Urgent: Is Davidson too hard??

Also, looking at the final outcomes, while a helpful benchmark, ignores what goes on in between. Students can adjust to harder standards and earn suitable grades- doesn’t mean deflation wasn’t happening. And like I said, there are strong differences across majors.

My daughter is a current student at Davidson so I’ll chime in. The case making around grade deflation is hard for me to concretely grasp b/c GPA is really just a number – it represents a distribution of grades and does not measure or account for the underlying student work that goes into getting certain grades, if that makes sense.

What I mean is that two colleges could have similar mean GPAs but the amount of student effort to attain those grades is not the same. I think what @hesmith96 might be saying is that b/c expectations are very high at Davidson, and because Davidson attracts top students, students put in a lot of work at the college. They likely feel that to attain the same As and Bs at another college they would not have to put in the same amount of work.

** But** this is a pretty difficult thing to know/say for sure. I feel like I’ve seen a study comparing how many hours students study at colleges somewhere along the line? Not sure.

Anyway, my basic point is that GPA is not a great indicator of a college’s difficulty and that grade deflation is not, in my opinion, a very good term to communicate what we’re talking about.

Anecdotally, my daughter has done very well at Davidson. She works extremely hard. Her friends mostly also work extremely hard. She had a handful of friends her first year who really struggled, but most did fine. As @hesmith96 says, they seemed to adjust to the workload overall. It’s part of the college’s culture.

Is this technically grade deflation? Probably not. Are there high expectations and do students work really hard to get those As and Bs they end up getting? Absolutely. Do they work harder than at other schools? My gut says yes, but I can’t point to any evidence to support that.

Finally, I have zero knowledge about how difficulty compares across majors, just for the record.

haha - this GenXer has no idea what those abbreviations mean!

Haha unfortunate misfire. Happy things are going well for your D and I love the school. Also love WIldcat parents. Appreciate you acknowledging that her situation is anecdotal and that you aren’t aware even of how it might compare to those of other majors.

I don’t want to seem too harsh here because it was a great choice for me and this one of my few qualms. I am also interested in probably the most competitive space out of undergrad, so struggles are magnified for sure. The distinction you mentioned is worth unpacking. I’m referring to when someone works 2x as hard as someone at a comparable school and receives 25% worse grades (maybe a 0.5 hit) when all is said and done. In my opinion, no amount of extra work, effort, and learning compensates for that disadvantage.

To contend that GPA in and of itself has no significance is a nonstarter, unfortunately. I hate to use this reference, but it epitomizes the situation and is indicative of many other conversations I’ve had. A recent call with a Wall Street recruiter (sorry) included her certitude about the importance of GPA and its ability to disqualify candidates. She said verbatim “a say 3.2 GPA at Davidson is equivalent to a 3.9 elsewhere.” She sees thousands of resumes and places tons of candidates, so I’m inclined to trust her stance on the matter over others’, at least in finance, although the importance of GPA frankly defines lots of other areas, especially law and medicine. It’s unfortunate that the deflation most typically occurs in the “preprofessional” majors that are most hurt by it.

As an aside, I think there’s a tendency to comment on posts out of one’s depth as a parent of a student. I frankly don’t think you’re qualified to chime in on grade deflation at Davidson. You’ve never taken a class there and the sole relevant connection may not be entirely truthful with you. One could easily argue that a kid there distorts the view of a school a parent would otherwise have. In fact, you are basing your entire stance on one such bias. Pushback is good, but what you contributed really amounts to an opinion. What else would you be able to offer on the nature of grade deflation at the school? I don’t purport to know about the nuances of your workplace because I have a friend who worked there for half as long and in a different department. You’ve basically stated that “making classes harder” does not equate to deflation, and your naivete is showing. Maybe that was the case where you went to school some time ago, but it does not apply to lots of Davidson students.

Currently admitted student here

I transferred to Davidson from another university with solid historical reputation. I don’t think someone is eligible to compare and comment on difficulty of a college’s coursework if you never had classes at another college. In my experience, the difficulty of coursework is a ‘changing criteria’. To be clear, it depends on professor not college. You will get a much lower grade on a same course if you met some tough grader. I understand some high school seniors will never think about professors when they are making decisons. Tough grader is in any university, not just Davidson. Remember to use ratemyprofessor to investigate those professors at the school you applied. So, use hard/grade deflation to describe a whole college is not accurate. Davidson is tough, but you will get grade that you deserve. This is the same for any other peer schools. If you get a C at Davidson, it doesn’t mean you can get a A/A+ at Williams/Haverford/Colby/Colgate/vassar. Ivy League may be an exception. Once you enrolled into a top college/university, you need to prepare to work harder and harder. Students at Davidson work hard, but it doesn’t mean student at peer schools can get an easy A in most of classes. It’s not easy in any top school.

It’s also misleading to say Davidson students changed to ‘easier’ major before they graduate to get a higher GPA. Davidson has distribution requirements, and changing major does not mean you will never had classes outside the major. It’s ridiculous that someone said changing major could affect GPA. I admit there’s difference in GPA between departments because each department has different criteria to evaluate students, but that difference is minor. Someone study physics does not mean it takes harder courses than someone study art history/literature major. If you are good at math or logical things, you will find mathematics is easy, but creative writing could be difficult for you. That’s why is a ‘changing criteria’. Difficult or not is from a really personal thing, which does not contribute to the facts. As I know, the most popular major of Davidson graduates is Econ and Political science. Both of them are considered ‘tough major’ mentioned in past posts in this thread. However, they produced a large number of graduates who placed well. Davidson has strong network in finance related field and that’s why Davidson placed well. You can also check the latest outcome report on Davidson’s website. There’s specific outcome for every graduate in each major. Recruiting is not the same thing as college/grad school application. Employers focused much more on your ability, your experience, your network than your college GPA. Good GPA will not get you a job, bad gpa does not mean you are done.

Junior at Davidson

Davidson did have grade deflation on grading stuff, but it’s not that hard. If you can get a B in Davidson, your grades in other schools could be A- or B+. That’s the difference. I also found athletic students tend to have higher GPA. If you exclude the athletes, I guess the average GPA is down to around 3.2-3.3.