.

3. Perhaps think about a GRO (Grade Replacement Opportunity). This method allows you to take the same course again to get a better grade! This way you have experience with the course and know what to expect the second time around. Thing with GROs is that there are strict limitations for how much and when you can use this (amazing) second chance. Also the original grade isn’t dropped from your transcript, but it isn’t factored into your GPA. People will still know that your first time around wasn’t the most glamorous round.

4. As always, make your advisor part of your plan! They’ll know how this hiccup will affect your overall experience and how to proceed from there. When in doubt, your advisor is a great resource for you.

5. Move on and learn from this experience! Sometimes, it isn’t possible to fix a bad grade when it happens. Learn from it! Make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. Learn how to prepare in advance and what mistakes to avoid!


It’s hard to accept the fact that perhaps your first semester isn’t going the way you had pictured it to go, but the important thing is to learn from this experience, apply those lessons to the future, and bear down! Life happens. Life goes on.