Becoming Valedictorian: Is it a must nowadays?

Hello all. Just a little background. I am posting this on the summer of my freshman year. I am going to become a sophomore.

So my question today is as stated in the title: Is becoming Valedictorian a must? Perhaps a more elaborate question would be, how does my rank compare and contrast with other factors in my college application (SAT scores, Transcript, Volunteer Hours, Awards, Sports, etc.)?

I attend a small private school, and in my class of 2018, we have a little over 52 students. In those 52, I would say that I am number 6 or 7. My school does not rank, but I am definitely in the top 10. But I feel like this isn’t enough for me. I feel like if I’m not valedictorian, my chances at my reach colleges are over. Those colleges being: Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Berkley. Not to mention I live in Houston not California. So yeah, my chances are very slim, but I’m sure I have a lot going for me, being only a Sophomore in high school. Ultimately I’m asking you, the viewer, if being valedictorian had a huge impact in your college application, or have you witnessed a valedictorian have a huge impact in theirs?

Side note: I was planning to try to become valedictorian, but I did not know who I was going up against, and I underestimated my classmates, so I took freshman year lightly. Unfortunately earning my a lower rank. Is it possible for me to climb the ranks even though the guys/girls above me are trying super hard also?

(I’m practicing my vocabulary, so if I sound like a pretentious, condescending, delusional, oblivious, teenager, I apologize) :wink:

Don’t even worry about valedictorian. There are thousands and thousands of valedictorians in the country and abroad, and they all go for the Top 10, and many are rejected. Especially in a small class like yours, the label of valedictorian ends up meaning very little.

Your best bet is working hard the next few years and starting early in extracurriculars to gain leadership positions by the time you’re an upperclassman.

IMO, valedictorian is not a must (my HS did not even have valedictorians). However, for top colleges, depending on the HS, top 10% is close to a must. Since you’re from Houston, UT should be on your list, for which you would want to target top 7-8% (the criteria for autoadmit will depend on your graduating year).

I don’t think colleges prioritize valedictorians over all other applicants, but I do think valedictorians are able to get into top colleges just because being #1 in your class requires discipline, hard work and a good work ethic, which a valedictorian most likely applies to academics and extracurriculars.

Not at all a “must”. Go read “How To Be a High School Superstar” by Cal Newport. You are at a great age to benefit from it. Now… UCs do care about GPA a lot, though. But can you even afford them, since you are out of state?

Yeah I can afford UCLA and UC Berkeley, don’t know if it’s worth the money though.

And I am currently reading How To Be a High School Superstar. It gives good studying tips, and how you should take notes, but I can’t agree with the fact of under scheduling.