The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The Hard Question of Hard Classes: Drop or Stay?

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Claire Chan
Most people don’t consider dropping a class when it’s dragging them down. Here’s why they should.

For many high schoolers, getting good grades and having a high GPA is a perceived must for getting into their dream college. This is why many students take on several AP and honors classes when they become available to students at Portola High. However, cramming in so many high level courses often leads to a lot of student stress; some students cannot tackle them due to other commitments, or they struggle to keep up with the workload.

These situations lead some students to debate dropping a class or pushing through. In these situations where a student struggles to maintain a passing grade, the solution is for them to drop the class as soon as possible.

While a dropped class usually does not look good on a transcript, Portola High has a drop without penalty deadline, meaning if the class is dropped soon enough, it will not show on the transcript. For the 2023-2024 school year, these dates were September 22, 2023, for fall, and February 16, 2024, for spring. This could allow for a potential boost to a student’s overall GPA without too much drawback.

It could also help a student’s mental health, as shown in a report by The Impact News, where a study found that students often dropped courses citing mental health issues. Since the demanding class no longer has to be taken, it leaves the prior issue behind, and out of mind.

However, a concern that often appears is whether it will affect a college’s perception of the student when they see that they dropped a class. Still, since dropping a class may lead to an increase in GPA, it may actually be more beneficial to have a dropped class, rather than a C, D or even an F, which can severely lower overall GPA, according to CampusLeaders. Even in cases where the transcript shows the dropped class, college applications often have sections that allow students to explain why they dropped the class, which can give students a chance to rectify things with their college(s) of choice.

“I think our teachers and our admin and our counselors, we want students to choose courses that are rigorous, so they can grow and develop as students, but we also don’t want people to feel so overwhelmed that they’re miserable,” Portola High counselor Mrs. LeGrand said.

So for students who end up cramming in too many APs and Honors level courses, a potential solution for their too heavy workload is to drop the hardest class. While negative and drastic on the onset, a student can potentially save their GPA without penalty through provided grace periods, with the added benefit of potentially lightening the student’s mental and physical workload.

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About the Contributors
Jordan Hata, Staff Writer
Jordan Hata is a staff writer for his first year on the Portola Pilot.  This is his last year at Portola, so he’s hoping to leave an impact before he graduates from high school.  When he’s not worrying about how to get something done efficiently, he’s probably writing stories or playing video games.  Or just scrolling.
Claire Chan, Front Page Editor
Claire Chan is the front page editor and news photo editor for her second and final year on the Portola Pilot. She is looking forward to making the best moments for her senior year. Outside of school, she enjoys solving the Rubik’s cube, making origami cranes, reading murder mystery books, and playing the kalimba.
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