Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Context matters." - DeanJ@UVadmission

My favorite twitter dean is at it again.

It must be application reading season.

This is the time DeanJ@UVA Admission tweets out things about a student's applications or a school profile that makes for good fodder.

Either to debunk a prevalent myth.

Or draw attention to a comical aspect.

Or help us know that these admission folks know what they are doing.

Take this tweet today.

I've had countless conversations with concerned parents who think that admissions people don't know what to do if they get a non-traditional grading methodology.  (in our case, a 4.33 GPA scale)

Or that the admission folk don't know Casady's academic rigor.

Or how difficult it is to get an A+ average.

The truth is that schools like UVA that review an application holistically will take the time to understand the culture and context of the applicant's performance.

Today, in fact, I got a call from a liberal arts college about one of our applicants.  This admission rep wanted to know our top GPA for this year's senior class.

On our profile we provide a grade distribution chart for the Class of 2013.

Admission reps will also see the average GPA.

They will also see what our academic curriculum is, which classes we have dubbed Honors, Pre-AP, and AP, and how much weight we give to each level of rigor.

 Our profile also explains our methodology.

It shows that we provide only a weighted GPA.

It shows that we provide +'s and -'s.

It shows that an A- for example goes from an 85-89.

Every school, therefore, has a methodology that will have certain nuances.

Schools like UVA take the time to understand those nuances so that they can do a thorough and fair review of an applicant.

So then, in the final analysis, whether your school operates on a 6.0 scale, 11.0 scale, 4.33 scale, a 4.0 scale, a P to Q scale, or no scale but only narrative assessments - it doesn't matter.  What matters is what methodology your school uses and how your student has performed within the curriculum that your school provides, and how your student has performed in relationship to his or her peers.