Editorial: Grade Point Below-Average
At other universities, making it onto the Dean’s List is an impressive feat. Regardless of their chosen major, one is rightfully eager to laud the accomplishment in a LinkedIn post or boast about it to older family members. Here, however, making the Dean’s List is barely considered an accomplishment.
A majority of universities operate with a GPA requirement of a 3.5 or above, signifying to students that at least some semblance of effort is required to reach this achievement. A 3.3 GPA, where the current university Dean’s List requirement stands, characterizes a slightly above-average student at best.
This lauding of the mediocre or championing of the average is almost too perfect of a metaphor for the university’s academic standards. The current GPA requirement is only one way in which the university symbolically discourages students from going the extra mile. Until recently, students were not able to enroll in over 17 courses without special permission and an additional tuition charge. These policies, combined with a culture that hardly pushes students to compete with each other, have done nothing but lower the standards of academic achievement.
A culture of encouraging the bare minimum is one that ultimately leads to complacency. An especially low Dean’s List requirement does not illustrate an effort on behalf of administrators or the student body to work towards academic excellence. As it stands, the low Dean’s List requirement makes a mockery of those who came here to push themselves to previously unattainable levels of academic enrichment or success.
Some might complain that the Dean’s List should be done away with altogether, as it is exclusionary by nature. But that’s the point. Moreover, some insist that the GPA requirement should remain a 3.3 in order to accommodate students in departments that are commonly considered more rigorous or demanding. But a high GPA is a high GPA, no matter the major. While some departments have more notoriety than others, either for higher or lower standards, these things change over time and are difficult to point down, and students generally take a variety of courses across departments, anyways.
So, there are of course a few cases in which a 3.3 in one department means something entirely different in another department. This, however, is a systemic issue. One that has little to do with how the university chooses to celebrate those who are consistently putting in more effort.
An increase in the university’s academic standard is long overdue. This is a symbolic gesture that would encourage students to hold themselves to a higher standard. Securing a spot on the Dean’s List should signify an extra achievement of sorts. The decision to increase the minimum GPA would merely represent an alignment with what most other institutions have been doing all along.
Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board, led this week by Alex Eichenstein. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.