A commentary written by Brendan Billy
Students are finally beginning to acclimate to the grading scale shift that occurred at the beginning of this year. The new ten-point scale, adopted by Henrico County over the summer, has so far yielded mostly positive results and in general, improved the grades of all students. However, one of the major remaining concerns amongst students, especially seniors, is how the new grading scale affects their college applications. Unfortunately, it appears that the new scale will do little to help with applications, and may even go as far as to hurt them.
“It’s hard when you have a student who works really hard but ends up just looking average on a college transcript” said Mrs. Hudson, a guidance counselor. The new scale has lumped most students into a “GPA mass.” This is a serious concern, seeing as now 38 percent of all seniors have a 4.0 or higher. The grading scale has shifted students with low GPA’s up and brought students with higher GPA’s down, essentially pulling most students to the middle. This is especially problematic when it comes to class ranks. For instance a student with a 3.5 GPA, which is a B average, is ranked 238 out of the total 396. “I was really annoyed when I got my class rank, it was a lot lower than I had expected.” said senior Jake Parker.
Although the new scale causes problems with class rank and blurs many GPAs together, it won’t necessarily ruin a student’s transcript. Many key components remain unchanged. For instance, colleges take time to look at the courses individual students have taken and the grades they received in them. Community service as well as extra curriculars are all also taken into consideration. While the majority of colleges are very in depth with their considerations of applications and the new scale will not directly tarnish a student’s application, it will make it less appealing to some of the more competitive schools.