How Many C’s Did You Get In College?

I had 8 “C” grades in college. Is that bad? 44 classes. Including 8 of those classes being taken at community college. Out of 44 classes only 8 “C” grades, 4 of which were C+ and all 8 were once I entered 4 year college at Merrimack. And still I ended up with a low 3.0 which is the cutoff that grad schools and jobs want! In high school my GPA was a low 2.0–2.1ish all 4 years combined with the majority of the grades being C’s! I told myself that I would NOT leave Merrimack College with a 2.3–2.69 which is a C+ there! Each year that went by my GPA’s would either be C+ or B-mostly for full 4 or 5 class semesters and in summer classes I’d usually get much higher grades to boost the GPA up a point each summer at least! In the end my GPA all 4 years was the highest B- to lowest B I was able to get! Sure I was .25 or so away from cum laude and with my English major GPA just a few points away from it as well- but meeting at least the B- and then B overall goal when I graduated was fine by me!

I hear so many stories of how it’s so wrong to get a C of any sort, even a C+. Oh, it’s a big deal if you get one C of any sort. It throws you off the honor roll, it haunts you forever, you’ll be considered stupid. The best grades are all B- and above, and blah, blah, blah…Wow, is all I can say.

In 8th grade, I received one C per quarter (a C+ in my first and last and a C- in my second), and that made me look stupid. No, really, it did. After winning every award in 8th grade, looking back, students would not consider me an honor roll student in any way, not even lowest “honors”, when I had 6 qualifying out of 7 grades per quarter for it and others were handed the A’s with the less work they did. I was unjustly graded for sure that first and 3rd quarter, and I was the only student all 3 quarters to miss the honor roll as I was “closest” to making lowest honors more than any other student in the class, the 4 girls and 2 guys that made high and highest were never given a single C+ the whole year, and were handed the grades. In high school and college that all changed, students really saw how “teacher’s pet” material they were and they missed honor roll or got lower honors that were always honor roll students in my class.

To many, parents and kids, a C of any sort is “failure” and if earned and the student knows they are average, then they are okay, if the student knows they could have done or been graded higher, then they are unfair. That’s happened to me a lot in my schooling, where I was unjustly graded in Science and Math in my 8th grade, and Science my last 3 years of high school. In college, the single C- and the 3 C’s were because I was average in those classes, the 4 C+’s, not so much as those were higher than C/C- level.

In high school, when I attended Central Catholic, things were worse for me with my grades, to everyone, I sucked. I was handed grades, unlike I was in Holy Trinity, but I was handed the C’s because I wasn’t a girl or a sports player. Still, that didn’t stop me from going to the college of my choice. Graduating CCHS with a 2.0–2.1 GPA all 4 years, I went back to Merrimack College (the 4 year college I wanted to go to) and asked them about the transfer program. They wanted me to get no grade below a C+ or I couldn’t get in. Nowadays, I think they want no grade below a C. But back in 2000, it was no grade below a C+, which made it harder for me as I was tarnished in CCHS with getting mostly C’s. Right there, it proved that C grades, well, C+ grades back then, were not all that bad.

Again, out of both Northern Essex and Merrimack College, I took a total of 44 classes. I only received 8 “C” grades, and they were all at Merrimack and 4 of the 8 were very high C+’s. In the end, I only really had 4 grades, if I could go back, that C- and 2 of the C’s could have been higher had I taken an easier professor for my first and 2nd Philosophy class and my 2nd Sociolology class. I’m not really bothered by the C+ grades in my English classes, those 4 were almost B-s anyways.

At Northern Essex, my grades were as follows:

Fall 2000: Basic Reading: A, Algebra: B-, Computers For Beginners: B-, Drawing: B

  • I have to admit this..when I took the placement test at Necco, I scored high on the writing area. So high that I was asked to skip out of basic reading on the first day of class and go right into college reading and I believe had to take College Writing along with it if I did that. Sure, it wouldn’t transfer had I taken it right away, but I was “scared”. You know, college level and how I had been unjustly graded in CCHS a few times, and also at Holy Trinity with B’s when I should have had A’s or C’s when I should have had B’s and I said no. Iwasn’t ready for higher college classes as I felt I deserved to be in the easy classes based on how my test taking was. Okay, the writing was strong, but I would just guess on the math and the reading comprehension always. I stayed in basic and I knew I was gonna get a great grade, regardless. The teacher who came in asked me if I wanted to take it and I said no I want to stay in basic because I knew how hard it had been for me with test taking and grades and I wanted to get a C+ or better in all classes. I remember her coming in and saying a few students tested out of the class because of the great writing sample and I guessed I was one of them. No, not with being an ego and because everyone else went to public high school when I went to Central Catholic, because I knew how to write an essay with an intro, body and conclusion. I doubt a lot of students knew how to back then. I ended up with the highest grade average in the class and my teacher wrote my recommendation to Merrimack for me, as all I needed was one from a current college professor. My teacher was very nice, helpful, and believed in me.
  • Maths were always, always hard for me. I recall getting borderline C/C+ grades and a few B-s as well in here on tests and quizzes. I remember e-mailing my professor and talking to him about how Merrimack wanted no grade below C+ and I was worried I wouldn’t meet that in this class as Math was always overall my worst subject. somehow I ended up with a higher grade than I expected!
  • Computers For Beginners I was clueless about. It had been since 1996 I had one and it was now 2000. I still wasn’t familiar with how to copy/paste back then and create folders and such. I remember getting a low grade on the first test, but then for the final, somehow, as I took it, I learned that very second how to copy/paste and make folders! Back in those days, there was really no use for that unlike post-2000s.

Spring 2001: College Writing: A-, Intro Biology: B, College Algebra: B, College Reading: B

  • In Math, again, I started with a grade that was shaky. Very. It caused me to quit McDonald’s where I had been for 3 years and 3 months. Merrimack saw that I had all B-s and above for my first semester, but then threw at me this task: “You need to get nothing below a C+ for your mid grades for 2nd semester.” I thought just the first quarter ones they wanted and now I had to work hard again! Halfway through the semester I had a D in math and said “That’s it!” I devoted full time to my studies after this point and went for extra help from my professor and told him how Merrimack wanted C+ or better. My grade went up a lot because of extra help and on the next test I aced and my mid grade became a C+. It was the only time I’d ever gone for Math help and had I gone all the time in all my other Math classes over the years, I would have gotten B’s and better. My final grade was a lot higher, too, as I’m sure I aced the final.
  • Intro to Biology was a good class. The teacher was very nice. However, we had taken one test, I believe, at that time, and by mid grades, I had around a C/C+ and asked him about my average and how Merrimack wanted no grade below a C+ and my grade on the first test was in the mid 70s. However, we also had lab and I’m sure he counted that as well. I told him I’ve been studying very hard and most likely will do great on the final, plus had been to all the labs and he knew I always participated unlike a lot of the class when asked for class responses, so he put down C+ for my mid grade on the sheet I handed him to fill out. My grade went higher in the end as I most likely aced the final.
  • College reading was very easy, but I recall getting a few vocab words wrong on every quiz. I was upset and made jokes about it and my teacher would laugh and find it funny as I always had one of the highest averages in the class on the tests yet they weren’t all 100s. I think the final I might have slacked on and ended up with a B. However, my teacher was awesome and I’d always joke about staying in Basic Reading in semester one and getting the highest grade there and now College Reading was a killer because unlike Basic, I got a few vocab words wrong! I think my mid grade she gave me a B+ or A-, I forget which, but it was definitely higher than the B I received.
  • Intro To College Writing was amazing. My teacher was old and friendly and I had all A- grades and above on essays. My mid grade and final grade was an A-

Then I went to Merrimack College.

Fall 2001: Major British Authors: B-, Parables Of The World: B, Sociology: B-, Philosophy: C

Semester GPA= 2.60 (C+) Which was the GPA I started with.

  • I started with a D in Sociology and brought it up! I even e-mailed the professor about extra credit and he said no. So it was up to me to bring it up by studying a lot and that I did! I most likely aced the final.
  • I did some extra credit in Parables and brought my B- up to a B.
  • My Philosophy grade at first was a B+ and it went down. My only high grade that went significantly down in all of college. The professor was an old, intelligent guy from Germany, yet he had his favorites in the class he’d call on and they most likely had the A’s. I don’t even remember what the class consisted of, I think there might have been a test I had a B+ on and then the next test I had around a D and then maybe a C for the final. Not exactly sure. I think there might have been three tests and a few essays or something.
  • In British Authors, I remember not writing “too much” for the mid term when describing characters. I ended up with a C+ on that. After that point, all I did was write everything I knew about any character! For the final, my grade went to a B-.

Spring 2002: Politics In Lit: B, Intro Religion: A-, Geology: B, Psychology: B-, Ancient Philosophy: C-

Semester GPA: 2.82 (B-)

  • I started with a C in Geology and for my project I did a big wave and ocean project, similar to what I did in my last year in CCHS for Science Academic Olympics, several tri fold posters, experiments, et. and the grade went a lot higher.
  • I started with a D in Psychology and then studied very hard and must have aced the final for sure.
  • My lowest grade in all of college was that single C- in Ancient Philosophy. My professor was one of the best but the subject was hard. Always grateful that he didn’t give me a D! Would have been nicer had it been a C, but the subject area was very boring and difficult as I can recall. It was the SAME professor I had for Parables class so he knew me and knew I was a good student — just the material was very boring to me!
  • My Professor for Politics in Lit, having had him for Major British Authors, and being one of the few students to actually show up to his classes all the time, told me he expected me to get a higher grade than the B I received. I was happy though, as long as the grade was a B- or above.

Summer 2002: Intro To New Testament: A-

Summer GPA (3.7)

Fall 2002: Shakespearean Drama: B, American Indian Renaissance: C+, Foundations Of Education: B, Intro To Middle Schools: B+, Intro To Composition Studies: C+

Semester GPA 2.78 (B-)

  • I almost had a B- in Intro To Comp. I missed perfect attendance for a court date I didn’t even need to attend. Perfect attendance would have raised it a half grade higher. I also did some extra credit where I wrote some sort of script out and each character had their own views on how they wrote. So I probably had a C and it went to a C+ but the B- could have happened had I not missed one day of class.
  • My essays in American Indian Renaissance were mostly all B- and C+ grades.

Spring 2003: Intro To Literary Studies: B-, Educational Psychology: B, 20th Century Drama and Performance By Women: B-, Modern British: C+, Urban Sociology: C

Semester GPA: 2.54 (C+)

  • My essays in Modern British were mostly all B- and C+ grades. I even got a C+ on one essay and wrote another optional one and the professor took the higher of the two, of course, I ended up with a C+ on that one as well! So it was hard to get a B- in that class.
  • Urban Soc was very hard. I even went for extra help as did this other girl, we both ended up with C’s. There were only 8 or so students in the class, I was the only guy in the class.
  • For Educational Psychology, I’m not sure where the B came from. I recall passing in all my essays and homework and I don’t even remember if they were graded or not, just passed in. I did my semester project all alone and didn’t team with anyone as I liked working independently and wasn’t really buddy-buddy with anyone in the class. Most of the class teamed up as there were friends taking it together, a few of us did our projects alone, I believe. I actually forget what it was, but I made a few tri fold posters and everyone’s projects were really nothing compared to mine. I thought for sure I’d have at least a B+ or higher in that, yet the B was better than nothing as it was decent. This grade was pretty much the only grade I expected to be higher than it was when I received it.

Overall, Spring 2003 was my hardest semester and the lowest overall GPA for a single semester.

Summer 2003: Intermediate Spanish 1: A-, Intermediate Spanish II: B+

Summer GPA: 3.5

  • In Intermediate Spanish I, I began with a D, and brought it up! I recall the professor dropped the lowest grade, which was the first test I took, and then I went for extra help the rest of the semester.

Fall 2003: 18th Century Novel: C+, Scriptwriting A-, Adolescent Psychology: A-, General Methods For Middle School Teachers: B+

Semester GPA: 3.25 (B) (DEANS LIST!!!!)

  • In 18th Century Novel, I began with a D and brought it up. Also, at this time, my teacher who was also my adviser, steered me in the right direction of having a good thesis statement in my essays. By this time, most of the classes I took in literature had been completed and 3 of the 4 C+ grades were on record. Perhaps had I had stronger essays with better thesis statements back when I took those classes those C+s could have been B-s or Bs.

Spring 2004: Victorian Lit: B, Theater 1: A-, History Of Theater 2: A-, Sex, Race and Empire: B-

  • In Victorian Lit- A class I knew I was going to get at least a B or a B- in- I asked my professor after class how my grade was once. “Oh- it’s good!” she said. Remembering I got a B- in her class once before I asked her if it was at least B+ level as I was trying to bring my GPA up from a low 2.9 to a 3.0 by the time I applied to grad schools that fall and I’d usually end up with the bulk of B or B- grades in my lit classes and rare C+. “Don’t worry! B is not a bad grade!” she told me. I ended up with a B in her class which was higher than a B-!
  • Funniest thing was all 3 professors I took my final FULL SEMESTER(which was my strongest full semester) I had asked all 3 to write my letters of recommendation for grad school — All 3 said yes!

Semester GPA: 3.275 (B) (DEANS LIST!!!!!)

Summer 2004: Short Story A-, Creative Non-Fiction Workshop: B

Summer GPA: 3.35

  • This was my last chance to bring my high 2 point 9 average up to as close as I could to a 3 point 0 before I applied to grad schools- I can’t tell you what it was because it was most likely a high 2 point 9- Had my Creative Non-Fiction Workshop been an A- I would have gotten for sure a 3 point 0 before I applied to grad schools- HAVING a drop lower means NOTHING! There are a lot of students who got into grad schools with 4 or 5 D’s! Some got in with 6 to 8 C’s! It does happen! Even with GPAs as low as C+!

Fall 2004: Senior Seminar In English: C, Detective Fiction: B

Fall GPA: 2.5

  • I will admit, it was the end, and I just wanted a C or better in Senior Seminar. It was taught by the same teacher who gave me a C+ in Modern British, so I wasn’t expecting it to be anything above C level! I had already applied to grad school so I wasn’t worried about GPA — if it went down — heck I could bring it up my final semester — what counted was the current GPA I had as I applied to them!

Spring 2005: Creative Writing: B, Theater II: A-

Spring GPA: 3.35

Overall, those were my college grades. Not bad, huh? Yet, sticking out like thorns are those C grades. The C+ grades don’t really mean much as they were so close to B-s, but those 3 C’s and that 1 C-, those were my lowest. Had I slacked a lot, I would have ended up with more C+ or lower grades, and maybe even D grades. Some classes I did start out with D’s but worked my way up to higher grades!

In my last 2 full semesters at Merrimack College, I made the Dean’s List, yes, even with a C+ in my 2nd last full semester! That proves that a C+ per semester really isn’t all that bad.

By the time I submitted to grad schools for my MFA in screenwriting, I had 4 C+ grades, 2 C’s and 1 C-. That last “C” in senior seminar had not even been in transcripts as it was early in October of 2004 I had mailed all my packages out. I also had the Dean’s List twice, and had an article published on my weight loss in summer of 2004 from my creative non-fiction workshop class. Only UCLA interviewed me, since they didn’t care for GRE scores as all the other colleges I applied to did. I didn’t get in. Well, wait, I had 7 C grades, of course I wasn’t…right?! Even after getting no D’s or F’s in college. Even after getting 4 C+ grades which were so close to B- and getting the Dean’s List twice. The only really bad grades I had were that single C- and two C’s at the time I had submitted for grad schools. The 4 C+ grades I had explained in my statement essays that I worked very hard in college and never partied or goofed off and raised several of my low grades up to B’s and higher, and some of the C+s were due to getting border C+/B- grades in several lit classes on essays that it was gonna be either a C+ or B- in those 4 classes I ended up with C+’s in.

People will label me a C student always. Just because I was thrown a rare C here and there in 8th grade and in college. Overall, I would rate myself a B student. Let’s face it, both my 8th grade report card and all of college transcript, when compared looked pretty similar. When I finished college, I left with a 3.0 lowest B average I could. I swore I would not leave with a C+ average of any sort and I didn’t, and surprised myself by even beating out the lowest of the low B- averages as well, gaining a higher overall end GPA after 4 years at Merrimack! That alone proves a few C’s, 8 in my case, are not that bad.

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