I'm an incoming sophomore in high school, and I was wondering, does Yale place great emphasis on class ranking? I go to a HUGEE, very intense,very competitive extremely cutthroat public school, where half the school has a 4.0, so people with even one or two B's would be severly disadvantaged. Therefore, a couple of years ago, the administration abolished the ranking system. When I see people's results postings, it seems like everyone has a ranking system at their school. So if my school doesn't rank, would I be less desirable of a candidate?
I wouldn't worry about it too much. I can't speak for the Yale admissions staff exactly, but lots of schools are doing this now and its not uncommon. That said, I did have an admissions officer at a different university tell me that if quite a number of people from your school applied then they can figure out more or less where you fit based on those other applicants. Mind you this was at an elite public flagship where many people in the state apply, so a sample size of 30+ is different than, say, 5.
But really, there are more important things in your application to worry about, like the essay or something useful. You are not going to be penalized for your school administration's policies. Also, you have two years still. Enjoy high school.
According to Yale's 2011-2012 Common Data Set, page 7, Yale rates class rank as very important, along with course rigor, GPA, standardized test scores, essays and recommendations.
If your school doesn't rank, you are NOT less desirable; Yale just doesn't have direct access to that info. Admissions can, however, figure out your ranking if multiple kids from your high school apply to Yale.
Yale uses a holistic approach to admissions where everything counts. Every year, there are students who are ranked #1 at their high school who get rejected, while other students from that very same high school are accepted. Bottom line: Don't worry about it.
You guys have been a great help, I really appreciate it DDD Ughh Yale has been my dream school ever since I toured the campus over the spring break, and I would be heartbroken if the admissions committee downgraded me as a candidate because of something that is beyond my reach.
You are not harmed if your school doesn't rank. In fact, it may help especially if your school is competitive. D's school didn't rank (probably because it is competitive); but if it did, she may have fallen around top 10-15% since school was so high acheiving. (however, 30% of her class will be attending ivy+stanford this fall).
If I recall, the split of students at Yale from high schools that rank/do not rank is something like 45/55 or vice versa. Plenty of kids get in from unranked high schools all the time. Ranking is useful for contextualizing a GPA at normal, noncompetitive high schools where grades may be inflated or deflated, but in a competitive environment, it becomes less accurate. Top 10% at Thomas Jefferson HS in Virginia is very different from top 10% at North Podunk Regional.
Published individual class rank is a dying statistic. IIRC, about 75% of private schools no longer individually rank, and about 25% of publics. Often decile or quintile rankings replace the old system. This is probably less of an issue for privates which often have channels through which relative merits of students can be informally communicated to admissions offices when they aren't on the transcript. Note that, in order to determine decile slottings, individual rankings still have to be calculated even if they are not made public.
BTW, this is from the most recent Yale Common Data Set:
Percent of total first-time, first-year (freshman) students who submitted high school class rank: 31%
This has decreased every year in the past five (when it was 47%).
Where ranking does occur you should trust, too, that admissions offices know about the perversity of detailed rankings. Unweighted rankings are just about useless and weighted rankings can be very serendipitous. Whether you are first or tenth can turn on whether or not you got the tough or easy teacher, had room to schedule an extra honors course, or were excused from taking physical education.
Last edited by Descartesz; 07-16-2012 at 12:47 PM.
As others have suggested, if you go to a competitive school with a lot of advanced courses, I think it's better for you if the school doesn't rank. Yale won't care much about the B you got in PE in the 9th grade, but at some schools that alone could have a significant effect on your rank.
I have sometimes wondered if applicants who have taken very challenging coursework in spite of unweighted rankings aren't more highly regarded than those who have done the same in the context of a weighted system. It might be seen as demonstrating a purer form of intellectual motivation.
I'm so screwed, then. My school does rank AND it's cutthroat. I wouldn't say half the people have 4.0s here, but about 8-10% do, and that's out of a pool that includes all the ghetto kids and slackers. Luckily, our school doesn't count gym in GPAs.
melody10511, not necessarily. It could either be that or a cutthroat school that's basically an Ivy feeder.
All I can say is that ranking isn't everything. At my daughter's school the weighting for AP and other advanced courses was rather pathetic, so kids who were tippy top of the class didn't necessarily have the hardest schedule. And I will say that (this is anecdotal of course) that the kids with the most rigorous schedules got into "better" schools than the kids at the tippy top of the class who had easier classes. My daughter was probably ranked somewhere around 92% and she's at Yale.