Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl
Between 3.01 and 3.50 is a 3.5. --- 3.51 to 4.00 is a 4.0.
How she chooses to self rate will have no effect on her year end rating and whether she gets bumped or not. The only thing her self rating affects is the level of the player she gets to play against.
After each match your friend plays she will get a dynamic rating based on her results against established players. Playing poorly against low 4.0s will give her a dynamic rating in the 3.5 range. Regular beatings of high 4.0s will give her a rating in the 4.5 range. Most likely if she is being told to rate as a 4.0 she will have moderate success and get a rating in the 4.0 band.
At the end of the season your friend will get a computer rating, provided she plays enough matches. This rating will be strongly tied to her dynamic rating but there are also some end of season adjustments. Whatever her rating is at that time ... that will be her computer rating.
She is more likely to get bumped up or down because she does not have a long history of matches to overcome. But whatever she chooses as her self rating in and of itself has no meaning when it comes time to decide if she is getting bumped.
This is true, however there is a nuance that is missing
Sometimes if you self rate as a 4.0 and play against other 4.0's and when you play it becomes clear they can win the match easily they often throw you a few games (sometimes even unintentionally)
But if you play a computer rated 4.0 and lose 6-3, 6-2 because they took it easy on you the USTA computer doesn't understand that and thinks that you were competitive at 4.0 when that may not be the case.
If you arent sure what to self rate at (say between 3.5 or 4.0)it is better to rate the lower level because you can play up but you cant play down and getting bumped down takes time where as you can bump up easily.