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Articles / Admissions / Can I Count One College Summer Class but Not Another?

April 24, 2020

Can I Count One College Summer Class but Not Another?

Question: I took college level calculus over the summer at my local community college over my sophomore to junior summer. The next summer, I took biology over the summer but did not like my grade. I only want calculus to affect my GPA and not bio. Am I forced to let both of them affect my GPA or can I just turn in one? Thank you.

It is your high school's policy that will govern the way that your overall GPA is computed. Some high schools include grades from summer classes taken elsewhere (e.g., at a community college) in a student's GPA, if the student is getting credit for the class. Many high schools, however, do not use grades from off-site classes when calculating the GPA.


So your first step should be to ask your guidance counselor about your school's policy. Presumably, if your school does factor the summer-class grades into your cumulative GPA but you don't want the bio grade to be included, you can tell your counselor that you won't take any credit for the class and it won't be listed on your transcript. It's very possible that your school will allow you to count the calc grade and not the bio grade, but this is something you need to discuss with your counselor.

In theory, you are supposed to report all college-level classes on your applications when you apply to college. But if you don't ask for credit for the bio class and it isn't listed on your transcript, then you can probably “fly under the radar" and not report this bio class on your applications while still reporting the other one. While “The Dean" can't fully endorse this marginally unethical behavior, I personally fee that it's inappropriate for colleges to demand information about a summer class when the class was optional and the student didn't receive any academic credit for it. By expecting students to disclose all summer courses and grades earned, the admission folks may discourage their applicants from taking on academic challenges during their free time ... which I feel is a crummy deal for the student.

In any case, your next stop should be your guidance office to find out about how your school handles summer classes. If you're willing to forego the credit you earned for the summer bio class, your counselor can probably keep it off your transcript, and you can omit the class—and the grade—when you apply to college. Thus the bio class won't have any effect on your GPA or on your college-admission outcomes. But—if you decide not to report it--I can't promise that it won't make at least a tiny dent in your good karma. ;-)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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