“We aren’t really sure how to evaluate grades anymore.” So said a college admissions official to me off the record. I’ve heard this before – always off the record – as college admissions struggle to decipher what a 3.7 GPA is at schools where the top ten percent of the students have over a 4.0 (due to weighted GPAs).
I live in Old Saybrook and remember the first time a student told me he had over a 100 GPA average. I certainly understand weighted GPAs but over 100? Even stranger, the student was not sure if he was in the top ten of his class.
A local Shoreline, CT high school revealed eligibility for National Honor Society: anyone with a 90 average and above could apply. Half the class was eligible. How can colleges determine admission based on grades when such large percentages have top grades?
There are some high schools such as Guilford High School and Daniel Hand High School in Madison where an A average is difficult to obtain at least compared to many other Connecticut high schools.
The only other objective factor: test scores. The SATs have become the blunt force weapon used by college admissions officials to lop off many applicants from consideration.
Objective?! You object! Yes. Evaluating relative strength in activities is certainly not objective. How does one compare participation or excellence in band versus soccer? The college application – particularly the essays – must be in good shape but again, evaluation here is subjective. Other factors – the hooks -such as legacy, connections etc. are not objective.
For normal students – which now includes those with A averages – the SATs are the most objective factor that college admissions officials use to evaluate students.