Our topic today are the statistics often used by colleges in their admissions information. Colleges will often report the average GPA of admitted students and average SAT or middle 50% range of admitted students. The trick to understanding these numbers is the word “admitted”.
In fact, when colleges use the grades and test scores from “admitted” students, they are inflating those scores to make themselves look more selective. Your job? Understand why these numbers are actually higher than the numbers for enrolled students.
Colleges are competing with other colleges some of whom are more selective in admissions. Some of the strongest students accepted by a college may decide to attend another college that is more selective. Those students, with their higher GPA and higher test scores, enroll at the more selective college. Thus, the “accepted” student scores are generally higher than the scores of the students who actually enroll.
Let’s look at an example. Five students apply to college “A”. The composite ACT scores of each of these students is 25, 25, 26, 30 and 34. The average ACT of the admitted students is 28. The students with the ACT composite of 30 and 34 also apply to, and are accepted to, college “B”, a more selective college. These two students decide to attend college “B”.
The average ACT of the students admitted to college “A” is 28. But the average ACT of the students who actually attend college “A” is a little above 25.
So, when you read information from a college that provides the “admitted” students average GPA and test scores, remember that in almost every instance, those scores are actually higher than the students who actually attend the college.
Ask the college for that same information for students attending the college and you will get a truer picture of the GPA and test scores required for admission to that college.