Decent GPA but Poor Class Rank

Hi everybody, I’ve seen a thread similar to this, but I want to address my specific problem.
So I want to attend a United States service academy and they make it very clear on their websites that candidates should have an “exceptional class rank…” the big problem is that my class ranking sucks.
I go to a school with about 4,000 kids (900 in my grade) and I’m an in the top 15% of my class with a 4.9 weighted gpa and a 3.78 unweighted gpa. By the time I graduate, I would have completed 11 AP courses.

While I continue work on the things I can control, like my SAT scores, essays, character, and leadership, how detrimental will my class rank be to my overall package? Will this also raise red flags for admissions?

Thanks again!

This might be a challenge…

Does your transcript show deciles or percentage rank? I’m asking, because the top 10% would translate to the top decile. Is the class rank based on weighted GPA, in which case your school’s aggressive weighting might reward an AP heavy schedule.

For regular colleges, the class rank would only be one out of many factors considered, and not typically a major one.

PS - I’m in awe at the size of your school! 900 in a grade translates to about 27 parallel classes in the lower grades. Wow!

make sure you look at United States Service Academy Forum site. It has a ton of discussion regarding appointment to a Service Academy.

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I graduated with 980 in my class. We were all above average and gifted and talented. We had several students go to the AFA who weren’t at the top of the class. We even had 2 girls go, the first year women were admitted.

Recently my brother got an alum magazine from his all boy high school. The picture was of 12 alums who were all at academies (so grads over a 4 year period). It’s a school of about 9000, so pretty good percentage. Not all were top in their classes (also a school where all students are above average and gifted). Someone at that school is very good at getting students into the colleges, including academies, they want to go to. Also very good at getting athletes into top colleges and teams (12 seniors went to D1 lacrosse programs last year, many more to football and other sports).

Get a mentor to help you through the process. A former academy student, a local recruiter, a political person, a coach.

A girl in my kids’ class went to the naval academy. She was a tennis player, but the person giving the speech at the awards ceremony was her recruiter. The recruiter commented several times on the number of meetings they’d had and the number of phone calls about the application and interview process. No idea where she was in the class rank, but not top 20.

At a school with the average amount of grade inflation, an UW GPA of 3.78 would be in the range of the top 15%-20%. In my kids decent, public high school, same numbers in graduating class, the cutoff for the top 10% UW moves between 3.83 an 3.87.

According to the CDS of West Point, only 43% of their incoming class were in the top 10%, while 30% were not even in the top 25%. I would guess that the top 15% to top 10% range is around the median.

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I’m late to the party, @Senator1, but only about 1/3 of any incoming service academy class is selected for academic chops. The other 2/3 are chosen for other traits that are equally important to the military as their missions require brains and brawn somewhat equally. All cadets/mids pass the general academic bar, but not all come from the top of their high school classes.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Don’t lose sleep over what you cannot control. Focus on doing well in the most challenging classes your HS offers (especially calculus, chemistry, and physics), participate in team sports and earn a varsity letter, look for leadership opportunities, then put together the best application you can and let the chips fall where they may – that’s all you, or any candidate, can do.

Also, I second @PB1961’s advice to head over to the service academy forum for all the wonderful advice from the military community and pay special attention to the Nominations subforum as getting a nomination is the gating factor to an appointment. You are only competing against those in your district for a nomination so, who knows, your GPA/class rank may be the best in that pool.

Good luck!

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