Above Average

Why am I not thrilled to learn that for two years running, the average GPA of incoming students is a towering 3.9? [Eliot Circular, December 2010]

I thought Reed scorned such trivial statistics; it’s why we show U.S. News & World Report the door when they seek to rank us.

Aren’t we a collection of unusual intellects, all too often unrecognized by our humdrum high schools? Aren’t we a community of undiscovered talents, frequently so deeply immersed in our pursuits that we don’t always manage to polish the teacher’s apple and earn the shiny grades?

It’s a relief to know there’s room in this hallowed demographic for reed-cutting oboists and Chick-Fil-A managers. But would the Reed of today have bothered to admit an Albert Einstein, with his notorious school record? Please tell me we have not become a college of unquestioning scholars, fearful of challenging rules lest they disturb our Teflon transcripts.

Imperfect and proud of it,

Lisa Daniela Kirshenbaum ’84

San Francisco, California

Editor's Note: The towering GPA of this year’s freshlings is a product of two trends, one positive, one less so. First, Reed is an increasingly selective college that attracts outstanding students. Second, many high schools have succumbed to grade inflation, so GPAs can be misleading. However, if you spend a little time on campus you will soon realize that students today are just as brilliant, iconoclastic, unconventional, inventive, and imperfect as ever.