Prior to Covid, the level of grade inflation had become out of control. While different statistics abound, one study showed 41% of high school seniors with A- (90 or above) GPAs. That translates to a 3.66-3.75 and above.
One college admissions official flat out said to me, “everyone has grades in the 90s and, due to weighted GPAs, many students have over 4.0 GPAs. Frankly, we are having a hard time deciphering grade differentiation between students. But we have an easy time evaluating SAT comparisons.”
I’ve had parents and students tell me that their 94 GPA wasn’t very good. And, as crazy as that sounds, given the school that the student attended and my knowledge that someone who barely made the top 25% of the class had a 97.2 GPA, I realized that a 94 might be slightly above the middle for this school. (There were over 10 students that had 100 + GPAs due to weighted classes.
The aforementioned college admissions official further confided one of the increasingly well-known admissions secrets: any high ranked school that is test-optional requires incredibly high grades. Why? Because they still do consider tests for those who choose to submit their SATs (or ACTs). They fill the class with those with high scores so that their US News & World Report rankings remain high. Those that do not submit their scores are in the second batch of candidates.