Higher standards are a welcome improvement

by Beacon Staff • January 31, 2007

The changes to the Dean's List and Latin Honors requirements.

Our View:

A more rigorous standard encourages competition.,In a long-overdue move, Emerson has decided to raise the standards for achieving Dean's List status. Students will now need a 3.7 GPA rather than a more easily attainable 3.45.

These changes in the Dean's List and also the Latin Honors requirements, which have been reformed from a GPA system to a more stringent percentage system, will naturally irritate some students. But self-protectionist frustration aside, the rise in standards will benefit the Emerson community as a whole.

Emerson's prior requirements for the Dean's List had been in place since before many current Emerson students were born.

However, 20 years ago Emerson was not the same school that it is today. The new, more challenging standards will help fuel Emerson's progress and expansion. Our school has seen the SAT average of its incoming classes rise exponentially. We are more competitive now than ever, and it is necessary that our own standards reflect this.

When rethinking Latin Honors, Emerson faculty considered the policies of more than 50 schools before agreeing to move to a percentage system.

Although Emerson is a unique school, adopting the changes after considering what the school's competitors are doing is the right move.

Although the actual changes in the Latin Honors system will not be seen until 2010, the effects will be instantaneous. By allowing only 30 percent of students to receive Latin Honors instead of the current 48 percent, Emerson ultimately creates a more rigorous and challenging environment.

Students will also become more competitive with each other since they are being judged against their peers when hoping to receive Latin Honors, rather than by their individual GPAs.

Changing the Dean's List requirement from 3.45 to 3.7 furthers this idea. Students will work harder to earn and maintain their grades because of this rise in the school's qualifications for the now-more-prestigious Dean's List.

While making our Honors and Dean's List policies similar to Boston College and Boston University doesn't necessarily mean the curriculum itself will improve, it is an important step toward becoming a more academically respectable institution.

Coupled with the school's recent and future expansions and increasingly selective admissions, the new requirements for these honors will help create an atmosphere where hard work and dedication are valued.

It is unfortunate that Emerson failed to notify students before the beginning of the school year that the requirements for the Dean's List had changed. Students who were mistakenly awarded Dean's List status following the fall semester were told later on that they hadn't made the cut for the new system. Individual corrections had to be made to such students' records.

That aside, the more rigorous new system is a welcome challenge to our student body.