Thank you for mentioning this website which I had not read about in this thread. It can be a starting point for you to frame your views and, as an engaged alumnus/a and younger than I- a graduate of the 70s who majored in the humanities and social sciences- something to chew over with your former Colgate advisor and the health services advisory group.
It would be interesting and helpful for applicants and others to hear more from you as you reflect further about Colgate's strengths and areas you believe can be improved upon.
Good luck with your studies. As I recall you are in medical school now and embarking on an exciting time in your career.
wow there is a lot of irrelevant chatter on this thread. But regardless, this might not be too helpful but I am a current Colgate student who used to be pre-med. I did a lot of research on this because it was a bit disconcerting to hear about grade deflation, especially for applying to medical school. After a bit of research and knowledge from my friends, it has come to my attention that graduate school admissions officers do have a list of schools and their academic difficulties. I don't know about medical schools specifically but at law schools such as UC Berkeley or Stanford, they DO have a list and Colgate is ranked 4th from the top. I personally know people who have gone to the best medical schools(Johns Hopkins, Columbia to name a few) in the country and are doing just fine.
You're correct. Grad schools don't treat every GPA as equal to every other GPA.
The 'Wall Street Journal' some years ago (at least ten, I think) published an article (which I still have a copy of) which showed the "multipliers" used by graduate school admissions officers at at least one top law school (UC Berkeley). They had determined that all GPA's were not equal (not exactly a surprise to most people), so to deal with this problem they raised or lowered GPA's of applicants to create what they thought was a more realistic comparison.
It was interesting to say the least to see how many otherwise well-known and well-respected colleges and universities, including the usual suspects in the Ivy League and elsewhere, were treated. Some were considered not as rigorous academically as you might have thought, and a few surprises were considered very rigorous.
The multiplier for Colgate was higher than many of the Ivies and other schools traditionally ranked very high. In this UC Berkeley system, schools ranked 79 and above had points added to applicants' GPA's while schools ranked below 72 had points deducted. Applicants from schools between 72-79 had no change made to their GPA. Swarthmore and Williams were ranked no. 1 and 2 (no surprise) as having the most rigorous academic grading. Colgate was ranked just below them at 88.
Here (in order) are all the top ranked schools, all of similar quality to Colgate. I'll leave out much lower ranked schools (often state universities) which included another 25 or 30 schools. Just to put the score range in perspective, the lowest ranked school with a 57.5 was Howard. So the range was from about 60-90:
Johns Hopkins 87.5
William and Mary 84.5
Bryn Mawr 83.0
Wash U. 81.0
UC Berkeley 78.5 (the makers of these rankings!)
UC San Diego 78.5
This means, of course, that high grades are not easy to come by at Colgate but it also means the grades you earn are well respected in graduate admissions departments. I don't have a link to the article, unfortunately, and I cannot vouch for this policy being in use today, but I don't see why it would have been abandoned. ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: I am very sure that some schools have risen or fallen compared to this ranking from a few years ago -- so I wouldn't use these rankings too literally.
In 1997 UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law
did a ranking of the toughest schools to get an "A".
Are they still ranking the schools accordingly?
The L.A. Times ran an article 7/16/97 "Grading the Grades:
All A's Are Not Created Equal "on how the admissions dept.
from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall re-formulated the law school's
applicant's G.P.A. The formula ranked each college
according to how its students perform on the standardized
law board exam, the LSAT, and how common a certain
G.P.A. is at that school.
The following is UC Berkeley's rankings of toughest schools
to get an "A":
Colgating--I'm glad to hear that some students are still doing well after Colgate. I think I know of both students you're speaking about--and you're right, a few students do very well after Colgate. A few students do very well after going to a state school too. Throughout the admissions process, and now as a medical school, I've seen our peer schools do much better than Colgate (for the record, my medical school didn't interview a single Colgate student this year). As I've mentioned in other threads, I feel that this is due to our grade deflation more than anything else. Which leads me to my following point--
ColgateDad--It feels good to know that some graduate schools take our grade deflation into consideration; but I don't think its fair to take the leap from one law school to ALL graduate schools without more data. Personally, I have never heard of top medical schools using a list like this. I will talk to the admissions at my (top) school though, and get back to you guys.
EDIT: Some quick research says that the law school is no longer using the "Boalt Formula".
My point is contained in my initial sentence that all GPA's are not created equal. I am not suggesting that I know of any similar ranking in use today, but there was this ranking in use some years ago at UCBerkeley which I've described above and which clearly ranked Colgate fairly impressively. Make of that what you wish.
It says pretty clearly that the perception which at least one graduate school had of the large number of undergraduate colleges that tend to get ranked in various lists in various ways ought to be considered in at least one other way -- rigor of academic program. I don't know if rigor of academic program is a factor included in the usual undergraduate rankings for freshman admissions. If such considerations are made, Colgate may (or should) rank fairly high. Or maybe not. But I'd bet that it is.
In any case, if rankings like this are no longer in use using mathematical formulas, certainly perceptions admissions people have of the quality of academics (or lack of it) is of some importance as they make their decisions. These must vary over time, of course.
So much focus is put on undergraduate admissions statistics (most popular schools, acceptance rate, yield, average SAT's, and so on), one wonders if the overall quality of academic program and its rigor are not also key factors. Are they? If they are, do they correspond to the usual rankings we always see or are they different? This list suggests fairly different ranking order which I found very interesting. Would most people rank Harvard, Yale, and Princeton below Colgate in a list of academic rigor? I make no larger claims than that.