For a bit of background, let’s just say that in the place where I grew up, the high schools have a *bit* of a culture of over achievement. This is pretty much the attitude you get regarding the number of Advance Placement Classes/Tests you’ve completed or plan to have completed upon graduation:
- 4 AP Classes: You mean you’re taking that many this year, right?
- If you’ve got 4 as a sophomore. Then you’re on the right track but might want to pick up the pace a little more. (This is assuming 1 was taken during freshman year as a trial, and 3 during sophomore year. You should be good if you take at least 4-5 AP’s during junior and senior year, each.)
- 6 AP classes: Do you want to work at McDonald’s for the rest of your life?!
- 8 AP classes: Slacker.
- 10: AP classes: Average
- 12 AP classes: Not Bad. Your prospects look promising.
- 15 AP Classes : Hey! you probably have a good shot at getting into your top choice school.
- 16 + AP Tests Taken (Classes + Self Study becuase it’s nigh impossible to actually schedule that many): You are God.
Yeah. By “a bit” I mean that it’s a bit extreme. It’s like an arms race (to get into a good college/university). But when you’re immersed in the culture it feels normal until you come into contact with students from other school districts in university.
Anyhow. this was all going somewhere. Just about every kid has an above 4.0 GPA. How is that possible? Well, the normal GPA scale is on a 4.0 but attaining an “A” grade will calculate into the weighted GPA as a 5.0
- For example: I get an A in 2 regular classes and an A in 2 AP class, my weighted GPA is a 4.5
Anyhow, my sister was at the DMV getting her license and this exchange went down:
DMV Lady: “Do you have a 3.0 GPA?”
“stunned silence from my sister
Sister: “Sorry, what?”
Lady: “A three-point-o. what is your GPA?”
Sister: “…. 4.3”
Later retelling the story to me: “My first through was ‘what the hell am I studying so hard for?’ and almost blurted that ‘If i had a 3.0 i wouldn’t be standing here. Alive.'”
Yeah Mom would’ve murdered us the second it dipped below 4.0 which… never would happen because she stalked/stalks our grade-books. I”m pretty sure that she’s faster with the Blackboard passwords than we are
The hardcore helicopter parent culture is quite intense and we don’t even have the worst of it.
As my sister so colorfully described one classmate’s mom, “you can hear the blades whirring above his head as you get near him. Her presence is that strong even when she’s not physically there. If you tried to give him a hug, you’d feel the down draft… if you didn’t get sniped first.”