Thursday, February 15, 2007

Charming, that 

I have a student working on a senior project inspired by his own life. He made the choice to go to school without much savings, without parental support, and without wishing to take on scads of debt. Ergo, he works many hours. It's not unusual at SCSU for students to carry 4-5 classes and work 30-40 hours per week. But given Banaian's Second Constant* -- 168, which equals 24 times seven, into which all human activity must fit in a week -- tradeoffs between work and study occur, and thus there's a negative relationship between work and GPA. (Two colleagues of mine have a paper which shows for two Midwestern schools that an increase in parental cash, though, causes an increase in leisure consumption and lower grades. So don't give 'em lots of cash, Dad!

It appears you can fix this, however: Pro forma GPAs.

Now for a student, their GPA is basically the equivalent of a firm�s 4 year trailing cash flows. The number itself carries huge weight in job interviews, yet for decades students have reported GPA exactly as it appears on their transcript. While entirely accurate, this is a huge mistake. Job applicants are now realizing that adjusting their GPAs can give a more accurate misrepresentation of their performance and expected future production.

Why should an employer hire an average of you over the last four years, when what they should be interested is a real misrepresentation of what you could be now if not for certain events?
Sadly, I can imagine someone doing this. I have tried to write letters of recommendation for students like mine who maybe have a 2.9 GPA and a full-time job and are good kids. I don't know that it does any good when the person doing the phone screening tells the student that the firm accepts no one with less than a 3.0. And so you're encouraging this kind of behavior.

* -- the first is also known as a variation of Beckhap's Constant: Brains times Beauty times the square root of Emotional Stability equals a constant > 0. Advice for the lonely on the day after V-Day.