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Arguably my best student here at Rochester (in the most complete sense of the term student) has a 3.81 GPA in two of the more difficult majors on campus, and this puts him barely in the top quarter of the GPA distribution of our school. And Rochester is not famous for grade inflation. What does it mean when 25% of the class has an average GPA well above an A-?

The upshot: grad schools and firms and scholarship committees often send me notes wondering why I write extremely long letters of recommendation; students are puzzled by the “need” to get an advanced degree to signal their ability.

7 Responses to “Fun Facts to Know and Tell”

  1. jb says:

    What matters to an employer is what you know. Maybe we will see employers giving “entrance exams” since grades have become meaningless.

  2. Harry says:

    Wintercow, I am not sure I understand; is your ace student barely in the top quarter at Rochester? Then the rest of the faculty must be easy graders.

  3. chuck martel says:

    The topic of college cheating is a regular issue. Perhaps it should be, but why should students maintain their ethics when the institution that demands it doesn’t have any. Students (and their parents) are swindled by colleges as a matter of course through unrealistic tuition, overpriced texts, unintelligible lecturers, unrecompensed professorial class absences, and, worst of all, grade inflation. Undeserved high grades cheat those that truly deserve high grades of the mark of excellence they’ve earned, putting them in the same class as the marginal achievers.

  4. I think it is imperative that latin honors should be determined by major GPA.

  5. Not cumulative GPA. Problem solved.

  6. RIT guy says:

    This is common at our school (next door) too. Except for the engineering school which has far lower averages hovering around 3.0 (due to the considerably more difficult material). In a situation when the students selected to attend the university are already biased towards being the best of the best, and in the lack of a grade curve, this outcome should be expected. The material taught is not correspondingly “harder” at U of R or RIT vs a lower-ranked school. Its the same material. But the student body isn’t. Frankly, the material is too easy for these students. Second, the professors may not be delivering the material in a manner appropriate for the caliber students that attend these schools. They’re not challenging them enough. You professors need to get your act together (assuming the incentives of the uni. exist)

    PS: Saunders has this problem too. 20% of the grad class is above 3.8 every year. And the material is barely above undergrad level.

  7. Harry says:

    Two of my friends, both medical doctors, sent one daughter each to a college I will not name. Both daughters followed a science curriculum leading to a BS, and both had GPA’s around 3.5, which was pretty good considering the college’s high standards in organic and physical chemistry. Had they been sociology majors, assuming they gave politically correct answers, they would probably gotten 4.0’s or above.

    My friends’ conclusions were that the college did, among other things, a poor job of marketing its program to graduate schools like vet school, for example, which long has been tough to get into. Their other conclusion was that the extra money they paid was not worth it.

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