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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: October 2003 Archive: Valedictorian?
By Sarbear (Sarbear) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 04:01 am: Edit

Does a class rank of 1 mean you are valedictorian? Weighted or unweighted? Or does it depend on the school? Thanks!


By Becks777 (Becks777) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 05:55 pm: Edit

yes being no 1 just means ur a vd

By Bubbles04 (Bubbles04) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:20 pm: Edit

Unless your school doesn't do valedictorian, like my school (grrr!!!...'cuz I'm numero uno...)

By Lt_Clyde_Frog (Lt_Clyde_Frog) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:25 pm: Edit

My school has a stupid valedictorian system, all you have to do is have the highest unweighted gpa (so you can be vd without any honors classes).

By Asndfkas (Asndfkas) on Thursday, October 16, 2003 - 10:39 pm: Edit

i go to a school of 700+ and the differences in gpa are about .001. seriously. valedictorian is insane, and often misrepresentative of the best student.

By Serdu (Serdu) on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 12:35 am: Edit

I am in the running at my school! The way they do it is by Weighted cumulative GPA. Otherwise kids who have 4 electives and 2 cores would be vals. The difference between #2 and I is 0.03 right now. It was 0.01 last year. No joke, its competitive. #3 has a 4.3ish #4 has a 4.2ish and 5-21 have 4.14-4.00. There's about 300 in our class though!

By Sarbear (Sarbear) on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 03:57 am: Edit

Thanks for your responses!

By Lefty9ak (Lefty9ak) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 12:10 am: Edit

Haha...I separated myself from the pack big-time this year by taking one AP online and two independent study in addition to the four regulars. Not even close now. :)

By Liera (Liera) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 02:23 am: Edit

definitely depends on school~ at my school, teachers nominate students for valedictorian based on a criteria sheet drawn up by the grad committee consisting of average students.
then each nominee makes a speech in front of the grad class and they vote on who they want. so, the #1 rank academic student usually never makes it as valedictorian unless he/she is really popular as well.
tough =(

By Yumpop (Yumpop) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 06:11 am: Edit

Everyone who has a 4.0 gpa unweighted. So we have a bunch of valedictorians every year but doesn't really matter that there's so many ... People who are smart know they're smart and it doesn't hurt them for other people who take less challenging classes to be recognized too. Everyone works hard one way or another =T

By Geniusash (Geniusash) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 12:03 pm: Edit

yeah, we have the same system as Yumpopp and have like 20 vals every year.

By Mr_Sanguine (Mr_Sanguine) on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 08:05 pm: Edit

do any schools of yours not rank? if they dont do you know why?

The reason im asking is because Im gonna be writing an article in my school newspaper against ranking :)

By Bucki (Bucki) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:08 pm: Edit

Mr. Sanguine: my child's school supposedly does not rank. Interestingly, though, they come up with a valedictorian & salutatorian every year! So, it's like "you are either #1 or #2 (sometimes a rare co-val or co-salut), but if not, you are an also-ran." Then they categorize you into the "top 5%", "top 10%" etc. This is a college-prep high school in the southeast.
Don't get me going about ranking! I could tell you some stories that would incinerate the pages you write your school paper on, as I am sure other parents could do as well. Not to mention some examples other posters on these forums have shared.

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:52 pm: Edit

Mr. Sanguine,
My son's school does not rank, based on the philosophy that "we will not compare our students with each other." They also do not check off the boxes on college forms. They write more individualized letters, which is possible because it's a relatively small, private school (about 100 seniors, divided between two college advisors.) They have just switched from weighted to unweighted gpas, I think because the percentage of gpas over 4.0 made A averages pretty meaningless. They do list what the highest gpa in the graduating class is, so colleges can compare the applicant's gpa with the highest, but do not know how many students may lie in between. There is also a chart breaking up the class by quintile, I believe, so that colleges can tell whether students are in the top fifth, tenth, etc. Given such a small graduating class, that's pretty close to ranking. Students don't usually see this chart, however, and for the most part don't really know where they stand in terms of each other. So there really is no jostling for position.

There is also something called Cum Laude, an honor society many private schools use. Schools are allowed to chose 10 students in their junior year and 10 in their senior. But within general guidelines each school establishes its own criteria. Unlike many schools which use gpa (therefore, basically ranking), my son's school asks each department for nominations. A student must be nominated by at least two departments. This makes for some very interesting candidates, all excellent students, but not necessarily the same students who would have been chosen purely on the basis of the top ten grade points.

Hope this helps.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 01:48 pm: Edit


You are describing roughly what our HS does, which I am concluding is quite misleading, and self-serving. They say they don't rank. So why do we have a weighting system for honors and AP courses, and why do we have separate GPAs computed for academic and non academic both weighted and unweighted.??? Heck, we even use the 100 point system which gives you 10 possible A's or B's instead of only three.

Our school also uses a bar chart, and I can use it to estimate the class rank within about 1-2% accuracy. Of course, I never saw it until the end of junior year.

The reason for this is clear. The school and administration don't want to have to go through the hassle of grade-grubbing and fighting over the rules for the valedictorians, etc. But for those who might have made different decisions on time allocations over the past two or three years,(had they known exactly where they stood) it is seriously aggravating. There has to be a better system than this "we dont rank, but take a look at these numbers and charts and you can do it".

At the very least, that bar chart should be available to parents each year from grade 9 on, and so should the averages with weights. I find it to be hypocritically ironic that through grade school when we complain about the lack of fundamental instruction, we are told that its our responsibility to drill the fundamentals, and in high school, we are told to butt out. {Deep breath, set soapbox back behind door.)

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 05:01 pm: Edit


It's true that with a few elementary math skills, college admissions officers can figure out where a student in my's son's class stands within a place or four. I'm actually ok with the kids not knowing exactly where they stand, because it seems like a waste of energy to me to be trying to "beat" someone else for number one or two. They have different teachers, take different classes. How much does it mean that someone's class rank is based on an A in statistics vs an A in CalculusBC, an A in Japanese, versus an A in Spanish, or a B+ from the teacher who never gives higher vs an A- from the teacher who never gives lower? As for those who might work harder earlier, I personally don't believe that has much to do with class rank. Kids do receive grades, and they pretty much get it that A's are better than B's in terms of getting into college, and that A's in honors or AP classes are the best of all.

I do agree that when schools argue it's in the best interest of the kids, it's never in the best interests of all the kids. Not ranking might up the chances for individual students who might otherwise be 13th or 20th, say, but in a very competitive, talented class. It's not in the interest of the student who might have been number one out of that group. I do like the fact that they've gone to unweighted gpas. It makes an A mean much more. But that gives more benefit to the students who do not take honors classes than those who do, especially if those who do take the risk of a more challenging course get a B or C in it.

I really appreciate the way they make the cum laude selection, because being nominated as an outstanding student by individual departments makes the award more than just a repetition of the gpa, and allows for kids who are well-lopsided in several areas but not A students in all to get recognition for their depth and talent.

I think all we can hope for in the college admissions process is that at least some of the colleges will go beyond plugging in class rank or just gpa and take a close enough look at the transcripts to get a feel for the load students took on. It helps, too, if they take a close enough look at the high schools to place a kid in context. Perhaps the schools accomplish a little when they make the colleges do a tiny bit of extra work when considering a candidate, but then, again, making the colleges do that tiny bit of extra work may not benefit all the students at any given school. Not worth spending energy worrying about, in my opinion. Got to spend it, instead, on something I have more control over: getting the darn application in on time and with a decent set of essays.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 05:24 pm: Edit


Well, ...agreed. You can see by the position I take what S's situation is. Very high test scores, not in the top 10% gpa "unranked" category, which I think I can discern from the college acceptance books from the past two years.

And you're right about the essays and getting it in on time.

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 06:02 pm: Edit

Well, my son has scores and grades, but not the right sport. And no big awards. Our "regret" at this point: That he didn't switch to fencing or sailing freshman year. (I used to go on about squash players, but someone took me to task for picking on them).

By the way, as I'm sure you know, very high scores and not in top 10% still places your son in the running for some great schools including U of Chicago, Reed,NYU, and many colleges that would love to boost their median SAT stats.

By Mazzo (Mazzo) on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 06:50 pm: Edit

ok my school is seriously •••••• up. we had a transfer student come in junior year who took 7 APs and got As in al of them at his old school. At our school we can only take 4 APs before senior year. As a transfer the kid with the 7 APs cannot achieve a rank higher than 2. therefore our break down is as follows for valedictorian based on weighted gpa:

1. 4.73
2. 5.31 (transfer)
3. 4.712 (me)


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