More About Grade Inflation

grade inflation
High school grade inflation has caused some colleges to look beyond grades and test scores to make admission decisions.

Did you know that almost half of all graduating high school seniors in 2016 had an “A” average GPA?

Almost half.

We posted this article on grade inflation last year, but it’s worth returning to this topic as it’s important for you, as a parent, to know what college admissions officers are talking about.

Last week, Purdue University President and former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels laid out with clarity the problem, in an article in the Washington Post:  it’s hard for colleges to know the meaning of high school students’ transcript grades, because they are so subjective, and because it’s well-known that parents now argue with teachers (and sometimes principals) about raising their kids’ grades.  You may recall a time when parents argued with their kids to work harder or study more, but the impression among college admission offices is that time has passed.  Even if you AREN’T one of those parents who has tried to get your child’s school to raise a grade, it’s easy for them to assume that your child’s grades may have been influenced by this kind of intervention.  Daniels paraphrases from the new book, The Coddling of the American Mind, the phenomenon that grade intervention has given kids an excuse to be less than resilient.  “Many young people, having too rarely handled problems or adversity on their own,” Daniels says, “now instinctively run looking for an adult at the first whiff of difficulty.”

Daniels argues that this grade inflation situation, a lack of the clarity of what “straight As” really mean, is the reason his institution is not test-optional, a growing trend among colleges today, as well as to highlight that colleges must now look far beyond students’ transcripts to find other aspects of students’ lives to decide if they will admit them.

Character counts in life, and it has begun to count in college admissions in a larger way than ever before.  Colleges see this come into play in activities, leadership, outside of school experiences, teacher and counselor recommendations, and probably most importantly, essays.  Magellan starts working with students in the middle of 10th grade, helping families work through both the academic and non-academic issues before delving into what we call Phase 1: College Search, where we help students introspect, consider what they’re looking for in a college environment and what they have to offer, and create a balanced college list.  We then guide them through Phase 2: College Applications, helping them navigate the process and submit all applications long before deadlines.  In a nutshell, we help make the college application process more organized and less stressful.  If you think you need this type of service, we’d be glad to speak to you! 

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