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Intern
Joined: 12 Oct 2011
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08 Nov 2011, 09:30
So, I understand from talking to adcoms from various schools that most have a good understanding where one uni stands versus another in terms of grade inflation. Clearly, an 3.9 GPA at one institution does not necessarily = 3.9 at another. So, my question is, are there any publicly available resources out there that can give me a credible indication where my undergraduate institution fits in on this grade inflation scale?

(I went to McGill in Canada, BTW).

Thanks!

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10 Nov 2011, 11:31
You might want to check out wes.org. They are generally helpful for people with undergrad scores in CGPA and percentages. Talk to them. Good luck!

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scielle wrote:
So, I understand from talking to adcoms from various schools that most have a good understanding where one uni stands versus another in terms of grade inflation. Clearly, an 3.9 GPA at one institution does not necessarily = 3.9 at another. So, my question is, are there any publicly available resources out there that can give me a credible indication where my undergraduate institution fits in on this grade inflation scale?

(I went to McGill in Canada, BTW).

Thanks!

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12 Nov 2011, 02:18
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gradeinflation dot com (I can't post URLs yet)

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12 Nov 2011, 04:04
I liked that link good sir!
Veeery interesting stuff.
But to answer the question from an AdCom point of view - Yes it makes a difference. But no, it's not physics. So there's no mathematical formula, and each school will have a slightly different history of experience and perception with your school. There's a big difference between Ivy league and non, between "brand name" schools and non, between relatively high ranked schools and low ranked ones, and finally between universities and community colleges.
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12 Nov 2011, 23:44
I have a slightly different question for those of you who could provide insight into how AdCom views different schools.

What's the underlying reason that AdComs focus on the quality of your undergraduate institution? It may seem obvious, but let me propose a few things. Let's take the example of a large state university compared to an Ivy League School.

1) As mentioned, Ivy League schools will have far higher grade inflation. Perhaps this is a reflection of smarter students. But in that light, a 3.3 at Harvard is much lower in the distribution than a 3.3 at a state school.

2) Relating to point 1, you have GPAs that give you a lot of insight into a student's performance. However you look at it, differential equations are the same, whether you take them at Harvard or at a public school. Having done my undergrad at a state school and now being in a grad program at a top Ivy (with a lot of undergrads from Ivies), I can attest to the fact that a 3.9 in a challenging major at a state school can easily hang with Ivy League kids.

3) You have the GMAT, which completely puts all students on the same playing field.

Yet despite all this, there seems to still be a preference for students from top schools. Is this because those students generally will have higher grades/GMAT scores than students from lower-ranked schools? Or is there still a preference for a kid from a top Ivy, all else being equal?

Simply put - take the example of a student from a large state school, with a great GPA (with challenging coursework) and a great GMAT... Is that student still at a disadvantage with the AdCom? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

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13 Nov 2011, 15:51
[deleted]
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13 Nov 2011, 16:03
Thanks "hello"! Your answer was helpful. The signaling thing is certainly true, especially in an environment of limited information. You surely have more certainty in what you're getting with an applicant from an Ivy League school than someone from a lower-ranked school... and in a situation of asymmetric information, that means a lot.

My question is a bit more nuanced though - what if the applicant has very strong numbers (GPA/GMAT) in a challenging major from a state school? Then is the 'state school' still a negative thing? The reason I ask this is because every public school has its small group of students who did very well in high school (GPA/SAT, activities, etc.) but came to the state school because of financial reasons. For example, I shared an apt with 6 students at a state school, all of whom were upwards of 1550 on the SAT and had turned down Princeton, Penn, and Columbia, because they liked the fact that they essentially got full-ride at the state school.

So, I agree with the overall point - a given student from an Ivy will be stronger than a student from a public university. My question is though, if everything else is strong (I'm saying 3.9+, 750+, strong work ex at blue chip places, for example), is the state school still seen as a blemish on the record?

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13 Nov 2011, 16:05
Hey, sorry I deleted my message but glad to see it didn't spark the heated controversy that it normally does.

If it truly is "all things being equal" then in my mind (just a hunch), the state school applicant will probably be treated with some preference, because they were able to "make it" despite not having the Ivy League pedigree.
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18 Nov 2011, 01:09
Well a state school is not a "blemish" at all! Let's put it otherwise: It's not so much that State schools are a disadvantage that an Ivy league is an advantage.

If you go to a state school and finish magna cum laude, and were on Dean's List every semester, it's certainly better than your average fool who went to Cornell or UofP!

But the idea is of course: "All things being equal"... Ivy league is only better than non- in same cases.

And it's also not just a matter of "State" vs. "Ivy league" (fake dichotomy). The schools are also very aware of what State school is what. So prestigious State schools count more than non-
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