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BU's Infamous Grade Deflation

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Boston University

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BU's Infamous Grade Deflation

Does it work in your favor?

Layth Hert

11.20.17

Boston University is known to have very brutal grade deflation. If you ask a Boston University student, they will tell you that grade deflation is a defining characteristic when it comes to studying here. However, there are a few students who do not fully understand the concept of grade deflation, even me. By definition, it means that very few A’s are given out because only a few number of them can be given out, which really frustrates BU students.


However, we have to ask ourselves this question: does grade deflation work in our favor or does it put us at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job or applying to graduate school?


I asked a few fellow BU students about their thoughts on grade deflation.

“My GPA is important to me, especially when it comes to applying to graduate school and/or finding a job, so I think grade deflation will really work against me in the long run.” –Mia Touma '21

“[Grade deflation] only works in your favor if you do poorly to begin with, Other than that, it hurts most people since employers don’t necessarily know there is grade deflation at BU. So they won’t know it’s harder to achieve a 3.5+ at BU in particular, and then maybe look past qualified applicants for this reason.” –Benjamin Lesser '19

“[Grade deflation] is demotivating because all the hard work feels like it goes to nothing, and it doesn’t create an environment of praising success.” –Lili Njeim '21

“Not every class at BU has grade deflation. In my short time here, it's most apparent in writing classes. For me personally, I believe it has never worked in my favor. Pre-assignment of the distribution of grades, giving only the top 15% of students in the class an A, is the exact opposite of what education should have. I understand to remain competitive, this sort of thing works but, I believe every student should have the free opportunity to receive an A not based on a pre-made standard.” –Vincent Fisher '20


Since grade deflation puts such a toll on students’ academic performance, as well as possibly creating anxiety about the future, it would be much more reinforcing if graduate schools and/or job recruiters are made aware of BU’s grade deflation.

Whenever you look at a ranking about grade deflation, BU is always at the top of the list. Would this make it more well-known to people outside of the Boston University bubble?


In my opinion, grade deflation is becoming more of an important aspect to BU that recruiters and graduate school admission officers are well-aware of it. Grade deflation shows that BU students are willing to put in twice as much effort in order to achieve a GPA equivalent to other colleges where grades aren’t as deflated, so it says a lot of a person.

Hard work pays off in the end, even if grades don’t match up one’s expectations.