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The importance of rigorous courses?

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Status: University of Florida Undergrad '15
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The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 23 May 2011, 14:00
Hello, I will soon attend preview for my matriculation into college. I know it is a bit early to think about business school, but I want to know a few possible blunders I could make ahead of time in order that I attempt to prevent them.

Anyway, I have to fill a few science credits and a few other random general education requirements with some good classes. To me it seems that signing up for low-level science classes about plants and astronomy and such or perhaps about geography (the courses "everyone wants to take") would act as a boon for me in the future as my GPA would probably not get hurt from these easy classes.

However, I know that business schools look closely at transcripts and choice of classes. I am worried that taking some random classes to fill my general education requirements, instead of tougher ones such as physics or chemistry, would look bad. I of course will load up on business, accounting, or other relevant courses to my major, just not classes in areas outside of my major.

So is there a happy balance between rigor and ease, should I shun "stupid", easier classes in order to leave no question of my coursework's rigor, or should I just take a few classes to help my GPA regardless of level?

Thank you.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 05:36
Well, future applications aside, it seems like a waste to go to college and just take classes to get an easy A.

What are you going to get out of those classes other than a slight boost to your GPA. (At the likely cost of you being less well-prepared for future endeavors)

But in answer to your question, I would imagine an A in a 100-level course is not more favorable than a B in a 400-level course.
- My answer is of course based on no formal knowledge and certainly no inside information into the process.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 06:12
I think you should take the classes that are the most interesting to you.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 06:17
Setting aside whether they are a waste of your time (ie you learn nothing useful), I'd bias towards easier classes and higher grades. that doesnt mean you should take underwater basket weaving, but perhaps stats instead of regressions. Be sure to take what actually interests you though... you'll do poorly if you hate the material even if the class isn't that hard.

Studies have shown that admissions officers do not adequately compensate for difficult universities in their admission decision, even with perfect information. I would expect that the same is generally true of difficult courses, although admittedly, the studies I'm thinking of didn't test that particular hypotheses.

I would advise you to start easy and then dial up the difficulty to a comfortable point -- all with an eye to actually learning something of course. It's very very difficult to dig yourself out of a 2.0 GPA, and if you aim way too low for your first quarter your education won't materially suffer.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 06:22
jko wrote:
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Unrelated thread hijack.... Jko I *think* you MIGHT be ready to take the real thing...
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 06:32
Quote:
Unrelated thread hijack.... Jko I *think* you MIGHT be ready to take the real thing...


Haha thanks, yep I'm scheduled for June 4th at noon. Going to use memorial day weekend to take practice exams back to back to back to train my endurance, and use the weekdays to bone up on some of my weaknesses.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 08:47
rhyme wrote:
Setting aside whether they are a waste of your time (ie you learn nothing useful), I'd bias towards easier classes and higher grades. that doesnt mean you should take underwater basket weaving, but perhaps stats instead of regressions. Be sure to take what actually interests you though... you'll do poorly if you hate the material even if the class isn't that hard.


On the other hand, it's also true that the more rigorous courses you take, the easier it will be for you to get a good job post-graduation, and that obviously plays a part into how business school admissions committees see you.

I work in a highly analytical department for a Fortune 500 company, and I've done a lot of interviewing/hiring during my time here. I've seen a lot of candidates who had a 3.5+ undergrad GPA in economics or finance; I've seen very few candidates who have taken a course on econometrics or differential equations. Everything else being equal, I'd prefer the 2nd candidate over the 1st, because 1) my team frequently performs intense analytics that aren't covered by your standard calculus I/II, economics, or finance courses, and 2) taking and getting through tough courses shows that you like and can handle a challenge.

That said, I'd expect MBA admissions committees to weight undergrad GPA more than the 'quality' of your work experience. Just don't bias yourself too far toward easy courses.
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Re: The importance of rigorous courses? [#permalink] New post 24 May 2011, 10:03
Excellent, excellent info.

I will definitely take some tough math and business courses; as for science, I guess I will play it by ear.
Re: The importance of rigorous courses?   [#permalink] 24 May 2011, 10:03
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