Selectivity and GPA

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Selectivity and GPA
By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

It seems that now that yield has been taken out of the PR selectivity ratings, GPA will be considered more. HOWEVER, how do the colleges consider things like grade inflation. For example, DD's class rank is 10/193...with a GPA of 3.44 (unweighted...they don't calculate weighted GPA's). She is taking honors and AP courses. Her school has come down quite hard on grade inflation. Believe me, she earns every 1/100th of a point she gets!! But it sounds like in reality this may end up hurting her chances when she applies to colleges. Any opinions?

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

I don't understand. Why will GPA be more important now that yield has been take out of PR selectivity ratings? I thought yield referred to the % of admitted to students who matriculate.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

>>Why will GPA be more important now that yield has been take out of PR selectivity ratings?>>

This is not MY was suggested by some who have posted on the PR boards. Even if you do not believe this is the case, how DO schools deal with the issue of grade deflation/inflation as it relates to GPA?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 04:57 pm: Edit

I think they deal w/it through asking for rank (or as much info as HS will give them to estimate rank) and regional admissions reps who are supposed to have some knowledge of HS difficulty and reputation.

I agree with you that GPA is a stupid thing to consider in the rankings, in light of the variation in GPAs among HSs. My D's school was like yours -- no one in recent memory had gotten a 4.0, the highest GPA the year before hers (which was in the school's profile, which is how I know)was just under 3.7. And they did not weight grades either.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - 05:04 pm: Edit

Thanks Rhonda, and I hope you are correct. We are finding it interesting that many schools (and some that are really not very competitive) list their average GPA as 3.6 or higher. When you read posts here from students, it seems EVERYONE has a weighted GPA well in excess of 4.0. DD's school has a kid or two every year with a GPA of 4.0 or close to it...but then the other top ten students (like her) have GPA's more in the 3.5 range. They report class rank in deciles (she's in the first decile with a GPA of 3.44). Course load is a challenging one, EC's show commitment and strength, she works at the school, and does some EC's outside of school (also showing a huge amount of dedication). We're hoping these things will outweigh her "low" GPA.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 08:43 am: Edit

Thumper -- Your D is obviously an excellent student. Make sure the counselor's rec combined w/the other materials the school provides make this clear!!!!

The year my D applied her school had a new GC who I think did a much better job of this than the previous GC had (and I think that had hurt applicants in past years). The new GC revised the school profile, for example, and showed the parents a draft, and it included info on GPAs and number of APs taken, etc that I don't think was provided to colleges before.

So, for your D's sake -- make sure the school makes very clear that she is in the top ten percent (and if she's in the top 5%, can they specify that somehow) and also that her courseload is difficult, that grades aren't weighted, etc. This is one important thing the school needs to do for your D that she can't really do for herself on her app.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 09:01 am: Edit

I don't understand the yield relationship to gpa question either. But grades and class rank are very important in selectivity. If you flip through any of the college guides that list the profiles of the students at college, you will find that there is a very narrow band in the class rank/gpa range. Much narrower than the one for SAT1 scores. This band is so narrow that I found it to be fruitless to try to track it the way SAT scores are, from the 25%-75% range. In some of the more selective schools it is not unusual to find 90% of the kids are in the top 10% of their class! What kind of a spectrum can you draw with that sort of info, especially when 99-100% of the kids are in the upper half or quarter.

When you start the app process, you should have a conference with the GC with your child. You are entitled to see the transcript, the way it looks when it is sent out to the college, not the one that is officially on record, so you know exactly what the colleges are seeing. You also should get a copy of the school profile. Your D should give the GC a resume with a cover letter and perhaps an autobiographical essay that will make it very easy for this very busy person to write a good reference for your D. You do not want him to get writer's block and forget something that would help your D. A parent's letter is not out of line if you want to add something that should be mentioned, a handicapped sibling, deaths and misfortunes in the family, family business, and your take on what kind of kid your D is. It is not out of line to highlight stuff like the approx class rank if you really want it mentioned somewhere, and that the words "hardest possible workload at this school" are important at the types of schools your Dis considering. If your GC not used to writing recs for top schools, he will need that kind of help in order to get a top notch reference, especially if he is not that familiar with your D, he has a huge workload and if he just is not a great writer.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:52 am: Edit

>>But grades and class rank are very important in selectivity.>>

I fully agree with this statement. BUT...what happens when class rank (top 10 student in class with rank in the upper 6%) has a GPA of 3.44? These don't seem to align with what I read on these boards (almost everyone seems to have a GPA in excess of 4.0), and with the averages posted on the college sites (many say their average GPA is 3.6 or higher). I WILL be meeting with the Guidance folks at the be honest, they are hopelessly inept at best. I'm still patiently waiting for the registrar to get back to me about the computation of GPA. Next will be a call to the principal. I did meet with the superintendent of schools and even SHE found it odd that a student in the top 10 in the class would have a GPA of 3.44...makes it seem like a "not so sharp" group.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit

Just wanted to second the previous suggestions - and add the comment that my son's GC was relieved to have the pertinant information safely in print in the student folder.

My other suggestion is to get the teacher rec's started ASAP - our GC said that is the thing most likely to hold up applications. Again, providing the teachers with beground info is not out of line. The GC will probably have a good sense as to which teachers right the best (and most timely) rec's - if a choice is available, you would want the more reliable teacher. If any junior parents are reading this, my son got 2 rec's at the end of his junior year because the teachers were retiring. Even if this not the case, it is one more item taken care of in good order.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

Thumper -- does your school provide a school profile to colleges, and if so, does it give an idea of GPA spread?

I agree teachers recs are important, but since virtually all of them tend to be glowing, I really think you need something from the school that indicates where your D's GPA and courseload puts her in the context of rest of the class.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:05 pm: Edit

The more selective schools do a quick gpa recalc to get an apples to apples comparision. In my area, a 5 mile radius (if that) there is a school with a 6.0 grade scales, schools with a percent grades scale, weighted and unweighted scales with different weightings and maxes It is really difficult to compare the 5.2 student with the 3.6 with the one with 93 average. The schools also vary in student composition and class rank selection. They HAVE to do a recalc in order to get any idea of what they are getting. The public school here weights the honors and AP classes, offers over 20 AP courses and does not cap the weightings whereas the public school in the next district does cap. The catholic school has 2/3s of their kids on the honor roll! And the prep schools do not weight--you can easily be in the top 10 with a 3.4 average. So it really all depends, and each college has some leveling system so they can compare the kids.

Class rank is the issue that can be tough if your kid is in a school with lots of good students and the school is not a known entity with the college. The Scarsdales and New Triers do not have that problem as colleges have a good idea how the ranks work there, and they do have a chart for prep school that does take into account that the school is top heavy with high achievers. But if you are unfortunate to be in a tough school with lots of of great students not on a college's radar screen as such, you and the school need to make sure that the college knows the quality of the kids at the school. If it is not clearly indicated in the profile, the counselor needs to state this in her ref. I suggest you write lettter to the GC and send it with a resume with the letter bringing up these issues so the GC does not forget to address it. Make it easy for him by even providing the wording when you bring up the point to him.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Thumper -
virtual hug to go along with all the good advice. There are so many arbitrary factors involved that all we can do is do our best with the best information we can garner.

Glowing teacher rec's - with a personal or memorable (and positive) description of the student - help give a picture of the student to the readers. The leakwarm rec should be avoided like the plague.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit

You are all so helpful in this discussion. DD is beginning her junior year, so we do have some "time on our side". This GPA/rank issue was NOT one with DS who had a GPA of 3.29 with a class rank of 38/172. THAT seemed very compatible to me. The school does send a profile but I have no idea how often it is updated. Our high school is a small one, and is probably NOT on the "radar screen" at many colleges. This is why DD is interviewing EVERYWHERE she visits.

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