Honors and Dishonors

        A student's standing in the college was determined by a ratio of grade points earned per unit of credit to semester hours completed.  Thus, not only was a student expected to take a certain amount of classes, but the work had to be satisfactory.  Semester hours of credit were determined by how often a class was held during the week.  For example, if a class met three times a week for an hour each time, it was worth three semester hours of credit.  Classes usually met from two to four hours each week.  The quality of a student's work was measured by "grade points" or "points per unit of credit".  These were determined by the grade a student received in a class and multiplied by the semester hours of credit.  An "A" (90-100%) was three points per unit of credit, a "B" (80-89%) was two points per unit of credit, a "C" (70-79%) was one point per unit of credit, a "D" (60-69%) and "E" (50-59%) were zero points per unit of credit, and a "F" (below 50%) was minus one point per unit of credit.  Thus, if a class met for three hours each week, and a student received a "B" in that class, that student would receive six grade points for that class.  These, in addition to all other grade points earned were divided by the total number of semester hours taken.  This created a 3.00 grading scale.  To graduate summa cum laude a senior needed at least a 2.90, to graduate magna cum laude a senior needed at least a 2.50 and to graduate cum laude a senior needed a 2.25.  This ranking was determined at the end of each semester.

        During the middle of the junior year qualified students were able to begin honors work for the department of their major.  Students must have a "B" average by the middle of their junior year and submit a written application to the Committee on Honors Courses by February 15.  The student must also have an "A" in the department of his or her major and complete 8 hours of semester work outside of class under a supervising professor.  The student also must present an acceptable thesis and pass an oral or written exam in the department by May 15 of senior year.

        Honors courses in all departments were offered to students with an 80% average in the last semester.  Also, formal dinners that were attended by faculty and a speaker were held at the end of the first semester to honor students who had an A average.  There were also numerous honor societies, such as Alpha Sigma Gamma, Wheel and Chain, Raven's Claw, Skull and Key, Omicron Delta Kappa, and of course, Phi Beta Kappa.

        At the opposite end of the spectrum were those who were barely staying in the college rather than excelling at it.  By June, 14 sophomores were forced to withdraw along with 2 juniors.  Another 11 sophomores were not advanced, along with 2 juniors and 13 freshman.  The faculty advised that freshman with an average below 65% withdraw from the college and if they did not, they would be placed on academic probation.  If they were unable to raise their average to at least 70%, they were forced to withdraw.  Any student with an average below 70% were put on academic probation and if the average was below 60%, the student was forced to withdraw from the college.

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Dickinson College

Dickinson 1934 is a project of Prof. Osborne's History 204 Class, Fall Semester 2000.