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Class Rank Importance

yshahiyshahi 4 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
Hey, does being a valedictorian help in college admissions if you're applying to elite ivy league colleges? I'm #1 out of 383 so I hope it gives me some edge.
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Replies to: Class Rank Importance

  • skieuropeskieurope 38540 replies6747 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited July 12
    More than half of all US high schools do not rank. Most high schools with valedictorians to not announce them until after admissions decisions.

    If your question is does 1/383 have more of an edge than 2/383, then, no.. There is sooooo much more to the application than just rank and grades.
    edited July 12
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 693 replies24 postsRegistered User Member
    It might - but our valedictorian this year is going to Tufts (wanted to go to Brown) and number 9 is going to Columbia. Number 9 had many more interesting ECs.
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 350 replies23 postsRegistered User Member
    Being valedictorian does show hard work, but it isn't that important. A small neighboring public school of ours (NH by the way) had an Asian male who didn't even make top 10 of his small class get into Caltech this year (I still don't know how, he won't respond to my messages :confused: )
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6494 replies52 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Congratulations on your standing in your class, @yshahi! I don't agree that it isn't important- it is. And although I agree with @skieurope that the exact rank (ie, #1 or #2) won't make a difference- I also believe that being the top cohort *does* make a difference. Go read this:
    https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/applying_sideways/
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  • zbrown01zbrown01 107 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    You really just want to be in the top 1-2 percent of your class (as far as super selective university admission goes). Beyond being in the top several students in your school, specific rank really won't make a difference at top colleges.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 38540 replies6747 postsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    And although I agree with @skieurope that the exact rank (ie, #1 or #2) won't make a difference- I also believe that being the top cohort *does* make a difference.
    We're really sating the same thing. @collegemom3717 #1 or 2 or 10 will be perceived differently than 40/383. But simply being within that top 2% or 5% (and where on that continuum) really won't be a boost if the balance of the application is substandard. Unless applying for a school that considers only stats, which is not the case for colleges in the OP's example.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3717 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @squirrel what does race/nationality have to do with anything?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33132 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Rank in a small class is often murky. And you submit a full app and supp, not just stats and rank.
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  • TssugaTssuga 22 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Knowsstuff I assume it has something to do with students who identify as Asian being over represented in colleges. There's reason to believe Asian students need higher scores to be accepted into schools.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1209 replies24 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 13
    You need to also consider other factors as well such as intended major. If you are applying for engineering, computer science, etc. the bar might be higher. If you apply ED vs RD, it also matters. Is your HS a top ranked and very competitive or average with not many challenging classes?

    Colleges that use a “holistic” review are going to take a dozen things into account, not just class rank.
    edited July 13
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 350 replies23 postsRegistered User Member
    @Knowsstuff My bad, I forgot Caltech doesn't have affirmative action. However, in places with affirmative action, it is well known that Asian males applying to STEM majors are the hardest demographic by far—especially in computer science.
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  • mathmommathmom 32137 replies158 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @squ1rrel Being the parent of a kid who was number 8 in his class and got into lots of top schools I can think of all kinds of reasons why a kid like that might get into Caltech while students with higher ranks did not.

    Lets start with: He had great SAT scores and aced his science subject tests - the highest in his class. He took math and/or science courses beyond the AP level. He had published work in the sciences. He won science awards at the state level or better. He worked in his proposed field. He had over the top great recommendations. His GPA was brought down by one or two courses he didn't care about, and neither did Caltech. He had scheduling issues that prevented him from taking courses that would have been weighted higher.

    I think all of these were the case for my oldest.
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