What's being done to counteract unfair class ranks?

<p>At my school, there are quite a number of students with high unweighted GPA's (and therefore high class ranks) who never actually took challenging courses. These people are absolutely killing my rank. I took full AP/honors courseloads and one of the weakest parts of my application is my class rank (barely top 10 percent, but my school will be submitting an EXACT rank). I go to a large public, 750+ students in my class.</p>

<p>My question is, do colleges have some sort of protocol to make sure that this sort of situation won't negatively impact me or the thousands of other students in my situation?</p>

<p>Many colleges are deemphasing class rank because many high schools are doing away with it. The parents in your school district should propose that a "weighted class rank" system be explored. This would reward students for taking more rigorous classes.</p>

<p>Most schools will consider the rigor of the courses you took in evaluating your academic record.</p>

<p>Check the school counselor report on your college application. In many cases, it asks if the rank is weighted. Of course, in some states it won't matter if they have cutoffs.</p>

<p>A lot of colleges recalculate gpa to reflect their own priorities. For example, one school's admissions office stated that they recalculate gpa on a 4 point scale considering academic courses only, and then assign a multiplier reflecting the rigor of the curriculum taken by the student. Obviously the multiplier can help or hurt an application.</p>

<p>For what it is worth, my sons' high school reported both a weighted and unweighted gpa and class rank, which gives colleges an extremely clear idea of how a student stacks up.</p>

<p>I know at my school (small rural high school in Wisconsin), we don't have a problem like yours. Our school uses weighted gpa for class rank. The purpose for this is actually quite simple and fair: those who take the hardest/most rigorous classes and excel at them, receive the higher rankings. We have a 1.2 multiplier on a 4 point scale. Therefore, by taking say 6 honors/ap classes and a gym (required by the state for 3 years of high school), you would have a 4.686 gpa. My high school doesn't even have an umweighted class rank because most students here aren't exactly the "shoot for the stars" individuals, so their easy classes translate into high umweighted gpa's. I feel that this system is fair because it rewards students for taking challenging courses & accurately depicts the students standing in terms of the student body.</p>

<p>You are in California? Class rank does not matter at all for UC and CSU admissions. UC and CSU also recalculate GPAs their own way, so what your high school does as far as GPA weighting is irrelevant. So don't worry about your class rank if your primary university targets are UC and/or CSU.</p>

<p>(Note: Eligibility in Local Context for UC compares your GPA to the historic top 9% GPA at your school; it does not use your current class rank.)</p>

<p>Now, if you intend to apply to University of Texas or some other school where class rank is important, you may want to ask each such school whether they accept the high school's definition of class rank, or whether they require rankings to be done using a specific GPA calculation.</p>

<p>You can check each school's common data set to see how much it cares about class rank, if it cares at all.</p>

<p>All the colleges are different in how carefully they consider class rank, even when they may say they calculate it out for schools that do not weight their courses, they often do not. tOSU for one does not, even though they will tell the GC at their fall meetings that they do. </p>

<p>This was a problem for our local HS. Administration refused to consider weighting classes, but reported class rank, which was very misleading information. We were denying our own near best kids scholarship money and in many cases admission to their school of choice. I spent time last year talking with the GC, Principal, Superintendent and Board Members. It seemed like such an easy fix in my mind to just not report class rank on transcripts any longer. After researching colleges I reported findings that an increasing number of HSs no longer report class rank and it was decreasing rapidly. I was actually told, "Your better HSs don't report." I met some resistance when I presented it to the staff, but after checking for himself the principal agreed that my info was correct. They quietly changed the rule about class rank. Currently if a student goes to the GC at the beginning of SR year and requests that class rank not be reported, it will be left blank on transcripts. You could think about asking them to do that for you. </p>

<p>Reporting class rank is totally unfair and misinformation if classes are not weighted. The only ones that benefited from it were the decent academic athletes. Ours were told by the FB coach not to take the AP and Honors classed as they, "were too much work." These students took easier courses got all A's and could be listed as first in their class.</p>

<p>Though it was not widely known in our community, all the special needs students, most who had no hope of ever attending college, got a B or higher. If one of our students got a C, they were then ranked below these non college bound students. Look and see if that is the case in your district. It is so obviously not using good common sense that they may change the reporting for you. You may have to suggest that you will make sure others in the community will know about this. It worked here. Start with your GC, then principal, then Superintendent and lastly your board. Good Luck. </p>

<p>I may still have some of the stat info. PM if you want.</p>

<p>Thanks for the responses guys. I do live in CA but I'm looking at top privates/Ivies, where rank is more important. </p>

<p>During my fall registration, I asked my GLC again about ranking, and he seemed really adamant that ranking would be based solely off UW GPA. I'm not sure why. This is the same school where two rank one students went to extremely crappy state universities. I'll definitely talk to him sometime and maybe we can get it changed.</p>

<p>However, what happens if you have a 4.0 unweighted student whose weighted also happens to be 4.0? Obviously this person's rank would be pushed way back, yet he or she would still have valedictorian status. How would that work? In this case, does valedictorian simply be defined as the person with the highest WEIGHTED GPA? My school has traditionally based val status on unweighted GPA.</p>

<p>And does your school weight for ALL honors and AP's, or only for all AP's, or for some honors and all AP's? Since my school is more academic, people get off easy by taking honors in place of AP's and doing well there. So technically, that wouldn't really make a difference?</p>

<p>You said you're looking at top Ivies/privates. It's their business to be able to look at your transcript and see if you're a top scholar or not regardless if people who ranked higher had fluff classes. I was ranked 10th or 12th out of a class of 220 (never figured it out b/c I really didn't care). Only one to an HYP.</p>

<p>Stop worrying and trust in their professionalism and capacity to use common sense. If they are that stupid, then you don't want to attend them anyway, right?</p>

<p>Now that you put it that way, I feel way better. Thank you.</p>

<p>I'm only worried because in my class, there are a LOT of people who took easy classes and got all A's in them. More than usual. We're one of the strongest classes in years, and the students are divided between the super strong AP/IB kids and the weak but straight A students in easy classes. My rank therefore places me relatively low (at one point I wasn't even top 10%) even though I only have a handful of B's.</p>

In this case, does valedictorian simply be defined as the person with the highest WEIGHTED GPA? My school has traditionally based val status on unweighted GPA


Sadly, val is the student with the highest weighted GPA at my school. Which means whoever takes the most AP and DE classes is val. It's quite meaningless almost.</p>

<p>I think you don't need to be worried, becauses colleges will understand how your school rank, like weighted or unweighted. It will not go against you because they look more deeply onto what classes you had taken and how challenging they are.
They even know which school inflates the student grades. They know which school is more difficult.</p>

<p>Also, the UC's have the different GPA system from high schools.
You may be qualified for ELC. If you are in top 9% of your class rank. Again, they have a different admission index.</p>

<p>Weighted GPA rankings do reduce the problem described here, but do not eliminate it.</p>

<p>For example, if students X and Y both take the same five honors/AP courses and PE, but student X adds an additional non-honors course (e.g. band, yearbook, etc.) and both get all A grades, then student Y will have a higher weighted GPA than student X, even though student X took a heavier schedule.</p>

<p>Also, the "AP" label can obscure considerable differences in difficulty and rigor between courses. If one student took AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C, and AP English Literature, while another student took AP Statistics, AP Physics B, and AP Human Geography, both get three "AP" courses that presumably get bonus GPA points, even though the first student took a more difficult and rigorous schedule.</p>

<p>my school doesn't report class rank until a student is accepted. then they might reveal class rank for scholarship purposes.
all class ranks are unfair really. it makes students feel like they 'belong' in a certain slot. it cements a student's position in academics.</p>

<p>my school does the same thing, and i really think it's unfair that kids who take the easiest courses will get higher ranks than those who take more difficult courses and have a slightly lower average. i don't mind though, because colleges have to take how a hs ranks students into consideration when looking at an applicant's rank. also, i would have an advantage over those students who took easier classes and got slightly higher averages than me. :)</p>

<p>All very valid points.</p>

<p>@chainiwatmj, yup, I'm aware of the UC system and the ELC thing. If I get ELC though, I'll be borderline, though my GPA/grades are all way above the UC averages. To give you an idea, that's how bad it is here...</p>

<p>@ucbalumnus, yes, there's that flaw too. Plus, I assume my school will weigh honors courses as well, in which case many of the honors-only students will still keep their high ranks, whereas the regulars-only students will drop. This will solve some of the problem but not all of it. </p>

<p>@stressedouttt, it might be unfair, but schools do put weight on the ranking and factor it into admissions (though they probably take UW rankings more lightly).</p>

<p>@kuromeido123, yes colleges will do that, but I still think it's unfair, especially when people here brag about being rank one while having taken such an easy courseload. The ranking isn't deserved.</p>

<p>OP, ask your GC for a copy of your high school's profile. This is a document that is sent to colleges along with your GC's recommendation. Among other things, a well-written profile will explain the high school's system for calculating GPA and class rank. That will help put your class rank and GPA in context for college adcoms. The profile may also list the number of AP/honors/IB courses offered, AP/IB pass rates, and so forth. </p>

<p>The other thing to note is that the GC recommendation form asks the GC to rank your individual high school course load by level of rigor, with "most rigorous" being, well, the most rigorous. If you've taken the most challenging courses available at your high school, your GC should be checking off that box. Again, that puts things in context for the adcoms.</p>

<p>ELC status is calculated using UC GPA. UC GPA, as I'm sure you know, counts only a-g coursework during 10th and 11th grade, and weights honors and AP courses. Given this, do you still think you're not going to be ELC eligible?</p>

<p>"ELC status is calculated using UC GPA. UC GPA, as I'm sure you know, counts only a-g coursework during 10th and 11th grade, and weights honors and AP courses. Given this, do you still think you're not going to be ELC eligible? "</p>

<p>Oops, my bad, I forgot that UC weights for ELC. In that case I definitely have ELC. Sorry for the confusion. And I'm taking five APs next year, four junior year, and one sophomore year, so I should have taken the most rigorous coursework.</p>