Inflation vs. Deflation at ROC?

<p>I'm sorry to say I am one of those worry-warts, those grade-grubbing, all-they-care-about are grades people. I'm not expecting perfection, but I want to keep my GPA at least above 3.30. Is that difficult? Are there any secrets to doing this, besides studying?</p>

<p>I also have some other questions:
1). Should I take bigger classes or smaller classes? Do either have any impact on grades?
2). Should I take lower level or higher level classes (like Mth 141 vs. 161)? Do either have impact on grades? Somewhere I heard that harder classes like Bio 112, when compared to Bio 110, is easier to do well in...is that true? </p>

<p>And if there is anything else I should know, just let me know. If you want to rant at me for caring about grades, please do that as well. Maybe it'll finally hit me that grades aren't everything. :-)</p>

<p>If you're wondering what I'm majoring in... I'm not exactly sure. I enrolled as a Biochem major, but I'm thinking of doing something in English Lit or Math as well.</p>

<p>And I forgot question #3: Which is easier to do well at, English Literature or Creative Writing? And do you read any books in Creative Writing?</p>

<p>All intro level science classes are going to be big lectures of 250+ students. No choice there.</p>

<p>All intro level math classes will be taught as sections of a larger class. Each section is limited to about 25 students. Whether you take 141 or 161-- you'll have the same approx. class size. Re: grading-- all sections of the same class will take a common exam administered at a common time and graded in common. The class curve will be determined by how ALL MTH 161 students do on the exam.</p>

<p>In math and science, the size of the class is pretty irrelevant since those classes are all graded on a strict curve, with the median set at C+. IOW, no matter how big or small your class is, half the class will get grades better than a C+ and half will get grades of C+ and lower. You'll never see a class where everyone gets an A like you might have in high school. </p>

<p>FYI, if you are considering a math major/minor, you cannot take the MTH 140 series since it won't count toward fulfilling your major/minor requirements.</p>

<p>The Bio110 vs Bio112 debate has focussed on a particular 110 professor who is reputed to be a poor lecturer. However, kids still get As in his class...(Curve, remember?) And the instructor for BIO 112 this year is a newly hired adjunct so no one knows what his class will be like.</p>

<p>The English Department is quite strong and well-regarded. There are several concentrations including literature, creative writing, theater and there are a core group of classes that all English majors regardless of concentration must select from- I cannot remember the specifics. Spend some time examining the department website and perhaps register either freshman year first or second semester for one of those courses and see where it takes you. Unless you place out of freshman writing seminar, you will need to take that class either semester. At the time of my d's freshman year, placing out was not that easy... however it was for me a relatively easy A.. and a chance to be in a class with only freshman.</p>

<p>I would say there is more grade deflation than inflation at UofR. If you are going to be a science major keeping your GPA above 3.3 takes work. As at any high ranking college, the classes are demanding and are meant to be difficult. The best advice to stay above a 3.3 is study, and study a lot. Don't get sucked in to the whole "college experience" where you think it is a good idea to go party every weekend. You will regret it if you do.
As to your other questions:
1). Should I take bigger classes or smaller classes? Do either have any impact on grades? It depends on how much you want to study. Also you don't really have a choice if you are taking intro classes.
2). Should I take lower level or higher level classes (like Mth 141 vs. 161)? Do either have impact on grades? Somewhere I heard that harder classes like Bio 112, when compared to Bio 110, is easier to do well in...is that true?
I was in this situation as well. I was recommended to take 171q and bio112. I took the bio112/113 series and was glad I did (received A's). I have heard stories of 110 and from what I hear, even the new bio 112 professor will be better. And you will also learn a lot more! As for math, I took 141. You might ask why I took 141 instead of 171q or the 160 series. I did this because I am not a math major, and I am planning on applying to medical school. 141 is a much slower paced 3 series calc class which allowed me to get an A with relative ease. It really depends on what you are going to do and how much you want to learn. </p>

<p>Hope this helps!</p>

<p>Your grades are up to you and your major. WOWM has it right. </p>

<p>Grade inflation is real but grad schools are aware of average gpa's per school and the smaller the grad program the more they know about your undergrad - and the more they care about what you actually took. Law schools adjust grades - and you can see how if you go through the law school forum. That relates to the LSAT levels. I find that annoying because it puts a huge value on test taking versus real achievement levels in school, but that's how it is. Med school admissions are changing so it's hard to say what they'll look like in 4 years with a new testing regime, with less emphasis - so they say - on traditional requirements. </p>

<p>Grade deflation basically doesn't exist. It's a neat phrase that gets tossed at schools - not at UR. For example, Georgia Tech has lower average grades but their kids get into schools and do well. Princeton has lower grades and yet no one thinks about that. Higher average grades means little. Private schools, btw, tend to have higher averages than public schools. I haven't seen real research on grade levels at UR. I've seen research on some schools where "grade deflation" is brought up a lot. Those schools have seen significant grade inflation, as UR likely has, but they've made an effort to slow it. The typical average at schools used to be closer to a C than a B. My belief is that some kids don't do well and they tend to blame the school. That tends to happen more at larger schools.</p>

<p>My point is that worrying about your own grades is a good idea, but don't worry about the overall level of grades. If you want to major in an area where grading is tough, that will all come out in the wash. You won't be lumped in versus some school where the average is much higher. Usually at this point, people leap to the example of Harvard (or Yale) where the average is now over 3.6. Not applicable because of the reliance on test scores for admission to the big programs like law school. Those kids scored high on the SAT and thus will score high on the LSAT. </p>

<p>As redsoxfan4 notes, it's really about fitting your course schedule to your plans. rsf4 is pre-med and that's a lot of work at any school. But if you're a math major, then you want to take the hard courses partly because that's what you're interested in, partly because any grad school will look at what you take. Some grad school programs are very hard to get in. Econ for example. If you want to get into a top 14 program, you need a ton of math and high grades. If you don't have a ton of math, you will be killed in grad school - that's per my nephew, who is in one of those programs. You'll find yourself in school with a bunch of kids who already have advanced math degrees. (BTW, rankings matter in grad school much, much, much more than for undergrad.)</p>

<p>Just out of curiosity, does UR release its average graduating GPA? If so, what is it?</p>

<p>I couldn't find an actual number, but according to CAS, to qualify for 'cum laude' (top 20% of the graduating class) for 2010, a student needed a 3.58. For 'magna cum laude' (top 10%), a student needed a 3.83.</p>

<p>The minimum required GPA to graduate is a 2.0</p>

<p>I'd imagine if you know statistics and were inclined you could make some educated guesses, you could probably figure it out. (I don't have the time or the software to do it right, but I'd guess the median GPA for all graduates is around 2.9.)</p>

<p>Minimum graduating GPA is a 2.0.</p>

<p>And there will be variation in cum GPA by major dept, with math, engineering and science majors having a lower average cum GPA than humanities & social sciences. (That's a national statistic and not just at UR.)</p>

<p>I'd guess the median and average are pretty similar and are somewhere over 3.1. between 3.1 and 3.3. That's based on grade averages for a variety of colleges and universities.</p>