Students who make the Dean's List continually strive for academic excellence throughout their college career. This honor demonstrates a student who is committed to carrying a solid workload and cumulative maintenance of excellent grades from semester to semester. Additionally, making the Dean's List is a nice tidbit to add to a resume as you begin job hunting. The criteria for this distinctive honor varies from school to school, although two items are typical: a high grade point average and full-time status. Some schools also require a high percentile class ranking, and no grades below a certain point (for example, a "C"), regardless of cumulative GPA.

Grade Point Average

The grade point average is the basic criterion for membership in the Dean's List in most colleges. This score is based on the grades received in courses and adjusted by quality points for the number of credits in those courses. The term "quality points" refers to the amount of points each letter grade is worth, and this numbering system can vary by institution. For example, at some colleges, an A is worth 4 quality points, an A- is worth 3.67 points, and so on. The minimum GPA for the Dean's List usually ranges from 3.40 to 3.60, which is the equivalent of a B+ to an A-. Courses that are graded as Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory are typically excluded from the GPA calculation. Also, grades that are recorded as "Incomplete" at the end of the semester are excluded, even if they are posted later.

Full-Time Status

Students who are studying part-time are usually not eligible to be named to the Dean's List, regardless of their GPA. Full-time status is typically defined as 12 credits per semester. In addition, many colleges require that these 12 credits be completed in residency, meaning courses that students who receive permission to take specific courses at other colleges (usually because these courses are not offered at their home college) are not included in the calculation of full-time status.

Award Implications

Colleges do not generally award Dean's List students a financial award with this honor although many colleges require that students maintain this academic status in order to retain their current scholarship package. An award letter is often sent to students, and a permanent notation is made in their academic file. Students may note this academic distinction in their resume when applying to graduate school or for employment.

Dean's List and FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act considers academic honors and distinctions such as membership on the Dean's List as acceptable public information. If a student wishes not to have this information made public, a written request must be made to the college.

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