Why is it competitive in college?

<p>After high school and getting into something like Cal, why do people still shoot for Rank 1? For grad school? How come I never hear of the anticipation of applying for grad, and only undergrad (high school to college)?</p>

<p>Do you get better salaries if you have good grades? I thought employers only look at your degree. Why not just pass with C's?</p>

<p>I'm very clueless</p>

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Do you get better salaries if you have good grades?

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</p>

<p>In general, a higher GPA will help you get more and better opportunities than a lower GPA so it only makes sense to try to get as high of a GPA as possible.</p>

<p>It's human nature to want to be the best at what you do. Getting good grades feels good; it's satisfying and proves you know the information.</p>

<p>Good grades in undergrad means more grad opportunities and certain industries are very particular about the GPA's of their applicants, such as investment banking and to a lesser extent, engineering. Don't expect to get a job at a prestigious banking firm with a 2.2 GPA.</p>

<p>A good grade doesn't prove you know the information, it just proves you are able to know it. I work with several students who have gotten A's in a class like Electricity and Magnetism, but fail to recall any of it.</p>

<p>I think a lot of competitiveness comes from those around you. I have many friends who are applying to med and law school. Since grades are so important for admissions they wind up talking about grades a lot. I think it rubs off on the people around them. My friends who aren't planning on going to grad school or a competitive industry care much less about their GPA.</p>

<p>I also think that during high school you hear how important grades are all the time and it's hard to suddenly forget that.</p>

<p>"I work with several students who have gotten A's in a class like Electricity and Magnetism, but fail to recall any of it. "</p>

<p>Indeed! I got a 5 on both AP Physics C tests in 2009, and I can't recall how to do anything I learned in that AP Physics class other than what I already learned from a regular Honors Physics class I had taken the year before.</p>

<p>Part of that is going into a field entirely unrelated (Business, MIS, Finance) to physics. So I allowed myself to forget that information, since I'll never need it.</p>

<p>I think bell curves cause unnecessary competition. If there are 500 students in a class and only the top 10% can get A's, and at least 10% are going to get F's, then no one wants to be at the bottom! </p>

<p>Technically if everyone does "well" then there should be no F's, but in these classes often the average grade is a 60 and the curve is based on that.</p>

<p>
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A good grade doesn't prove you know the information, it just proves you are able to know it. I work with several students who have gotten A's in a class like Electricity and Magnetism, but fail to recall any of it.

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True, but that proves one's able to learn quick and well. I believe that quality alone would suffice for a job. Of course, getting an A and able to recall it would be a plus..</p>

<p>
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I think bell curves cause unnecessary competition. If there are 500 students in a class and only the top 10% can get A's, and at least 10% are going to get F's, then no one wants to be at the bottom!</p>

<p>Technically if everyone does "well" then there should be no F's, but in these classes often the average grade is a 60 and the curve is based on that.

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Well, you see... there are always those guys who just don't care, it's just so hard for them to not fail. The bar for C's and D's are very low, so most people shouldn't fail if they try hard enough.</p>

<p>The bell curve is necessary because it separates the good students and the less-good students. It sucks to be on top of the bell curve, but not everyone is going to get A's.</p>

<p>You're right square. I believe that's why employers like a high GPA. It's sad though...it seems like higher education is tipping more and more into becoming almost vocational school. It's no longer about actually learning for the sake of learning, but proving your aptitude. </p>

<p>pinkstrawberry echoes my thoughts exactly. What if the spectrum of final scores for a class is in the 99-93 range? Every student did well. Some will still fail though, due to a stupid bell curve. Also, it's straight up cut throat competition at times. I read somewhere that at Johns Hopkins (the aggregate of thousands of Pre-Meds), students would rip out pages from books in the library just to make sure the knowledge they have is exclusive. </p>

<p>Going to school with a frown just doesn't make sense to me. I can't fathom committing suicide motivated by stress during midterms or finals week. Many students fall victim to it though. Hell, the New York Times had a few articles on how two or three Cornell students committed suicide in one week.</p>

<p>
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Well, you see... there are always those guys who just don't care, it's just so hard for them to not fail. The bar for C's and D's are very low, so most people shouldn't fail if they try hard enough. The bell curve is necessary because it separates the good students and the less-good students. It sucks to be on top of the bell curve, but not everyone is going to get A's.

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No, the bar for C's and D's is not low. The curve guarantees 50% of students will score in the C, D or F range - half the students will get bad grades by default. Even if EVERYONE tries really really hard, some people will always fail, the system is designed so as to ensure this.</p>

<p>That has just been the case in my Biology classes. In my Chem, Physics and Calc classes, there is no bell curve - if everyone studies and does well, everyone has the potential to do really well. In these classes people often study in groups and help each other out.</p>

<p>But not everyone tries hard. There are ALWAYS those who just can't succeed for whatever reason.

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everyone has the potential to do really well

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possibly, but not everyone work hard enough to show his/her potential. And some are just better learners than others.</p>

<p>It's true that 50% of the students will fall into the C, and D range, but no one should fail, if one tries hard enough, unless he/she lacks the learning ability...</p>

<p>
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But not everyone tries hard. There are ALWAYS those who just can't succeed for whatever reason

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Obviously there are the dumb people and the lazy ones, but there is no reason to have a bell curve ensuring someone will fail. In one of my Chem classes last semester, the lowest grade was a C+, because everyone worked their ass off and the lowest grade was a 72 which is a C+ in the scale. If that person got a 40 of course it would be an F, but not having a curve that specifies 10% must get F allows everyone a chance at a good grade.
[quote]
It's true that 50% of the students will fall into the C, and D range, but no one should fail, if one tries hard enough, unless he/she lacks the learning ability...

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No, that's not true. The curve I'm describing GUARANTEES a specific amount of students will fail. That is how it is designed. The professors specifically state this in the syllabus in the classes I'm describing. The only way no one will fail is if everyone does remarkably well - like if everyone gets a 90 or above. But that will never realistically happen if the average grade is consistently 55% or so. Introductory classes in Science and Engineering are often designed to weed students out.</p>

<p>Who cares if people tried and didn't do well? It'd be a GOOD thing if most colleges actually used a bell curve for all classes with a reasonable sample (>30-40 students). Then employers would know that a 3.0+ GPA means something--and that a 3.5 GPA means a lot. </p>

<p>Instead, everyone graduates with an inflated GPA that shows nothing about your interest/knowledge/ability in the field you studied. Even in the engineer school at my university, the average GPA is ~2.9. Obviously not bell curved in most classes if the aggregate GPA is nearly a B. </p>

<p>There's no such thing as "doing well"--if you make the tests hard enough you should be able to distribute students among a large enough spread to approximate a bell curve--unless it's a very strange group of students. </p>

<p>The reality is you don't have to learn (most any expletive here will suffice) to get a 3.0+, so only students who actually care learn anything. At my school, there's actually quite a lot of students that do care, so this system seems to be okay. But their GPA is meaningless, because the students care & understand are never separated from those who just care but are, frankly, not so clever.</p>

<p>A class where only 10% gets an A-range grade is a *****. I'd pretty much do anything to avoid that class. </p>

<p>Anyone truly just interested in learning has far better options than going to college. Someone trying to prove that they're smart or capable doesn't really have other options.</p>

<p>^ Forget being smart or capable, how about getting a job? I know so many adults in my family who are intelligent (certainly more so than I am) and they have skills but it's hard for them to get jobs because the minimum requirement is a Bachelor's degree at so many places. Generally they don't even care what you major in, you just need a Bachelor's degree for so many office jobs you used to be able to do without a degree.</p>

<p>And yeah, 2 Intro classes I took freshmen year specified curves where 10% gets an A, 20% will get a B, etc....I just hate those types of classes where the professor makes things competitive for the sake of weeding people out. </p>

<p>Worse, I notice often people who genuinely love science but aren't great at these 500-students cutthroat classes get C's, while some preMed kid who's not a science major and openly admits to hating science will get an A because he arranges his schedule so he has 1 hard class a semester and like 4 easy ones to ensure A's. Sorry I'm just ranting about personal experience now :/</p>

<p>
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...10% gets an A, 20% will get a B, etc....I just hate those types of classes where the professor makes things competitive for the sake of weeding people out.

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That's ridiculous. In most of my intro courses, ~20% fall in the A range, and 25% fall in the B range, so i suspect 5% fails.</p>

<p>
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Obviously there are the dumb people and the lazy ones, but there is no reason to have a bell curve ensuring someone will fail. In one of my Chem classes last semester, the lowest grade was a C+, because everyone worked their ass off and the lowest grade was a 72 which is a C+ in the scale. If that person got a 40 of course it would be an F, but not having a curve that specifies 10% must get F allows everyone a chance at a good grade.

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I don't quite understand the last statement. The lowest was a 72? Isn't this a sign that the exam was ridiculously easy? The average would be somewhere around... 83ish? Of course the person with 40 would fail, that's less than 1/2 of the avg.</p>

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The curve I'm describing GUARANTEES a specific amount of students will fail.

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I have not seen something this ridiculous. 10% of F's is way too high.</p>

<p>You guys should be disappointed that all your classes are curved so generously.</p>

<p>It's the reason why our GPA's are meaningless and that you can't get a good job without internships anymore. We don't have any proof anymore that we're intelligent and can learn on the job, because any idiot can get a high GPA now. So, instead, we need to gain the skills before we take the job.</p>

<p>^^Apparently Econ 401 has 18% in the D/E/W group (or at least has in the past). </p>

<p><a href="http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Etborgers/Courseinformation.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www-personal.umich.edu/~tborgers/Courseinformation.pdf&lt;/a> (Pg 5)</p>

<p>Pinkstrawberry, I can't see how this occurs. 10% As, 20% Bs, 10% Fs leaves 60% in the C and D ranges? That curve doesn't make sense.</p>

<p>"Instead, everyone graduates with an inflated GPA that shows nothing about your interest/knowledge/ability in the field you studied. Even in the engineer school at my university, the average GPA is ~2.9. Obviously not bell curved in most classes if the aggregate GPA is nearly a B."</p>

<p>Do you expect the average to be a C in every class? If so then you'd see an absurdly low (I would doubt higher than 5%) graduation rate. At that point the average person doesn't pass any given class, very very few will pass all the classes they need (especially since they've already done insane weeding to get to the upper levels).</p>

<p>
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You guys should be disappointed that all your classes are curved so generously.</p>

<p>It's the reason why our GPA's are meaningless and that you can't get a good job without internships anymore. We don't have any proof anymore that we're intelligent and can learn on the job, because any idiot can get a high GPA now. So, instead, we need to gain the skills before we take the job.

[/quote]

Since when is GPA not important anymore? lol...
No, an idiot would not achieve a high GPA. In HS yes, in college, nope.</p>

<p>Actually Qwerty, if the average was curved to a C, it probably makes sense to have 10% achieving A's.</p>