a year ago
Admissions Advice

What to do about summer school?

So I am someone who is more or less dead set on going into civil engineering. My GPA is lower than what I want for elite schools such as Rice and elite LACs so I plan on taking a summer course.

My only viable options are

- Healthy Living - A class that is essentially a health and nutrition course. My state mandantes you have a semester of health class but I already have it.

- Human Diversity - A Social Studies class that deals with different minority groups and the issues they face. It also ties into my hook very well but not sure if I can link it.

(Side question: Can I link it in my application? If so how? Essays?)

- Environmental Science - This would be a clear choice but I’m planning on taking AP Enviro Sci during my senior year. As such I don’t know if “double stacking” is okay.

- Intro to Food and Nutrition - This would just be a class for the GPA.

- Blended US Gov and Econ - This class is a mix of remote and in person learning that deals with US Gov and Econ. It’s has the same curriculum as a “normal” class and same grading system. I have taken APUSH however.


All summer courses count as one semester.

AP Enviro Sci for those not aware is a 2 semester course.

I know I will get an A in any of them but if I had to take one of them which would you suggest?

Also what you recommend as my back up option?

I have my ranking but I don’t want to say it to keep it from influencing yalls answer.

I’d appreciate an explanation not just do X.

Thank you so much!


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
a year ago

I would recommend you take human diversity. I feel like you are sort of leaning towards that, so just do it. If it ties in with your hook, absolutely pursue it! It will benefit you. So many websites and alumni say this: Create a story with your application. This will definitely help with that. It makes them remember you better. They would care 10x less if you took Healthy living, because they'll think 'why are they taking this class?'. Unless your major involves any of the others, I recommend you take human diversity.

(Side question: Can I link it in my application? If so how? Essays?)

Definitely! Essays will be a marvelous space to talk about (if you are a minority) what you truly learned, how it changed your perspective, etc. You could also tie it in with other things. Example:

Major: ethnic studies (or something like that)

SAT: 1520

GPA: 3.93, 4.2 weighted. (excelled in geography and social science classes)

Courses- rigorous: (took an extra class on diversity)

Background- minority


Minority Affiliation group President/founder

Science Olympiad

Student Govern,ent

Speech and Debate

Diversity Activism

Ethnic Studies club

JV Track

Self published book about diversity

Essays: Talked about the lack of diversity in their community and how taking a class on it was important to them

That was just an example of a 'hook' profile of diversity. They displayed passion in many aspects of their application.

I know I will get an A in any of them but if I had to take one of them which would you suggest?

Human Diversity; you want it, and it involves your application.

Also what you recommend as my back up option?

Food + Nutrition- Fun, easy, improves GPA. Hope this helps!

a year ago

Hi, thank you for asking your question! So your aim is to take a summer course in hopes of increasing your overall GPA because right now it is too low for competitive schools. My first thought is that one summer class may not impact your GPA all that much -- so instead it would suit you better to use the summer to build on one of your extracurriculars. Also, none of the classes are honors or AP level so they are not boosting course rigor or the weighted GPA by much, if at all. Finally, none of the courses seem oriented with your field of interest so it won't make much sense to an admissions officer why you are taking this class in the first place (increasing GPA is not a great reason). For these reasons, I would not suggest taking a summer course and possibly look into summer programs or build on extracurriculars focused on civil engineering.

However, if you want a ranking I can provide that as well: 1) Human Diversity (because it potentially can serve as a hook for you in essays that you write. Or even give you a social structure perspective to civil engineering. For example, how highway construction can lead to racial inequality in low-income urban neighborhoods). 2) US Gov and Econ (if you took APUSH, maybe you have an interest in this course!) 3) The rest (there is no way to rank this aside from your own personal interests). I would aim to find a class, should you decide to take the summer course, that aligns with your intended major. A selective school like Rice appreciates students who focus and specialize in their major of interest.


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