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Wake Forest Grade Deflation

I’m Stressed WFUI’m Stressed WFU 1 replies2 threads New Member
Hey y’all! I was admitted to WFU with a decent financial packet. I would love to attend, but I am worried about grade deflation. I want to go to med school and I have heard that premed kids at Wake have a tough time getting into med school because their GPAs are so low. My other top choice is Clemson Honors. I know that I would get good grades there, but I am not sure if I want to go to such a large school. Would I be more likely to get into top post grad schools as a high GPA student in Clemson Honors or a lower GPA students at Wake Forest?
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Replies to: Wake Forest Grade Deflation

  • rickle1rickle1 2423 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Courses at WFU are difficult. No getting away from that. However, they have a good med school placement record. Look on the First Destination report. Go to the Wake website. It's under Office of Personal and Career Development. Under where Deacs go. You can download excels per major or for the whole school (going back to 2004). These show you the outcomes (professional or grad school per student). This represents , at least in recent years a 95% ish knowledge rate meaning basically everyone reported their outcome. Lots of med school kids.

    Summary: It's hard, you can do it. Actually I think there's a benefit to it being hard as it's good prep for med school.
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  • WFUparent1WFUparent1 61 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Physician here. I am an Ivy League med school grad, involved with medical school and GME admissions. Also parent to a recent alum. Do whatever will get you the best GPA--the difference between Wake and Clemson in the eyes of medical school admissions committees is not great enough to overcome the grade deflation factor from Wake. Many of Wake's introductory courses are weed-outs for professional school, grading is brutal, professors in the weed-out courses are polite but do not engage, and in our experience, pre-health advising was weak.
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  • UGG2023UGG2023 281 replies4 threads Junior Member
    What is a weed-out course? Examples?
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  • homerdoghomerdog 6487 replies111 threads Senior Member
    @WFUparent1 Yikes. I would think WF would be a better place to be for the weed out classes than a bigger school were those classes are so large. That's a bummer. Doesnt' WF see itself as a kind of liberal art school/midsized university hybrid with professors quite involved in the students' education?

    @UGG2023 weed out classes are things like Organic Chem - the freshman classes that premed kids would be required to take.
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  • lbflbf 395 replies0 threads Member
    Can't speak to pre-med intro/weed out classes but my son has taken B school intro/weed-out classes and the professors have been very engaged with the students and supportive overall. They don't usually have a huge lecture hall so the personal connection is possible.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2423 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Typical "weed out" class in the business school is in the 30-50 range (that's a big class for Wake). I think S said there were 35 in his accounting class. Lots of opportunity to visit with profs in office hours for more help. Very much the LAC model that happens to have an excellent business school. Very undergraduate focused.
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  • WFUparent1WFUparent1 61 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @homerdog our daughter took an intro Econ class to satisfy a divisional requirement, and because we had heard the professor was amazing, not because she was interested in the b-school. "Finally," we thought "she will have a great teacher who will help her understand Econ." Our mistake--the course was a weed-out for the B-school and brutally difficult. The prof was polite and accessible, but not particularly helpful and certainly not at all concerned about our daughter's grade in his class, which tanked her GPA for the rest of her Wake career.

    So much for the liberal arts model and taking classes for the joy of learning. She had similar experiences when she briefly was pre-health. Classes were not huge, but they were clearly being graded with an eye to awarding low grades to a certain percentage of students.

    In summary, we did not feel that the LAC model was available to everyone in the traditional pre-professional departments at Wake. Our daughter probably could have been more successful academically at our large state university.
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  • matt56matt56 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I can't speak to pre-med specifically, but fwiw I taught in the business achool at wfu - there was some competition in the intro business classes but nothing so terrible.
    I recall the average gpa for wfu as a whole was around a 2.9-3.0 and business school was 3.2ish. The fact this could be viewed as deflation maybe shows how much inflation exists now, especially at private universities.
    I attended a state undergrad engineering specialty school with avg gpa of 2.7 (2.4 when I was there) in spite of having a notably stronger student profile than wfu. My two bus grad schools were both private...hard to get in, easy to make grades and get out (of course b-school is just a lot easier).
    Anyway, I wouldn't get too scared off from wfu because of grading, in general a great school imo and treat students very well.
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  • Mom000Mom000 11 replies0 threads New Member
    Is accounting a weed out class for business? So far we have not seen grade deflation. It’s also my understanding at most universities you can retake a class and the new grade will replace the old for your gpa. Not sure if Wake allows that.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2423 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Accounting is a weed out course for business. Not sure what truly constitutes grade deflation. I saw a chart some time ago that had Wake's average GPA tracking over a 20 yr period or something like that and it was lower than most of the top schools in the survey. I guess you could conclude that the grades are stingier. Is that grade deflation or are other schools artificially inflated. Hard to know.

    I do know this. S is a very good student. Crushed it in HS where the classes were ALL either Honors or AP. Think he got 2 Bs in HS and the rest As. He's gotten several Bs / B+ at Wake through two years. Good enough to make honor roll each semester. I think he has a 3.6 but it's definitely harder to get an A than HS. Part of that may be prioritizing as he's involved in a lot of things.
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  • firstborndad2015firstborndad2015 17 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Grade deflation is a serious problem and don’t let someone tell you differently.
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  • firstborndad2015firstborndad2015 17 replies5 threads Junior Member
    This mirrored our experience. If we could do it over we would pass on Wake.
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  • cltrisingcltrising 47 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Yep. Definitely don't go to one of the best schools in the country because it isn't a cakewalk to get straight As. smh
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  • firstborndad2015firstborndad2015 17 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Be smart and know before you go. Wake sciences are not helpful, not all of Wake. Before you spend $300k you should at least know that if you don’t make a certain GPA, you won’t get a letter from their pre-med committee and your dreams are dead. We have friends at similarly ranked or higher universities that have not had to endure some of the same attitudes we have experienced at Wake. There is a lot of good there but know before you go.
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  • marrastmarrast 158 replies20 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2019
    After we dropped off DD at Wake in Fall 2017 we received an email from the school that said something along the lines of "Do not expect your child to make the same grades at Wake Forest University as they did in hign school. A 'C' is an acceptable grade at Wake Forest." That guidance has proved prescient for our child. While she has made many A's, they are hard to earn. Accessibility to profs has been good and tutoring is readily available when needed. The professors challenge students and the grade is what it is. I think some assume that because Wake Forest is test optional it is/should be easier to earn high grades. That is not the case. The tippy top kids (there are a lot of them) do quite well, the ones in the middle do ok and others struggle, but usually move into less challenging and/or more suitable fields of study. I understand the conundrum that can create regarding graduate school. However, many of D's upper class friends are headed off to top tier graduate and medical schools.
    edited August 2019
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  • rickle1rickle1 2423 replies21 threads Senior Member
    ^ 100% been our experience. You can get As. It just takes a lot of work. It's definitely not a coast to a good GPA school. If you check the first destination report (available on their website), you'll see MANY MANY kids going to top companies and grad schools. Did they have to work hard? Yup! Not a bad thing.

    We also received that email. The summer ahead of Fall '17 we attended an incoming student / family reception. In his opening remarks to the students, the host essentially said, "get ready to be average" and that excellence is the expectation, not the exception. He then introduced some alumni that have gone on to do great things in law, medicine, banking, general business, non-profit, etc. One of them is helping to reinvent our city (but he was a Rhodes Scholar).

    It's a great place to challenge yourself and stretch.
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  • WFUparent1WFUparent1 61 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I think what current parents don't realize is Wake's grade deflation results in a deleterious effect on grad school prospects for its students. Our own hardworking student was on the Dean's List several semesters and graduated cum laude but could not overcome the mathematical impact that getting a C in an introductory divisional class had on her GPA. Purely as a result of her GPA, she was not a viable candidate for doctoral programs in her major, which typically expect a GPA in the 3.7 range. Reviewing the First Destination spreadsheet, I see her experience appears not to have been unique. Out of 108 2017 graduates from her department not a single one went from Wake into a doctoral program. A number of students went to Master's programs, but this is a field in which a doctoral degree is the gold standard. And the students going to Masters' programs are hardly going to impressive schools.

    We thought she had a fantastic experience in this department by the way. Her professors were helpful and kind and she found the classes and the research she did, fascinating. But she still would not have been able to successfully apply to graduate school from Wake. She could have gotten into a Master's program but it would have cost us $30,000-$50,000/year, and the credits would not have applied to a doctoral degree.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 6487 replies111 threads Senior Member
    @WFUparent1 yikes. Do you mind my asking what kind of high school student was your D? ACT/SAT score? Just trying to get a gauge on if a student above the 75th percentile of Wake's stats would have a better chance for higher GPA. Of course it depends on major as well. And the high school they come from. I'm thinking that kids who come from rigorous high schools with no grade inflation might fare better than average at Wake?
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  • WFUparent1WFUparent1 61 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2019
    She was an excellent student in high school, but I think that's beside the point. Not one 2017 graduate from her major department went into a PhD program after Wake so as I mentioned above, her experience was obviously not unique.

    Furthermore, it could be true that "outstanding students from rigorous high schools" do better at Wake, but then that leaves an entire group of less "elite" Wake students out in the cold, yes? My goal in posting is to ensure people from all walks of life know what they are getting into. As another poster said "know before you go."

    The fact that students from elite high schools may have better success at Wake is hardly an endorsement of Wake's educational product, or an excuse for grade deflation and its impact on a student's future. Particularly given Wake's "test blind" admissions policy.

    Actually I find it disturbing anyone would think it's OK to say, in effect "If you didn't go to a rigorous high school, you shouldn't expect to get good enough grades at Wake to get into grad/professional school." Social inequity is a growing issue in our country and Wake professes to aspire to help correct that, as should we all.
    edited August 2019
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  • homerdoghomerdog 6487 replies111 threads Senior Member
    @WFUparent1 I wasn't making any of those statements. I was just curious. Maybe there's a way to find the average GPA per major and that could tell a story. For us, I'll probably talk to the kids from our high school who are there. Many, many kids are not prepared for college level work. (I'm not saying that your D is one of those. Just a general statement.) Are you willing to share your D's major? I wonder how many kids in her major applied to PhD programs.
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