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California Law School Boosts Student GPAs

Apr 8, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

One California law school is being very transparent in their attempts to make their students' grades more competitive, thanks to recent revisions in their grading system. Loyola Law School in downtown Los Angeles recently announced they would be bumping students' GPAs up by one-third of a point, to align themselves with other schools in the area they feel already grade on a higher curve. Students who had an A- in a course would now receive an A, for example.

The fix may not be considered grade inflation in the traditional sense, as it involves a school-wide decision to raise the student population's GPAs and includes the full support of the administration. Grade inflation is typically less obvious, and may vary course by course. The stereotype at many of the most prestigious private colleges across the country is that once you gain admittance to such a school, you won't meet much resistance in your goal to graduate with an impressive GPA.

The situation at Loyola suggests that schools are paying more attention to their grading policies as a way to keep students from seeking out colleges where they have better potential to graduate with a higher GPA. According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the school decided to give students' GPAs a boost when it noticed many of their graduates had been entering the job market at an unfair competitive disadvantage. The change won't only affect current Loyola students, but recent graduates since 2007. The boost will make the most difference to students on the cusp of a B-average, as many employers are hesitant to consider job applicants with GPAs below that point.

Critics suggest it will make it even harder for graduates to land jobs now that the change has hit the news, as now employers know the school has artificially inflated the students' GPAs. Administrators disagree: "We're not trying to make them look better than other comparable students at other schools. We just want them to be on an even playing field," Victor J. Gold, the school's dean, said in The Chronicle. The students' class ranks will not be affected by the change.

On the other hand, professors at some schools have been faced with "quotas" that limit them in awarding a certain amount of one letter grade over another, leading some students to complain of grade deflation. This has created some discontent at Princeton University, for example, where students worry that grade inflation at nearby Ive League schools will place them at a disadvantage. (Princeton has been working to urge professors to offer grades based solely on work and merit, not outside pressures, for several years.)

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Colleges Taking Closer Look at Grade Inflation

Feb 17, 2010

by Scholarships.com Staff

It may not make students too happy, but a number of schools across the country are taking a closer look at whether their professors are doling out marks that are a bit on the high side.

According to a study conducted by the University of Oregon's Undergraduate Council, the number of A's given to students increased by 10 percent over a 12-year period, and the school's overall GPA has increased by about 5 percent. The average SAT score, however, has remained the same, suggesting that students aren't necessarily studying harder, but benefiting from grade inflation at work.

In a story from news station KVAL CBS 13 in Eugene yesterday, administrators said the school needs to come up with guidelines where students are awarded grades that are reflective of their work, and where students aren't just given a "B" for showing up on time. "If all the grades are squeezed in between B+ and A+ what are we really communicating to students about the quality of their work?" Karen Sprague, vice provost for undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon asked in the story.

Princeton University has been trying to put a stop to grade inflation for six years now, with some in its student body complaining of the opposite - grade deflation. A recent article in the New York Times said students on campus were worried about other Ivy League students who perhaps didn't have to work as hard. One student in the article described the "nightmare scenario" of competing against someone from Yale University who had a 3.8 GPA, compared to his 3.5. The percentage of students with Princeton "As" was below 40 percent last year, down from nearly 50 percent when the policy was adopted in 2004, according to the New York Times. In a survey last year by the undergraduate student government, 32 percent of students said grade deflation was their main source of unhappiness. About 25 percent said they were more unhappy with lack of sleep.

An easy fix would be to give only those students As who deserve them, without figuring in quotas of how many high marks a professor is allowed to award or hold back. This would require a campus-wide standard, however, that takes a close look at defining "excellence," a criteria for that A grade. Students' expectations may need to be tweaked as well, as grade inflation isn't only limited to college campuses. Not too long ago, some high schools considered placing limits on how low to go; some schools argued that awarding scores below the 50 percent mark may do more harm than good, worried that improving those GPAs could become an impossible feat for students with a particularly low grade.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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College Classes , GPA , Grades

Website Lets College Students Get Paid for Good Grades

Dec 4, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Providing incentives for good grades is an increasingly common policy for parents of elementary and high school students.  In my household, report card day meant personal pan pizzas and a reprieve from the topping battle among my sister who didn't eat cheese, my sister who only ate cheese, and my own vote for a supreme pizza with extra cheese.  After pizza ceased to be a point of contention, my parents switched to the popular plan of offering financial incentives for good grades.  I don't remember the pay scale exactly, but I do remember missing it once I hit college.  Many undergraduate students are probably in the same boat, thinking about how even $10 or $20 per A could mean fewer trips to the plasma bank or even an extra textbook or two next semester.

Two brothers, who also happen to hold economics degrees from Harvard and Princeton, had a similar idea.  Michael and Matthew Kopko launched the website GradeFund last month to apply a model similar to fundraising for a marathon, where sponsors pledge to donate a certain amount per mile completed, to finding money for college.  College students' friends and family members, as well as corporate sponsors and others interested in donating money to help deserving students fund their educations, sign up on the site to give a certain dollar amount per grade earned to a particular student.

Students create profiles donors can search, and are matched up with people interested in helping them finance their educations.  Rather than agreeing to provide student loans or cover tuition in exchange for work, like in other peer-to-peer financial aid programs we've mentioned on our blog, donors on GradeFund, like scholarship providers, don't require anything in return for their donations.  While it's unlikely that a student will pay for their entire university education this way (according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the current highest pledge per A is $400), they could easily pay for their books and possibly even a good part of other expenses that college scholarships or student financial aid might not cover.  Plus, since these payments are linked to concrete achievements by students already attending college, donors may feel less apprehensive about the recipients of their philanthropy floundering once they face the academic challenges of their undergraduate studies.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Maintaining the A in AP: How to Succeed in Advanced Placement Classes

Jun 25, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Senior year is a breeze right? Yeah right. Between homework, standardized testing, applications and internships, things couldn’t be further from the truth. And for those of you who decide to enroll in advanced placement classes, things could get hectic. But you will get through it, and you can do so successfully. The tips below may help you manage the schedule you have and obtain the grades you want.

Don’t ignore the second semester. After all applications are sent out, once the preliminary acceptance letters are received, it’s easy to breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, AP classes are still in session during the second semester, and pushing through these final months can make or break your scores. Advanced Placement classes require serious effort; obtain the rewards that accompany them.

Prioritize test material. Most teachers will, to some extent, emphasize test material during class discussions. They know that AP classes are difficult, and they want you to succeed on final exams. Take note when you hear that something may show up on the test. Ultimately, you only have so much time in your schedule, and, if you can’t learn everything, at least learn what you need to know to earn a passing score.

AP first.  All classes are important, but AP ones offer college credit potential.  Therefore, when possible, address assignments dealing with these classes first. Once you have applied to schools, your overall GPA won’t be a major issue—assuming it does not drop drastically—but AP scores will. If you can’t give all classes full attention, at least address the ones that can lessen your college workload.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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The Big Fat "F": Schools Debate Grading Procedures

May 20, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

The meaning of that embarrassingly scarlet F on your math test used to be pretty clear; you messed up—big time. While a failing grade still represents a lack of understanding, some schools argue that awarding scores below the 50 percent mark may do more harm than good. Worried that changing their GPA could become an impossible feat for students with particularly low grades, some districts have been controversially attaching a minimum score of 50 to all Fs. Because all other grades are based on a ten-point system, giving students at least 50 points is reasonable, they argue.

According to USA Today, opponents are concerned that schools awarding additional points were unfairly grouping all failing students together.  ED Fields, the founder of HotChalk.com, a websites for educators and students, stated that, “Handing out more credit than a student has earned is grade inflation…I certainly don’t want to teach my children that no effort is going to get them half of the way there.”

Still, numerous schools have gone forward with their plans. The district of Hillsboro, Oregon hopes to ease into their change in grading policies, while a school in Port Byron, New York has already implemented a system wherein computers round up scores below an F. With some assistance, teachers hope that failing students can find sufficient incentive to improve their grades

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Financial Incentives for High School Grades

Jan 24, 2008

by Scholarships.com Staff

Close your eyes and imagine it. You’re sitting in math class, struggling to keep your eyes open, calculating how many minutes are left in the day. Then you do some mental math to figure out what percentage of the day has already passed, the only math you plan to do that day.

That is until you're snapped out of you boredom-induced coma by a teacher who tells you that effort pays off, literally. Well it’s not a dream. Some students have been getting paid for good test scores, and the trend is slowly spreading. In a number of Texas schools, students have been receiving money for good scores on A.P. exams, and students in Baltimore will soon be expecting the same rewards.

Through the Advancement Placement Incentive Program (APIP), students can earn a few hundred dollars for scoring well on A.P. exams, between $100 and $500 for scores above a 3. One student earned $700 for the tests he took during his junior and senior years of high school.

According to a study put together by Cornell University’s C. Kirabo Jackson, 41 schools have taken part in the APIP program so far, and 61 schools plan to adopt it by 2008. The report shows that financial incentives have been an effective tool in getting students to work harder in their A.P. classes. Improvements of about 30% on ACT and SAT scores have also been attributed to APIP. 

According to The Baltimore Sun, some Baltimore schools will soon take a similar approach to raising test scores. The Baltimore program will concentrate on improving graduate exams rather than A.P. tests, but the idea is the same; if you do well, you can earn money, up to $110. Like the APIP, the program will focus on assisting and rewarding students who attend low-income, inner-city schools.

Despite positive results and hopes for continued improvements, both programs have been criticized for their approach. Many feel that bribing students into doing well will take away from the purpose of learning and only teach them to expect payoffs for future efforts. More than the Texas program, the Baltimore version has also been criticized for using public funding to pay students. Unlike the Baltimore version, Texas will mostly use money collected from private donations.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Tour de Scholarships.com

Dec 19, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

The whole “college graduates earn $1 million more than non graduates over their lifetime” stat is getting a bit trite. I’ll give you a few more if you’re not convinced that college is a worthwhile investment.

College graduates enjoy greater career security

College graduates can offer their children a more secure financial future

College graduates are healthier

College graduates are more likely to contribute to society

Anyway, you get the picture. The problem isn’t that the whole “follow your dreams” thing makes no sense. The problem is affording those dreams and affording the time and preparation it takes to follow them. Most of us don’t make enough money to loll around devoting our days to perfecting our sculpting skills and sharpening our 3 point shots. Even those with less risky dreams can’t always afford to test the waters, especially if the schooling required to get those jobs is too expensive and time consuming. That’s why so many students find themselves having to compromise their initial career goals after realizing their dream jobs won’t allow them to pay off student loans. Let’s just say that the need for qualified teachers isn’t caused by a disinterested public.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to be gloomy. I swear there’s a silver lining. Financial aid in the form of government grants and outside scholarships is readily available to students in difficult situations. Without a cloud of college debt hanging over your head, “The Road Not Taken” may suddenly become an option. The financial aid information found at Scholarships.com will help you familiarize yourself with the FAFSA, government grants, corporate scholarships, private scholarships, the ins and outs of student loans and myriad other financial aid opportunities. Whether you’re interested in preliminary information or ready to get down to business by finding scholarships, we can help you do it.

If you’re not convinced, you can take a tour of our site. Visit our homepage, and take a sort of “Tour de Scholarships.com” if you will. We can help you see how conducting a free college scholarship search will help you find scholarships and grants that, based on the information you provide, you're eligible to receive. Find New York scholarships, scholarships for graduate students, scholarships for minorities, poetry scholarships, music scholarships—you name it, we’ve got it. With information about more than 2.7 million scholarships and grants, Scholarships.com offers more than you’ll know what to do with. If you’re not convinced yet, just take the tour. Like the search, it’s free. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a world of financial aid opportunities to gain.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Average ACT and SAT Scores by College: See How You Stack Up

Sep 25, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

The debate on whether ACT and SAT scores are an accurate tool for assessing student abilities has been going on for years. Even though recent studies found SAT scores to be less effective in predicting long-term college success than was previously thought, dealing with these tests is still pretty much unavoidable. Until standardized tests are out of sight and out of mind, students should do their best to get acquainted with them. Below is a sampling of average college SAT and ACT scores as reported by the Department of Education. To find more college ACT and SAT scores, information about estimated costs of attendance, and the number of applicants at schools across the U.S., check out our college search.

Arizona State University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 480 Reading: 600 English: 19 English: 26
Math: 490 Math: 620 Math: 20 Math: 27
Writing: Writing: ----- -----

College of William and Mary

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 620 Reading: 730 English: 29 English: 33
Math: 620 Math: 710 Math: 24 Math: 30

Columbia University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 670 Reading: 760 English: 28 English: 34
Math: 670 Math: 780 Math: 27 Math: 33

Harvard University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 690 Reading: 800 English: 31 English: 35
Math: 700 Math: 790 Math: 30 Math: 35
Writing: 690 Writing: 780 ----- -----

Michigan State University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 500 Reading: 630 English: 21 English: 27
Math: 530 Math: 660 Math: 22 Math: 27
Writing: 490 Writing: 610 ----- -----

New York University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 600 Reading: 700 English: ----- English: -----
Math: 610 Math: 710 Math: ----- Math: -----
Writing: 600 Writing: 700 Composite: 27 Composite: 31

Ohio State University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 530 Reading: 640 English: 23 English: 29
Math: 560 Math: 670 Math: 24 Math: 29

Texas A&M University

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 520 Reading: 630 English: 22 English: 28
Math: 560 Math: 660 Math: 23 Math: 28
Writing: 500 Writing: 610 ----- -----

The University of Texas at Austin

SAT 25th
Percentile
SAT 75th
Percentile
ACT 25th
Percentile
ACT 75th
Percentile
Reading: 530 Reading: 660 English: 21 English: 29
Math: 570 Math: 690 Math: 24 Math: 30
Writing: 520 Writing: 640 ----- -----

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA

Sep 12, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

The terms "weighted" and "unweighted" get thrown around a lot when students reach their senior year of high school. Scholarship providers, grant providers, employees and colleges are frequently unified in their interest in a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA). They are not as unified in the GPA format they would like to see.

This is what is they mean when they ask for your weighted or unweighted GPA.

Weighted GPA

Many schools offer accelerated and Advanced Placement (AP) classes to students who show academic merit. To distinguish an “A” in the advanced geometry class from that in the regular one, schools often assign a different point system to harder classes. They may, for example, bump up a student’s grade by .5 points if the class they took was accelerated.  Therefore, a student with three “Bs” in a regular class may have a 3.0 GPA while one with three “Bs” in advanced classes may have a 3.5 GPA. If a student takes only accelerated classes and their school bumps up each accelerated grade by one point, they may potentially earn a 5.0 GPA. The weight a school assigns to each class varies, and straight “A” students can graduate with different weighted GPAs depending on the school they attended.

Unweighted GPA

The unweighted GPA is the average of all class grades based on a 4.0 scale. If the student earned an “A” in an advanced English class, the unweighted grade would still be a 4.0-- the corresponding number on standard grade conversion charts--instead of, for example, a 4.5. Regardless of class level, each class is graded on the same point system. Things can get a bit confusing when schools have an unweighted scale but still offer and “A+” that is worth 4.3 points. While still unweighted, this GPA is higher than a 4.0.

Generally, however, an unweighted GPA peaks at 4.0.  Students who have taken accelerated classes may have lower GPAs on this scale, but those who have a regular schedule may fare better in class rank once everyone is on the same playing field. Because the weight a school attaches to each accelerated class varies, an unweighted GPA allows schools and award providers to see a student’s performance on the same scale, regardless of the school they attended. Unfortunately, additional efforts exerted in advanced classes may not be as visible.

At Scholarships.com, students are asked to state their GPAs on a 4.0 scale. Students who received anything above a 4.0 should record their GPA as 4.0. If a scholarship provider asks the student for GPA information, they may then offer in-depth information.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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College Culture , GPA , High School

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GPA, Letter and Global Grade Conversions

Sep 11, 2007

by Administrator

High schools and colleges throughout the world, and even within the U.S., have developed varying methods for assessing the academic progress of students. It is therefore understandable that students have expressed uncertainty about converting their grades into the standard 4.0 GPA format.

Students whose schools operate on a U.S. letter scale can find their GPA by adding the numbers that correspond with their letter grades (the conversion chart is shown below) and dividing the total by the number of classes they have taken. For example, if a student took three classes and received an “A” (4) in two classes and a “B” (3) in the third, their GPA would be a 3.67 (11/3)

Although some scholarship providers don’t take GPA into account during the evaluation process, there are others that do. To ensure that only the most relevant awards are shown, Scholarships.com asks that students provide the best estimate of their high school or college GPA.

Sometimes, this may prove to be challenging. Things can get confusing enough for U.S. students whose schools operate on 5.0 point scales, percentage scales or letter scales. Foreign students who study in the U.S. may be even more stumped by attempts to translate grades from a completely different system.

In both cases, students should try to approximate their high school or college performance. If, after filling out their profile, students are still in doubt, they should contact the scholarship providers whose awards they are interested in. The provider can then make a final decision on whether the student qualifies for their scholarship.

U.S. Grading Scales

Scholarships.com asks students to provide their GPA on a 4.0 point scale. Students with GPAs that are greater than 4.0 (weighed GPAs) should record a 4.0 GPA on their Scholarships.com profile. If a scholarship provider asks for the student’s GPA, they may then provide them with more exact information. Below is a rubric for commonly accepted U.S. high school grade conversions as determined by the Department of Education. Undergraduate institutions have similar conversion charts but often consider scores below a 65% an “F”.

      
GPALetterPercent
 

4.0 A 90-100%

 

3.0 B 80-89%

 

2.0 C 70-79%

 

1.0 D 60-69%

 

0.0 F under 60%

 

 

 

International Grading Scales

When a student’s school operates on a completely different scaling system, they may have no choice but to estimate. Students in countries such as Slovakia will have to flip their number scales to make sure that their “A”, a 1, will not be confused with the U.S. “D”, also a 1. Students from France, Greece and Peru will have to divide their GPAs by five to find the U.S. equivalent (their scale goes up to twenty). When in doubt, students should contact individual providers to find out if they qualify for their award.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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