Losing Merit Scholarships at Furman

<p>My D received an Achievers scholarship and it was subject to maintaining a 3.0. I read an old thread that discussed how difficult it was to get an A in many of Furman's classes with some teachers just saying at the start that they "just don't give As". That coupled with the discussion of how rigorous the classes are along with supposed grade inflation has me a little concerned. Does anyone know the stats on how many freshman scholars lose their merit because of GPA?</p>

<p>What is her intended major? It's pretty hard to lose a merit scholarship. If you work daughter does her work there should be no reason she does not make a 3.0.</p>

<p>Major is Communications for now. Probably be in English or Communications.</p>

<p>She'll be fine so long as she works hard. I have said this in previous posts but I have had absolutely zero experience with grade deflation at Furman.</p>

<p>I remember being concerned about the same thing two years ago because I had heard the talk of grade deflation. My daughter's experience has been the same as Spurs -- keep up with the work and there shouldn't be any problem maintaining the merit award. I've never seen any statistics regarding lost scholarships, but take a look at the grade distribution from fall term (<a href="http://www2.furman.edu/sites/planning/FurmanInDepth/Documents/Factbook/2_7_1gradedistfall.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www2.furman.edu/sites/planning/FurmanInDepth/Documents/Factbook/2_7_1gradedistfall.pdf&lt;/a&gt;) and you will see that the majority of grades are As and Bs so I'm not really sure where the grade deflation is. Remember though that Furman uses the plus/minus scale in determining GPA so a B+ gets you 3.3 points but a B- is just 2.7 points.</p>

<p>Thanks for the grade distribution. That helps alleviate my concerns some. One of the things that was said by our student "tour guide" at the Accepted Students Day was an analogy concerning the level of rigor at Furman as compared to high school. She said that if you are in an IB program, Furman will be about twice as hard. If you are in a regular school with a lot of APs then Furman will be three times as hard. My D is not a natural brainiac but has to work for her grades. She studies a great deal. I also noted on a post by Woody2013 in his freshman year that he had researched and determined there was grade deflation. The other comment that keeps looming out there is that Furman is a lot easier to get in then it is to do well. </p>

<p>If the "tour guide" was right in her comparisons, then I am struggling as to when my daughter is going to sleep, let alone enjoy the University with all it's opportunities for quality of life.</p>

<p>My older D graduated from Furman in 2010, and did the full IB diploma program in high school. I would disagree with the tour guide - my D felt very well prepared for college with IB - in fact, her freshman year was somewhat easier than IB. Her sister will be going to Furman this fall, and she also had heard of grade deflation, and was concerned. According to my older D (and this is just her opinion, so others may see it differently), some departments seem to grade deflate - she specifically mentioned Psychology - but it isn't across the board. And you do have to study hard, but she was involved in a lot of activities, internships, study abroad, and she still kept her scholarships.</p>

<p>i haven't read through everyone else's responses, but a 3.0 average is a solid B average. that is MORE than do-able.</p>

<p>For freshmen, scholarship recipients get a one semester "grace period" e.g. if a students does not have a 3.0 at the end of the fall semester, they get one additional semester to bring their GPA to a 3.0. In the experience of our two, that can be a huge help, since the first semester can be tough because of transitioning away from home, when you take First year Writing Seminar ( and who your professor is), etc. The grade distribution data are really helpful. The sciences are also known for being very rigorous.</p>

<p>srockrae-- feel free to message me and we can talk about how to do well academically while involved in numerous activities.</p>

<p>Usually if she gets a merit scholarship, she should be capable of maintaining a 3.0.</p>

<p>That being said, some departments at Furman (chem, psych) have a departmental average of 3.0 or lower. But of course, hard major classes can be balanced out by easy GERs.</p>

<p>We saw Furman a year and a half ago and were very impressed. Our daughter who is a B+ student did not have great standardized test scores, so many schools were not interested in her. She attends a very well respected public high school in NJ, took an honors class or two each year and had good extra curricular activities. Frankly, we thought Furman was out of her reach. We were very surprised when the acceptance came, and after visiting it again, she happily enrolled. After spending some time on this site, I am hoping she made the right decision. I worry a little that she could be getting in over her head. There are so many comments about how tough it is, even for the IB kids. I know college is a rude awakening for many kids and she knows that too, but is it really as rigorous as everyone says? She's planning on a Communications major.</p>

<p>This all brings up an interesting question to me. There seems to be something that doesn't quite add up about Furman's acceptance story and their reputation as being a really "hard" school with tippy top students. </p>

<p>When we visited last month, they told us that students accepted to Furman typically have an <em>unweighted</em> 3.8 to 3.9 GPA in core academic courses, with three to six AP courses. I can't remember exactly what they said about typical ACT or SAT scores, but on their web site they list the middle 50 percent for SAT at 1200 -1380. Those are pretty high stats.</p>

<p>And yet, I've heard several stories about kids with statistics notably lower than those Furman cites being accepted, sometimes with generous merit scholarships. </p>

<p>The previous poster is another example of this....a B+ student with not very good test scores and lots of schools were not interested, but she was accepted at Furman (did she get merit aid?)</p>

<p>Plus, the college board lists Furman's acceptance rate at 70 percent and US News and World Report lists their acceptance rate at 68 percent. That's a pretty high acceptance rate, much higher than other similar schools.</p>

<p>On the one hand, Furman presents itself as a school that's very academically demanding and really hard to get into, so much so that they almost scared off my daughter. On the other hand, they are statistically and anecdotally not that hard to get into.</p>

<p>My daughter (and I) really, really liked the Furman campus and environment, but there seems to be a disconnect somewhere. Are they just trying to project an image of being much more exclusive and academically rigorous than they really are..?</p>

<p>My daughter did not get Merit Aid from Furman. Her grades and resume were good enough for her to qualify for some merit money at 2 other private schools, but they are in the Northeast and she really wanted to be in the south.</p>

<p>^ NJMom62,</p>

<p>Your daughters situation sounds similar to my D when she visited and fell in love with Furman. Her GPA was solid but she is not the best at standardized tests. She was in the lower 25% of Furmans average SAT score. We were concerned since it was her clear top choice but she was accepted and just finished her freshman year.</p>

<p>Furman is academically rigorous, intense may be a better word, and they were honest in letting potential students know up front. My D did well in her first year, much better than either of us expected but she also never worked harder. I think the difference is that unlike her public high school, which was lecture based and seemed to consist of memorizing for test taking purposes but not actually learning, Furman has more of a discussion based approach with its smaller classes. It is just a different approach that suited my D perfectly. I think their approach is the main reason that my D did as well as she did. The bottom line is if your D is willing to do the work, she will survive and thrive. If not, she will be buried but so will the students with top high school grades and scores. Good luck to you.</p>

<p>BobbyCT,</p>

<p>Thanks for your response. Hopefully, my daughter will have a similar experience. Furman appealed to her for the reasons you stated...discussion based classes, "real" learning and relationships with professors. She had originally been interested in bigger state schools but thought a lot about how she will learn best and concluded that a smaller classroom setting would be in her best interests. </p>

<p>She has grown up a lot since this whole college process began and has expressed regret for not having pushed herself harder in high school, so I think she will be psychologically ready to bring it in college. We've talked a lot about time management, discipline and taking care of herself. She knows what to do, and hopefully she will execute!</p>

<p>Being so far from home, I am relieved she will be in an environment that while rigorous, seems nurturing at the same time. She doesn't expect hand-holding, but at least you get the impression that there are professors and administrators who care. Is that what your daughter found?</p>

<p>We have twins who are rising seniors at Furman and I hope our perspective may be helpful. Bobby CT is absolutely correct in his post. Furman's acceptance rate, IMO, is not congruent with the rigor of the curriculum, so from that perspective, it may be confusing to perspective students. My own belief is that many students "self-select", that is they know the school is known for academic rigor and if they are not up to the challenge, they do not apply. Both of our kids had UW GPA's of over 3.8 and had taken 6-7 AP classes,as well as some "college-level" classes offered by their private school. They were well-prepared, I believed, for whatever Furman could send their way. During their first semester they both said they had never worked so hard ( kids were use to 4-5 hours of homework in HS). They were none to happy to receive B's-but learned that at Furman, in many classes a B is incredible. If your daughter makes the decision to attend, she should expect to write, write, write. In our experience, your child may think he is an excellent writer, but will emerge afrter freshman year an even better writer! My point is that while the acceptance rate is high, to be successful at Furman a student will work hard.</p>

<p>The professors are one of Furman's best assets. They make themselves available for any student that needs help and affords students with the time they need to improve or work through a problem. The professors encourage and EXPECT a student's active participation in class. The professors will also make opportunities available to students not found in large state schools-at least early in their undergraduate career. Our son worked as an unpaid TA for a religion professor his freshman and sophomore year as a pre-publication editor of a professor's new book. That was an incredible experience and led him to a major in English.
The students at Furman do very well in admissions to prestigious graduate and professional programs. So be confident your daughter will get a first-class education despite the high acceptance rate. Good luck in your decision!</p>

<p>"She doesn't expect hand-holding, but at least you get the impression that there are professors and administrators who care. Is that what your daughter found?"</p>

<p>Absolutely, the professors are very good with allowing plenty of office visits and they encourage questions from their students. Furman also has a very good Academic Advising Department which provides free tutors, reviews of papers or projects as well as general overall time management, test taking and study skills lessons. My D took advantage of Academic Advising for some basic time management skills and it worked out very well. </p>

<p>One example of the faculty commitment to students, in our case, was when the Chairman of the Department of her intended major had volunteered to be her Academic Advisor. He had met her during her search process and kept in touch with her. Once he knew she had committed to Furman, he requested being her Advisor even though the Chair doesn't usually serve that role. He told us that he knew she was filled with concerns but that he saw only upside. It has worked out better than expected and my D was very sad to come home for the summer. Like you, we are also from out of region so we had a concern about her being on her own. We don't owrry about that anymore.</p>

<p>Your concerns are very similar, almost identical to mine, at this stage in the process. I was fortunate to have Georgiatwins and others on this board help ease some of my concerns. My D said going to Furman was the best decision she ever made.</p>

<p>kierans: I think part of the disconnect comes from the overall familiarity with Furman as compared to say a Wake Forest. Since Furman has a more regional reputation, students who tend to apply to Furman are more familiar with the school and what it has to offer and thus if accepted tend to accept the offer. Compare this to say a Wake Forest that has a more national reputation and big into sports so they get significantly higher number of applications overall and thus drive down the acceptance rate. Not sure if I explained this well but I have read this explanation several times as a reason for the higher acceptance rate at Furman as compared to similar schools of equal academic reputation.</p>

<p>Kierans, this may be just speculation, but I think one of the reasons for the high acceptance rate is that because of cost, many students (at least in-state students) don't apply to Furman unless they are really strong students and know they have a good chance of getting good merit aid. I teach at a large SC public high school, and only 4 of our seniors applied to Furman. All 4 were accepted, but these students were in the top 10 of their class, and included 1st & 2nd ranked students. The all had high stats, and all got merit aid. All the other seniors in their class applied to state schools becasue they are so much cheaper. </p>

<p>Also, someone posted here that Furman is trying to increase the size of the student body, and because of this they may be accepting more students.</p>

<p>As I posted earlier, my older D graduated from Furman, and my younger D will be there this fall. It is a rigorous school (I think I saw that only 3 students graduated this May with a 4.0?!) but is is doable. My older D got a great education, was well prepared for law school, and she had a great time with extracurricular activities too.</p>