Top schools only accept 10%ers?

<p>Ive noticed in alot of the college rankings that for a lot of these top schools that 80-90%+ of students were in the 10% of their class in high school..</p>

<p>Now for a student like me thats qualified in pretty much every other possible way (great SATs, extra curriculars, good shot at being recruited, etc), but has a GPA that just misses the top 10% and maybe is in the 12-15% of my class (of about 150).. is that going to hurt me?</p>

<p>This really scares me and now i'm hesitant to even apply to some of these schools. How much will it kill my if I'm only in the second tenth?</p>

When I say "some of these schools" I'm referring to some of the schools I'm interested in such as brown (talking to the coach), wesleyan, northwestern (legacy), boston college, upenn...</p>

<p>Top 10% seems to be a "magic" number for many schools but don't let that scare you off if you qualify in other ways. Every college bound student should have various types (reach, safety, etc...) of schools they are trying to attend ... you should too.</p>

<p>If the other pieces of the puzzle are there then I'm sure your chances are legit. Good luck and stay optimistic and realistic; it's all a balance.</p>

<p>Are you estimating that you are ranked in the top 12.5%-15%? Many high schools do not rank students, and if that is the case, class rank is not something you need to worry about. I would estimate that roughly half the students enrolled at top universities did not attend high schools that ranked students.</p>

<p>If your high school does in fact rank students, your class rank may or may not hurt you. If you attend a very tough high school that sends 20%-25% of its students to top universities you should be fine. If you attend a "regular" high school, your class rank could in fact hurt you as universities typically expect a top 1% or top 5% rank out of such high schools.</p>

<li>At the schools you're thinking of, 80-90% of the students who submitted an exact class rank were in the top 10% of their graduating class. This number does not include people whose schools use quintiles or quarters, or people whose schools do not rank at all.</li>

<p>(A rarely publicized quirk of college admissions is the fact that, all other things being equal, schools that do not rank their students do better in college admissions.)</p>

<li>Even when we concentrate on the minority of students who come from high schools that rank, there is probably a lot of misinformation, misrepresentation, fudging of the facts and downright lying going on on the part of most universities. When I see a claim like "96% of our students were ranked in the top 10% of their class," my first thought is, oh, you really care about US News then. Like, do not for one second believe that schools like UPenn, Brown, Northwestern, etc. are being entirely truthful and transparent about these things. Of course they'll release numbers that make them look more selective. What methodology was used to arrive at these numbers is often the million-dollar question.</li>

<p>That being said, the people who get admitted to highly selective institutions despite having a lower class rank usually have something really big going for them. An unhooked applicant who's not in the top 10% of his or her class, and does not go to a feeder school, will have a very hard time making up for his or her rank.</p>

<p>The class rank distribution (along with the % of students who submitted class rank) is presented in section C10 of the Common Data Set. Colleges can choose to make this information available or not. Brown, Wesleyan, Northwestern, and UPenn all make CDS files available on the Web with section C10 completed. BC apparently does not.</p>

<p>School ... % in Top Tenth ... % Submitting Rank
Brown ... 93% ... 37%
Wesleyan ... 68% ... 45%
NU ... 90% ... 43%
Penn ... 96% ... 100%</p>

<p>That last number (UPenn, 100% submitted) looks a little odd. I don't know if that means they only admit students who report rank, or if they enter an estimate for those who don't, or what.</p>

<p>Suffice it to say, students outside the top 10% seem to comprise a minority of the already small minority who are admitted. Multiply the percent-not-in-the-top-10% by the admit rate, and you could be down to low single digits (less than 1% for Brown & Penn).</p>

<p>^ That 100% for Penn is an error. I suspect that the person who completed that portion of the form misinterpreted that particular prompt. In other contexts, Penn has repeatedly reported that less than half of its applicants come from high schools that report class rank (and I know for a fact that Penn DOES accept students from high schools that don't rank).</p>

<p>Penn has reported the rate as 100% for at least the last 3 iterations of the CDS. You'd think they'd get it right by now.</p>

<p>If you are talking about Brown and talking to the coach then don't worry so much. For all the schools, I don't think it is off enough to impact anything. Close enough to be comfortable. My daughter's school didn't rank. I really had no idea her rank. They did have a Val, so what does that mean?</p>

<p>Apply to all those schools if you don't mind the fee and the time. You are in the zone. Like I said, I don't know if mine was top 10%, I suspect just off like you because of a highly ranked class) but she did choose a hard schedule, sacrificed electives for 2 extra science years in an ec, great gpa, top SAT's, fantastic lor's from the teachers who really valued her, and Ec's off the hook. Just be an interesting, engaged applicant.</p>

<p>Off course have your safe and fallback schools too. Best luck.</p>

<p>Any admissions office worth its salt will look at the whole package. It's possible that 90% of the accepted students have SATs above X, 90% are in the top 10% of their class, 90% have great ECs, and 60% were varsity athletes, but less than 50% will have it all. </p>

<p>If you start looking at each of the criteria individually, it's easy to become discouraged. Sometimes it helps to have atypical strengths -- a lot of universities strive for diversity in their student bodies.</p>

<p>Ghostt, I was reading through this thread and your post intrigues me. Are you suggesting that colleges will obscure these numbers however they can, even if the actual percentage is lower?</p>

<p>If your school ranks, top 10% is critical. The few percent that are not are mostly recruited Impact athletes, so you could be OK if you are one.</p>

<p>This metric is important in the US News ranking, so colleges hold pretty firm. I've never seen a highly competitive school like the one Alexandre describes that has ranked in the past decade. They are well aware that it's a disservice to their students.</p>

<p>As for Penn, I believe the percent in the top 10% is 98%.</p>

<p>I think a lot of kids are confused in thinking they just missed getting in if they are top 11%. If you look closely, you'll see that most unhooked students accepted at ivies were top 2, not 2%, in their respective classes.</p>


It's 96%: </p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a> (section C10, page 11 of 38).</p>

<p>Interesting that the Common Data Set data indicates that Penn accepted 1319 ED [CDS page 12] of a class of 2410 [CDS page 6]. Assuming all ED acceptees enroll, they would comprise 55% of the class!</p>

<p>Also remember Penn reporting 1200 ED admits for that year. Does anyone understand why the descrepancy?</p>



<p>Penn's claim that 100% of its enrolled freshmen submitted class rank does indeed look a bit odd. But that's not the only odd thing about the reported class rank numbers. </p>

<p>Notice that the percentage of the entering class who rank in the top 10% in HS is a huge factor in a college's US News ranking, almost as important as SAT scores. For "national universities" and "national LACs," percentage ranking in the top 10% is worth 6% of the college's total US News rating. (In contrast, HS GPA counts for nothing to US News). So class ranking is a figure that any college that cares about its US News ranking is going to care about---and they all do, no matter what they might say about it for public consumption.</p>

<p>But the class ranking numbers the colleges report to US News look awfully dodgy. </p>

<p>Consider this: Harvard reports that 68% of its entering freshmen reported their HS class rank, and 95% of them were in the top 10% of their HS class. Those figures sound reasonable, and impressive. Most public high schools do rank, but a school like Harvard would draw heavily from elite private schools, many of which don't rank because they know any rank below top 10% could hurt their students' college chances, and they generally have many strong students outside the top 10%. So Harvard getting a HS class rank from about 2/3 of its freshmen seems reasonable.</p>

<p>But then you go to co-#1 Princeton, and the figures are strikingly different. Princeton says 99% of its entering freshmen were in the top 10% of their HS class. Impressive; better than Harvard by a comfortable margin. But wait! That's based on only 29% of Princeton's entering freshmen reporting their HS class rank.</p>

<p>Say what? Harvard gets class rank from 68% of its freshmen, but Princeton gets class rank from only 29%? Are we to believe that the class composition at these schools is so radically different that Harvard takes more than 2 out of 3 freshmen from schools that rank, while Princeton takes just over 1 out of 4 of its students from schools that rank? Or is Princeton just conveniently forgetting about or losing the class rankings of some students whose class rank it would prefer not to report, so as to push its percentage in the top 10% up to nearly 100%? That's just an enormous discrepancy, one that's difficult to accept at face value.</p>

<p>Most public universities report that they get class rank from 80-90% of their entering freshmen. It's understandable that elite private colleges and universities would have a somewhat lower percentage. Harvard's 68% is plausible. Some are a bit lower, in the 50-55% range, which still seems credible. Princeton's 29%? I ain't buying it. At the other extreme, Penn's 100% also seems not credible, which to my mind also raises questions about the credibility of the rest of what they report--including their claim that 96% of their freshmen were in the top 10% of their HS class, again a figure better than Harvard's and one that would do much to bolster Penn's lofty US News ranking.</p>

<p>Dodgy. Very dodgy.</p>

<p>It seems as if the % reporting rank fluxuates extremely little year by year as well. I checked Cornell's numbers, and for 2009 it was 88% in top-10%; 38% submitting. 2010: 90%, 35%... makes you wonder if they're intentionally obscuring the blemishes (while at the same time making it so their numbers aren't too unbelievable). </p>

<p>At the same time, Princeton's goes from 97 to 95 to 99% while % reporting remains at 30, 30 and 29 respectively. </p>

<p>As someone whose rank falls outside 10% at an extremely competitive public, this interests me. Does the USNWR criteria prevent colleges from taking students outside top-10%, or are they intentionally messing with the numbers to allow them to practice more hollistic admissions?</p>

<p>US News has certainly influenced the top 10% drive to a very large extent. The biggest struggle for colleges is admitting the athletes their coaches want. The impact athletes comprise the vast majority of those not in the top 10% at the highly selective schools.</p>