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Does class rank still matter if GPA is really high?

eniloracweniloracw 125 replies3 threads Junior Member
edited March 2013 in College Admissions
I'm not here to complain about class rank, I've just always been unsure about this factor in admissions. I'm in a magnet program at a public high school with a class of about 130. It's a competitive program but basically the top half of the class has the exact same course rigor just based on how the program is designed. People get credits from online classes and certain middle schools that make their GPAs slightly higher. In some cases, this makes a big difference in rank even though the GPAs are almost the same.

Example: I have a 3.96uw/4.87w GPA and am ranked 11/131. I know someone with a 4.0uw GPA who is ranked in the 30s because she took unweighted online classes (personal interests).

So, in admissions for a highly selective college (Ivy-level), is class rank always considered heavily? Judging on grades/rank alone, would the valedictorian with a 4.0uw still be considered significantly better than the top 25% student with a 4.0uw who took more extra courses, when both had the same standard course rigor?
edited March 2013
6 replies
Post edited by eniloracw on
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Replies to: Does class rank still matter if GPA is really high?

  • DeblergDeblerg 413 replies45 threads Member
    I'm not really sure, as my school doesn't rank at all (too many new students each year for it to be fair), but I suppose that since ranking is different at most schools and there always seems to be issues like this, they should consider GPA as more important.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33994 replies4651 threads Super Moderator
    Look at the Common Data Set for each school as well as their web sites. Highly competitive schools generally use holistic reviews so it's difficult to tell. Some colleges (like U Texas) value rank above GPA.
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  • JamiecakesJamiecakes 502 replies49 threads Member
    This ranking issue was a big deal for my son. He didn't care for GPA reasons because his school reports in percentile not on a 4.0 scale.

    However, they don't weight and with 14 APs and 9 honors classes his ranking would be much MUCH higher than it is now. He has at least 4 APs and 4-5 honors classes more than the next kid.

    Again, doesn't matter for the schools he applied to because weighting formulas are so different I think they just look at grades/courses for the most part.

    BUT for scholarships it was a big deal and will potentially lose him A LOT of money since the scholarships he COULD be eligible are based on GPA AND rank. Bummer for him.
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  • fogcityfogcity 3171 replies57 threads Senior Member
    GPA is relative to other students in your school. With the wide differences in grading from high school to high school it is not simple or meaningful to compare GPA on an absolute basis. So in brief, for very selective colleges, rank matters and perhaps a great deal. And even if your school does not rank most likely it reports deciles to colleges.

    If you are planning to apply to very selective colleges review the history of past applicants from your school to those colleges. Naviance provides that data. Ask your guidance counselor if your school subscribes.
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  • glassesarechicglassesarechic 5471 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Yes and no. Class rank matters insofar as it demonstrates your performance in classes as well as the course rigor of your schedule (if cases where schools rank using weighted GPA). However, there are situations where this might be overlooked because of extenuating circumstances, like taking additional unweighted online classes. I was in the same boat as your friend, for example, and I simply had my GC explain it in her letter of rec. No one who wasn't val or sal had ever been accepted to an Ivy from my high school, so I assume that explanation is what helped me out.
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  • MaybeOnMarsMaybeOnMars 96 replies34 threads Junior Member
    I think that is ok. My advice is not to submit the transcripts for online courses so they don't count against your GPA, even though you can talk about them anyways.
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