This is a direct quote from a college admissions official I spoke with this weekend: “Grades are becoming meaningless. Grade inflation is now so out of control that we are forced to rely on standardized tests to make admissions decisions.”
Perhaps it was an overstatement. Grades still matter a lot. But his point is one that I noticed a few years ago. In working with students from Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Madison, Guilford, East Lyme and other Shoreline, Connecticut towns, I noticed that most all of our students had GPAs that were higher than in years past. I remember thinking does anyone have a GPA less than a 90? Or less than a 3.5?
The admissions official, who was also a professor in the school of education at this college, continued: “I train teachers and they routinely note that dealing with parents and students who will battle them over low marks has made giving higher marks commonplace.”
Why does this matter so much? The number of parents and students who have false confidence in relation to college admission based on their GPA is staggering. I’ve had two college counseling students say that their GPAs were higher than what was required at Harvard. I stifled my urge to object.
Colleges will look at the school’s overall GPA average and then see where the student stands. As such, class rank is really the important measurement. Having a 3.9 when the average GPA is 3.7 is not that impressive but having a 3.9 when the average GPA is 2.5 is really impressive. Moreover, the one measurement that can be compared for all: the SAT (or the ACT)