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?
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"...
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.
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.