dh attended an alumni event of his university yesterday - a large state (public) university. When I was in high school, this particular university was regarded as a fall-back option because anyone with a 3.0 could get in and with a 3.5 you would probably get a full scholarship.
This was 25 years ago. Forward to today, and I hear that the average GPA of the new class is 3.9 overall the university and 4.25 in the Engineering Dept.
I was not aware (till now) that GPA is now calculated out of 5 -- due to AP courses. (Actually when I was in high school I took the AP tests but the college I attended did not accept the credits.)
So apparently all the other people there were stressing over college admission and how to boost the GPA via extra courses. Well before high school age they were moving in this direction.
I did not attend this event but dh came back and told me about all this.
If this large state university is getting so competitive and focussed on GPA , then that means any decent university would be as difficult to enter, and the good ones even more so.
Something makes me wonder if the stories of homeschoolers getting into Harvard (a la Colfax) or other colleges based on portfolios are a thing of the past. Can meaningful evidence of self-motivated investigation, out-of-box thinking trump standardized tests and GPA?
I have a friend whose homeschooled son just went to college, but he took standardized tests and got the equivalent of a GPA. I am talking about homeschoolers who are more concerned about following the child's interests and encouraging a solid foundation of independent thinking, self-directed exploration and critical inquiry, with ample time to make mistakes, not learn anything for a while, try out things that prove useless, etc.
I would not want to do anything that would compromise my dd's ability to go to college if she chose. I personally believe that all the free exploration is better for her learning, thinking etc than studying from a fixed curriculum. Every now and then I doubt this and try out something more traditionally structured, and very soon, almost immediately realize that it was better without.
Even yesterday (even before dh returned from the event) I pulled out a science textbook that happened to be lying around (belonged to a friend) just to see if she "knew" the material and it turned out that her answer to my first question (what makes something a living thing?) was incompatible with what was in the book. (She included metal as a living thing, based on something she had read earlier on the work of Jagadish Chandra Bose). Maybe I am biased, and maybe I am hopeless, but I can't see asking her to conform to already-discovered and laid-out definitions without having the chance to work through her own ideas first. The pre-set definitions will always be there, is it really necessary to "learn" them now? Or even advisable?
Well, clearly this way of thinking is not the kind that is going to prepare for all the advanced placement that seems to be expected for college admission.
I am confused.