Everything You Need to Know About the Dean’s List

graduation hats

There is no age limit on taking pride in a job well done, and certainly no limit for accepting accolades from others. As children we loved when our parents would celebrate our report card, as adults we love to hear the boss offer congratulations on a job well done, and as college students we love to see our names on the Dean’s List. 

“That was an achievement I had never experienced before,” says Ashford University graduate Corenna Khieu, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration in 2012 and Master of Public Administration in 2014, and spent every year on the Dean’s List. 

“I remember going to college and not feeling very smart,” Khieu says. “After going to Ashford, I felt empowered.”

What is the Dean’s List?

Released in the spring, summer, and fall of each year, the Ashford University Dean’s List recognizes undergraduate students with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher who have completed 12 or more credits – including at least one course since the time the previous Dean’s List was published.

The Dean’s List serves as a springboard to new opportunities within the Ashford community.

A 3.5 GPA represents an “A” average -- a remarkable accomplishment for adult learners who make up much of Ashford’s student body. Adults are tasked with balancing school, family, and work, and many admit it’s not always college that’s the hardest of the three.

“My challenges were more personal than academic,” says Sociology major Quinette Covington. “Although I had a few personal things to [work out], I remained on the Dean’s List the entire time.”

Keys to Your Success

If you asked 100 Ashford Dean’s List students how they did it, you’ll find some common threads among their various answers. Surely, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as online students come from different backgrounds all over the world. But here are some tips on how to make the Dean’s List:

  1. Stay organized. From keeping your calendar up to date to mastering the art of time management, students who are highly organized have a better chance at keeping their grades up.
  2. Ask for a CHAMP when you need one. When first-year students struggle to adjust to online learning, they can call on Ashford’s CHAMPS Peer Mentoring program, and get paired up with a high-achieving student who can show them the way. Some, like Covington, go on to become CHAMP mentors themselves.
  3. Turn in every assignment. You can’t get a 3.5 GPA with zeros on your record. “I tell students that it is better to be late and receive some credit than to receive a zero,” says Ashford Readiness Advisor Autumn Leal. 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

For Covington and others in that 90th percentile of academic success, the Dean’s List serves as a springboard to new opportunities within the Ashford community. 

A 3.5 GPA can earn you an invitation to join the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society (for disabled students) or SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society (if you are a military veteran), widening your world and increasing your ability to network with high-achieving students. There are other honor societies, Alpha Sigma Lambda and Golden Key International Honour Society, that may be attainable as well.

As often happens with Ashford students, once they find their footing in the online classroom and start to achieve some success, they get hungry for more. In Covington’s case, she didn’t stop at the Dean’s List, and worked her GPA up to 3.75, making her eligible to apply for a place in Ashford’s Honors College.

“My experience with the [Honors College] was significant,” she says. “I met a very diverse group of people, including my instructors. I gained a better understanding and appreciation for teamwork and leadership.”

Make It Your Own Marketing Tool

No matter your age, placing on the Dean’s List looks great on a resume. 

An adult learner might hesitate when hearing that. After all, once you reach a certain age or professional level, you might consider yourself too old to market yourself with your GPA. But consider the fact that you’re an adult who is in or just finished college and achieved remarkable grades, all while balancing the rest of life’s responsibilities.

Sure, you wouldn’t include “Dean’s List” at the top of your resume, but it’s worth noting, especially if you are able to work it into a conversation about your classes and how they relate to the job you want. 

Those two words – Dean’s List – mean different things to different students. Some see it as the ultimate achievement, some might wonder, “Who’s Dean?” Even for those who don’t place much importance on the list, there’s no denying its significance. 

So at the end of the day, there’s just one thing you need to tell yourself after you’ve made the Dean’s List: You did it. 



Written by Ashford University staff

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