Question: My friend just graduated "with
highest distinction," while another friend graduated from another
University as "summa cum laude." Which is higher, Magna, Summa, or
"with highest distinction?"
Answer: In Latin, "cum laude" means "with
distinction," and different colleges use different standards:
- "with distinction" (cum laude, literally "with honor")
is often the top 5% of GPA within the graduating
- "with high distinction" (magna cum laude, literally "with high
honor"), is reserved for students with a GPA between the top 5% and
- "with highest distinction" (summa cum laude, literally "with
highest honor") is often the top 3% of the graduating
class, usually a GPA above 3.9, depending on the grade inflation at
Universities may call it different names, but the
three steps of "cum laude" remain a universal standard for achievement
in colleges and universities across the globe.