Many higher education institutions use admission criteria to match students with the educational requirements of the institution, thereby increasing the level of success of their students and allocating limited enrollment space in some cases. This study uses two different approaches to identify the affect students’ background characteristics have on first year cumulative GPA, and whether differences exist in the impact of high school grades on success in their first year in college between high schools in the state of Washington. Results show that students’ particular high schools systematically perform better or worse than the model predicts, holding the other characteristics of the students constant including their high school GPA. This suggests the same GPA from different schools is indicating different levels of preparedness, either reflecting different curriculum available or taken by a student, or grade inflations differences across schools.


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