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Which is better: Low Class Rank @ Rigorous School vs High Class Rank @ Avg School?

kginting8kginting8 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited March 2010 in High School Life
Well...next year I'm going to be a Junior and I'm in a dilemna.

In my Freshmen year, I went to an average-academic school with an outstanding athletic program. (For convenience, we'll just call it School A). Because my average skills at soccer couldn't compare to some of the beasts at this school, I couldn't make the varsity soccer team. Being a Freshmen, I didn't really care much about my high school life and just wanted to maximize my gaming time...so I took no honors classes. I ended the year with a 3.67 GPA and was in the top 11% of my class.

In the second semester of my Sophmore year, I still didn't really care that much about my High School life. It was only until the second semester until I realized that High School was really important. That's why I switched over to a school that is far more rigorous academically with a mediocre athletic program. (We'll class this School B). With that exact same 3.67 GPA, I was in the top 26% of my class.

Oh and just a heads up, I want to major somewhere in the Math/Science Engineering area.

These are the classes that I am planning to take next year, If I stay in School B:

(I will take Summer School Pre-Calc at my school, and Chemistry as a Community College night class)

AP Calc
IB Physics
IB Biology
IB Economics
IB English
IB Spanish

I'm also planning on taking Varsity Soccer (because my average ability at soccer is enough for the soccer team) and joining the Key Club.

If I were to transfer back to my old school, I would take these classes:

(I will take Summer School Pre-Calc at my school, and Chemistry as a Community College night class)

AP Calc
AP English
AP Chemistry (There's an entrance-exam for this course...which is why I have to take chemistry for summer school to give me the information to pass the exam).
AP U.S. History
Spanish 3 (School A doesn't offer Honors Spanish until Spanish 4)
Other Electives

I'm just going to join the Key Club for now, because my average soccer abilities won't be good enough for varsity soccer at School A.

Now onto the problem...

I don't know whether or not I should stay with School B and maybe get in the 18-11% percentile? Or go back to School A, and get into the top 8-3% percentile, guaranteed. My counselor says that putting "I switched into a different school to take a far more rigorous program" on my transcript would make it look really good. Plus, varsity soccer and the IB Associates Diploma would look really good too. However, my friend who got accepted into UC Berkely said that Class Rank is more important. In other words, me being in the top 8-3% of my class in a not-so-academic school is more important and looks better on my college application than being in the top 18-11% of my class in an extremely rigorous school. I know it looks kind of one-sided, with the knowledge of a guidance counselor vs. only a student, but I have also heard from many other people that having a high class rank in a semi decent school is better than having a low/decent class rank in an extremely rigorous school.

So...which decision should I make? Which would look better for college: Stay in School B, get an "okay" class rank, somewhere in the 18-11% range, or go back to School A and get an extremely high class rank, somewhere in the 8-3% range?

Thanks in advance :)
Post edited by kginting8 on

Replies to: Which is better: Low Class Rank @ Rigorous School vs High Class Rank @ Avg School?

  • ChocolateBananaChocolateBanana Registered User Posts: 2,004 Junior Member
    High Class Rank. Without reading all that.
  • AbsurdistAbsurdist - Posts: 140 Junior Member
    No doubt, stay at the more rigorous school. It will only make you stronger.
  • ChocolateBananaChocolateBanana Registered User Posts: 2,004 Junior Member
    Time-Out: Let me change my advice.

    Don't worry so much about what will look good and do what feels right and what will cause you to be the happiest! I know it's cheesy, but seriously...do it.
  • ChocolateBananaChocolateBanana Registered User Posts: 2,004 Junior Member
    And your "average" school still offers rigorous classes....
  • eileendovereileendover Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I didn't read the whole post but I'll answer the question you asked in the subject line:

    High rank @ average school.

    I have a friend who went to a very prestigious local high school for almost two years. She couldn't stand the grossly over-competitive atmosphere and came back to our town's public high school. She got into UC Berkeley, Cornell, UCLA.... etc. etc. She says coming back to our public HS was the best decision of her life thus far. She doesn't think she would have gotten into the aforementioned schools if she had not.
  • ThisCouldBeHeavnThisCouldBeHeavn - Posts: 16,060 Senior Member
    I didn't read any of the post, but higher class rank is better, though there are a few exceptions (very few) where you can get into a good school anyway. That said, I think it's foolish to go to the inferior school simply because you think it offers a better shot at a good class rank.
  • oahuuuoahuuu Registered User Posts: 33 New Member
    The latter. Unless the college you apply to will absolutely 100% know how challenging the first school really is.
  • MillancadMillancad Registered User Posts: 5,941 Senior Member
    Unless the first school is like Andover or Exeter or something like that, High Class rank.
  • yourskyyoursky Registered User Posts: 711 Junior Member
    depends on the school. in some schools, being in the top 40% or so is enough to get you in a top 50 school
    in others, even a top 10% doesn't guarantee an acceptance to those same schools
  • meadow36meadow36 Registered User Posts: 5,620 Senior Member
    Low Class Rank @ Rigorous School

    Because you'll probably learn more and be better prepared for college. And if you're decently smart you probably won't get a rank that low.

    Plus, you'll feel dumb when you get in to great college and are no longer the smartest person there. If you have the option, it's probably better to surround yourself with intelligent people.
  • fledglingfledgling - Posts: 4,256 Senior Member
    At the rigorous high schools, keep in mind that many of them don't rank. So you don't necessarily have to conform to the "top 10% rule" if you attend one of them. Case in point: my HS is one of the "rigorous schools" you specified in your title. We've had at least 6 kids out of 85 admitted to Ivies (3 to Yale SCEA, 3 to Cornell ED, potentially 1 other to Dartmouth). None of these people were inducted into the Cum Laude Society towards the end of their junior year (meaning they were not in the top 10%).
  • SLightManifestoSLightManifesto Registered User Posts: 2,161 Senior Member
    You definitely want a high class rank at the worst school you can go to (that still has Honors/APs). If I could re-choose my classes, I'd go to Public school in a heart beat (academic wise, it is worse, but I'd get into a lot better colleges than I do at my really tough private school).

    I feel my GPA would be about .4/.5 better.
  • MillancadMillancad Registered User Posts: 5,941 Senior Member
    If I could re-choose my classes, I'd go to Public school in a heart beat

    Great job making generalization about the rigor of every public school in the country.
  • 2bornot2bivy2bornot2bivy Registered User Posts: 398 Member
    You know the answer: high class rank at rigorous school......this is just like asking should I take the harder course and get a B or the easier course and get an A and the answer is always
    get an A in the harder course..............
  • porkpersonporkperson Registered User Posts: 2,071 Senior Member
    high class rank
This discussion has been closed.