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Davidson College

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityF Faculty AccessibilityB
Useful SchoolworkA Excess CompetitionF
Academic SuccessB Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueB+ University Resource UseA+
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessD
Campus MaintenanceA+ Social LifeD-
Surrounding CityF Extra CurricularsD
Describes the student body as:
Afraid, Arrogant, Snooty, Closeminded

Describes the faculty as:

Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
University Resource Use
He cares more about Educational Quality than the average student.
Date: Aug 05 2012
Major: Political Science (This Major's Salary over time)
For all you idealistic 17 and 18 year olds applying to college, please, for your own sake, do not go to Davidson College. There is absolutely no good reason to do so. I plead with you to be as realistic as possible and to plan precisely for what you want to do when you enter the "real world." The "real world" does not care about what you think is just.

Here's why:

The rumors about grade deflation ARE TRUE! I'm going to give this rough guideline: A B at Davidson is an A/A+ at a state school and an A- at a comparable school. In fact, that may be too generous to Davidson. I took classes at a state college and I got Bs virtually without trying - the difference WAS UNBELIEVABLE. At Davidson, that same effort probably would have been a D/F. A B at Davidson means you tried relatively hard, but were not perfect.

Why, then, would you go to Davidson if you can earn a better GPA at a comparable school? It makes no sense. I beg with you, do not be arrogant. You may be tempted to think you are so smart because you are in the top 10% of your class in high school. That may be so, but trust me, grade deflation will still affect you.

Secondly, Davidson College is not well known outside the Southeast. That means, any job/grad school outside the SE seeing your mediocre/crappy GPA will pass you over for someone who was pragmatic enough not to go to Davidson. In other words, someone at a state college who has a 3.8 who tried 5x times less than you who got a degree in engineering/finance/accounting will be picked over you. They paid less, they worked less, and now they beat you.

Thirdly, it's absurdly expensive. Unless you just have loads of money to waste, do not major in some useless (I'm sorry) liberal arts degree. Employers prefer someone who has a degree directly related to what they want. Why then, would you choose to get a degree that is not practical? Trying to figure out what you want to do with your life? How about you take a year or two off before going to college. You'll figure it out nice and fast after serving fries at the McDonald's drive through.

Fourthly, the student body is generally not friendly. There are some people there you'll really like, but the majority seems to be standoffish. The atmosphere is pretty much humorless. Most take themselves extremely seriously and try to act like the epitome of the perfect human being. Most are too afraid to speak up in class or even ask questions in front of others. It results in a collective neurosis of students being afraid to be fully human for fear of being seen as a failure or weak. The atmosphere is ripe with fear. And fear leads to unnecessary suffering. Again, not everyone is like this, but the general atmosphere is.

Fifthly, the honor code is unfair to honest students. Yes, that's right. Think about it. What does the honor code actually do? It allows the unscrupulous to cheat and boost up the average class GPA while the honest students suffer. The honest students unfairly look worse relative to the dishonest. Without the honor code, the average GPA may fall further prompting Davidson to finally allow some grade inflation (or perhaps a better term would be undeflating the GPA). I can't prove that this is going on on a wide scale. I do know, for a fact, that people have cheated on tests - some people were caught in one of my classes. Imagine, then, how many are not being caught…And even if the effect of cheating is minor, the school has no evidence that the honor code works. How could they? How could they possibly be aware of how many students cheat if they don't get caught? I know the honor code is one of the school's main selling points, but for the sake of fairness and, ironically, integrity, it should be abolished.

The bottom line? Here's what you need to do to make your life a WHOLE lot easier after you graduate.

1. Either go to a prestigious school that is WELL KNOWN nationally and preferably worldwide or, if you can't get into a school like that, go to a state school, save a ton of money, get a 3.7-4.0 GPA in a very practical major, and graduate with a job. Your life will be much easier in college and you'll have a lot more fun + you'll be secure in knowing what you will be doing after college. DO NOT go to these $50,000/yr liberal arts schools that no one has ever heard of. It's just masochistic.

So here's the deal: Send me a check for $10,000, I'll kick you in the nuts, you take my advice, and we'll call it a day. Trust me, you want to make that deal.

And if you happen to already be at Davidson and you can't transfer out to a comparable school due to a crappy GPA I would either:

A. Accept going to a worse school with a fresh GPA slate and major in something extremely practical.


B. Do the most practical thing you can at Davidson: 1) Pre-med 2) Pre-law (I'm not even sure this is practical anymore given how many people are in law school - only do this if you think you can get into a top 10 law school) or 3) Economics - and make sure to take all the accounting courses offered. Economics is at least somewhat close to business. If you must choose another major, then work your ass off and try to get a 3.5-3.6 GPA (that is not easy at all), build your resume for the job you hope to have, or go to graduate school.

responseThis seems bitter and resentful more than honest and accurate. I am a Davidson graduate as well and Davidson has always opened doors for me. I learned how to think far beyond most college experiences. I met people and made lifetime friends of the highest quality people.
Maybe this person just resented working hard. But in any job, the skills of hard work and critical thinking I learned at Davidson impressed them and have served me well.
So here's the deal: Send me a check for $10,000, I'll kick you in the nuts, you take my advice, and we'll call it a day. Trust me, you want to make that deal.

Tres amusant, mon ami.
Funny and true. I graduated (thankfully) from Furman, and while the grade deflation isn't as horrible as Davidson's, it is bad. Worse, no one outside the SE has ever heard of it. One job interviewer asked me: "Furman? Isn't that a religious school?" Interview over.
responseI know someone who followed your advice and transferred out of Davidson (after a miserable and emotionally traumatic year-and-a-half) to a public flagship, where she had a much better overall experience. From her account, Davidson is full of passive-aggressive sadists, with the worst offenders being rich prep-school kids from NC and VA. The psychodrama just isn't worth the payoff!
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