Shmoopy wrote:domino wrote:
I have only anecdotal evidence for this, so take it as you will. However, there was a big state campus near my UG where we could also take classes, and people would often say that it was way easier to get good grades there. The few people I've kept in touch with from my hometown who went to our state school also claim not to have been challenged at all, and they did very well in school. Fewer people as a proportion of the student body get an A- at most state schools, I'd bet--but that doesn't mean it's harder to get an A-. I would attribute the difference more to culture (people tend to care less about school and might have other responsibilities, more need for real jobs to pay off loans/support family etc.) and strong selection for academic performance into top schools.
It probably depends a lot on people's choices and goals--a state student at a school with a strong philosophy grad program who ends up working closely with the professors there is probably going to have a more rigorous experience than someone at Swarthmore who takes all gut courses.
I would guess that there is less coddling at state schools, though. So if you are really messed up one semester and screw up your coursework, you will get a D instead of a B-. Or if you turn in a paper a day late, you will fail as opposed to getting a slap on the wrist and an A-. That could be a difference.
+100 to this, based on my experience at an Ivy UG and now as a adjunct prof at a very, very prole school. In UG, turning something in late ranged from a letter grade penalty at worst to no penalty at best. Now, I give 0's to all my students who turn in anything late, unless they can tell me a story involving the hospital or the police.
There is a whole debate about whether B+ or A- students at a top UG would be A students at a lesser UG. Outside of the people in tough majors where you can do everything right and still not get an A (engineering, CS, math, physics, etc.), I think a good deal of the mediocre students at top schools are that way because they don't care enough, don't start papers early, cram for everything, etc. With these same habits, IDK if they would get better grades at a different school.
As far as grade inflation goes, I think it's most prominent in the B range at top schools. Meaning that you really have to fuck things up to get a C or below. I don't think A's were given out like candy at my school, though A-'s were in a lot of classes.
I just find it funny that people split hairs over 3.4 vs 3.5 average GPAs when engineering schools are lucky to break 3.0. The real disparity isn't between state schools and preftigious ones, it's between engineering/hard science and liberal arts schools in general. I'm not saying that engineering students are any smarter, or that any engineering/science student would rock As at liberal arts colleges, but the grade inflation as a whole is honestly most apparent there (who knows why this is). I think there's more of a difference between an MIT 4.0 and a Harvard 4.0 than a Harvard 4.0 and a Penn State 4.0, for example, but correct me if I'm wrong.