Scholarship Screwup #2: Bore Me With Your GPA

by Judge Josh on July 21, 2009

Nothing angers the high-ranking students (and their teachers) more than this one, but I’ve some bad news for you, and you’re not going to like it. Are you sitting down? OK, here goes:

Your GPA doesn’t really matter that much. If at all.

It’s ok, I’ll give you a minute to let it sink in.

Now, here’s why this is true:

A nationwide grade-inflation epidemic over the last 10 years has killed the significance of a high GPA. Thousands of pages have been written on this topic over the last 10 years, and I won’t rehash them all here. But I’ll summarize:

At some point in the recent past, someone decided that the horror of seeing the letter “D” or “F” on a report card did much more long-term damage to a kid than, say, not knowing how to read, write or spell. Lots of parents agreed, and convinced schools that even though Johnny still doesn’t know what a comma is, he still deserves a B in English.

Anyhow, the point is this: Nowadays, just about everyone has a GPA of 3.0 or above. Everyone. So what, you say? Well, that means if everyone has a similar GPA, then nobody’s GPA matters anymore. That’s it, plain and simple – if everyone’s GPA is the same (or close), what’s the point of even looking?  Yes, but: I can hear it already:

“Yes, but today’s students are smarter than ever! Classes are more advanced, students are better prepared, and their achievements get more outstanding every day. It makes sense that the GPAs are higher.”

It’s absolutely true about the students being smarter than ever, and the achievements are greater, and all that. The stuff that today’s top students know and master and achieve is just mind-boggling. Considering the latest generation has been pushed harder than ever – and earlier than ever – by parents to achieve great things, it’s no surprise. But that just proves the point: if the best students are even better today than before, then why does everyone look the same on paper? If it weren’t for the grade inflation phenomenon, the top students would stick out more; but as it is, they simply don’t.


And last but not least, the quality of education in our country varies so widely that a 4.0 student (or, in some cases, a 5.0 or higher) at one school might flunk out at another. It also works the other way; a solid B-C student at a rigorous academic high school may have the brains to blow through the system with a 4.0 or better at a weaker school.

Thousands of students apply for our scholarships every month, and almost every one has a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. That’s fine; it’s certainly better than having a GPA of 1.0 or 2.0. But one phenomenon remains the same: when nearly every applicant shares a particular characteristic, then that characteristic becomes unimportant – and that’s the story with GPA. It’s a commodity now. Are we saying not to include your GPA? Not necessarily, especially since many scholarships require you to report it. But don’t dwell on it in your essay, or expect it to carry you to a scholarship victory. It won’t.

Until next time, good luck!

{ 118 comments… read them below or add one }

stephen July 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm

The completion of degree from a united states college or university could really be a blessing for me and my family by making me fill like I Accomplished something in my life and making my parents fill proud of the past work I did and it took endless nights and days . I volunteer at the VA medical center for about 3 years escorting veterans in wheel chairs to volunteer activities, seeking for scholarships. I had about 30-50 hours volunteer but I need 100-150 to get the scholarship I wanted. but I never paid attention to my hours I know now is too late to receive the scholarship I wanted and know I need money to go to college and I don’t have much for the college I wanted to attend I volunteer not only for scholarships but to practice my career in physical therapist. I realize that I will be working with a lot of wheel chair people to help them move correctly so I start liking volunteering. It will motivate to reach my goal to become a physical therapist and the completion of a physical therapist degree for a college or university can impact my home community because it’s a heath care career. I will be working with the people in the community if they can’t move correctly I will do everything in my power to make the move right. I am determined and love helping people I have all my life. Even in my church I volunteer ushering at Emmmeul Coverenet church. I am also in football, and track. Don’t have much money to reach my goal but, I never give up and I am a hard worker. So please help. God bless you

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anonymous July 31, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Have you read the other tip up there that said not to whine… and this isn’t even for a scholarship!

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Shiu Kong Ng August 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Yes, GPA can mean nothing if everyone gets high one. However many organizations still asking that from their applicants. In Northern American people used to give their kids, students or follow worker these words, such as: good boy/girl; well done; good job and etc, after they did something even that was not well done. While in Asia expecially in China one can hardly receive good comment even if he or she has done the job pretty well. This practice sometimes may come out with the result that the person really does not know how to do one’s job well. So when one day that person got an “A” for his or her job he/she would jump up to the ceiling. Won’t you believe that?

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Kristin Saplala August 2, 2009 at 9:46 am

Shiu Kong Ng, I will also stand witness to that sad fact, since I am also from Asia (Philippines). Most high school and even college teachers here are either bored with their job or “too busy” to update their curriculum, that the students (around 50-100 per classroom) are the last thing on their minds. As a result, most students are made to fail the course, and stop their schooling to get a sustainable job, because these teachers are not worth the skyrocketing tuition. To make it worse, a few teachers are overpaid and MOST are underpaid, depending on the bureaucracy of the school. These teachers are not motivated enough to share their (limited) knowledge, and so it is easy to understand why they behave that way, and almost everybody wishes to live, work and/or study abroad. Anything to escape the poverty, and the suffocating atmosphere that infiltrated every public and private sector.

Our minds are mainly on the corruption that is crippling our geopolitical and socio-economic structure of our Third World society, that we forget the child… the child who will in turn, either escape to another country doing odd jobs, or stay behind and grow up to pick up a gun, and convert into a Communist, religious anarchist or a nihilist terrorist, because of a lack of faith in the democratic system. It is a dangerous waste indeed.

Back to the article, hopefully with this recession, people in the United States will take the opportunity to burst this “nation-wide grade inflation”. Just as the economic bubble was also burst in order to combat banking and mortgage inflation and the oil crisis.

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Anonymous August 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm

If a high GPA causes us to lose the scholarship, why ask for it in the first place?

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nursing99 August 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm

That’s not true. If you are applying somewhere that is local and others know how rigorous your specific program is, they will appreciate you graduating having achieved a certain level of excellence. Not everyone just gives away A’s like you all so say. : )

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Jackie August 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Josh,

I am extremely satisfied with this piece of advice. It has been an issues in Fairfax County for awhile now because we were one of the few counties still using the 6-point grading scales. Parents have been complaining for awhile now because when their student(s) recieve a 92 in a class, for example, it shows up as a B+ on their report card, whereas when a student in a different county recieves the same grade, it’s an A! Finally, a decision has been made to change the grading scale to a 10-point scale, but I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether this was a good change or bad change. After reading your advice, I guess it doesn’t really matter, lol. :)
Thanks.

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Jason August 2, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I haven’t found your essay to ring true all the time. I have a 2.9 GPA because of the way the Georgia Hope Scholarship was changed during my senior year. I can’t get scholarships because of the new stupid rules. I only lacked .1 getting scholarship.

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MOSES L. BELLAMY August 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm

okay look, every one needs some money okay … alot of us consumers dont know how to make money but know how to spend more than we make…. theres nothing fancy i can say to convince to you folks who decides too be ecepted for a healthy reward but … really it only helps a little … im just tired of puting in the time an not being reconized for it my family cant even help support..

so, even thow life moves on i just happen to stop by killing some time…

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Rebekah August 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

GPA does matter, for the most part i have not found a scholarship that will accept anyone with less than a 3.0 yeah a 3.0 sure it seems like an average grade typically a “B” right. Well i make a 2.0 or a little higher that’s considered C/D no one want someone who doesn’t put the work into their schooling. Then again my older brother has yet to open one of his college text books and gets a 3.5 or a 4.0! I study my butt off and pull off a 2.5 at the highest. My best friend who studies 10 hours a day every week day and 14 hours every day of the weekend pull 1.7 and is put on academic probation. GPA does matter to those giving away their money, maybe not to job employers when they see that you may have struggled but came out better for it in the end (as in you’ve actually learned something.) So for scholarship purposes yes gpa does matter.

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omondi August 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I do agree with my friends in their coments but you will agree with me that without eduation/proffessionalism life is not complete.I omondi is for this case calling upon your suport on how to get on with futher studies.I’m meant to go for barchelor of science in civil engineering but financial instabilities don’t allow.

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Concerned Citizen August 2, 2009 at 10:13 pm

“Your GPA doesn’t really matter that much, {!firstname_fix}. If at all.”
Well, it looks like all those years of losing sleep, vomiting, refusing to go to social events, losing my eyesight, and letting my childhood pass by was all for waste huh? Thanks!

“It’s ok, I’ll give you a minute to let it sink in.”
It will take quite a bit of time to let that sink in. Frankly, I hope it never does. The day my hard earned GPA fails to mean anything is the day our world has officially gone mad.

“A nationwide grade-inflation epidemic over the last 10 years has killed the significance of a high GPA.”
Yes, you are right, no doubt. I think that this is a fault of several generations, however, of ‘soft’ teachers and administrators who don’t seem to understand the real harm they are doing. Their act of kindness demolishes my authentic work.

“At some point in the recent past, someone decided that the horror of seeing the letter “D” or “F” on a report card did much more long-term damage to a kid than, say, not knowing how to read, write or spell.”
I disagree with this ‘someone’. I have outside my house several ignorant think-they-are-everything teenage skateboarders, who, quite frankly, aren’t going to do anything with their lives, and why is that? Because little skateboard Billy would rather spend all day long jumping up and down on his skateboard as opposed to going inside and studying. As disgusting as that is, he gets away with it through reinforcement with his grades. Even though little Billy doesn’t even know what a comma is, he writes a paper 1/2 the required size, twice the recommended font-size, and with 5 inch margins, yet still gets an ‘A’. Little Billy realizes that he can get away with his ridiculous activities, since he isn’t taught the hard-earned lesson of getting good grades. This pseudo-lesson continues on into the adult-world, where Big Billy now sits at an office (if he’s lucky to get somewhere outside of McDonalds), doing some of the most incompetent work the world has ever seen. Proof of this concept is evident in how the quality of customer-service has become: find me an honest business with competent employees, and I’ll show you a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Need I say more? Kids need the reality-check of a good solid red-stained “F” on their report card. They may have an ‘accident’ from the trauma, but it will force little Billy to get off of his skateboard, and if the world is lucky, throw it in the trash, then proceed to study his heart out until he makes up that “F” with an “A+” so as to better the world tomorrow.

“Lots of parents agreed, and convinced schools that even though Johnny still doesn’t know what a comma is, he still deserves a B in English.”
This just proves that it isn’t always the kids’ faults nowadays. Parents need to be stricter. Yes, I am biased: my parents were *very* strict, but it’s paid off, as I’m now in one of the nation’s most reputable universities and on a path to success.

“Anyhow, the point is this: Nowadays, just about everyone has a GPA of 3.0 or above. Everyone. So what, you say? Well, that means if everyone has a similar GPA, then nobody’s GPA matters anymore. That’s it, plain and simple – if everyone’s GPA is the same (or close), what’s the point of even looking?”
Why restate this? This is the definition of (or at least implied from) ‘inflation’; it’s not furthering your argument any.

“students being smarter than ever, and the achievements are greater, and all that.”
Where have you been? Kids nowadays don’t focus on school at all. Unless the newer generations (within the past two years) have all of a sudden straightened up and thrown away their skateboards, took out their reading classes, and got to work, there’s nothing further from the truth. When I was in high-school, the only group of people who cared about school were the nerds (a set I am proudly an element of). Everyone else was always concerned with who was dating who, kissing who, “doing the naughty” with who, etc. Lord forbid Johnny cheat on Suzy with Sally; no one will pass the pop quiz coming up next period! Society has thrown BILLIONS of dollars to educational schools just to have the kids under-utilize, over-complain, and under-achieve! Here’s a good example for you: smart-boards, electronic boards which interact with an attached computer and projector, allowing students and teachers to virtually “draw” on the board/projector. These devices cost several THOUSANDS of dollars apiece. Would you care to know what most students do on these boards? The last time I saw these boards, students were drawing smiley faces on them. Now there’s a good use for 4 thousand dollars! I would argue, dear author, that students nowadays are as lazy, unproductive, and if I may be so bold as to suggest, “stupid” as ever, with only the very select few achieving these magnificent things that you speak of.

“The stuff that today’s top students know and master and achieve is just mind-boggling.”
A two page paper about the history of pottery isn’t mind-boggling, nor even slightly impressive: this is the overwhelming achievement of the “top” students, thanks to our inflation of emotion for the comma-illiterate. Show me all of these students who have mastered Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, M-Theory, and the like, and then applied them to real-world problems. Those students who, mind you, are few and scarce, are the true pioneers of tomorrow, and the ones who deserve the real ‘A+’s and super-high GPAs.

“Considering the latest generation has been pushed harder than ever – and earlier than ever – by parents to achieve great things, it’s no surprise.”
Once again, you’re taking a statement (that applies to a select few) and applying it to the entire populace. Your statement is what demeans the ones who work hard. You are no different than those who feel sympathy for little Billy or little Johnny and thus decide to slap a “B” on his paper and give him a pat on the back. I apologize if it seems I am pointing you, specifically, out on this issue, but it’s true, and it will never get fixed unless something is said.

“Thousands of students apply for our scholarships every month, and almost every one has a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.”
This, however, doesn’t mean these students are the wide majority. A select percentage of students are with the highest GPAs, and it so happens, the population has grown significantly since the early days when a super-high GPA would have been instantly accepted. This, of course, proportionally increases the number of students applying for scholarships, and thus your observed statistics.

“But don’t dwell on it in your essay, or expect it to carry you to a scholarship victory. It won’t.”
Okay, I give. No, dwelling on your own GPA for an essay won’t get you a victory, but sir, I refuse to not brag on my GPA. It was something hard-earned, and it is definitely something I am proud of. I certainly didn’t get an ‘inflated’ grade, as you mentioned earlier.

Now, switching subjects a little bit: I think we, as a society, should shift our focus from forcing our scholarship-winners to doing astronomical things, to instead preaching to teachers than an “A” means you did better than someone who’s not been properly introduced to a comma. This inflation argument is very similar to the money-inflation argument. Does printing more and more money fix a debt and inflation? Of course not! It makes it worse! Adding more ‘outstanding’ extracurricular activities is synonymous to charging a higher-price, and soon, everyone will be lying about their great achievements, much like people are *effectively* ‘lying’ about their true GPAs nowadays.

In conclusion, I ask you, dear readers, what comes next after being the first middle-schooler on the moon is no longer enough of a requirement to win?

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David February 17, 2011 at 3:00 am

Very nice reply. I agree our high GPA’s are from hard work.

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Eryn August 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Its sad. Those who really work hard to get good grades end up getting screwed over. I love this awful world.

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Anthony Falcon August 3, 2009 at 12:39 am

Your bluntness is refreshing.

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ES August 3, 2009 at 1:22 am

Anyone ever here of the bell curve? I mean come on, of course grades are being inflated and people who refuse to believe it should take a second look at that last test that the whole class bombed. That extra ten percent that pulled the class average up to a pass had to have come from somewhere. Although sure, getting an A over a C is an achievement but when everyone else has the exact same A, you gotta know somethings up.

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marissa August 3, 2009 at 1:55 am

I completely understand that the GPA has been blown out of proportion, with how much it is being used. But also, i think, the GPA and the classes that were taken should be looked upon. For example… i had straight 4.0 throughout my entire high school career. but i was also in the honors math classes (which is a MUCH faster pace, and you learn more). also, I did take an AP Chemistry course, and recieved a B (which at my school, was considered a 4.0, since the class was 5.0). Not to mention, in college, i know not many people would think this… but art classes are challenging; the teachers can be quite demanding. and yet, i’ve been able to pull out of all my classes with more A’s than B’s. What i’m trying to get towards is that not everyone is amazing with writing, or creating a huge fantastic project that’ll change the world. Yeah, those people deserve their rewards/scholarships. However, people like me… when they just seem to be able to absorb information and process it in a school setting… we’re lost among the norms because all we have are our GPAs. And i do agree, going to a different school can make a difference, but also the environment makes a difference as well. You say not to focus on GPA. But if not that, then what? When you lack that creative writing spark and amazing speed testing scores?

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A Seriously Annoyed student August 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

This is easily the most unbelievably stupid article I’ve ever read. I would love to know what “the judge’s” GPA was in school. This makes absolutely no sense and also only highlights the problem of misinformation on the net. Your GPA is calculated based on grade points that you recieve from your professors. The scale DOEStruly matter and since every professor at one point in time has been a student and also had there very own GPA. They also surely went through the harrowing process of trying to recieve assistance for the over-exxagerated costs of higher education. I agree that some grades are certainly inflated, however this occurs in Grade school and cannot possibly prevail in any worthy institution. To say to students your GPA is irrelevant is akin to one dismissing the need to study for exams. This ridiculous article is utterly baseless and this author should be ashamed. Your GPA absolutely matters (especially for honors societies and other org.’s) as most credible professors would never hand out a grade to anyone no matter what mommy says. How dare you claim that all these students’ hard work is all for naught, it is my contention that the GPA directly reflects one’s determination, hard work, and most importantly thier intellect. I work extremely hard to keep my GPA above 3.8 and have never seen a poor student with a GPA over 3.0. In most institutions academic probation occurs somewhere around 2.2 /2.0. You cannot lower or even raise your GPA with mediocre semester marks. I imagine the author recieved poor marks and suffered because of a low GPA and now is seeking to destroy its merit. Work hard and you will recieve good grades, which in turn, will give you the best opportunity to succeed in your career search. Scholarships are extremely competitive and you should try to gain any leg up you can manage on your peers. This website is obviously a sham!!!!!!!!!

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Marvin January 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

Yeah…i agree 100% with your suggestion…i mean since when did GPAs lose meaning…m purpose…the author of this site is one true bafoon..to think so…what a shame.thanx

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Kathryn February 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

It just occurred to me that the author of the article might mean high school GPAs rather than college GPAs, which is a somewhat different story. But yeah, I worked in a college dorm as an academic assistant, and I was pretty well convinced of the validity of GPAs at my school by the numbers associated with our low-achieving students. They’d get put on academic probation for being lower than something like a 2.5, and guess what? All those lazy kids who didn’t study were on academic probation by the second semester. So yeah, I do think the fact that I got a 3.7 in the same system is significant, because yeah, I did work for that, and so did the other high-achieving students I knew.

Does that mean that I’m going to go on about my GPA without backing it up with what courses I’ve actually taken? Haha, no. Of course you want to show off what you’ve done that’s a.) valuable to your overall education and b.) relevant to whatever you’re applying to.

I’d just like to note that I loathe emails addressed to “Dear {!firstname_fix}.” That alone was enough to get my hackles up, but then he goes on to address sentences within the letter to me personally (“Your GPA doesn’t really matter that much, {!firstname_fix}. If at all.”) and honestly, it wants to make me punch the author in his smug face. Don’t use personal forms of address within your mass emailing. It makes you look like a douchebag.

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Josh Barsch August 3, 2009 at 11:04 am

Thanks for the comments, everyone! First, a general restatement of what the tip says, just to keep the discussion on track: *A high GPA is not enough to make you stand out enough to win a scholarship*. I didn’t say any of the following things: that you lose scholarships because of a high GPA, that all people with high GPAs got them through grade inflation, that all people with high GPAs are not intelligent, etc. This tip is pretty lean and simple (although I admit my sarcastic tendencies tend to exacerbate the situation sometimes) — it just means that high GPAs are common now and are not a point of distinction.

I also recognize that you have to report your GPA on just about every scholarship application, so of course, GPA is *used* in determining winners. Again, though — it’s not the only factor, and not even a major one. Also, understand that limiting eligibility by GPA is a very common way of limiting and making manageable the number of applications the committee has to review.

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Josh Barsch August 3, 2009 at 11:14 am

Concerned Citizen: You get your own response because you wrote so much. :)

You and I agree on most things, actually. Remember, when I speak of the achievements and intelligence of today’s *top* students, that’s exactly what I mean — the very, very few. I don’t at all believe that of the entire generation. Remember, the entire reason I started this site was because about 95% of the scholarship apps we receive are, to be diplomatic, “unimpressive.”

I do think you’re painting the current generation of students with too broad of a brush, though. It’s easy to label the entire generation as lazy and unserious, and general academic rigor definitely isn’t what it used to be, and yes, we do a bang-up job of enabling laziness and making excuses for poor performance. But that shortchanges the students out there (and yes, there are a great deal of them — they’re not the ones out skateboarding all day) who study hard and do great academic work. They’re out there.

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Josh Barsch August 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

Seriously Annoyed: My GPA was 3.96 in high school, 3.9 in undergraduate school and 3.7 in graduate school. You and I agree that “scholarships are extremely competitive and you should try to gain any leg up you can manage on your peers.”

On every other issue, though, you are eye-poppingly naive or simply delusional. I actually thought you were writing good satire there for a second, but sadly enough, I think you’re actually serious. If you really suggest that grade inflation only occurs in grade school, that professors never give undeserved grades and that inflation couldn’t prevail at a worthy institution (Harvard University is often held up as an example of grade inflation) — well, you simply don’t live in the real world, my friend.

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Georgia August 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I appreciate the information, and you are correct that in some schools, states, etc. the GPA has become inflated. I notice more and more scholarship applications asking about community service, volunteering, group affiliations, etc. This lets me know the judges are also aware of the GPA inflations, and the “misunderstandings” that can happen across the various states/colleges. Community service and other factors have been added to help them make their decisions, though I believe other factors such as AP classes should carry more weight in the “GPA decision”. Though I was already aware of this fact, I thank you for the article, because it seems that some were not aware.

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GPA August 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Your point that anyone nowadays has a GPA of 3.0 or above deserves a noteworthy observation: the word anyone drastically decreases as the GPA increases closer to a 4.0. Clearly there are more students within the the 3.0-3.5 range rather than 3.6 to 3.9. One should also factor the intensity of the courses completed. I’m pretty sure that Johnny who is unfamiliar with commas will struggle in obtaining an A or B in a 300 level plus course. I mean a C or less in two or more of those level classes should negatively affect one’s GPA to possibly below the 3.0 mark.

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seriously annoyed in GA August 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I am currently attending college and with my hard work I am pulling the worst GPA I can ever get…….mind you all……..I have not been in school since 1979 and I am now attending college for Nursing………talk about accomplishments………I’m an older woman trying her hardest to pass everything and it is extremely difficult to do so……forget paying for college I’m doing out of pocket for paying my tuition and all. GPA and scholarships better go hand n hand otherwise I can forget my Nursing cuz I will never get anywhere with paying out of pocket and trying to get good grades and a higher GPA to even graduate ……………I can’t believe all the whining I have read. Granted I’m a whiner also but dang my age and how long I’ve been out of school should show ya’ll something.

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Chicago August 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Very true may I say, I pulled a very good GPA when I graduated from DeVry University last year in Oct., but that does not seem to make me stand out when applying for jobs. Alot of the applications do not ask for my GPA score & that frustrates me because I worked hard for my GPA and to find out that maybe 1 out of 5 job applications require my GPA score & proof as well.

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Jack August 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

GPA inflation I think it more an American phenomenon than a Canadian or international one.

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Karen August 3, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I understand your boredom with high GPA, but for me a grade of a high GPA does not come easy. I have to put in long hours, and a lot of studying to get good grades and even, then I may not get that high GPA. Students like me who were considered special and came from special classes are mainly deemed to fail only a few actually get through the stigma and actually learn. My thanks come from teachers who changed my life not once but many times if not for those few teachers. I would not be getting any type of a high GPA. So for me a GPA of 3.0 or higher is a celebration, because it does not come easy. I understand there are a lot of students who just get the grades with little effort and can boast about it. But for students like me it is a privilege to get higher GPA once in a while. P.S grades are a struggle for me and to do well I am proud it gives me strength and a sense of accomplishment that I can do it when others doubt that I can.

I see your point, but for me it means the world and if an essay asks for a GPA I will provide, because it is something that I personally can be proud of. If you don’t want to know about GPA why do you ask?

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Cat August 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I couldn’t agree more about the GPA thing…I get upset because the high school I attended didn’t “weight” the classes…everything was on a 4.0 scale. Plus, the grading scales differ, too. My high school, the grading scale was 95%-100% was an A; 85% a B; 75% a C; 65% a D; 64% and below was an F. Therefore, if I got a 94%, I got a B (no + or – were given either); however if I went to a different high school that had 90% or 92% as an A, I would have been given an A. So instead of a 3.0, I would have a 4.0.

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K.Esto August 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm

an increase in disregard of the GPA actually makes it fair for those who are less privileged, u know, the ones who would actually need the scholarship money MORE. especially in inner-city schools, there are PLENTY of smart and talented kids, yet it doesnt show on their report cards…why? because of so many factors such as underqualified teachers, lack of resources, crooked authority, etc. so basically, a student who has a 2.0 GPA but who expresses and organizes their thoughts on paper very well actually has a better shot at the scholarship, now that the GPA is not as emphasized.

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Chris August 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

It seems that you are all somewhat talking past each other. Is the author trying to say that grade inflation is a phenomenon that exists, or that grade inflation is severe enough to to throw off grades as a good signal of academic merit?

Grade inflation exists, certainly. In general cases of looking at GPA alone, or in tandem with a non-rigorous/technical study field, grade inflation clouds the results enough to often leave better students passed over in favor of system-workers. In the case of the average public university student, the level of grade inflation is even more pronounced because of all the bottom-feeder lower division courses that have to grade very generously so the university doesn’t look like a total educational failure. (If you make a ‘C’ 50 points, that means that you have to make a 70 an A, except this isn’t just a normal distribution of the class; it’s a normal distribution of the class with its mean increased often times by up to 20 points because the resulting distribution of letter grades would make the professor, and in turn the university, look very bad).

But that’s a far cry from saying that grade inflation completely destroys the usefulness of grades as a signal of ability, especially at the upper intellectual levels of undergraduate education.

Grade inflation still occurs in GPAs in courses only from a specific department, but to a lesser degree. In the case of specific departments, certain academic fields and certain schools have higher standards of rigor demanded from their students. When an economics grad school is looking at my application next Fall, they are going to carefully note how well I performed in rigorous quantitative courses (which are the most relevant to the coursework in grad school). Not everyone gets a 4.0 in math classes; only very exceptional students can pull off a 4.0 in a quantitative science/math double major.

It makes sense as a scholarship award committee to look at the student’s program of study and its relative standing in terms of rigor and difficulty, yes, and stop awarding Political Science 3.6s the same level of scholarship money as a Physics/Math 3.6 – they are not the same thing at all.

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LW August 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm

GPA does matter when you’re taken into consideration for graduate schools. Med/Pharm/Vet schools have a high GPA requirement for an applicant to even bother applying. I have heard that some schools “grade inflate” but I am not sure if that’s a myth or not. I believe it’s more due to the difficulty of courses and the school than anything. I attend a top 10 school and it is hard as hell to make A’s. A friend of mine attends local U and can pull off straight A’s without breaking a sweat and partying every night. So does the local U grade inflate? Does my U grade inflate? Or is it all a myth and just due to the difficulty of course work?

Also, I am currently taking orgo at Harvard and I have heard that they grade inflate. I’m not sure if this is true because tbh I’m working my ass off and not doing very well and I am pretty certain they are not going to up my grade to an A. But again, others are taking orgo at community colleges and local U’s and pulling off A’s at far greater ease. So does this make the difficulty of the course/coursework more relevant than “grade inflation”?

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Ste[hanie August 3, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Criticism is great Yet mean and generalized criticism to a group is just lazy and in your case, self-satisfying. Your advice is nothing but nasty emails to students who were trying (even if not hard) to pay for an education. If you’d like to listen to some advice, since you give it so freely, please give specific advice on essays instead of your individual displeasure.

yours truly,
tallsteph – idiot student writer

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Rana Athar Latif August 4, 2009 at 8:16 am

Salanm Sir
i recive your mail in which you say that GPA is must but i have no GPA but if you say that then i will cortain it and prepaid it ther for i have some time to make shoure the 3.0 or more then GPA band otherwise if u allow me that i will come and prepaid my GPA after joining your study period. i will be thankfull to you
Your Tully ,
Rana Athar Latif

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Anonymous August 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm

For this scholarship, a high GPA does not matter so why do you need to know that information anyway? Also, the GPA is not used as much to see if a student qualifies for a scholarship, but for a lot of ther scholarships, GPA does matter. I have a 3.3 GPA and many of the scholarships I have applied for all want it to be higher (3.5 or better)….maybe I am looking in the wrong places but according to most of the criteria for a scholarship, getting them is even harder nowadays which is understandable. Makes it seems as though no matter what you do to stand out, it is never enough. If it was so easy to get scholarships, everyone would go through college fairly easily.

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Anonymous August 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

For this scholarship, a high GPA does not matter so why do you need to know that information anyway? Also, the GPA is not used as much to see if a student qualifies for a scholarship, but for a lot of ther scholarships, GPA does matter. I have a 3.3 GPA and many of the scholarships I have applied for all want it to be higher (3.5 or better)….maybe I am looking in the wrong places but according to most of the criteria for a scholarship, getting them is even harder nowadays which is understandable. Makes it seems as though no matter what you do to stand out, it is never enough. If it was so easy to get scholarships, everyone would go through college fairly easily. Just because you have a high GPA does not mean you got it because your circumstances were perfect, you went to a better school, or you were smarter; it could also mean, you actually worked hard to get it in unique circumstances just as I did. I faced a lot of hardships the average child would not face, however I tried my best to pull a high GPA for personal reasons throughout elementary, middlle, high school as well as college. If the GPA is not considered as much, what should I focus on?

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Julia August 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

“Criticism is great Yet mean and generalized criticism to a group is just lazy and in your case, self-satisfying.”

However “mean” it may seem, it’s still realistic.

“If you’d like to listen to some advice, since you give it so freely, please give specific advice on essays instead of your individual displeasure. ”

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth? or…Beggars can’t be choosers?

~

I got a pretty decent scholarship from my college for my highschool grades. Guys, your grades aren’t a total loss, just for some scholarships they are. No need to get bent out of shape from this article. This article has good words of advise and maybe even better words for those who think their highschool GPA will carry them everywhere. I think I read somewhere that once you get into college, no one will care about what you did before. Think of it as a clean slate and continue to work your tail off! *wink*

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Tempest M August 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Concerned Citizen a GPA is just a number, it does not state your experiences in life that enriched your thirst for higher education, citizenship, leadership and humanity, now does it? No it does not. It just shows the committee that oversees all applications that you made a “decent” GPA, as Barsch pointed out. Yes you may type another ridiculously long reply, however it won’t change the fact that even though you might have worked extremely hard for your “A” you should be able to back that up since you’re accepted into “one of the nation’s most reputable universities and on a path to success.” Right? :)

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kee August 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm

GPAs are, in recent family times, becoming less important. Yes its great that my cousin had 4.0s all through his education (he as a phd I believe and wasnt val of his class) but my brother who is just as smart as him was failing classes. My brother is attending college this fall and that is thanks to his test scores. Its like having good grades and a high test score will get you alot farther in the higher education system than just one or the other. I try not to let my 2.896… keep me from the grad school I want. I am good at the art I do and feel everything else on my app wil do me better.

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Jill Connolly August 5, 2009 at 1:34 am

Homeschooler’s perspective: As a homeschool mom and teacher, I do not give grades. My elementary age kids move on to the next chapter or class when they have mastered the task. I grade math papers with percentages because it makes sense, but the missed answers are always gone back and corrected. Sometimes we reivew; sometimes, when review isn’t necessary, we just talk about the need to be detail oriented and pay attention. Right now my kids care about real learning, not grades. It is my hope that when my kids to school, college or before, that they don’t get caught up with the goal of merely getting a good grade. Be good at what you are doing for the sake of wanting to know stuff, then the good grades will come anyway. I’m a student in a certificate program that is pass and fail. (So I had to I put my Business Admin. degree’s GPA on my scholarship entry) Yes, I’m a little upset that someone who maybe doesn’t work as hard as I do because they don’t have to worry about a “grade” is getting the same recognition. Yet I know I am satisfied with what I am learning and that I will succeed. It’s too bad that GPAs mean very little, but I am not surprised.

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damola August 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

Whenever I write essays for any scholarship, I state my GPA, not because I want to, but because it is a requirement. I don’t go about making that a discussion point. Most scholarships that I have come across require a GPA of at least a 3.0. I do hope people don’t take your article the wrong way, and decide that since “Josh Barsch said GPA aren’t important, I don’t need to work on it anymore.”

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Carly August 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Frankly I’m satisfied to hear that GPA is nothing really tipping the scales. That’s not because I have a low one, I’ve actually always had a fairly high GPA; but I’ve understood the limited meaning of the GPA for a long time, and I know that it’s the things outside of my grades that make me and most other notable people spectacular.

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Carly August 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Actually I’m also incredibly thankful that my above realization came to me earlyish in life. I’m reading the comments from people that have spent all of their young life stressing and obsessing to get their grades up to the top, and with the greatest of sympathy, I’m remembering back to the days in elementary school and part of high school when I did the same. Mind you I still put my best effort into everything I do for school, but I don’t let my homework control me any more. I now know that I can accomplish much more/better work when I’ve allowed myself time to enjoy life than when I force myself to sit in front of a desk and stare at that god-forsaken paper. Plus, the things in life that I enjoy doing on the side often end up being extra-curricular stuff that looks great on a resume, how sweet is that!
To all my fellow nerds and young schoolgoers: If you work to become who you want to be, chances are you won’t even need those high grades any more. Who knows if they were even much good in the first place. Me, I hope to be the next Bill Nye or Kratt brother, and have my own educational show. I don’t know if my decent grades will have much pull there, but I sure hope my theatre experience and volunteer work will.
Good luck, fellow academics.

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Candace August 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Concerned Citizen,
Stereotyping individuals based on what sort of extra-curricular activity they most enjoy (skateboarding) is highly pompous. I’ve known several “skateboarders” that could breeze through the most difficult of assignments without even breaking a sweat (while the others felt faint). I must ask. Do you think that blondes are stupid too? Please do not take offense to my comments for I am truly impressed with your high GPA. Going to college is nothing like I’ve ever experienced so the fact that one can carry a high GPA throughout their entire college experience (for lack of better words) is truly remarkable.

The fact is we live in a time when it doesn’t really matter what you’ve gone to college for or what your GPA was for that matter. I’ve known several individuals that have doctorates in fields and they choose to work at the local department store (and still others that have their bachelors in one field but work in an entirely unrelated field – even though the field they work in requires that they have a bachelors in that field). Does that make any sense? The fact is… it proves to others that YOU CAN BE TAUGHT! I’m sure no one here will agree but why don’t you ask the person giving your interview what the relevance of your GPA has to do with the position in which you are applying for. And while you’re at it, ask him/her what their GPA was in college (that’s if they’ll give you a straight answer, of course).

When you’re on your death-bed, do you really (and I mean really) think that a high GPA really matters?

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Shante S August 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Its ambition right? I can’t say I have a 3.0 GPA I wish I did. I’m struggling pretty hard right now. I have been working on my environment. I need to change it because it is too violent.I don’t want to ruin my entire life by fighting and killing someone because they provoked me. I hate going to school trying to learn and when the day is over with I have to think about what I have to go home to. I am angry and scared. My home environment has helped to plague me with failing. My goal is to get back on track and have a stable living providing for myself. After this is done I can then work on my schooling.

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Jill Connolly August 6, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Shante….*when* you suceed, check out taekwondo or another martial art or now if you can, if it’s offered at your school. It will provide you stress reduction and you will learn self-control (even at 5’1″ I need to be careful not to hurt my sparring partners)…confidence, respect, suprise at what you can accomplish, I could go on. Different situation, I’m sure, but my 10 and 8 year old kids have been threatened and they stood strong, not backing down but not fighting either. Good luck and keep up the good work with your studies, focus on your school for the sake of learning, don’t freak out about the grades. If you can relax a little and just let yourself learn, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish. Don’t give up…good luck.

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A.L. August 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I agree to a point with Josh GPA’s aren’t everything and I think there is a scholarship named that also. However I like to think of them as a sort of standard qualification important to have but not the most integral part of your qualifications as he points out so well.
Although it may sound mean someone who spends all day and night toiling to improve their grades is barely better than someone who just lazes around because they are simply limiting themselves pointlessly and need to broaden their horizons. It’s a good thing GPA’s are not super important because it is unfair to place a studyholic who only spends their time studying over someone who has a job, is entered in sports, clubs, and academic competitions plus does lots of community service and volunteer work because obviously one has more on their plate and can’t just spend all of their time absorbed by schoolwork.
And for all those complaining no offense this is free advice from someone with experience at giving scholarships so don’t whine because you don’t have to take it if you don’t want it just unsubscribe and cry someone else a river (p.s. I know some of you have real troubles but so do plenty of others so sorry I don’t want to sound mean just honest)

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Jon August 7, 2009 at 9:45 am

So then, isn’t it even more important to prove you are better than a 2.0 on a scale that’s already been curved up? I just graduated college with a 3.87/4. People notice.

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Seriously Annoyed 2 August 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Mr Barsch,
Obviously you either did not read my response correctly, or even look through your baseless article. If you believe so strongly that the GPA does not matter for your particular scholarship then why do you not say it specifically. I have not and will not submit an essay to be considered for scholarships because uppity people like you (who admit to their weak sarcasm). The fact is that it only exacerbates the frustration of many hard working students, who believe it or not actually recieved the grade they deserve. i dont know when the last time you were in school or even what institution you CLAIM to have attended, but they must have inflated your grades and your head. Yes I think I may be delusional, but not for writing that grade inflation occurs only in high school, but rather because I decided to write another reply to JUDGE Josh Barsch. I have even less respect for you than before, your matter-of-fact attitude about grade inflation is hilarious, and again baseless. You sound like a wounded Republican, who instead of offering insightful advice, decides it is more important to voice your ASSanine opinion on a subject that I have never heard in the news or anywhere else. I would like to see one legitimate piece of evidence (NOT an OP ed.) that supports this claim. Also it is very easy to say over the net what your grades were in school (AS IF I CARED!!!). I repeat myself, since your sarcasm sometimes overtakes the peanut jumbling around inside your over-inflated head. NO RESPECTABLE PROFESSOR WILL EVER HAND OUT A GRADE AT ANY WORTHY INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING. THEY ALSO ONCE WENT TO SCHOOL, AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ACTUALLY RECIEVED THEIR VERY OWN GPA. The notion that this is some sort of epidmic is your own personal belief, so why dont you keep it that way. Grades may be inflated in your liberal arts or criminal justice majors, in which not much effort is needed to keep a high GPA. Im a business student and I would compare this abhorrance against good students and professors to the jerk-offs that destroyed Enron (Hmmmm they went to Harvard and recieved good marks, it must be a grand conspiracy!!!). I think you and those crooks have something in common, you both think your the smartest guys in the room. Proof positive is your obviously peeved comments back to me. Did I strike a nerve maybe or bring back some bad school-boy memories??? Things are always easy to proclaim when you have done no respectable research and provide not a shred of evidence. This false prophet has no more credibility than your neighborhood butcher who proclaims all the supermarket beef is tainted by big agri-business. I do not no why you choose to even reply in such a way, you simply made yourself sound even more ridiculous by throwing insults my way (By the way try saying them to someone’s face you coward). Students who work hard to achieve good grades will always be rewarded ten times over on their counterparts who choose to slack off in school. If you believe that this is true it makes me wonder why you yourself had such good grades (and choose to tell us all) , if it is not really that imporatant a factor. Surely you could have spent more time with your family or doing extra-curricular activities and such. I enjoyed this diatribe though, as I find myself amused each day when I recieve these emails and comments that come after them. This is not whining, I have not applied for any scholarships and do not care what people think. This is me calling out bull-s@!t when I see it. I would love to meet you someday Josh and maybe you could throw some more sarcasm my way, again over the net. You obviously are a really secure man and do not let things easily bother you. I on the other hand, whether it helps or not, love to tell it like it is, and maybe instead of petty sarcasm you may actually provide these young people with PROOF of your baseless claims. Grade inflation does exist to some extent in college, but it is not nearly as bad as you portray, nor does it somehow degrade others’ hard earned GPA. Who said Harvard inflates grades??? Probably another salty sorry excuse for a person such as yourself. If it is such an issue than why dont you publish a FACTS based article in some journal to expose the great travesty of inflated GPA’s. It is your head that is inflated my friend. You are truly misguided in your ASSumptions about things that you deem important when YOU are grading or spell-checking, or whatever it is you do as a judge. Judge this, no self-respecting teacher of any kind hands out grades to sub-par students (Although in your case I make exception). You should take those degrees you earned with YOUR inflated GPA and burn them because you are a disgrace to academia!!!! That one was seconded by several amused professor’s of mine. I hope no one really takes this nonsense seriously. I mean it is free and you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but please do not act as if these claims you make are factual. The mere fact that you choose to reply shows that you are full of it. If you want to help students than explain to them that you PERSONALLY believe this, instead of proclaiming things you have no proof of. So go ahead and come back with another sarcastic and snide comment that arose from your backside and not the thinking machine the rest of us use. I will now take my imaginary bow and exit stage left!!!

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Prince manilek August 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm

I can feel the inersia of peoples inconsideration for others accomplishments. I am about empowering others and to do this I have found that one must respect others individualistic potentials. after following these responses I can agree with one of the writers who suggest that the author has experienced a scaring in his past. However if the writer of this article would be clear of the context of his pain we could better empower him to channel his skills.
As for the article, I can agree that a GPA is not important when we find that in some arenas Who you know is more important that What you know. In this context it is unfair. Such people who benefits from this dishonesty to ethics would soon realize that they will still need to apply themselves.
This is the trend of thought that I presumed when I read this article. I would encourage my readers to apply themselves and cherish your accomplishments because nowone else will.

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Jill Connolly August 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm

ok, so I messed up on my gpa on my scholarship entries. I looked at my current transcripts and I actually have a 4.0 gpa, which is .2 points higher than my BA degree’s gpa that I used on my entries. Do I care? Not really because in my field (medical transcription) I need to perform at 98% accuracy and be quick about it. So I’m in a pass/fail program, but nobody passes unless they show the ability to perform to industry standards. I have a perfect gpa and didn’t know because I’m more concerned about learning. I’m learning so much more than I ever have before because I’ve never cared less about my GPA. I interpret Josh’s article as high GPAs are good but not all that special, you need something else too. I also see encouragement to those whose GPAs are not perfect. Laptop battery dying, can’t proofread this, sorry for any typos.

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Calia August 8, 2009 at 11:36 am

Seriously Annoyed 2:
All I can think to say to such a poorly edited and difficult to read flurry of baseless, naïve insults is this: Perhaps you ought to learn to express yourself better before discussing things as important and intricate as SCHOOLING. There are things called paragraphs and [return] spaces that not only make your argument somewhat more coherent, but also make people much more willing to read your drivel, as it breaks it down into more digestible blocks (if any of your argument can truly be digested, anyway). If you seriously type like this in school, then I can only assume that you don’t make the grades you claim to make, or are a victim of grade inflation yourself; in any of MY college classes at a supposedly “second-rate” public institute, an essay written like that would get you nothing better than a C and would likely have the teacher sending you to the writing tutors to make sure you were actually proficient enough to be in college.

As a college student with a relatively hum-drum high school GPA, I will say this: I’ve learned that my GPA doesn’t really matter as much as I thought it used to. I finished high school with a 3.35, and thought it would hold me back from going to one of the art institutes I had originally been aiming for. So, I applied to a much less expensive/prestigious state university, and I got in… but not because of my GPA. I got in because my application essay and test scores were, in the words of my advisor, phenomenal. I was told that had I applied elsewhere, it was likely that I would have been accepted regardless (although I’ve since decided that I much happier at my public institution, for the moment). My fiancé had an even lower GPA and got accepted into a private university on a half-tuition scholarship simply because he is such a diverse, well-spoken person. We are both looking to graduate magna cum laude soon, and would never have had this chance had we been judged solely by our GPAs.

So, yes, college admission officers and scholarship judges DO look at GPA. It is still factored in to everything else that you’ve done as a POSSIBLE baseline for how well you COULD do in college. However, for you deluded souls who, like Seriously Annoyed, think that your GPA is the be-all end-all to secure you a scholarship or admission, you will find yourselves sorely disappointed, because my fiancé and I are living proof that this sort of thinking is nothing but a fallacy.

Please, listen to Josh, because he has valuable advice: Talk about everything you’ve done for yourself, for your family, and for others, and don’t dwell too much on the numbers, because it can only hinder you in the long run.

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Kiara August 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

It’s really, very depressing to read this. And sadly, I realized it was true. And this makes it difficult, having made the goal to get Strait A’s and so on. What’s next? But I get it, and I honestly think everything written here, will totally help me get a scholarship. Yay for… who ever wrote this!~

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Josh Barsch August 10, 2009 at 9:14 am

Wow, let me thank you all again for the comments. Please keep them coming! I try to respond as quickly as I can:

Georgia: You’re welcome!

GPA: Yes, that’s true — as the GPAs get closer to 4.0, the number of folks with GPAs that high decreases, to be sure. It’s also true that the coursework MAY give us a better picture, but that’s only true if we’re familiar with the courses, which we almost never are. All we could go on would be course names and numbers, again, both of which vary widely in difficulty by school, and even teacher within the same school. Good points on both counts, though.

Seriously annoyed in GA: Keep up the hard work! The light at the end of the tunnel is coming, and it’s not a train to run over you. :)

Chicago: Exactly — employers couldn’t give a DAMN about your GPA, I promise you that. I have an entire other website for the “getting a job” side of things. Most of my attention is being spent on this site right now, so things aren’t quite in the best of shape over there right now, but you’re welcome to check it out at http://www.givemearesume.com.

Jack: I don’t have much knowledge of the Canadian system, but I hope you’re right! I know it isn’t a worldwide thing, that’s for sure.

Karen: I agree with you on all counts, and to be sure, yours is a more unique story than most others. Remember, again — it’s not that I hate high GPAs or that high GPAs are somehow bad. :) With this tip, I only mean to say that a high GPA alone will probably not make you a scholarship winner. Congrats on all your success, and here’s to continuing it!

Cat and K. Esto: I agree completely.

Chris and LW: Good point to bring up grad school, which is probably the place where GPA is still most highly valued. In grad school, you’re going to be doing more coursework for grades, and therefore looking at the grades you’re receiving in your current undergrad coursework makes sense. I think that, normally, a scholarship committee is looking at an applicant’s future in a broader sense, whereas a grad-school admissions committee is most concerned with how you’re going to perform in its graduate program, hence the higher emphasis on GPA.

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Josh Barsch August 10, 2009 at 9:54 am

Ste[hanie: That makes almost no sense at all. Try not to be so sensitive.

Anonymous: I think most scholarships ask for GPA simply because it’s a shortcut: they assume that’s a good way to weed out lesser candidates. It’s not wholly illogical to assume that those who work hard enough to get good grades are those who will work hard enough to pass courses in college, graduate, do great things, etc. There may be wonderful hard-case stories of promising students below the GPA threshhold, but most committees aren’t looking to take the time required to find those students, unfortunately. Again — remember that I’m not saying GPA is completely unimportant — I’m saying it alone will not deliver scholarship money.

Julia: Exactly. Thanks!

Jill: First of all, thanks for all of the posting you do throughout the site — I appreciate it a lot! Second, your attitude about learning and grades is exactly why homeschooled kids, as a rule, kick so much ass in secondary school and, later on, in college. One-on-one instruction and the focus on actual learning over grades will always, in my opinion, lead to a more successful student. I wish we could find a way to make this sort of thing available to more of our students nationwide.

Damola: Yes indeed, remember the first rule: follow directions. If they ask for it, give it.

Carly: I agree, and if the people here don’t necessarily take my advice, I hope they take yours. I’m a textbook example of someone who placed way too much emphasis on my GPA in school. I actually dropped a French minor (that I was enjoying!) halfway through the coursework because I thought I was about to get a B, which would’ve harmed my GPA at the time. A terrible and regretful decision. Now I speak rudimentary French at best. Anyway, yes — there is no reason to obsess over GPA versus learning. If you think a perfect GPA won’t get you into a great school, you’re wrong. (And don’t get me started about the mythical “good schools,” as if they’re the only ones where you can get a good education and form the foundations for a good life.). Focus on learning stuff, and high grades will follow. If they don’t follow with A’s, necessarily — well, you’re still better off.

Shante: Ambition is right. If your grades suffer because of your home situation, keep up the ambition and don’t let the lower GPA be the source of any shame.

A.I.: Thanks!

Jon: Congrats on the good GPA, for sure. What I’d say, though, is that while people may notice, it’s more common these days than it used to be and is less likely to sway things in your favor, whether it’s a scholarship or a job.

Seriously Annoyed 2: You are an odd fellow, that’s for sure. I’ll briefly comment on some of your issues, but I’ll save myself the typing of long arguments, since you seem impervious to things like logic and reasoning:

* I “claim” to have attended Boston University, Southeast Missouri State University (BA, ’96) and University of Missouri (MA, 99). I’m not sure why you ask if you’re not gonna believe me, but here are the facts, in case you ever become interested in things like facts.

* If you think grade inflation is merely my personal and imagined opinion, you need only Google “grade inflation” and “Harvard” together for the specific Harvard reference, where you’ll find a variety of news reports and studies. Google “grade inflation” and “epidemic” and you’ll find dozens more, generalized discussions of grade inflation (I’d give you the links, but I think we both know you need the practice).

* My schoolboy memories are actually pretty good! Lots of baseball, soccer, fun at school, hanging out with the local butcher who told me about all the agribusiness-tainted meat. It was enlightening childhood.

* Really, now. I put my first and last name on everything I say and stand by it. I tell the whole world where I’m from, where I went to school, what I do for a living, etc. You, however, hide behind names like “SERIOUSLY ANNOYED” and call me things like ASS and talk about my brain being small as a peanut (which is NOT true…It’s at least the size of a walnut, after all the professors inflated my head in college, thank you very much). And you say*I’m* the coward? Keep tryin’, partner. :)

Prince: Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you enjoyed the advice.

Kiara: You’re welcome!

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Carolyn Harrison August 12, 2009 at 6:57 am

That second one was definently a mind blower. To be honest I don’t really remember dwelling to much on my GPA if at all, but I could be wrong, its good to know what not to do when I write another essay. Truthfully I never thought that the government would let such and important thing like a GPA to become corrupted, but that just how it is I suppose. Thankyou for the tipe!

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Jessica August 13, 2009 at 11:55 am

This little blurb about gpa’s was just too funny! I’m not one to dwell on it, but I can only imagine what some of my achieving friends would have thought of this. ;B
Ahhh. I feel a little better now about my @.*# gpa!

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Mullins August 14, 2009 at 10:07 am

Wow. I guess people didn’t wait for it to sink in. In fact, they took it and ran into a different direction.

Guys, Mr. Barsch isn’t saying that you should stop working hard in school, or that the grade you get isn’t important at all. Really, getting good grades is important. I, myself, work very hard to get good grades but my GPA is a 3.29 in college.

Read the last paragraph in the article. He said, “But don’t dwell on it in your essay, or expect it to carry you to a scholarship victory. It won’t.”

He is just asking you to not dwell and brag about it in essays. Of course, if the scholarship is in your area, then I expect that a little dwelling on it would be helpful since people know how the school systems are. But if you live in Florida and are trying to get a scholarship from California, how much dwelling will do you good?

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Slacker in H.S. August 28, 2009 at 1:10 am

Just showing up to class meant I was getting a C in the classes I took at my High School. But the classes I took, which were the lowest my Advisor/Counselor would allow had a different type of view of the students in these classes compared to the College Prep and Advanced students. If you showed up and participated/half ass made an attempt you would get around a C.(in the classes that I took) I had no interest in going to college anytime during my H.S. years. I missed 26 days in the last 6 months of my senior year (most schools would fail you for that) I graduated with a 2.2308

5 years later I am waking-up and realizing that if I want to own a house/vehicle that I want (not can afford) I need a College education. My GPA has limited me in applying for soo many scholarships/apprenticeship programs, and even a few jobs with apprenticship programs that included 4 years of college.(needed a 3.0)

My point to all this is that even though some opportunities in life give no shit about your GPA there will allways be the places that do.
Had I taken advanced classes with how I looked at High School I would have failed but I got a 2.23 and passed (barely). There should be significant interest in the courses taken when looking at a GPA in the 4.0 grading scale. Maybe a slackers version and a college prep version in H.S. to make a 4.0 an above and beyond normal intelligence thing again how I got a 2.23 I’ll never know, I showed up slept through as many classes as I could usually got kicked out and left school. A kid with a 2.23 in a college prep class might have been bustin their butt to get that. But attendance and class participation was my grade. It’s not right/fair.
I was able to get a Business school to accept my transcript somehow. Startin college in a month. I encourage all you High School PPL to keep your GPA’s good(most good things require 3.0 and above) irreguardless that most scholarship places dont want you to dwell on it/they see so many it doesn’t register what you have achieved anymore. Good luck to all you people… Josh your comments were great

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Bethe August 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm

What about grades at the University level? Profs do not give good grades to save someone’s self esteem! Furthermore, a high G.P.A. in a rigorous program and in courses such as Organic Chemistry is not very common!

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blaaaaaaah September 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

way to make everyone feel terrible. i have a 3.7. i worked hard. and i know it.

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Anonymous September 22, 2009 at 5:04 am

coming from a country which does not use GPA, it was a new thing to me. I had to ask for help, so if the scholarship is considered international then should not matter a lot or if it should , then it should be explained clearly.

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professor September 23, 2009 at 8:23 pm

If the GPA doesnt matter, why do they ask for it on scholarship forms? In a nutshell, its just setting the prospective recepient up for failure.

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Cathy D. October 19, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I still believe that even though one has the highest grade, his performance still depends as to how he conquers the challenges in his life and how he performs in his chosen profession later on. Some with the highest GPA and graduated with the highest honor in school even failed their licensure examination. Others who have the lowest grade or average grades do well in real life situations because they are more exposed to real life problems and have had experiences to hurdle situations compared to the A-graders who are locked up in the four corners of the classroom and have not foreseen what the real world really looks like and how it works and in that case, are left behind. Judge Barsch is thus correct in his bases for the scholarship. Quality matters more than Quantity.

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shanaye October 21, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I hear what you are saying because in PG county we have this jacked up grading scale that makes children who are not working hard feel good and the one’s who have been working hard feel like that don’t have to even go to class. The grading scale , School Max, is totally a disaster,but hey the government funded it! I just have always been guided to make a note of your academic accomplishments via your over all G.P.A.

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Bertha Reyes October 23, 2009 at 11:24 pm

In my opinion now a days if you want to get a scholarship, a high GPA is required, most of scholarship application asks you for 3.00 or even higher. This is why through out high school i tried on not screwing up on my grades and as a result my GPA is 3.47. This is why i think in a way your GPA matters because it shows how much you work in your academic achievements. Even though there might have been obstacles, because with just one year of a screw up it goes into your GPA.

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Ima Idiot November 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm

U all shur r a bunch of idots…you all mispel so miny werds that whut ever point your trying to make is blown away by you’re lack of speling ability….dumass

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Brittany Imada November 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I like your advice, but it is best to have a good GPA, because often it is required that you have at least a 3.0 GPA, for your essay to even get to the judges. Although, I do agree that it is not all that important to flaunt your GPA in the essay.

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Tiborwu Moses Nakoja December 18, 2009 at 7:47 am

Please iam really sufffering. I grew up with only my father in a broken home. my and my father was a poor farmer, and as at now he is old he cannot more farm. and my mother is not there to support me and i have no help from anywhere. i was admitted to a senior High school in a district capital of 16miles away from my village.so i had to farm for months before i could get the admission fee. and the time i reached the school,it is about mid term.aft4er the admission fee was paid,i didn’t have money to cook since it was a day school. so i was in the school whilst goig to farm in order to earn a living during the week ends, and if i come back in the evening iam exhausted i cannot do any reading.i requested for sponsorship from the district but had no response.i couldn’t buy any pamphlet since there was no any help from anywhere.after we are vacated from school i will foot 16miles before i reach home, as for the footing i had no problem with it because i always foot for long journeys but what worried me too much is that after footing to the house there is no food to eat.whilst other students are relaxing and reading iam seriously farming in order to get food to eat.iam struggling with my father as at this time.i managed to complete the senior high school but could not finish paying my fees.But they also saw how i was suffering and pardoned me.now the results is out,for the testiary institutions i had wish i use the same style i used in the senior high school to complete but the fees are too high which i cannot afford and iam not seeing any help from anywhere. so please pardon me or else i don’t know what to do again. Thank you

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Idih sunday December 19, 2009 at 11:24 am

You will agry with me, to achieve 3.0 or 4.0 depend on your teacher and through your personal effort.what may go down well you may not go down well another. some student understand vibal reading, why some understand catoon and some need to be explain to. student who dont achieve A grade,we should not view them as duller,a lot of things might contribute to their failiure. some time procastination added to it, do not put what you can do today till tomorrow.some will not read there book untill exams is arrond the coner, may be two weeks a ahead, and it is impossible for to read and digest your book under two weeks befor exams.I Urge student to raed there book before hand.Thank you

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Shelly December 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm

What I find unfortunate about this is that, a low GPA can hurt you, but a high GPA wont help you. So, if I can’t use my GPA to show that I am a hard working and dedicated student, what can I use?

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kboozie666 January 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm

yall are gay. forreal

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O Sam I am February 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Loved it! This is just so true. I have heard time and time again about grade inflation in my sons’ school. They work hard while the person next to them does no studying, flunks his test, and still gets a B in the class. So, yes some work hard for their good grades while others are just being given good grades.

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Bridget February 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Josh,
I love this website. It is very refreshing to read the truth for once instead of total BS.
It is so true with the inflated grades. Yes, there are those people who did work really hard for their high GPA and then there can be people with 4.0 GPAs who barely come to class. The community college I attended was a joke. I could spend fifteen hours working really hard on an essay that the teacher was extremely impressed with and get a 97. And the person next to me would slap one together in about two hours, have tons of errors all through it, wasn’t even organized, and would receive a 92. These same people consistently made the dean’s list also. Most of them were only showing up to class because they were laid off from plants and the government offered to pay them unemployment for two years and their full college tuition for two years. I can’t be mad at the students though. Our dumb government wants to throw away money to people who really don’t want to be in school and they will come out with an associates degree and still not be able to show anything for it. Annoyed or whoever it was that posted earlier needs to wake up. Teachers are not these highly respectable people who do nothing wrong. They will give out good grades because it makes them look better. Some will also cut the curriculum short and skip chapters because they don’t want to have to grade the extra papers.

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Landen February 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Ya, I think you need to explain to me why I am getting all the scewup emails. #1 I did not provide any argument for ANY religious or political opinion of mine or anyone elses. #2 Nor did I did mention anything about my grades except when asked what my GPA is on the first page simply because they AREN’T amazing and I have NOTHING to brag about. So why are you sending me these emails when I haven’t even MENTIONED either of these issues?

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Valerie March 7, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Plainly it’s a criteria not a bragging rite.
It is also measure that you are doing what you should to maintain a scholarship that is renewable.

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Jennalee March 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Hey, just because someone’s GPA may be low now doesn’t mean the person can’t improve himself/herself academically in the future. People should be graded based on effort too. When teachers give good grades just to make the students look better, it does some damage to the student’s self-esteem. Also, it doesn’t really tell the student what he is doing right or wrong. I would like to know what I’m doing right or wrong in a class, rather than just be given a good grade.

My mother works over 70 hours a week just to put my three siblings and I through college all at once, my father is unemployed and recovering from cancer surgery, my stepfather works 60 hours a week, and my stepmother works 40 hours a week, they all work entry-level jobs. Aside from that, I have this mild/high-functioning form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. So these scholarships would really help me a lot with getting through school and getting my bachelor’s degree.

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Lori March 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

This article is completely not true when you’re applying for college and the admissions officer responsible for your area knows the rigor of the high school.

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Amy April 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I really really hope Mr. Barsch is right about all this, and I hope college admissions officers see it the same way. Throughout high school, I’ve taken the most challenging courses that my school offers and will have taken 10 APs by the time I graduate. However, I now have somewhere between a 3.5 and a 3.6 — an alright GPA, but certainly nothing that would stand out or meet Ivy league standards. I’ve sacrificed having a higher GPA for having a well-rounded high school experience, filled with sports, student government, lots of extra curriculars, volunteering, and good times with friends.

I’ve focused on learning more than grades, and I have NEVER grade-grubbed, begging a teacher to raise my grade at the end of the semester. I know lots of people who do this, and I find it very unfair to those of us who actually earn their grades rather than beg teachers to raise a grade to an undeserved higher grade for the sake of a GPA. But that’s another issue.

I definitely agree about the grade inflation phenomenon and how the quality of schools around the country varies to a huge extent. This is why colleges look at the SAT, a standardized test that is at least fair in the respect that it’s the same for everyone in the country.

You go, Carly! Seriously Annoyed is ridiculous.

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Newb April 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

These tips and comments really help a young student, who is a junior in high school and just starting the process. Keep ’em coming, because I have high aspirations and I intend on doing them! 😀

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Christina April 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I’d like to preface this comment by saying that I was the student to which the email was sent and after reading all these comments I almost feel bad for Josh. Yeah his criticism was tough, but it totally makes sense in context to my essay.

I spent a paragraph of my essay describing my academic history because there was some extreme fluctuation from my undergraduate GPA to my current graduate GPA. Now while I think this technique is helpful and noteworthy for applying to doctorate programs that look at your complete academic past, it makes sense that it wouldn’t be correct for scholarships (unless of course they are using the same thorough method of selection). However, considering the fact that most scholarship programs only select candidates through the submission of essays, it was silly of me to waste time explaining my past when I could have spent more time on what I plan to do in the future.

So to conclude, lay off of Josh because what he is saying makes sense and in the end he’s really putting a lot of time and effort into helping us get money for our education.

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Christina April 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

PS: I’m not sweet-talking… just making sure everyone has the facts before they lay judgment.

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faith April 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Anyway i don’t really have much to say.But i must confess to you that i will be able to defend my GPA any day any time,you may think with my GPA i can’t go any were but i am going somewhere that know man can tell about it.I want you to know that i am a favored child

Please also note this down.For the fact that a student made a high GPA does not make that student to be the best deliverable student..My GPA is my own brain not with computer.

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Rana Athar Latif April 18, 2010 at 3:11 am

I agree wit the statement of Faith .
Anyway i don?t really have much to say.But i must confess to you that i will be able to defend my GPA any day any time,you may think with my GPA i can?t go any were but i am going somewhere that know man can tell about it.I want you to know that i am a favored child

Please also note this down.For the fact that a student made a high GPA does not make that student to be the best deliverable student..My GPA is my own brain not with computer.

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LDreamChick April 23, 2010 at 3:49 am

I understand that students shouldn’t be bragging about a GPA on a scholarship like it’s impossible for anyone else to achieve such a number. After all, if you’re graded on an A-F scale….and that’s all you have to work with…there’s gonna be a bunch of people with A’s. It’s cocky to suggest otherwise. I mean how arrogant would a student look if they said please give me a scholarship because I made a score of 100. There are lots of kids who make perfect scores on tests.

However, saying GPAs are irrelevant is a different story. After all, a poor GPA and high test scores could be the reason that colleges who have very little time to look over applications will reject your application before seeing your high test scores. Or having a high GPA with bad test scores could make a university think twice. After all, you could just be a bad test taker. Also, good GPAs in college make you competitive for graduate school for the same reason. They’re a scale with which to gauge if someone is good at what they do, just like resume’s can list that someone is “fluent” in a language. Maybe there’s still stuff to be learned, but they’ve achieved a level on a scale.

A GPA plays a role in whether you meet requirements for scholarships. If a student with a 2.0 disregarded the fact that their competition will be people with 4.0s and possibly better skills, they may miss out on a scholarship that better suits them, like the ones that target kids who struggled in school but haven’t given up.

GPA are the reason that overachievers can spend 5 days rewriting and proofreading their draft, and feel upset when they only get a B. Without a GPA they wouldn’t have to worry about that one grade.

Also, you said that GPAs can fluctuate based on school. So maybe the advice you should give students who discuss their GPA is to make sure they explain why that’s a big deal in the context of other schools because although the judges know that GPA significance varies by school, it doesn’t mean that they will take out the time to be fair and do the research on their own. After all, they’re regularly people with lives and responsibilities, and time constraints. It’s the students responsibility to sell themselves to the scholarship, not to expect the judges to do it.

I also wanted to say that just because someone in Harvard made an A over someone in some state school that doesn’t mean that students in less demanding schools aren’t setting themselves above the other average kids at their school. Maybe the material is less challenging in comparison to other schools but that doesn’t mean the student didn’t work hard to stand out. So I think it’s really disappointing to hear that judges are only looking for the best from the best schools, since I imagine they’re the best for a reason…like already having the financial resources to go to great private schools. Course that’s a generalization also, so I’m sure some of those are kids who pulled themselves up by their boot straps. I just happen to think without access to great education, you can’t expect people to necessarily have the means to find it. And yes maybe another school would give them lower grades…but that’s irrelevant because the student is not in a different school. If we want all students in America to be internationally competitive, we have to stop quitting on the kids who don’t achieve as well as you’d like, not destroying their opportunities to improve.

I guess what offends me about your writing is the fact that you make the assertion that kids should be punished so that they will work harder. I mean I comprehend the logic that negative consequences can scare someone into doing thing differently. But I mean in years of parents abusing their insolent children, I’ve only seen the kids pretend to be disciplined in front of the violent person, and then be themselves elsewhere. Shouldn’t we instead focus on the child’s personality and the good things, so that they will stop doing the bad things for attention?

The argument you brought up about someone deciding its important not to destroy a kids self-esteem and to instead let them be uneducated, is an exaggeration and biased account of what people were actually trying to do. I’m not arguing whether that giving people grades they don’t deserve is right. But I am saying that people who were thinking about this weren’t doing it because they thought kids should stay stupid. That’s a very narrow interpretation, that sounds almost like you’re feeling bitter.

Some people who spent years studying statistics researched “learned hopelessness” to find that when a kid lives in a horrible environment, like an abusive home, where no one helps them if they’re struggling, then goes to school where their teacher ignores them, then has peers beat them up and reject them, and then they get a bad grade where the instructor SIMPLY gives them a D or F without explanation or interest in why the student isn’t performing, many (NOT ALL) students could start to rationalize that there’s no point in trying. This is because people have this little thing called “ego” and they tend to experience cognitive dissonance if they love themselves but everyone else seems to hate them. They either have to agree that they’re awful, or think that everyone else is wrong to make sense of it all. To protect what little self-esteem they have they start conceptualizing that the world is a bad place where everyone wants to hurt them and no one will ever give them a fighting chance. With those odds, would any sane person continue to push against the resistance? That’s equivalent to being locked in a cage and getting shocked if you touch the bars but repeatedly doing it hoping something different will happen. I believe some have defined insanity as doing something repeatedly while expecting different results. If you restrict kids, don’t be surprised if they don’t have the imagination to consider options outside of the normal restrictions. The proponents of positive grading were trying to help these kids so that they wouldn’t just turn to a life of crime, drugs, violence, and survival strategies that will make the country worse as a whole.

Everyone doesn’t deserve an A. But if we don’t want everyone to end up illiterate, uneducated, and cooking unhealthy fast food to make a living before becoming homeless if anything unexpected uses up their wages, we need to focus on those students instead of thinking that giving them a bad grade is going to make them think twice. But I don’t think those kids would even be applying to scholarships, so I don’t even know why we’d take a shot at them while talking about tips for kids who are trying to get into college.

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Bella April 26, 2010 at 7:14 pm

The educational system in the US is is SO beyond rediculous. If GPA’s mean nothing now its not only because of ‘grade-inflation’ its also due to the fact that it seems like every bloody school does GPA’s differently. In high school, some have 10 point scales and some have 7, some offer more honors or AP classes than others. From my personal experience I agree that GPA’s doesn’t mean much, especially HS GPA’s. I went to a HS that Newsweek ranked as 52nd in the nation in 2007 (I graduated 08) it was public and I graduated with a lackluster 3.0 (we had a 7 point scale, and yes I took AP classes)—I was simply lazy and unremarkable at best compared with alot of my hyper intelligent and involved classmates. The best part is that I drove 45 mins every day to and from this HS but if I had gone to the HS that was 5 mins from my house I probably would have graduated with a 5.something and been at the VERY top of my class…without ever breaking a sweat. Now that I’m in college GPA’s are still rediculous. Some schools have 10 point scales and don’t to the plus and minus thing (so a 90 is a 4.0) and some do so a 90 is an A minus. I have an awesome GPA in college 3.89 and I’ve only gotten two B’s since I’ve been in college–but since my school doesn’t do the plus and minus thing, my B’s are 3.0’s, which significantly dropped my GPA. I have found an instance in which GPA does matter, very much so, and that is within a university. I’m a Nursing major and my university’s nursing school is very competitive to get into, so my high GPA was very useful there. Also, my school gives me thousands in scholarships every year–of course my GPA means something to them, because it came from them. I also get alot of money from the state because of my grades (I go to a state school). I guess when comes to scholarships or programs within a university or at the state level GPA is useful. Its sad to think that when I apply to Grad School, my GPA will be close to meaningless. I’ll probably graduate with a great GPA and I’ve taken harder classes than were necessary for my major (because I was Pre med) but that won’t amount to very much at all. Oh well, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I always have one of the highest grades, if not the highest, in all of my classes—and trust me, as a blonde girl whose been brushed off as stupid my whole life, I find GREAT satifaction in that fact :)

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Robin April 28, 2010 at 8:19 am

I think what concerns me abot the idea of relying less and less on GPA is – how are the decisions going to be made then? Not just for scholarships, but for admissions. The last thing we need is to become more reliant on things like the SAT which have been shown to have biases and be poor predictors of college success. I don’t know if I buy the idealist idea that college admissions committees will just start focusing on the well rounded applicant – they love numbers to be able to easily differentiate candiates.

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Simone May 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

It is nice to know that other qualities in a student are better looked into nowadays. I am not a person who prides myself on my grades because first of all they have never been all that great, and second I know that I have a talent that will override my grades if I am given a chance. I am horrible in most of my math classes but stellar in all of my english classes, it has always been that way for me. That is why I chose a major that deals with english to some extent (Screenwriting).

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Simone May 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I agree with Christina, it is called constructive criticism and if you cannot handle it you will not make it in the real world. I agree with Josh also, GPA does not matter that much. Yes, it is important but there are so many other things that colleges and scholarship sponsors look for in a student. They want to see that you can do great things outside of the classroom.

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AWoke Kassa May 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

Dear
Josh,
how are you i am so fine. what evere you give me device for me it is crucial to apply in future life career . to winn the scholarship eventhough GPA that not the measure of skill and knoledge of student as i know in the learning exiperanes of 15 years some students score A by simple drink the handout page to page and paste to the exame paper like cupy paste and also it varies from university to university as i know in our country Ehtiopia have 23 universitys in 2008 from this university i was won the domestic scholarship and i am learning my Msc in Harmaya university and i need scholarship from you PhD FOR the coming 2011 becuase of now i am doing my Msc thesis i.e was selected on the practical knoweldge and the grading system of the university by computing from other university found inthe country Amo university better than other University(i was recived from this University my Bsc in animal production ) in my feild of study in our university with 3.16 GPA but in other University udergragruate was have more thanI have scored the GPA so that GPA defintely not criterial to choose students from scholarship that much important that why i preciated shch grading system in our country Ethiopia

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faith May 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

Am not in the USA so our grading is quite different so do you consider that aspect to or use the one of the USA otherwise the grading is to competitive but is their other factors considered apaart from the grading.

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Nathanael June 9, 2010 at 5:48 am

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you on most points. Grade inflation is very real these days. For example, at the university I currently attend, 85% is still considered 4.0 out of 4. This means that you can get one out of every six questions wrong, and still get the highest grade point possible. This has the unfortunate consequence of discriminating against harder working students, by making their extra work useless, all so that those who need to improve don’t have to be told so. This, I think, is ridiculous and a consequence of our society’s desire to “prove” that we’re all doing fine, and that we don’t need any help, least of all a Saviour.

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Natalie June 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

What about class rank? Is that pointless to attempt to include, too?

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DanaLC June 11, 2010 at 7:36 am

Josh isn’t saying GPA doesn’t matter at all. Yes, scholarship/grant organizations ask for it. But it does not mean to make it your essay topic. You post it on the form in the right spot and move on. If all you have to offer when requesting a scholarship is a high GPA then you don’t have enough to win scholarships.

Yes, it matters when applying to universities and colleges–to a point. But it is not everything and in itself will not save you from being turned down. It is only one point.

Most groups that grant money do need to have some basic requirements for application so they can limit the amount of applications they must sift through. Sorry folks but they are only human and there are only so many hours in a day. This means that they do not have the staff or time to read applications from every human being on the planet. So they came up with a set of standards–GPA, financial situation, degree being pursued, etc… Yes GPA is asked for when applying but your essay better talk about more than I got a 3.5 GPA, which is why most also want to know about extra corriculars, if you volunteer, or work… You get the idea.

GPA is just one part of the equation and when all applying have a 3.0 or above that is no longer the deciding factor of who gets the money. Sorry but true. It’s like a scholarship for women you have to be female to apply–but everyone that applies for it is female–so don’t make it the end all be all of your application.

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DanaLC June 11, 2010 at 7:41 am

Landen, You get the e-mails probably because you are on the mailing list. At some point you sent in an essay or contacted the site for something and were asked for your e-mail. So every topic Josh post a blog or newletter about automatically gets sent to you.

That’s why it is called a mailing list. If you don’t want to receive them just go to the bottom of the e-mail and click the unsubscribe link. Simple.

This site/newsletter is ment to send information on getting scholarships and relevent info on that topic. So yeah, some people over brag on their GPA, some rant about religion and politics in their essays, etc… Josh is just telling folks things that can, and often do, result in not winning the scholarship. It is just information. Information that you signed up to get at some point.

The newsletters are not personal attacks on you. They are general, for everyone who gets the e-mails. They cover a variety of topics. Not just what is important to you. So if you don’t want to unsubscribe and the topic does not apply to your situation just delete the message. It will be less annoying to the rest of us then you posting that “this” doesn’t apply to you. As if everything that happens on the internet is about you. So relax, it is not personal. It is a newsletter/blog post that you asked to receive. You don’t want it now. Fine. Unsubscribe.

Thank you.

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Tressa June 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I am an adult student that decieded what I wanted to be when I grew up at 38. The fact of a GPA not mattering I believe is true to a degree. I strongly believe that teachers are afraid to give students poor grades due to the fear of loosing funding, backlash from the parents, and lack of support from the administration. I find this sad because when I went to school, and no it wasn’t when dinosaurs roamed, I had to be accountable and earn my grades. I have a daughter that is in 7th grade and her grades were a huge struggle this year. I have to say I made her accountable for her grades and in turn she is going to summer school. I think we need to get back to the day when grades made a difference and they were earned not given to keep everyone happy.

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Emole June 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

Anyway, that blog is informative on getting a scholarship but i dont think it will make me to stop making good GPA or devalue the 4.0 GPA i have already earned due to hard work whether there is a nationawide grade-inflation epidemic or not.

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Niall O'Connor September 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I agree with you Emole, be proud of your efforts in school. It is an excellent personal accomplishment. But just realize that besides your friends, family,and yourself, no one else is really going to care about your marks. Marks are an indication of how much you learned, but they are not necessarily an accurate indicator. People will only know how bright you are by what you say, do and write.

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Sophia July 17, 2010 at 6:29 am

Dear Judge Josh,
I understand the fact that most scholarship applicants apply with a GDP of around 3.00 to 4.00 and this shared characterisitic makes it unimportant. But at least I’m glad I don’t need to dwell on it to carry me to a scholarship victory. I guess the things that make me unique matter most and I just love being the one in the million. Besides, GPA’s cannot project the experiences I have gone through in life, my participation in extra-curricular and communal activities nor my dealings with people of different cultures.However, I will not be deterred in getting a good GPA because it just brings a smile on my face knowing that my hard work has paid off- even though others might have the same GPA as I do.

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Niall O'Connor September 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more Judge Josh. Marks have become so irrelevant, no one really cares about your marks unless they are really low. This is particularly true for most employers. I have been to many job interviews over my life and have never once been asked about my academic marks. The only time anyone may care is if you have to have a certain minimum mark to be accepted into a post-grad program or receive a scholarship.

Also the meaning of marks is so variable between schools and also depending on when you got the marks. Fr example, back in highschool in 1989, my brother (who is a Hisotry genius) graduated with the highest mark in History class with an 87%. By today’s standards that would be considered a pretty medicore mark, certainly not a top of the class grade.

Currently I am in a Masters program and most students, including myself, expect to get marks in the mid-90’s. So for me, I couldn’t care less what my marks are as getting a 95% an an essay is fairly meaningless, it simply means you did the essay properly.

When I see someone’s resume that highlights their marks, my thoughts are that the person must be a recent graduate with little work experience if they feel the need to mention their marks, and/or they have few accomplishments to mention so they focus on talking about their grades (rather than on, say, what they actually learned during their program)

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seriously disturbed October 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm

seriously annoyed: you’re a business student and talk about the hard work you have to do for your classes, haha. try bme and see if you cut it. everyone double majors in business and math for the grade boost

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Tessa October 26, 2010 at 3:34 am

Since im not in the USA, and i dnt know how their education system is, i will strongly disagree with you Josh, GPA in our continent an specifically in our country matters alot if one has to be considered legible for a scholarship, im not gonna say anything in anyones favour or satisfaction, just telling the truth that i know, my GPA isnt bad at all, yet there are students out there with higher ones then mine, yet i dont allow that to deter me to apply for a scholarship, since GPA doesnt matter, great then, all applicants are therefore legible for a scholarship,

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Ted Fogal November 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I am enjoying the e-mail that I have received from you and the GPA comments are right on point. It has been 33 years since I was in school and I have no clue what grading system they used. I know that I was an average student. The other headaches about applying for schlorships are that I never thought that I be in this situation about going back to school. When I lost my right foot in 2004 and homeless after getting out of the hospital I was devastated. But I thought if I put down those things that it would hinder my schlorship chances.

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Viva Mexico November 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm

viva la revolusion!! g.p.a is give pase again

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Adah oyigocho stanley November 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Good day sir, are u saying those who are applying for the scholarship should not give a G.p.a

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Stephanie January 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

I am currently attending a community college. My financial aid is carrying me for now, but for my 3rd and 4th year of my undergrad I will need scholarships. Does my college GPA matter as little as a high school GPA??

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Blake January 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

It’s a good thing that my GPA isn’t all that important, because I don’t care about my GPA anyway. I’m not trying to achieve a 4.0; I’m trying to achieve excellence in every activity I do.

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lilian.kunyihagmail.com January 21, 2011 at 6:09 am

I am very happy to know that my GPA is not important at all but my interest is to achieve my goal and help build the econony

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lilian njambi Kunyiha January 21, 2011 at 6:29 am

I am very happy to know that my GPA is not important but my main interest is to achieve my goals and help build the economy

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lilian njambi Kunyiha January 21, 2011 at 6:32 am

I am very happy to know that my GPA is not important for me to win a scholarship but my main interest is to achieve my goals and help build the eccnomy

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Hussein Hawawu January 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

GPA, really does not mean anything, since parents and students alike pass through the backdoor to get better GPA. thus output should be the hallmark if industries are to achieve their targets.

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Brendan March 8, 2011 at 8:51 am

I agree about GPA – at my high school over 60% of the senior class is on the honor roll, most on the A honor roll. Impressive… until you look at their junior standardized test scores and find that only 20% were proficient or above on the state testing and by ACT standards less than 5% were prepared to succeed in college!

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Monica Cosgrove March 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

To be perfectly honest, only one part of this bothered me. It was the assumption that today’s students are brighter than ever. This is simply not true. Today’s students, if anything, are lazier than ever. I have sat in classes in which the professor literally gives the test to the students as a study guide, gives the answers, and then the class average on the exam is still only a 78. Now, sitting on a scholarship committee, it would appear that nearly everyone has a high GPA. After all, that’s generally who is applying for thed scholarships, those with high academic standing. However, the fact is, not everyone is in high academic standing, and it is not true that every bachelors is equal in work load to another. I’m a psychology minor for example. I don’t have to buy my books for my psychology classes to get an A in them, which is why it became my minor rather than my major 2 years in. On the other hand, if I tried to go through a class in formal logic without owning the book or going to class, I’d be hard pressed to even pass the class, much less get an A. The area of study should be taken into account as well, rather than just assuming that everyone has a high GPA now or that students are brighter today than they were in the past. But, that’s just my two cents.

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This is too funny... March 22, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I’m laughing so badly from seeing these 4.0ers whining and bitching that their high GPAs don’t mean squat for college admissions and scholarships.

Face the facts, national test scores are far more important than GPA.
My 2210 SAT score opened up doors to the most prestigious colleges in the nation (I attend Princeton now), and I pay absolutely NOTHING to attend. Despite my horrendous 3.42 high school GPA, I managed to get my ass into an Ivy.

Currently, I make a few bucks working in the admissions office. The things I hear while working there are completely different than what their ad-coms tell students.
One of the things they mention from time to time is that a high test score can make up for a low GPA, but a high GPA CAN NEVER make up for a low test score.

P.S. Not saying GPA is completely irrelevant.

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dana August 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm

honestly, i totally agree with this. its the effort that a student puts in to learn what they need to learn. the GPA and grades are just like ages. you can be 46 years old and act like an 18 year old. it doesnt matter what age you are, its just a number. same thing with grades and GPAs .. their just number to see how you rate to others. whats important though, is the fact that a number determines if you will be able to pass a class… which i think is lame. but this is a good point though, grades are nothing but major hype that mankind created.

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Amony Malle December 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

My point about GPA. GPA is a rate of number only for high school and college to see who the highest students or not. Its really matter about the student who willing to put effort in school and college to get a higher GPA or not. GPA is a motivation for students to put effort in school and college; maybe not. Its really depend on the students. Yes, in high school students GPA is 3.0 and up, BUT when they enter in college the GPA went down to a 2.0 because it really depend on the students effort or they try their best an end up to get a 2.0 in the first semester. Sometime is not a good ideas to always look at the GPA because is only the number rate of students and never know or see the effort the students put in high school or college.

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Amony Malle December 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I could say look at some famous people that never go school and they achieved to their dreams and hope. I could say what is matter the most is the effort who put in to achieved their goals and dreams. Even my GPA is low, I use that GPA to be my motivation and I willing to stand strong to achieve my dreams.

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