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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, August 2, 2013

WSJ: Higher GPA From Easier School Trumps Higher Class Rank From Tougher School

MBAWall Street Journal:  MBA Admission Tip: Always Go for an Easy 'A':

Want to get into B-school? Go for the easy A.

Business-school applicants with a high undergraduate grade-point average—even those who attended schools identified as practicing grade inflation—are more likely to be admitted than those who performed slightly less well amid tougher grading standards.

"Experts take high performance as evidence of high ability" but don't consider how easy it is to achieve that performance, wrote researchers from University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, polling firm CivicScience Inc. and Harvard Business School. The research was published last week in the journal PLOS ONE [Inflated Applicants: Attribution Errors in Performance Evaluation by Professionals].

In other words, an applicant with a 3.6 GPA might wow the admissions office, even if the average student in that person's graduating class finished with a 3.7. The applicant who managed a 3.4 in a class whose average hovered closer to 3.2, however, might not make the cut.

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This is inevitably true, as a result of the way the US News ranking works. The rankings look at the average undergrad GPA of incoming grad school classes -- there is no adjustment for the size or quality of the undergrad school, or the type of major. (E.g., easier to get straight As as a poetry major than a math major.)

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 2, 2013 7:17:34 AM

I always thought it was plan idiotic that a person who took easy classes and got A's was able to get into the same school as me and I took harder classes and got B's.

Posted by: Charles | Aug 2, 2013 10:15:11 AM