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Faculty Ends Pre-Matriculation Credits

As we anticipated previously (and The D didn’t), the faculty met on November 12 to decide on ending the award of credits to incoming students, beginning with the Class of 2018. Subject to one wrinkle with the Thayer school, all freshman arriving in the fall of 2014 will matriculate with no credits at all that they may apply toward their degree requirements, no matter what their AP course grades and other pre-Dartmouth academic activities have been.

In the discussion at the faculty meeting, several facts were put forward — albeit in rather haphazard fashion:

— Students arrive in Hanover with an average of three credits;

— Nonetheless 80% of students take 12 terms;

— 20% of students will be required to enroll for an extra term at the College due to the non-recognition of credits.

The impact of this change is not insubstantial: each year, about 200 students will be obliged to attend an extra term at a total cost of about $20,000 each. That’s about $4 million in extra income for the College, before financial aid. And these students will be taking a total of 600 courses, which adds about 2% to the demand for courses.

I find it amazing that such an important change could be effected at Dartmouth with no public discussion and no input at all from students.

Addendum: I attempted to pin down the above figures by asking Registrar Meredith Braz for specific details of the number of students who would be affected by the changes and the additional demand for courses that the changes would create. Regrettably, I received only the following, deeply unhelpful response:

–––- Forwarded message –––-
From: Meredith Braz
Date: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 6:12 AM
Subject: RE: AP etc. Credit
To: Joseph Asch

Hi Joe,

I hope all is well with you.

I agree that while all the impacts on courses cannot be predetermined, faculty seem to have considered them quite thoroughly and concluded that this new policy will well-serve our students. Students use AP credits in a variety of ways; for placement into a higher level course, to reduce their course load during a term, to reduce the number of terms to graduate, and often not at all. As you may have heard from the discussion, it is not infrequent that students will ask to remove their AP credit so that they may take the equivalent course since they do not really feel prepared.

One of the wonderful things about Dartmouth is the flexibility and individualized academic plans that students have; it does make reporting a challenge, however.

Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving,


Meredith H. Braz
Registrar of the College
Dartmouth College
6014 McNutt Hall, Room 105
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 646-3572
FAX: (603) 646-2247

Registrar Braz did not respond at all to a follow-up e-mail requesting actual figures, even though Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno was cc’ed on it. We are waiting for you, President Hanlon.

Addendum: For some reason, The D has not covered this story. We first posted on it on October 29, and I wrote directly to Editor-in-Chief Emily Fletcher on November 3 to suggest that her paper cover this issue, given its significant impact on students. I received no response. What is with The D?

Addendum: A reliable correspondent writes in to note that currently, to his knowledge, many students with pre-matriculation credits take a lighter course load during their senior year: two courses each term rather than three. If these undergrads, who are part of the group of the 80% of students who already take 12 terms at the College, are required to take extra courses, the elimination of pre-matriculation credits will have a further effect on the oversubscription problem beyond that calculated above.


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