Education

Scholarship Pressure May Deter S.C. Students From Tough Classes

By Caralee J. Adams — February 13, 2014 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It’s a real dilemma. Should high school students take advanced classes or play it safe to protect their grade point average?

When a lucrative scholarship hangs in the balance, as is the case in South Carolina, it can be an especially hard choice.

The director of the state’s Education Oversight Committee, an independent group of education, political, and community leaders appointed by the state, says students are telling guidance counselors they don’t want to jeopardize their chances of getting a scholarship by taking a tough course that could bring a low grade, according to an Associated Press story published this week.

This is an issue for students especially seeking one the the state’s merit-based Palmetto scholarships, which award up to $10,000 a year for college tuition if an applicant earns a least a 3.5 grade point average and finishes in the top 6 percent of their graduating class. And concern over qualifying is even more intense in the tight economic times with the cost of higher education rising, the AP story explains.

While the Education Oversight Committee does not have data to support the anecdotal evidence, the story says that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s proposed budget for next year includes a request to investigate the issue and recommend solutions in a report by December.

Students in South Carolina are not alone in their dilemma.

“The higher GPA does help for scholarships,” said Tim Conway, a school counselor at Lakeland High School in Wanaque, N.J., in an email to Education Week. He is also a 2014 finalist for School Counselor of the Year from the American School Counseling Association. “There is a balance, as not taking rigorous courses could prevent you from not even being admitted, which would negate the scholarships,” he said.

Nebraska offers seniors scholarships at the end of their junior year and, generally, the requirements include maintaining a 2.5 GPA, getting a score of at least 20 on the ACT (out of a possible 36) and ranking in the top half of their graduating class. Most high-achieving seniors want to finish high school strong, said Ruth E. Lohmeyer, a 2013 School Counselor of the Year finalist who works at Lincoln Northeast High School in Lincoln, via email. Often top students take rigorous courses, but if problems arise, they will take the class pass/fail to avoid a low grade, she added.

While GPA matters overall in college admission, the most recent report from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling finds the top factors that colleges consider are students’ grades in college-prep courses, the strength of their high school curriculum, and scores on the SAT or ACT. Their overall grade point average in high school was rated as a less important factor than all of those others.

A version of this news article first appeared in the College Bound blog.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. f we
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)