GPA becomes less important to colleges

Many colleges rely on GPA as a guide in admission decisions, but as grade inflation becomes steeper, differences between students’ GPA’s become smaller. According to investigator Marcia Brown, it is harder for colleges to differentiate between students based upon their grade averages. Dual credit counselor Melissa Coleman said that colleges have begun to focus more on class rank than GPA.

“Colleges do not look at GPA as much as they used to because every high school is different,” Coleman said. “When you go to college, your GPA is based on a 4.0 scale so a lot of the schools will ask us to do an unweighted GPA where anything from a 100 to a 90 is four points, whether it is Pre-AP, AP or regular.”

According to counselor David Peterjohn, it is the unique characteristics that separate students. He said that colleges want to see students who challenge themselves. Senior Joseph Villanueva thinks that colleges should look at applications from a more holistic point of view, considering all factors of the application as a whole.

“In addition to looking at grades, colleges should look at everything outside school and extra factors such as things you do at home or work ethic,” Villanueva said.

Senior McKenna Benson feels that colleges should rely less on GPA because of the variation between different high schools and college. She also said that the GPA scale should be more standard so different GPA scales do not skew results.

“There is quite a range in GPA that each student can get and everyone is separated by a thousandth of a point,” Benson said. “The number can look really good on paper but it can also be misleading.”

Peterjohn said that because grade inflation is pushing GPA’s closer together, it is going to be the “bells and whistles” that push applications through the door. Sophomore Rebekah Rodriguez said that universities would benefit from looking at components other than GPA.

“I think that it is more useful to look at outside factors from a university point of view and a business point of view,” Rodriguez said. “Businesses are really looking for extra assets like creativity, problem-solving, and people skills.”