Grade deflation at Franklin and Marshall

Anyone know anything about this? Thanks!

F&M is a very very difficult school but it is possible to earn As if you are willing to work for them. It definitely varies by class, though! I think there is a perception that grade deflation at F&M is worse than it really is because so many students are used to getting all-As and when they come to college their definition of a “good” grade must change dramatically. F&M is definitely not a school for you if you are not willing to work very hard for every grade you receive. It is not possible to just show up and pass.

A teammate of my son transferred to BU (sports transfer) and claims BU is much less work, way better grades.

We visited F&M several times, liked the school a lot, and had very positive interactions with some staff and faculty. Their FA is also very very good. However, concerns over this particular issue caused us to ultimately advise our D to select a peer institution which is actually higher ranked on USNWR. Although F&M might be a slightly better college academically and may indeed be more rigorous than its peers–an assertion the admissions officers and several professors proudly made several times in their presentations–we did not feel there was a need to risk a weaker GPA for grad school when F&M does not carry significantly greater prestige than those peers. Who knows, it might be true what the staff claim that grad schools respect F&M more than say, Gettysburg or Dickinson, but it’s not like F&M is viewed as being at the level of a Johns Hopkins, much less a Harvard. Yet the staff and faculty loved to say that F&M students outwork Harvard students. Hmm, if my kid is going to have to work that hard, it would nice to also get the prestige that goes with the rigor.

Secondly, even back when I was applying to college, F&M was known as a cut-throat school that attracted a lot of pre-meds. It still attracts a lot of pre-meds, and the school likes to tout their medical school admissions stats. It’s possible that so many F&M students are gunning for perfect GPA’s for medical school that this adds to the academic stress of the place. Also, some students assert that the school limits the number of students they allow to apply to medical school precisely to control their admissions stats. I would look into that if you’re pre-med.

Too many people want easy grades while doing little work, and that an inflated grade is the new baseline. Sad.

@Muad_dib There is a middle. Not wanting grade deflation doesn’t mean someone wants grade inflation. For example, Princeton was known for grade deflation (profs could only give out so many As even if more students actually earned an A than s/he was allowed to give). It made things very competitive and uncooperative for the students, not to mention made it less likely for students to get into grad or professional school. They eventually changed the grading procedures.

This is interesting. Some of my most negative experiences as a college instructor have been with pre-med students harassing, for want of a better word, me to get a higher grade for their medical school application.

I don’t know if I want my kid to deal with colleagues who are cutthroat for grades, I’d honestly rather have a more holistic experience for him.

My knowledge about grad schools is that they have a very good grasp of undergrad rigor. I LIVE this discussion on a regular basis as my husband works in higher ed on the business side - tier 1 schools. I know I’ve commented on this before elsewhere, but I’ll say it again - a higher gpa from a less challenging school is not fooling anyone. I DO think F&M lacks name recognition in the Northeast general pop - but definitely not the case in higher ed - grad school admissions sure as heck know the value of an F&M 3.0.

@bosmama good to know! Thanks

My daughter just finished her freshman year, and hasn’t witnessed any grade deflation. She says that if you do the work you’ll get the grades, and the professors are nice and will give you all of the help you ask for. She has a very respectable GPA and hasn’t had to kill herself, even though she had a fair amount of STEM classes, sports & a club every season, and is in a sorority.

She knows people getting As and people who have had to transfer out because it’s too difficult – probably the same as any other school. She loves it there. :slight_smile:

Terrible grade deflation…the lowest GPA of the top 50 liberal arts colleges and certainly not one of the top schools…this all makes getting a job or into grad school near impossible…even the so called pre-meds, which the school is known for are graduating with a 2.8 and are getting no where…with so many good schools out there do yourself a favor and make another choice. An 87 at this school is a B, class averages are 67-74 without a curve. Having a son who went to an Ivy and worked hard but had a good work life balance and a son at F&M who has professors with a chip on their shoulder because they are not teaching at an ivy, they work the kids to death and don’t give them any grading advantages. The school acknowledges the issue with grade deflation, does nothing about it and graduates their kids with an average GPA of 3.1. They are ranked 49th with Haverford, Swarthmore, Williams, Tufts, Amherst and like like at the top of the pack with an average GPA ranking of close to 3.5, Why would you ever choose to attend a school like F&M, and why would the school ever expect its graduates and families to support them.

Deans List is here. I wish I had time to count the names on this list and compare the total to the student body count.

@trippsmom, i’m curious where you have found information on the average gpa’s for Haverford, Swarthmore et al. Not challenging you, just interested in seeing that information.

The staff at F&M is very aware of their grade deflation issue and actually give us a listing for the top 50 liberal arts colleges and their average GPAs…F&M is number 49 on the list, with a 3.1 and the average of the average (GPA) is a 3.3…this does not bode well for a school like F&M given the other schools on the list

net, net this is a very uninteresting and simple minded school that is trying to be Williams or Amherst and thinks that grade deflation is the way to go. if you have a choose, choose another college, this is not worth the money. it is not rigor of curriculum it is administrator and faculty who are simpletons.

@trippsmom , I did a search and was unable to find anything supporting what you said. Links would be helpful!

you should search again…they school, administration, and profs are awful and its a known fact…check US News and world reports for the top 50 liberal arts colleges and the average graduating GPA…F&M is 49th and of 50 and does not have the same name recognition…it is an awful waste of money!!! another one of my kids went to an Ivy for 20K less, we are a full pay family and he got better grades, a bit of grade inflation and has the name recognition of his university to stand on…F&M is a loose/looose…but maybe you will have a completely differentexperience…i hope so for your sake!

@trippsmom: We get it.

edited out.

F&M is 39th in US News and World Report national liberal arts college rankings, not 49th.