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USAToday: Most colleges don't care about GPAs


Replies to: USAToday: Most colleges don't care about GPAs

  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2420 replies58 threads Senior Member
    The article in my mind is poorly written. It gives the impression that grades don't matter. They do. When admissions officers are asked what is most important to college admissions and scholarships "having goods grades or taking rigorous courses?" the answer is typically having goods grades and taking rigorous courses. GPA can be a predictor of grades received and rigor of course work but it is an unreliable one because it means different things in different venues and for different students. My Ds school weights for Honors and AP courses, Orchestra can be taken as an honors class. That inflates GPA and improves class rank. It's not relevent to college admission unless one is studying music. It does wonders for the high school orchestra program which is tremendous but if a college is choosing the high schools students strictly on GPA and class rank they will be getting a very skewed view of what a student has accomplished. If they look at the transcript it all becomes clear.
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  • Sportsmom42Sportsmom42 255 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Gschlact, for the most highly selective schools, one does wonder what is good enough for GPAs and test scores. Your daughter sounds like an excellent student with a stellar record, as was our son. Our son even connected with some of the English department faculty at one Ivy, received a glowing endorsement to admissions, and was still rejected.

    From reviewing the acceptance threads for some of the Ivies and other highly selective schools, it seems that where are so many students with 4.0+ GPAs, and perfect or nearly perfect test scores. There aren't enough spots for all of those students, much less the ones in the next tier of applicants. Every now and then, you hear of a student with less than stellar GPAs and/or test scores getting accepted, but usually they are URMs or first generation applicants.

    Since there is such a big disparity in the way high schools calculate GPAs, you would hope that GPA would not be as significant a factor as it is in admissions. But again, in reviewing the Common Data set for several highly selective schools, GPA and test scores typically are listed as one of the most important factors in admissions.
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  • cvavmvcvavmv 14 replies10 threads New Member
    texas, do you mind naming the schools he was accepted into? My son had a 1970 SAT, 3.9 GPA but lacked ECs because he had a job. I was just wondering because our sons seem like similar applicants and we have not received any decisions yet. He applied at alot of very selective schools
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  • SikorskySikorsky 5745 replies106 threads Senior Member
    Working for pay is an extracurricular activity. In fact, I think a lot of colleges have more respect for working for pay than they have for being vice president of the Key Club.

    Sent from my DROIDX using CC
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  • PoemePoeme 1329 replies0 threads Senior Member
    I think it's misleading to say GPA doesn't matter. I think it does matter, however, without the proper context it's just a meaningless number. The weighting scale varies tremendously from school to school as well as grade inflation and course rigor.
    Another thing that GPA fails to measure is upward trajectories. If someone had a 3.3 after freshman year, but then went on to get a 3.9 for the next two years, they will have a lower GPA than someone who got a 4.0 for the first two years and then a 3.3 in their junior year. However, I would argue that the first person should be in the better situation.
    When I got into Penn early decision three years ago, my high school GPA was ~3.6 because I had a rough freshman year and went to a very competitive high school without grade inflation. While I was waiting for my decision, I refrained from posting that number on here, because I knew people would say that there was no chance I would get in, which I even believed myself to some extent. However, after I was accepted, I realized that given my circumstances, my GPA was not nearly as horrible as I had thought.
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  • John12wJohn12w 54 replies20 threads Junior Member
    This shouldn't be news to anybody; especially to CC members.

    This is a 4+ years old thread on this forum (marked "important.") explaining just that:
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  • PKC1616PKC1616 19 replies1 threads New Member
    I'm starting to think none of it matters, GPA, Class Rank, rigor of courses, SAT..for merit scholarships and sometimes admissions. My D was accepted into school of choice, very happy. but she only recieved very little 2k for merit, dont mean to sound ungrateful, but she 1st in class over 400, 4.0uw, 4.23w, she took all AP and horors since freshmen year, 5 this senior yr and a in all. never got a B in anything. I always told her as she stayed in weekends ecct to do homework.. all this hard work will pay off, but it didnt, all her (sorry to say this) minority friends received at least double merit awards, some in excess of 10k, who didnt take the hard courses, who didn't score higher on SAT..ect...She recieved the least amont in merit awards then any of her minority friends (12) that she has talked to...And these awards are from the same college..she happy for her friends but asks me what she did wrong or what more she could of done...lets see, there were no higher courses you could of taken and there is no higher then A for all..Don't mean to sound bitter just disappointed
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  • neuroticparentneuroticparent 672 replies12 threads Member
    The mantra of adcoms is that they look at transcripts (grades, rigor, rank, upward and downward trends), not GPAs. The real message here: USA Today gets a 2.0.
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  • Time2Time2 675 replies33 threads Member
    Typical poorly written USAtoday article with only superficial research.
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  • scdp342scdp342 16 replies23 threads Junior Member
    From my experience GPA matters but to an extent. Most universities consider test scores most important for obvious reasons (everyone takes the same test... GPAs can be influenced by how "easy" a high school is etc.).

    As long as you have a decent GPA that is all that really matters. I only had 92 GPA but I had high test scores and I got into universities that people who had 100+ GPAs and lower test scores didn't...

    So I wouldn't say they don't matter but its not THAT important.
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  • Pat1120Pat1120 593 replies12 threads Member
    This is a joke. GPA doesn't matter because (almost) everyone accepted had 3.9+! There are obviously exceptions due to more competitive schools and recruited athletes, but come on. Saying GPA doesn't matter is a joke. Using this thread to justify a lower GPA is also very incorrect.

    I know the private elites look at GPA slightly less, but look at the top publics. A 3.5 GPA, regardless of the rest of the application, pretty much automatically makes a student a reach at Mich or Berkeley. (A few exceptions, of course).
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  • fogfogfogfog 3868 replies188 threads Senior Member
    I thought the article was poorly written--and contradictory.
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  • KLM123KLM123 116 replies10 threads Junior Member
    GPA/grade at regular school
    GPA/grade at IB
    GPA/grade at home school

    IB is way harder than home school or regular school. Does GPA 4 or grade 'A' matters to college? How colleges compare different type of school's GPA/grade?
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  • zobrowardzobroward 3741 replies193 threads Senior Member
    I read it, scratched my head...I do not believe it.
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 threads Senior Member
    Any time "USAToday" appears in a citation, it's akin to walking in hungry to a Waffle House and seeing the cook smoking a cigarette and scratching his armpit.

    Who reads that rag besides business travelers with low laptop batteries?
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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threads Senior Member
    "She applied Early Decision to Northwestern and we were floored that she was Rejected, not even deferred. SO, I ask, how can 25th percentile score have kept her out?? "

    Because they have tons of applicants who are highly qualified and have those stats and they can't take them all. In fact, 25% of their applicants are in the 25th percentile of applicant stats, go figure. You were mistaken to think that 25th percentile meant any kind of shoo-in whatsoever.
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  • mitchklongmitchklong 785 replies28 threads Member
    Unfortunately lost in the sensationalist journalism is an important point at lot of students dont get. Adcoms care a lot more about rigor and your grades from prep classes than they do about anything else on the transcript. So no, they are not impressed that you have a 4.0 GPA and took only easy classes. That doesnt mean they dont care about your grades...they are just looking at whats behind them.
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  • focusedmomfocusedmom 29 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Quite honestly, I don't think GPAs are really that important.

    The US is the only country where GPAs matter.

    The school my son attends he had to take an exam in Italian, math and a thesis on each subject he studied in eighth to get to the 9th grade. In order to get out of high school he must pass an exam which includes a six hour math test, a six hour written exam in Italian, a three hour multidisciplinary test and an oral presentation of a thesis in Italian. He has to do this before a board comprised of three teachers a head of school from Rome and three members of his High School faculty. If he doesn't pass with a grade of at least 60% he has to repeat the last year of high school.

    By the way if his grades are not up to par he won't even be admitted into the exam.

    I honestly prefer this approach.
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  • BlueUkiyoBlueUkiyo 393 replies15 threads Member
    If GPAs don't matter, then I totally should have applied to UNC-Chapel Hill. My lackluster GPA was the only thing holding me back.
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  • Ach7DDAch7DD 350 replies21 threads Member
    I'm not surprised. Grades in America are so screwed and skewed up to the point that a GPA of B+(~3.2) puts you in the bottom half of the college-bound graduating class. (http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/issues.pdf) So basically there is very few room to discriminate between the superb students and the average ones without standardized testing. What we really need is a mastery-based college-entrance examination(GCSE, Gaokao, ENEM, etc.) that is immune to test prep and grade inflation.
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