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So, I previously repeated an undergraduate course and I am graduating next semester with only two courses left to take. I recently realized that if I repeat another course from my first year, I can bring my GPA up from 3.85 to 3.90 and graduate summa cum laude, but I wonder if repeating too many courses for GPA (two in this case) would reflect badly, so is it worth it?

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    bring my GPA up from 3.85 to 3.90...is it worth it?No. Your GPA is already high enough that other factors (research experience, recommendation letters) matter far more.
    – JeffE
    Dec 18, 2015 at 23:55
  • Are course repeats of this type frowned upon by grad school admissions offices though?
    – dramzy
    Dec 19, 2015 at 0:08
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    Speaking only for myself, if I noticed at all, I would be mildly positively impressed if you immediately retook an important class in your major field where you got a C- or worse, and the second time you got an A. Otherwise, I might think you're too obsessed with grades to be a productive graduate student.
    – JeffE
    Dec 19, 2015 at 4:11

3 Answers 3

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As an admissions-committee person for an R1 math dept, this would look to me like an obsessive-compulsive waste of time.

For most people the years they're in undergrad school are an enormous transition, and things that happen freshman year are (hopefully, and, mercifully) not strongly related to what happens later. People understand this, and often look with some interest on the very contrast between "freshman year" (and maybe sophomore) and what happens junior and senior year.

While it might seem virtuous to "go back and repair" a bad performance early on, this is a vastly sub-optimal investment of one's finite time and energy. Look forward, not back. Learn new things, don't worry about perfecting things that really don't need perfecting.

And, indeed, grad admissions people exactly try to appraise candidates' sense of "forward" rather than "back"...

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No. It is not worth it.

If I were reading your application, the difference between a 3.85 and 3.90 would be invisible. If I caught you repeating a freshman course you'd already gotten a decent grade in, I'd peg you as a tunnel-visioned gradegrubber and look for excuses not to admit you.

On the graduate level, gradegrubbers are usually Not Admired. Personally, I do my best to avoid them as students or advisees.

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    I'd much rather see a student in this situation take an extra elective course in his/her field then retake a freshmen level course just to improve his/her GPA. Dec 19, 2015 at 0:37
  • Well, I don't know if that changes anything, but I got a C+ in a communications class because of an oversight from the professor that I didn't appeal in time.
    – dramzy
    Dec 19, 2015 at 0:40
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    If communications is unrelated to whatever you want to go to grad school in, admissions committees will not care much about your grade in it. You'd help yourself much more by taking an advanced elective in your chosen field.
    – user37208
    Dec 19, 2015 at 0:41
  • It's unrelated, I am a CS major.
    – dramzy
    Dec 19, 2015 at 0:58
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Repeating courses should be left to the following:

  • Courses where you failed
  • Courses where you received a C or lower
  • Courses that have no followup course to hone skills
  • Courses relevant to the field you are applying to

It is much more powerful to take an additional followup course that shows that you mastered the information than to retake a course. In general, it is bad practice to retake multiple courses during your undergrad, as the other posters have mentioned already.

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