right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Princeton Requested Graded Paper: Must It Be A Paper That Got an A?

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 35 replies347 threads Editor
edited January 29 in Ask The Dean Topics
Submitting a "B" paper to Princeton isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/college-requested-graded-paper
edited January 29
24 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: Princeton Requested Graded Paper: Must It Be A Paper That Got an A?

  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 3434 replies40 threads Senior Member
    Isn't it likely the paper wasn't all that well-written, hence the grade?
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    Interesting response from Sally Rubenstone.

    My thought is that context matters. For example, a non-A graded writing assignment would be fine if the student was a high school student enrolled in an intellectually demanding course at a nearby college, but that a paper graded B when competing against one's high school classmates calls into question the applicant's intellectual ability, writing and presentation skills among his or her peers.

    I do agree that submitting a B graded paper to Princeton University admissions will draw attention to that applicant--but not necessarily in a positive way.

    In short, not worth the risk without a compelling reason that will reveal serious intellectual or creative ability.

    Decades ago, I took a black literature course in high school. I was the only non-African American student to take this course. The instructor--who was white--refused to give me any grade above a B because I was not black and, therefore, could not fully appreciate and understand black literature. Had I submitted a B paper from this class, I would have had to supplement it with an explanation and the hope that admissions officers would understand and value my willingness to reach out and try to grow by enrolling in a class where I was not welcome.
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
    We can't isolate the graded paper alone to determine what impact it'd have on the admission chances. It's just one component the adcoms will look at among many others. A "B" paper alone doesn't tell anything. Because so many essays can be submitted with the aid of others, the adcoms want an additional evidence of the writing proficiency. If a "B" paper amply provides that evidence, I agree with Sally's response.
    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35243 replies399 threads Senior Member
    But it can put you behind the kid whose A+ paper IS well written.

    This isn't as simple as grade inflation. They ask for a graded paper for the teacher comments, as well. Adcoms aren't hs English or history teachers, going to assess whether your grade was stringent enough. They want to see what YOU consider strong work to go with a college app. A tippy top wants to see if YOU can identify this, what you're thinking. Or if any old A grade does it, even one flawed.

    Princeton has its choice of kids who can submit a truly strong paper. Be smart about this.
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
    But it can put you behind the kid whose A+ paper IS well written.

    True, if all other things being equal. That's why the paper alone doesn't mean much without other factors.

    I remember reading a news item awhile back about this kid who was admitted to Stanford. I believe he wrote "#BlackLivesMatter" exactly 100 times for his essay. Obviously, the adcoms looked at the essay within the context of the kid's whole application.

    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    edited January 29
    Or adcoms respect creativity & gave the "#BlackLivesMatter" applicant an "A+" for bold creativity.

    Submitting a "B" graded paper to Princeton admissions without a meaningful & compelling explanation should cause Princeton admissions to wonder why the "A" students haven't applied to Princeton. Or, if they have, then bye-bye "B" applicant.

    When an applicant sends in a "B" graded paper to Princeton admissions, that applicant is making a statement to the effect that "this is my best work" or "that this is the writing of which I am most proud" which may carry the implied message that the student thinks that the grading teacher isn't very good.
    edited January 29
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Here's the official statements from Princeton Admissions office regarding this topic:

    "The admission office is more interested in the quality of the writing than the grade it received and encourages you to submit a graded written paper that shows your best efforts, regardless of the grade."

    https://admission.princeton.edu/updated-application-requirements

    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 9640 replies121 threads Senior Member
    edited January 29
    @TiggerDad: exactly. And that is not good if one's best effort merits just a "B" grade--without a compelling explanation.
    edited January 29
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
    @Publisher

    Again, the graded paper is just one component within the whole holistic scheme of things, just as it was for the above Stanford kid's case. Let's not assume that "it's not good" just based on one letter, "B." Who knows? Like you, the kid perhaps got a "B" for a grade because he's the only white kid in a black literature class.
    · Reply · Share
  • MWolfMWolf 2087 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Something to think about is that a student may get a B on a paper that another teacher would have given an A. Essays are not math exams, and there is often no objective criteria for grading an English essay, despite rubrics.

    If the "B" was because of poor grammar, use of cliche's run-on sentences, etc, that is not a paper to submit. But if that B is because the teacher did not think that the topic was entirely appropriate, because the teacher didn't like the imagery, or issues such as these, the paper could demonstrate excellent writing in ways than a paper that got an "A" because there were no grammar or spelling mistakes and it adhered to the grading rubric's requirement.

    In my uninformed and limited opinion, I think that students should submit the graded paper without the teacher's actual grade, but with the rest of the comments. I think that teacher's comments are always valuable, and also keep the AOs from having to recheck for grammar and spelling errors. However, the grade that is on the top of the paper will affect how anybody who reads the paper later will perceive the paper. So the paper will not be evaluated only on its own merits, but also on the opinion of the teacher who graded it initially. This will also remove issues of things like grade inflation/deflation since that is usually due to how different teachers grade the same work with the same number of errors.
    · Reply · Share
  • LindagafLindagaf 9936 replies538 threads Senior Member
    @MWolf . I'm pretty sure if you submitted it with the grade cut off, Princeton would toss your application. They state that they want to see the grade.

    I'm not sure I agree with the Dean on this. Maybe the class was really hard, but it's Princeton. Princeton clearly states that they want an academic paper. I suspect the student earned a B because maybe the paper was well-written, but the student didn't address some important aspect of the prompt or test question. That's a legitimate reason to give a B, despite an otherwise well-written paper. Unless the GC adds some info for context (i.e., explains that the teacher is a notoriously tough grader or similar), I think submitting a B essay could be risky.
    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35243 replies399 threads Senior Member
    But again, adcoms are not grading papers submitted. They are skilled at identifying the kids they want in the class, based on the entire application. That doesn't mean even for a second, that they function as high school teachers.

    If anything, I hope the requirement for a paper discourages pretenders. There's a lot you need to be able to figure out when completing a tippy top app (why they ask certain questions, what they really want back, etc.) Kids had better be able to decide what paper does support their apps, what shows their smarts, as well as their quality of education...and the biggie, their level of thinking.
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
    If anything, I hope the requirement for a paper discourages pretenders.

    Not surprisingly, the year the graded paper was required, Princeton saw 7.2% drop in undergrad applications.

    · Reply · Share
  • enpassant2019enpassant2019 34 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    Or adcoms respect creativity & gave the "#BlackLivesMatter" applicant an "A+" for bold creativity.

    Yes, and esp. on the "bold" side. I would think it shows he is a risk-taker. Not many are prepared to throw away Stanford esp. if you are in the range.

    · Reply · Share
  • Eastcoast234Eastcoast234 76 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Hi
    If Princeton didn’t request for a graded paper, does it mean the application is not considered? Just curious..
    Thanks
    · Reply · Share
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2077 replies73 threads Senior Member
  • Eastcoast234Eastcoast234 76 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @TiggerDad
    Ok, thank you
    · Reply · Share
  • sattutsattut 1010 replies81 threads Senior Member
    Part of the reason is they want to get a feel for your school work. Many students have help on their essays.

    I would assume most students accepted at Princeton get As on most papers. If it is a bad paper and got an A, that wouldn't look so good. It would have to be a really tough school or hostile teacher if it is a good essay from Princeton's standpoint and gets a B.
    · Reply · Share
  • Eastcoast234Eastcoast234 76 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Agree that many students have help on their essays. But wouldn’t the SAT essay score reveal whether a student has ability to get an A grade or not?
    Thanks
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity