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I never believed that GPA's from different colleges could mean such different things until I talked to my friend, who went to another college.

I graduated with a top percentile GPA for my school. Unfortunately, it's borderline for most medical schools. My friend told me that this percentile translated to a much higher GPA at his school, which was actually lower ranked than my school.

I wanted to see if this was the case anywhere else.

I found that at NYU, 30% of students get above a 3.68. [1] Seeing this annoyed me because at my school the cutoff for merely the top 15% of students was around 3.68. Meanwhile, at NYU the top 15% of students have a cutoff GPA of 3.81.

However, what absolutely pissed me off was Duke. At Duke, 25% of students have a 3.79. [2] 15% of students have a 3.87 or higher.

I know it sounds stupid to be whining about grades, but let's be honest - this is absolutely ridiculous. If you're going to give 1 in 4 students at your school a 3.8, then what's the point of even grading your students? How is this any different (morally speaking) from those diploma mills overseas where you become an "MD" after handing them cash?

Somebody please tell me I'm reading this website wrong because otherwise I think I'm going to turn into one of those guys from the airheads commercials and just explode with frustration and rocket up into the roof.

1: https://www.nyu.edu/life/resources-and-services/nyu-studentlink/registration-records-and-graduation/graduation-and-diplomas/graduation-honors.html
2: http://registrar.duke.edu/student-records/academic-recognition-and-honors


P.S. If you're premed and you want to go to the best medical school possible, do whatever you can to go to Duke, even though their tuition is highway robbery.
 
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Man, get out here. Go wherever you wanna go, take whatever you wanna take, and do well in it. Your performance dictates your GPA. You speak for yourself as a student. Duke undergrad is not a joke.

If you're going to give 1 in 4 students at your school a 3.8, then what's the point of even grading your students?
Lol if undergrad is that bad for you, grad school must make you erupt, considering the majority of people make A's.
 
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Man, get out here. Go wherever you wanna go, take whatever you wanna take, and do well in it. Your performance dictates your GPA. You speak for yourself as a student.
Yeah, if only I had been in the top 15% of my class I would have had a 3.87.

Oh wait, no I wouldn't - because I didn't go to Duke.

Did you even read my post?
 
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trickydick

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I never believed that GPA's from different colleges could mean such different things until I talked to my friend, who went to another college.

I graduated with a top percentile GPA for my school. Unfortunately, it's borderline for most medical schools. My friend told me that this percentile translated to a much higher GPA at his school, which was actually lower ranked than my school.

I wanted to see if this was the case anywhere else.

I found that at NYU, 30% of students get above a 3.68. [1] Seeing this annoyed me because at my school the cutoff for merely the top 15% of students was around 3.68. Meanwhile, at NYU the top 15% of students have a cutoff GPA of 3.81.

However, what absolutely pissed me off was Duke. At Duke, 25% of students have a 3.79. [2] 15% of students have a 3.87 or higher.

I know it sounds stupid to be whining about grades, but let's be honest - this is absolutely ridiculous. If you're going to give 1 in 4 students at your school a 3.8, then what's the point of even grading your students? How is this any different (morally speaking) from those diploma mills overseas where you become an "MD" after handing them cash?

Somebody please tell me I'm reading this website wrong because otherwise I think I'm going to turn into one of those guys from the airheads commercials and just explode with frustration and rocket up into the roof.

1: https://www.nyu.edu/life/resources-and-services/nyu-studentlink/registration-records-and-graduation/graduation-and-diplomas/graduation-honors.html
2: http://registrar.duke.edu/student-records/academic-recognition-and-honors


P.S. If you're premed and you want to go to the best medical school possible, do whatever you can to go to Duke, even though their tuition is highway robbery.
Private schools, you pay for your grade.

But I agree, GPA for the large part seems mostly meaningless as there is such variation between different undergrads and even individual courses. I understand concerns with people with C averages regardless of the undergrads or classes but the idea that an A- average is way more competitive than a B+ average doesn't seem to make much sense
 
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Private schools, you pay for your grade.
I feel like the longer I live in this world, the less I like it. :lame:

Doesn't it also depend on the school/how many students there are/what majors there are? I was in Arts & Sciences as a Bio major so even though our GPAs were a lot lower, all the other econ, govt, etc. majors made our average GPA as a college higher.
True but when I'm talking about top 15% at my college it's also including all those other majors. Besides, forget Arts & Sciences. Twenty-five percent of students at Duke's engineering college alone have 3.75 GPA's or higher. That's engineering. I'm not sure what my school's average GPA was for engineering students, but I'm willing to bet it was below a 3.5.

Not sure how I feel about knocking down Duke as an undergrad institution, though.
You don't have to feel any guilt about this. They brought it upon themselves by turning their school's grading system into a joke.

Yes it does.
This type of attitude is, frankly, malignant. It's why medicine is some aspects of medicine are downright obscene. Even if you have a legitimate grievance it's viewed as whining.
 

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You're just now realizing that gpa's differ significantly between undergrads? I thought this was obvious? o_O
 
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You're just now realizing that gpa's differ significantly between undergrads? I thought this was obvious? o_O
I didn't realize the extent of it. In my opinion, was Duke is doing is downright abominable.
 
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Yeah, if only I had been in the top 15% of my class I would have had a 3.87.

Oh wait, no I wouldn't - because I didn't go to Duke.

Did you even read my post?
Yes, I read your post. You're upset that what was a high percentile in your school is a different percentile at another. Oh well. A GPA, for the most part is, a GPA. Adcoms aren't going to be like, "Oh, but wait! NimbleNavigator had a high percentile because he went to the University of ________, where the top 10% has a GPA of 3.XX! This applicant from Duke with identical MCAT, ECs, etc. is definitely trash relative to him because of the GPA discrepancy."

Why do you care about what others need to earn certain GPAs? Just focus on your own performance. I understand you included a qualifier about Duke at the end of your post, but there's still a small tingle of animosity as marked by you admitting that it sounds silly to whine about grades.
 

eteshoe

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How does complaining about this issue help you OP? I'd suspect that at this point you've realized that life is unfair and you'll have to make the best of your opportunities.
 
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Espressso

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I didn't realize the extent of it. In my opinion, was Duke is doing is downright abominable.
Not really dude. It's like that at a lot of other schools as well.
It's similar to the UG's that do orgo as pass/fail, rather than A/B/C/D/F. So my friend at a nearby school got a 71% in orgo 1 and saw an A on his transcript, but I got a 89% in Orgo 1 and got a B+. The variation between gpa's are monumental. But I don't think this is a new thing.
 

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This is very confusing. But interesting info between two schools.
Looking at top 15%-
Around 975 students at Duke graduate with 3.85 and Magna Cum Laude ( around 6,500 students)
Around 3750 students at NYU graduate with 3.80 and Magna Cum Laude (around 25,000 students)
 

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Reality is two-fold. First, students going to Duke / NYU are frankly of a higher caliber than their cohorts 40 years ago. All the top schools are like that.

Second, their students are drawn from the upper / upper middle class. If there was no grade inflation, these achievers would go elsewhere. State student is less prepared, gets a B- and just accepts it.

So it's part motivation / academic preparedness and it's part structural class privilege. But instead of whining about it, you should've busted ass in high school to aim for Harvard.
 
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I feel like the longer I live in this world, the less I like it. :lame:

This type of attitude is, frankly, malignant. It's why medicine is some aspects of medicine are downright obscene. Even if you have a legitimate grievance it's viewed as whining.
Ah, the classic "relate a post on SDN to the overall state of medicine." This is whining. Grade inflation is a real thing, like it or not it's well established.
 
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Ah, the classic "relate a post on SDN to the overall state of medicine." This is whining. Grade inflation is a real thing, like it or not it's well established.
If an issue is well established, then it's whining to point it out. Huh. I guess you learn something new every day.

"Hey Dr. JustAPhD, my chest hurts."

"Yeah, we already established that. Now stop whining."

I wouldn't want to be your patient.
 
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JustAPhD

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If an issue is well established, then it's whining to point it out. Huh. I guess you learn something new every day.

"Hey Dr. JustAPhD, my chest hurts."

"Yeah, we already established that. Now stop whining."

You're going to be a great doctor.
Yes, your example is exactly the same as someone calling another institution a joke because he's unhappy they practice grade inflation. Thankfully my mice don't care if I call them whiners.

Also, a lot of Asian premeds go to public schools (such as the UC's) where grade deflation is rampant. In other words, it's just one more way that Asians are discriminated against in the medical school admissions process.
They're discriminated against because they chose to go to a school that practices grade deflation?? What logic is this?


EDIT: (because I'm not posting again; this thread needs to die). Apparently me inferring your analogy is utter crap went over your head. Regardless, I have better things to do than to indulge a troll.
 
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Yes, your example is exactly the same as someone calling another institution a joke because he's unhappy they practice grade inflation. Thankfully my mice don't care if I call them whiners.
You should learn what an analogy is; it'll help you on the CARS section of the MCAT.
 
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You should learn what an analogy is; it'll help you on the CARS section of the MCAT.
Salty about his own GPA because others at a different, mutually exclusive school have different standards. And sassy. You'll definitely make for that altruistic, loving doctor committed to patient care that you'll talk about in your essays.
 

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@NimbleNavigator just because you were at the top at your school, doesn't mean you would've been anywhere near the top at Duke. If anyone should be complaining about the Duke breakdown, it should be Princeton, JHU, UChicago, MIT, WashU, etc students.

If you're at the top of your class, your committee letter will express that and your MCAT should express that, so you'll still do fine
 
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They're discriminated against because they chose to go to a school that practices grade deflation?? What logic is this?
"Why did you choose a husband that would beat you?"
 

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Grading systems are never consistent between schools. Even coming out of high schools we were all aware of the schools that padded GPAs so their students looked good. This is why we have the SAT, ACT, MCAT, etc. Grading systems are unfair but most of the students that deserve to make it to the next level make it one way or the other. I have never heard a person say "I didn't get into Medical School because I went to ________." Life is unfair; accept it and try your best anyway.

I go to a state school where the science classes only award the top 10% of students in the class As regardless of your raw average. Haven't heard a single person complain about the grading system the 3 years I've been here.
 
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Life is unfair; accept it and try your best anyway.
I guess we should just not solve any problems ever because "life is unfair; accept it and try your best anyway".
 

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I guess we should just not solve any problems ever because "life is unfair; accept it and try your best anyway".
If you wanted to solve any of these big problems in life I suggest going into politics and not medicine. It is also very ironic how you say we should solve these problems of inequality yet call affirmative action a racist act.
 

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Zzz this problem is solved by LORs mcat scores Casper and the million other hurdles that you jump thru in the process.

Also the NYU stat is horrendously misrepresented considering each school and each department varies tremendously in grade distribution. Orgo -> 10% get As. Psych -> 7.5% get As. 1st year bio -> 12.5% get A-s or higher. These are off the top of my head from what I remember.

If you can't get an A in whatever class at whatever school, you probably weren't going to get it at duke either lol. And if you still think you were, you have the mcat to prove it.
 

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This entire argument is missing one important modifier. HS students who get into places like Duke or Harvard mainly do so by working really hard (yes, I am aware of the exceptions). In college, they are more likely to continue to work hard (yes, I am aware of the exceptions). State schools have larger, more diverse student bodies, often with a large proportion of students who might not be quite as invested in their studies (yes....exceptions). Thus, the higher GPA at top schools is really a resultant factor of the student body, not the grading system (by and large).

Case in point: SDN: "OMFG Brown/Harvard pre med is like the easiest shizz." *Brown/Harvard Summer Orgo (90%+ visiting students)*: 50%+ failure rate.

I guarantee you that the Duke pre med track is rough (several very bright HS classmates of mine went there).

Your GPA would in all likelihood, stay the same--if not decrease--were you at Duke instead.
 
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Also depends one the school. Adcoms are aware that places like Cornell, MIT, or washU are very grade deflated schools, and take this into consideration (varies from med school to med school).

Meanwhile let's say you go somewhere random like a small LAC that truly believes only "10% should get As". Adcoms won't even realize you're school is grade deflated - they'll just assume you have crap grades like the other 5,000 sub par applicants.

Med schools will be familiar with the big names in grade deflation. IMO it's on the high school student picking a college to not choose an unknown school that aggressively grade deflates. There's plenty of data out there on college prowler.
 
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In my family, we have come to believe that it's really not the degree-granting school that matters, it's what you do with that degree. IF you are stuck on comparing grading systems between institutes, you are only doing yourself disservice. You also haven't mature enough to realize that life is always going to be unfair at some turnpike. Places like Duke and so forth are comprised of students coming from resourceful backgrounds. The politics is continuous in order for them to keep rising above the achievements of their own parents. This statement is not devaluing their own gifted talents but to be frank they would have never realized this without assistance for which many outside the circle may not have had the opportunity realizing at the right time. Also just FYI, even if let's say a kid from disadvantaged background goes to one of these schools, what are the odds that those kids will come out with better grades and guidance? Do you really think that by going into Harvard or something it will magically make you more abled? Maybe you'll carry false confidence if you rely on the name to lift you up but when you fall flat on your face it's always your abilities and skills that get you up. I prefer to go to schools that genuinely care about their students and help them live beyond graduation. The namesake of an institute is only as good as the paper that is mailed in to your home after graduation. What good is a 3.8 at a prestigious school if after graduation no one even calls to check in on if you are just as successful now as you were when they admitted you to their institute?
 

efle

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*Brown/Harvard Summer Orgo (90%+ visiting students)*: 50%+ failure rate.
Have you actually seen numbers like that?? The Harvard Ochem summer class is one I heard recommended for people looking to dodge WashU's Ochem, hard to imagine this would be the case with most students failing.

To OP (@NimbleNavigator) it's no secret that there is a lot of inflation at some private schools like Duke. I was shocked flipping through my graduation booklet to see that about half the students at WashU clear a 3.6 now (a median in keeping with the ~3.5 means reported for both WashU and Duke during the last few years on gradeinflation.com).

Thing is, as best I can tell, it's totally justified - the inflation is counteracted by the increased competitiveness of the student body. The average students are top handful at their highschool and top percentile on entrance exams. So when you line up GPAs against MCAT performance, you see that most people actually get punished by the competition as much as aided by the inflation. Eg:



Some other fun numbers: nationally, 3.8+ GPAs are more than three times as common as 36+ MCAT scores. At WashU, the relationship is inverted, with a 36+ more common than a 3.8+, in spite of all the inflation.

TL;DR: Yes, high GPAs are more frequent, but that really is not evidence of an easier time than the typical US premed college student has. Having an average GPA inflated up to 3.5 initially looks unfair compared to a typical school with an average near 3.0, but as you can see above it's not so ridiculous to get a half point boost when the highest national bin of ~3.9 GPA students performs equivalently to ~3.3 GPA graduates at the inflating university.

Honestly, if a school like Duke started grading on a typical state flagship distribution, it would become very stupid to enroll there - you'd have tons of hard working students in the top decile or two according to the Great Equalizer, that have their odds trashed by a GPA in the low 3's.
 

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Also depends one the school. Adcoms are aware that places like Cornell, MIT, or washU are very grade deflated schools, and take this into consideration (varies from med school to med school).

Meanwhile let's say you go somewhere random like a small LAC that truly believes only "10% should get As". Adcoms won't even realize you're school is grade deflated - they'll just assume you have crap grades like the other 5,000 sub par applicants.

Med schools will be familiar with the big names in grade deflation. IMO it's on the high school student picking a college to not choose an unknown school that aggressively grade deflates. There's plenty of data out there on college prowler.
There are also public schools who severely deflate and aren't well known for it. My school said A's were 2 standard deviations above the mean in many of my classes... so that's <5% getting A's. I always want to bring this up on my secondaries or during interviews but I feel like it'd just come across as whiney or like I'm making excuses.
 
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alcoholdehydrogenase69

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This could also be said for different majors, i.e. Biology vs Biomedical Engineering. I'm BME at my school and worked my ass off for something above a 3.7. I'd like to see my bio major friends do the same, we've taken a couple bio classes together and they are nothing compared to the engineering curriculum


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efle

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This could also be said for different majors, i.e. Biology vs Biomedical Engineering. I'm BME at my school and worked my ass off for something above a 3.7. I'd like to see my bio major friends do the same, we've taken a couple bio classes together and they are nothing compared to the engineering curriculum


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Your experience is actually more the exception than the rule, engineering tends to grade more kindly than BCPM (though humanities of course takes the cake)

 

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I never believed that GPA's from different colleges could mean such different things until I talked to my friend, who went to another college.

I graduated with a top percentile GPA for my school. Unfortunately, it's borderline for most medical schools. My friend told me that this percentile translated to a much higher GPA at his school, which was actually lower ranked than my school.

I wanted to see if this was the case anywhere else.

I found that at NYU, 30% of students get above a 3.68. [1] Seeing this annoyed me because at my school the cutoff for merely the top 15% of students was around 3.68. Meanwhile, at NYU the top 15% of students have a cutoff GPA of 3.81.

However, what absolutely pissed me off was Duke. At Duke, 25% of students have a 3.79. [2] 15% of students have a 3.87 or higher.

I know it sounds stupid to be whining about grades, but let's be honest - this is absolutely ridiculous. If you're going to give 1 in 4 students at your school a 3.8, then what's the point of even grading your students? How is this any different (morally speaking) from those diploma mills overseas where you become an "MD" after handing them cash?

Somebody please tell me I'm reading this website wrong because otherwise I think I'm going to turn into one of those guys from the airheads commercials and just explode with frustration and rocket up into the roof.

1: https://www.nyu.edu/life/resources-and-services/nyu-studentlink/registration-records-and-graduation/graduation-and-diplomas/graduation-honors.html
2: http://registrar.duke.edu/student-records/academic-recognition-and-honors


P.S. If you're premed and you want to go to the best medical school possible, do whatever you can to go to Duke, even though their tuition is highway robbery.
So maybe I'm looking at this post all wrong but hear me out. If I am a top tier school, and my cutoff GPA is a 3.6 so I would likely draw the conclusion that most of those student are legitimately above average students. The standard bell curve is not going to apply to those that matriculate. Theoretically there should be a statistical right shift and you should have students whom have higher overall gpas since your pool tends to be on the higher side. So if Duke undergrad accepts 100 student with a mean GPA of 3.8 and then those whom apply to Duke med school tend to generally have the same GPA then statistically wouldn't you expect those students to have higher GPAs as well. Standard bell curves only apply to a wide range pool variation of individuals. I would expect Duke to have more students in the 3.8 range than let's say you standard mid or bottom tier school. Yes grade inflation is real however you see that with university vs community college. And even teacher to teacher. I say this because I went to a magnet program that was held at a normal high school and I can tell you that the top 15% of students, every last one was a magnet program kid. Matter of fact we had 90 kids and the the first 90 beat out all the general population kids because our GPA differences were coming down to thousandths of a point.

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Do you really think its fair if a top 10% MIT student gets the same GPA as you (if you were also top 10%)?
 
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The Knife & Gun Club

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Also worth noting that I'd bet this is why certain schools seem to have "pipelines". It's not that med schools have figured out that X undergrad is vastly superior - it's just that they take several kids a year from that school and have a very good idea of what a certain GPA means at that school.

For example Miami seems to love Emory and Duke students. No idea why - I doubt they're any more qualified than say, a Vandy student. But the Adcoms seem to know what to look for in those students, so it's an easy read on their part.
 

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@efle @Goro @gonnif

Curiously, there seems to be a recent decline in grade inflation at community colleges. If that's the case, will med school perceptions of CC credits change and become more favorable?

 

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@efle @Goro @gonnif

Curiously, there seems to be a recent decline in grade inflation at community colleges. If that's the case, will med school perceptions of CC credits change and become more favorable?

medical school admissions, like medicine itself, has a culture that is slow to change. When I bring up the links from a a dozen or more medical schools that essentially do not recommend CC to the premed advisors mail list alot of sputtering and foaming at the mouth happens. Yet unless the NAAHP, which formally represents UG schools to the AAMC makes some concerted campaign to change the perception at an nationwide level, it will be slow to change
 
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Lost in Translation

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Also the NYU stat is horrendously misrepresented considering each school and each department varies tremendously in grade distribution. Orgo -> 10% get As. Psych -> 7.5% get As. 1st year bio -> 12.5% get A-s or higher. These are off the top of my head from what I remember.
I thought most professors were moving to the hard-cutoffs and not curving. At least, that's how it was for my Orgo and Psych classes. Bio 1/2 was a ****show.
 
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Goro

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The decline is pretty minor.

However, over the past few years, according to MSAR, most med schools have eliminated outright bans on CC coursework, even for pre-reqs.

@efle @Goro @gonnif

Curiously, there seems to be a recent decline in grade inflation at community colleges. If that's the case, will med school perceptions of CC credits change and become more favorable?

 
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salemstein

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OP, dont go to a good school simply because of name or perceived inflation. I did just that and got screwed over. Even if a class gives 40% As, never underestimate the toughness you need to match all the 2400 SAT scorers sitting next to you. Oh and btw, that grade inflation site failed to clear a significant distinction: science classes vs humanities. Trust me, it matters