Put on your helmet and play defense for your GPA

Megan Grote

Through posters in Bowman Hall, stickers on notebooks and personal visits from Associate Dean Tim Moore himself, the College of Arts and Sciences students are reminded to play defense and to “protect their GPA.”

“Be preventive,” Moore said. “Do your best now so you don’t have to play catch-up later and go back to school.”

Moore has created a program within the college to raise student awareness about the importance of their GPAs, the “protect your GPA” program is in its fifth year. Other Kent State campuses are doing similar programs.

One bad semester can follow a student for his or her entire college career, into graduate school and also in the job market, Moore said. A student’s college GPA is significant, unlike a high school GPA, which is not necessarily looked at beyond college.

Accidents can and do occur during a semester. But students do have resources they can turn to if their GPA is going to suffer.

Students with fewer than 30 credit hours are considered freshmen. Kent State has set up a freshman forgiveness program, which gives students the option of repeating a course they did poorly in while they were a freshman. The repeated course must be retaken during a student’s sophomore year while the student has fewer than 60 credit hours.

Every semester all students have the option to withdraw from a class within the first ten weeks. This will result in a “W” on his or her transcript. Ws are meant to prevent one grade dragging down a person’s entire GPA.

“A ‘W’ is a neutral grade and has no impact on your GPA,” Moore said. “However, when a person has semester after semester of ‘Ws’ on a transcript, potential employers see this as a lack of dependability and responsibility in a career.”

If freshman students are not adjusting well or are not able to decide on a major, they are told to work with a RETAIN adviser. This person is specifically here to help students who may have reservations about the Kent State experience.

Students are also urged to make connections with each of their professors, whether they have questions or not. These connections can aid students and keep them connected to the university.

“If a student uses all of the resources we offer, avoids excessive amount of ‘Ws’ and avoids a poor GPA,” Moore said, “he or she can assure the protection of the GPA.”

Moore personally visits each of the College of Arts and Sciences orientation classes to make freshmen aware of the resources available for their success. It is up to the students whether they want to take advantage of these resources.

“We hope students will take their education seriously,” University Orientation Coordinator Lauren Pernetti said. “No one is going to hold your hand to make you understand the responsibility.”

Being able to figure out GPA and take ownership of grades is like managing your checkbook, she said. It is simply a matter of maturity.

“The fact that Dean Moore visits these students sends a very important message to these freshmen,” Pernetti said. “I have received comments from the orientation students that they have enjoyed the day they went over GPA and learned to take grades seriously.”

Contact Arts and Sciences reporter Megan Grote at [email protected].