Having class rank in high school is a heavily disputed topic. Colleges want to see where you fit academically in your school. However, where you sit in class rank doesn’t necessarily represent how smart you are. Several local high schools do not use class rank, and many colleges no longer require class rank on applications.
Class rank tends to make great students look like overachievers and good students look like slackers. Students within the 3.75-4.0 GPA range are great students. At Marian, this gets you a class rank of about 60-100. When I put my class rank on college applications I just want to add, “I promise I’m smart! I go to an academically-challenging school where others are more ambitious than I am!” Unfortunately, most applications do not have an “explain your class rank” box.
Mount Michael Benedictine School and Duchesne Academy are two examples of local prestigious schools, much like Marian, that do not have class rank. They seem to be getting their students into college just fine. Also, fewer colleges are requiring class ranks on applications at all.
According to Sarah Richardson, the Director of Admissions at Creighton, class rank does not trump a good GPA or community involvement. In fact, class rank is not considered at all in scholarship reviews. “Colleges are still in the habit of asking. Class rank is just one tool of many,” Richardson said.
Furthermore, having class rank encourages students to take an Honors/AP class they will not necessarily enjoy, just to get a leg up on those taking a regular class that interests them.
When you rank high in your class, the pressure is on to keep or improve that number. The mere fact that speech and art become honors classes after taking the first year may play a part in why some students continue taking them.
Should someone just as smart as another classmate rank higher because they got an A in an Honors Art class? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, it is not necessary to show us how many people are better than us on an academic scale.
Mount Michael and Duchesne realize class rank stresses students out even more than seeing their GPA does. Colleges do look at class rank as a considering factor, but it is not as important as good grades and community involvement. Yes, I am on my calculator figuring out my GPA on a regular basis, even though seeing that number “stresses students out.”
However, class rank is one stressor I would not be upset about losing.