For Love, Not Numbers: Learning Isn’t About GPA


Charlie Spungin

Students are beginning to choose courses that allow for the highest GPA in their classes, as opposed to using Benjamin’s diverse course list to increase the breadths of their interests.

Sophia Liporace, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With college acceptance rates decreasing and the number of AP and honors classes being offered at Ben- jamin increasing, students have been crafting their schedules to carry the most rigor and the highest GPA boost, as they completely disregard the topics of their interest.

While it is always encouraged to take a challenging course load, students shouldn’t choose a class in a subject they find boring just because of the credit instead of an on-level course in a subject they find fascinating. There is no reason for a Computer Science major to be studying Bernini’s Baroque architecture in AP Art History instead of taking a regular engineering class or for an International Studies major to be learning about thermodynamics in AP Chemistry instead of taking an economic issues course.

The School offers roughly 145 different courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from Meteorology to AP Music Theory. This number of courses is more than enough to accommodate the 457 students at the Upper School and each of their diverse interests. While scheduling might not always allow for the perfect combination of courses, the reasoning that a student should have to drop a class they love to take a class that will help them become a more competitive college applicant needs to go.

An anonymous senior followed the reasoning of prioritizing AP classes over more enjoyable classes and has reflected on the stress that this misconception has caused.

“I’m not planning on doing anything STEM related in the future, but it was suggested that I take AP Physics 1 my senior year. Because of this, I missed out on taking classes I was more interested in like AP European History or an elective on World War II. My AP Physics class has caused a surplus of stress with little enjoyment, so, in retrospect, I think it would’ve just been better if I opted for the ‘easier’ but more interesting option,” she said.

Benjamin’s graduation requirements do a great job of encouraging students to be educated about various topics. Every student has to satisfy a sports credit by either taking some sort of Physical Education class or playing a sport, take 1 semester of design, 2 semesters of art, 6 semesters of history, 7 semesters of science, 8 semesters of English, and 8 semesters of math. Thus, it is important to fulfill these requirements and to be well rounded; however taking a class solely for an AP or honors credit is unnecessary since students should be taking class for content.

Taking rigorous courses will help in terms of getting into college, but so will having a significant advantage in the subjects of your interest; also, students need to foster a love of learning and curiosity by studying topics they’re passionate about and not taking classes with “AP” or “Honors” in the title for no reason. Is the extra 0.1 on your GPA really worth missing out on learning about a topic you love?