Frequently Asked Questions
Shouldn’t I just focus on SAT/ACT scores and grade point averages?
Goodness gracious, NO! Colleges and universities have been doing their best to move away from standardized testing. In fact, as many of you already know, the UC System is fazing out the SAT/ACT completely. The University of Chicago, NYU, George Washington University, and many other colleges have already moved to test-optional, and, with COVID-19, we will see many schools follow suit.
As for your grade point averages...they are inflated. At nearly all college preparatory schools, you need to EARN your right to take an Honors or AP class; in the Hart School District, you just walk in. Too many 4.0s and not high enough AP passage rates. Then, you have students who take online courses at COC and cheat their ways to an A. Please ask your student about “cut + paste + Quizlet”: it is a way to find all of the answers on a COC exam.
Trust me, colleges know about this scam and do not respect you for doing this.
Can’t I just rely on high school clubs to create value and fill up my “Activities”?
We would argue that close to 90% of “clubs” consist of a monthly meeting during which the kids sit around and socialize, and then the ultimate goal is some kind of bake sale or fundraiser. NHS/CSF, Key Club, etc...are not about creating real value; rather, they are cheap volunteer hours that don’t lead to any growth or measurable success. We believe in a more thoughtful and solvent process.
Well, then can’t I just create GPA-style projects at home? Why would I have to “pay” to do so?
Of course, you can create value on your own; however, we offer a makerspace in which students collaborate, support each other, and learn skills from instructors and students. It’s not easy trying to change a world all by yourself. We offer a team of diverse, activated, talented students who want to make a difference - in whatever field they ultimately choose. As for paying...we believe in RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Our students have saved their families close to 100 million dollars in grants and scholarships over the past 5 years.
I hear that GPA only focuses on “art” and “creativity”. Is that true?
NO. We believe the assumption here is that our space looks like a creative space not like a cold, sterile school.
We have students at the University of Pennsylvania studying Engineering, Duke pursuing Neuroscience, Caltech researching in labs, Colgate University studying Arabic and international relations, and so on and so on. We are not an art space, focusing on painting bowls of fruit. We are a makerspace that encourages students to develop and pursue whatever passion and pathway they wish to pursue. We are 3D printing and prototyping knee braces. We are learning about global issues ranging from the future of mobility to how to ensure supply chains during a pandemic.
You may have heard “art” because we encourage creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and producing content that matters. We are not a space that hands out flashcards and packets.
GPA is probably “too political”, right?
NO! We believe in teaching students how to think...not WHAT to think. We have students with all different types of personal and ideological politics.
We believe in respect. That is what is most important during these divisive times. We have had projects supporting our military and first responders and those that have supported more compassionate policies towards our homeless. What is at the center of all of our projects is respect and a desire to make the world a better place for ALL of us.
Does GPA focus enough on academics? It seems as if the kids are enjoying themselves too much.
Academics are crucial.
We always tell the students that we want them to have every opportunity in the world when it comes time to apply to college.
This is why we have tutors for every subject at the ready to make sure that students keep their grade point averages up and are ready for higher education.
Does my student need a 4.0 for GPA to make a difference? I heard that all of the students are at the top of their classes.
Oh goodness, NO. We have students of all grade point averages and backgrounds.
We understand that a grade point average does not define a student. In fact, many of our students learn to enjoy learning for the first time in their lives. They see a light at the end of the educational tunnel that they have never seen before and suddenly start to look at their futures through thoughtful and educated lenses.
Does GPA have a diverse student population?
We are so proud to say YES.
We have students from all over the school district (and beyond) and from all walks of life. We offer scholarships so that GPA is truly a space for EVERYONE.
My student is too busy already with sports and other commitments; how will this fit into our schedules?
We hear you. We’ve had some of the busiest students in the district.
That’s why we offer flexible class dates - allowing students to attend Monday OR Wednesday’s Global Leadership. We offer multiple sessions of College Curation. We offer EVERY class via Zoom. We have a calendar so that students can set up one on one conferences in person or via Zoom to discuss projects and progress.
We are not a rigid school where you must attend a class or waste your money. Also, our students sometimes are collaborating after practice or after the event because they love what they are doing THAT MUCH.
I am confused about how attending GPA saves me money in the end. Does it?
YES. Colleges see each student as an investment.
Each college has an endowment (Harvard’s is close to 41 BILLION dollars), and they want students who will pay off in the long-term. Colleges hold endowment campaigns often and want to reach out to successful students from whom they can get money and who they promote as their graduates. Not every parent can donate a building to a college to ensure their student can “earn” acceptance into a school. Our students don’t go through a side door or a back door, we go through the front door, showing the schools that we will be a valuable asset (we like to say “human being”).
This is why, in 2020 alone, our students earned over 25 million dollars in grants and scholarships.Our students pay less than in-state schools. We save families money and produce ROI.
It’s probably too late to start, right?
NO! Ask Kusal and Carter, who didn’t start at GPA until October of their senior years. They still created amazing value in a short amount of time and both ended up as a regent scholar and a student at a top 5 engineering school, respectively.
We recommend that you start as soon as possible, but we can always find a way to have you grow as a student and human being.