Those Pluses and Minuses Do Count!
In 2018, University of Florida rose to the No. 8 spot in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges for public colleges. This level of excellence is a balance of many things including rigorous academic courses, above-average academic expectations, and highly competitive entrance exam scores. The University of Florida strives to uphold a strong academic standard and, because of that, the GPA scale can either work for you or against you. Here is the official GPA break-down:
Passing Grade Grade Points
This GPA scaling system can be tough; however, it serves to encourage students to continuously work as hard as possible for the chance for a better grade. For example, a student that studies consistently to achieve 89% versus a student who skates by getting 80% but receives the same 3.0 GPA may seem unfair. This system is designed to prevent that from happening and better reflect the efforts of many students.
For certain majors, getting that minus next to a letter grade can affect your overall GPA which plays a large role when applying to Grad School or getting accepted into an extremely competitive program (think finance, chemistry, physics, engineering, nursing and so forth). For other majors where perhaps your experience and portfolio weigh heavier when it comes to getting a job, the difference between an A and an A- may not be as important.
My daughter graduated from UF and missed getting her honors cord by .2 of a point. While it did not impact her ability to get a job, she was disappointed in herself. I did not make a big deal about it as she seemed to be doing a good enough job of that on her own but I think, looking back, she knew that had she given up a night of going out or perhaps had worked .2 percent harder, she would have been able to wear the honors cord. Trust me, it won’t impact her in the overall scheme of things but I have noticed that as a working adult, she gives 100% to her job; maybe that was the bigger picture.
On the other hand, one downside to this grading system is the potential for teachers to re-scale the letter grades making the possibility of getting an A harder. For example, many difficult classes, such as physics or organic chemistry, have set standards by the university mandating that a certain percentage of students do not pass as well as a tentative grade distribution. In order to do this, exams are designed to be difficult often resulting in an average score of 50% which allows a customized grading scale. “Grade curving” is then applied for the desired grade distribution.
Thus, an A is not always an A. Depending on what major is chosen and the rigor of the classes that must be completed for your degree, some classes curve and some do not.
Stella Fedele, HaveUHeard Intern
Janice W., HaveUHeard UF Mom
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