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Dean's List: What It Means and Requirements

written by: Katherine Barrington•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 2/10/2011

Many new college students wonder, "What is the dean's list?" Students fresh out of high school are often familiar with the honor roll but colleges use a slightly different variation on this theme to recognize their star students.

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    During middle school and high school, good students are often rewarded by having their names placed on an honor roll or are awarded certificates of honor. When students reach college age they find that the honor roll no longer exists but there is a similar system in place: the Dean's list. What is the dean's list? In college, the Dean's list performs the same function as the honor roll in that it recognizes a student for his or her outstanding academic achievement.

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    What the Dean's List Is

    Library Books The Dean's list is most commonly used in North American post-secondary schools, though some colleges in Europe and Australia use the term as well. It is a method of recognizing good students for their hard work and good grades. Students who achieve above a certain GPA for the semester are awarded the honor of having their name placed on the list. The GPA cut-off varies by school but, generally, on a 4.0 GPA scale, the cut-off is at 3.5 or higher. Though students who make the dean's list are sometimes awarded with a special ceremony or dinner, financial aid is not typically given in conjunction with the award. The Dean's list is merely a means of recognizing those students who take their studies seriously and who achieve a high grade point average.

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    Dean's List Requirements

    Graduate Aside from what is the dean's list, the second most common questions students have is what are the requirements? The requirements to make the dean's list vary from one school to another but there are generally two conditions a student must meet to be awarded this honor - the student must be of full-time standing and he or she must maintain a good GPA. Different schools require a different number of credit hours to consider a student to be "full-time" and this information can generally be found on the school's website or by consulting the student manual. GPA requirements to meet Dean's list standards also vary by school but the minimum GPA required is usually between 3.4 and 3.6 on the 4.0 GPA scale.

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    Conclusion

    There are many ways in which good students can be rewarded for their academic achievements but among the most prestigious is the honor of being placed on the Dean's list. The Dean's list is compiled at the end of every semester and students who achieve Dean's list standing several semesters in a row may be given extra honors. Some colleges will honor Dean's list members by posting the list in a newspaper or on the school's webpage. Many beginning college students wonder, "What is the dean's list?" but the answer to this question is simple — it is the means by which colleges and universities recognize their star students for their excellent academic achievements.

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    Image Credits

    Library Books photo by morgueFile user Darrenhester

    Graduate photo by morgueFile user Hmm360

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    References

    "Dean's/President's Lists - Frequently Asked Questions," Kent.edu, http://www.kent.edu/commencement/graduationlists/dpfaqs.cfm