Stricter standards benefit everyone

By Editorial Board

Columbia recently announced a change in its graduation standards that requires students to maintain better grades to remain enrolled at the college. Under the new rules, which go into effect after the spring 2011 semester, students whose grade point average reaches 2.0 or lower have one semester of academic probation to bring their grades up or face dismissal from Columbia.

The college was right in making its academic requirements stricter. The previous academic probation policy, which gave students two full semesters to bring their grades up, was too lenient. One semester is enough time to bring up a 2.0 GPA. The tighter deadline sets an ultimatum for struggling students and will motivate them to improve more than a relaxed, extended time frame would.

Furthermore, asking students to stay above a 2.0 isn’t the most demanding requirement in the world. It’s a reasonable expectation to place on them.

Students who can’t meet basic academic standards shouldn’t be at the college in the first place. People who don’t go to their classes and aren’t willing to put forth the effort to maintain something higher than a D average are wasting their money and the college’s resources by being here.

They’re also taking up limited spaces in courses where it is difficult enough to get a seat as it is. Those spots could go to students who actually want to apply themselves, learn something and make the most of the opportunities Columbia provides.

This sort of academic requirement is standard practice for higher education institutions. Columbia often gets a reputation as an “easy art school” because of its generous admission policy, but enforcing real consequences for poor performance will help remind people that students here need to work hard to succeed.

This change in grade requirements will be beneficial all around. It will motivate students to do better if they want to stay at Columbia. It will also free up valuable college resources for the hardworking students who need them most. More importantly, it will reinforce the notion that Columbia students cannot, as some people may believe, simply coast through their work and get through college without doing anything.

There’s no good reason not to implement these changes. The administration should have done this years ago.

See The Chronicle’s report for more information about the college’s new GPA requirements.