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Author Topic: US GPA Inflation  (Read 12502 times)

radar1

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US GPA Inflation
« on: October 13, 2006, 01:08:40 AM »
I posted some of this as a response in another section of this board, but I thought I'd put it up here to get feedback from some other Canadians.

Basically, if there's one thing that's got me worked up more than anything else in the process of applying to American schools, it is being ripped off with my GPA conversion.

I just fing that there is a huge descrepancy in the relevant grading scales between Canada & the US.

I was a Poli Sci major in Canada, and getting 70s in a course or on a paper was considered pretty good. Heck, "Honours" standing was 70% or above.  When the ocassional 80s came along, I was thrilled.  I never knew anyone who got 90s in a Poli Sci course.  I had one prof who said that in his 20 years of teaching, he had only ever given one 90.

I've spent quite a lot of time in the states, and when I tell American students this - they think it's ridiculious.  My girlfriend (an American) graduated as a Psych major with a 3.9 GPA. Now, she's very smart - but the smartest psych students I know in Canada could never pull off the equivelent of that here. If they write an AMAZING paper, they will get a high 80, and be greatful for it.

Many american students have the mentality that anything under like a 3.8 is a bad mark - obviously there is a huge problem with grade inflation in the states.

It doesn't add up.. for example - here's how I'm getting SCREWED by LSAC on my GPA conversion.... This is what LSAC's report for me says:

NOTES: ACADEMIC HONOURS
GPA: 2.90

Now, I have a feeling I'm not the first Canadian to apply to an American Law School, so I figure I'll just put a blurb in my personal statement about the bad conversion, and hope that admissons departments will understand my situation.

Anyone have any thoughts on that?


farouk

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2006, 07:01:02 AM »
Ummm.....I'm an economics and poli sci major in Canada, and I'm sitting on a 4.04 LSAC GPA right now (hoping to pull it up to 4.08 or more by the summer), so it's not like it's impossible to have a competitive GPA from Canada.

I think the problem may be that the US has different values for its letter grades.  If your school reports an A as an "85" on your transcript, LSAC will give you a 3.3 or something for it; if your school reports an A as an "A", then they'll give you a 4.0 for it.

If your school reports number grades, you should write an addendum and get your school to confirm that an 85 does convert to an A (or whatever) at your school.  If this is not the case, well then you're fvcked.

ouchitburns

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2006, 01:03:12 PM »
My GPA also converted nicely, but I am aware that some places, especially those that grade in percentages, do get screwed over.

So, probably, you are going to have to take some initiative. Phone the schools you are interested in, explain the issue, and find out what they suggest.

You won't change LSAC, but law schools MAY take an addendum into account.

good luck.


FossilJ

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2006, 01:11:37 PM »
I posted some of this as a response in another section of this board, but I thought I'd put it up here to get feedback from some other Canadians.

Basically, if there's one thing that's got me worked up more than anything else in the process of applying to American schools, it is being ripped off with my GPA conversion.

I just fing that there is a huge descrepancy in the relevant grading scales between Canada & the US.

I was a Poli Sci major in Canada, and getting 70s in a course or on a paper was considered pretty good. Heck, "Honours" standing was 70% or above.  When the ocassional 80s came along, I was thrilled.  I never knew anyone who got 90s in a Poli Sci course.  I had one prof who said that in his 20 years of teaching, he had only ever given one 90.

I've spent quite a lot of time in the states, and when I tell American students this - they think it's ridiculious.  My girlfriend (an American) graduated as a Psych major with a 3.9 GPA. Now, she's very smart - but the smartest psych students I know in Canada could never pull off the equivelent of that here. If they write an AMAZING paper, they will get a high 80, and be greatful for it.

Many american students have the mentality that anything under like a 3.8 is a bad mark - obviously there is a huge problem with grade inflation in the states.

It doesn't add up.. for example - here's how I'm getting SCREWED by LSAC on my GPA conversion.... This is what LSAC's report for me says:

NOTES: ACADEMIC HONOURS
GPA: 2.90

Now, I have a feeling I'm not the first Canadian to apply to an American Law School, so I figure I'll just put a blurb in my personal statement about the bad conversion, and hope that admissons departments will understand my situation.

Anyone have any thoughts on that?




This depends on the school you go to.  You could've gone to a different school that handed out real grades.  Good going.  HTFH.
Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

asdfjkl

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2006, 09:00:09 PM »
what school did you go to sdeeyre? does your transcript have letter grades and percentages, or just percentages alone?

I second the notion that schools will consider an addendum....also perhaps consider having your recommenders write something about the grading system, and/or include a letter from the department head. I think that applying early would help you - the admissions people will have more time to review your transcript and addendum carefully since fewer people apply early.

CNB

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2006, 07:46:35 AM »
There's a thread a few spaces down about conversion of GPA for Canadians.
In it I describe one situation where the GPA was going to be reduced from a 4.0 to a 3.46 due to the grades being reported numerically instead of as letter grades.
I ended up phoning LSAC on the issue and asking if there is any kind of appeal process before we apply.
The answer was...

Apply first and see what the conversion works out to.

If the conversion is unfair, then have the registrar from your UG school call LSAC with your LSAC account number, they are willing to revise your GPA somewhat based on the conversation with the registrar.

I asked if this were a common problem, and was told yes, they are aware of the problem, and they do this all the time for Canadians.

So to the OP, there's a solution you may wish to try.  I haven't got to the point of doing it yet, but plan to.

So it turns out you may be able to change LSAC.

Geo_Storm

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2006, 11:13:01 PM »
I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that the OP went to UofT or Queen's.
BTW, that LSAC report also shows the average LSAC GPA of all applicants who had their transcripts "tampered" with by LSAC. If your if indeed high vs the average it'll still show. Also, I talked to one adcomm and she said that they also look at how your mark compares against the average marks in the class. But otherwise, GPA deflation does suck
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thegourmetpig

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2006, 10:46:48 AM »
not all american schools have grade inflation. some have deflation, started as a response to inflation. like my school. which sucks. just write a letter.
Michigan '12

Doraemon

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2006, 08:47:19 PM »
I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that the OP went to UofT or Queen's.
BTW, that LSAC report also shows the average LSAC GPA of all applicants who had their transcripts "tampered" with by LSAC. If your if indeed high vs the average it'll still show. Also, I talked to one adcomm and she said that they also look at how your mark compares against the average marks in the class. But otherwise, GPA deflation does suck

UofT's average is 2.99'ish but 4.00 is only about the 97th percentile. I think Queen's average is much higher (3.3'ish?).

OP: Tell us your school and average GPA please.

MorningStar

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Re: US GPA Inflation
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2006, 08:41:54 PM »
Concordia works on a 4.3 scale (90%+ is an A+ although many profs refuse to give them) and the average GPA is 2.7.  I think it's really particular to the university, some are big on inflation others push their average down.

The average GPA at Harvard is 3.4, granted they have a body of exceedingly qualified, hard working students but that is still very high.