What Is the Dean’s List?

I recently noticed that a large number of students read this blog. So I decided to write a post about how to make the dean’s list. Because it is about academic excellence, this post will benefit any student, not just university students. Even if you’re a second or third-year student reading this, you can apply the advice to your remaining semesters and graduate with a high GPA.

What Is the Dean's List

What Exactly Is the Dean’s List?

Dean’s List should be a term that university students and graduates are familiar with. A Dean’s List is an academic award or notation given to students who have excelled in their studies at a college or university. Honor roll and honor list are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. In general, students enrolled in college or university must meet a set of criteria before being placed on the Dean’s List. 

These requirements vary by institution, but in most cases, students must enroll full-time, earn a specific grade point average during the academic term, and maintain a specific cumulative grade point average throughout their enrollment. Dean’s List is an honorary list given to the highest-achieving students. The GPA cut-off for Dean’s List varies across faculties and academic semesters because the Dean’s List is generally awarded to the top few percentiles of students. 

To be considered for the Dean’s List, your GPA must be at least 3.6/4.0 or 4.5/5.0 (average of A- and A for all subjects) if I were to guess. The cut-off will be higher if it is a highly competitive semester with everyone doing exceptionally well. In the United States, your college grade point average (GPA) is calculated using a total of 4.0. Universities in Singapore use the Cumulative Average Point (CAP) system, which is based on a total of 5.0. I’ll use the CAP system, which is on version 5.0, for the rest of this series. 

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Why Should You Try to Make the Dean’s List?

1. A feeling of accomplishment.

In my opinion, the most important reason. Making the Dean’s List is a significant personal accomplishment. The Dean’s List is based on comparative performance with the rest of the faculty, not on absolute GPA. If all of your peers are top scorers, you’ll need to do even better to make the Dean’s List. On the Dean’s List, you are in the top 1-5 percent of the faculty in terms of academic performance.

2. Improving your employability.

In the end, we study to get a good job — our best job. While grades aren’t the only thing that determines whether or not you get a good job (other factors include your leadership activities, personality fit with the company, and so on), your GPA is crucial, especially for top jobs with Fortune 100 companies. Although there are exceptions if you have a strong portfolio and strong leadership involvement in core curricular activities, many top employers use GPA as a preliminary criterion to shortlist candidates during campus recruitment.

3. Invitations to special occasions

You’ll be invited to special events because you’re among the best in your cohort. The most common are networking events with company executives, usually from top companies, and these are the ones you should attend. Only a few of them may be useful, but it’s always good to attend and meet new people. International case competitions are also available, but participation is usually by invitation only. Students who are on the Dean’s List are also invited.

4. Exclusive access to the most prestigious employers.

On-campus, top companies frequently hold recruitment events. There are recruitment seminars for the entire student cohort and exclusive networking sessions for a select group of students. Top companies’ HR departments frequently ask the Dean’s Office to invite students with good GPAs. Procter & Gamble (my former employer), McKinsey, investment banks, and consulting firms are examples.

  • Being on the radar of the Dean’s Office: People in the dean’s office and the university career office are likely to know you if you are on the Dean’s List. After all, the faculty has hundreds of students, and only a small percentage of them are on the Dean’s List. This is useful in a variety of situations, such as when you want an insider’s perspective on what’s going on, information on upcoming events, or simply to talk to someone about university matters.
  • Recognition and prestige: If all of the special invitations and invitations to exclusive events weren’t enough, being on the Dean’s List is practically synonymous with intellectual ability and academic success. Students who read the Dean’s List know who you are, at least by name, because the board posts those on the list on the university website and on the school notice board. People on the Dean’s List were generally regarded with awe and respect during my time.
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While being on the Dean’s List in university was exciting, don’t make it a part of your identity. At the end of the day, this, like everything else in life — your car, clothes, material possessions, and property — is an external achievement that will fade away when you die. The most important thing is to recognize this as a form of personal accomplishment, and that being on the Dean’s List can help you achieve other life goals like employability and career success. Attach yourself to your intrinsic values and life mission rather than external achievements.

You may also like to read this article: What is the Difference Between Scholarships and Bursaries?

How to Become a Dean’s List Student

So, how do you make Dean’s List? I’ll explain how I made the Dean’s List in this article. I divided the tips into two parts because they were quite long (nearly 5,000 words). The first six suggestions will be presented in this section.

1. Strive for excellence.

Instead of thinking about “how to get on the Dean’s List,” consider how to get the best grades. That’s because the Dean’s List is simply a result of getting the best grades, and the cut-off for this list changes every semester depending on the overall cohort’s performance. This means that the cut-off is determined only after the exams have been completed and the results tabulated. In a typical semester, you need a 4.5 or 4.6 out of 5.0 grade (4.5 is an A-, while 5.0 is an A or A+) to make the list.

In a semester when all of the students perform exceptionally well, the cut-off score could be as high as 4.7 or higher. If everyone does well, you might not make the list if you start the semester aiming for a 4.5 (average A-) grade. It’s far easier to aim for the top and end up in the top 1-5 percent than it is to aim for the top 5%, which is a highly subjective goal. What is the formula for calculating 5% of the cohort? How would you figure out who gets what grades? 

When the context is hazy, to begin with, how are you supposed to set your target? What difference does it make? The most important thing is to aim for the highest possible goal. If aiming to be the best is too much for you, concentrate on being the best student in each module you take. Isn’t that difficult? Being the top performer is an unavoidable outcome if you get your coursework in order, understand the materials thoroughly, and give it your all.

2. Prepare your modules ahead of time.

What I like best about university is that you can choose what you want to study, right down to the semester modules. This also means that you are in charge of your schedule and workload planning over the course of your 3-4 years of study. Some students prefer to have a heavier workload in their first two years of study in order to have more time for extracurricular activities in their final year. Some students spread their course work out over several semesters. It’s ultimately up to you and your preferences. 

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There is no correct or incorrect method. All you have to do now is make sure you can commit to the workload you’ve set for yourself. When planning your modules, it’s not just about picking what’s available. Keep in mind:

  • Who is instructing whom? Each semester, different lecturers with different teaching styles teach certain modules. As a result, the materials and exam standards have changed. Some lecturers have open book exams, while others have closed book exams or none at all. These details are usually found on the university’s website. You can also seek advice from seniors or peers who have already completed the modules.
  • The course load: Each module is responsible for its own workload. Some require a lot of dedication (I took a Japanese module that had a much heavier workload than any of my Business modules), while others can be completed quickly. The course description can provide some guidance.
  • Who is enrolled in the course? Some modules are required before moving on to the next level. This means that there will be a lot more seniors taking it to fulfill their prerequisites in a given semester.
  • Lesson duration: This will help you plan your schedule.
  • Exam schedules: Exam dates vary depending on the subject. Any date within a 2-week exam period is acceptable.

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3. Be aware of the criteria used to evaluate you.

Each module is graded on a variety of factors. The following are some possible components:

  • Exams and tests are the most common element.
  • Group projects – A university staple, particularly in business school.
  • Individual homework assignments
  • For Science modules, lab work is required.
  • Presentation skills and how well you handle questions and answers
  • Participation – Your input into class discussions and, in some cases, online forums for the class
  • Attendance is extremely rare. This was only for a Japanese module. The Japanese appear to be picky about punctuality, attendance, and timely work submission.

Participation and coursework are important. Speak up in class, form relationships with your teachers, and put what you’ve learned into practice. If a participation score is given, then speak up more. Pay more attention to projects if they have a high score. It is overrated to read textbooks. If your module allocates 10% of your time to assignments, 30% to group project work, and 70% to exams, then allocate your time accordingly. 

Spend no more than 80% of your time on your assignment, 20% on your group project, and 0% on studying for your exams. Spending more time on a small component does not earn you extra points. In studies, the 80/20 rule also applies.

4. Don’t be shy.

Remember when getting full marks on tests was expected in elementary school? In university, it’s no different. It is possible to receive full marks for your project work or exams if you so desire. Why not? After all, if your work merits it, the professors have no reason not to award you the highest possible grade. So don’t be hesitant. Aim for the highest marks on each component on which you are evaluated. It is possible, but you must first set that as a goal. If you subconsciously limit what you can achieve, you will only be able to reach that level because you are restricting yourself. However, if you recognize that you can get full marks, you will set out to do so.

5. Once the content has been taught, learn it.

If a new concept is introduced that day, make sure you grasp it before the class ends. Before packing up, finish reading the materials. Ask your friends if you don’t understand what the teacher is saying. Better yet, seek advice from your teacher. Nothing beats learning directly from the source. Before you leave, make sure you understand what he or she is saying. Don’t let it linger in your thoughts.

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This is critical because otherwise, you will be adding to your workload. Some of us may say we’ll study when we get home, but how many of us follow through? I certainly wouldn’t. I’d either sleep or play video games. There are many more distractions at home than at school, where the environment is more conducive to learning. Just studying at home requires a lot more effort. What’s more, even if you do manage to avoid distractions and study, what guarantees that you will fully comprehend the material? 

The professor isn’t available, your friends aren’t available, and it’s a pain to have to wait until another time to speak with them. All of this work can be avoided if you learn the material as soon as it is taught and with the resources available to you. The stress of not comprehending the material will weigh heavily on your mind. It may not seem like much, but consider how this weight will accumulate over the semester.

6. Get ready for your classes.

Tutorials are for in-depth discussion and application, whereas lectures are for theoretical understanding. You will fall behind if you arrive at your tutorials unprepared. Furthermore, you will not be able to fully benefit from the class discussion. Before going to the tutorial sessions, make sure you study and complete your tutorials. It will be extremely beneficial.

How well you prepare for your tutorials and how well you comprehend the content during tutorial classes are good indicators of how well you will perform on the exams. Exam questions are frequently similar to what is discussed in tutorial classes. More than half the battle is already won if you prepare well for your tutorials. The rest of your time is spent working on your project and revising to keep the content fresh in your mind.


I hope these suggestions are helpful to all students out there. Even if you are currently employed, you may return to school to pursue additional education (there is never an end to learning after all). Please, feel free to share this with your classmates so that they can benefit as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be on the dean’s list?

The advantages of including the dean’s list on your resume are as follows: Has an outstanding academic record. If achieved in all semesters, it demonstrates a consistent level of performance. Increases your resume’s credibility and honor.

Is there a Dean’s List GPA?

A student on the Dean’s List has a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher in at least 12 graded hours during any one term (including summer). The Dean’s List designation appears on the transcript, and the student receives an email.

What are the benefits of being on the dean’s list?

The Dean’s List has long been regarded as a prestigious honor to strive for during your years of higher education because it demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence as well as the ability to handle a heavy workload.

Is it possible to put Dean’s List on my resume?

The Dean’s list could be included in the education section of your resume. It’s a part of your educational history, and Recruiters expect to see it there. Next to your GPA, write down the Dean’s list. 

Is being named to the dean’s list an honor or a prize?

A dean’s list is an academic award or distinction given to students who have demonstrated the highest level of scholarship in a college or university. This system is most commonly used in North America, though similar measures may be used in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

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Martin Uwakwe

As an SEO Strategist, Web Analytics Expert, and Content Developer with over 7 years of experience, I'm passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to optimize online visibility, drive organic traffic, and boost search rankings. My track record includes successfully optimizing and analyzing hundreds of e-commerce websites, managing multi-million-dollar marketing budgets for maximum ROI, and crafting engaging content that resonates with audiences. With proficiency in SEO, data analysis, web optimization tools, and content creation, I'm dedicated to helping businesses thrive in the digital landscape.