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Honors titles in high school—what do they mean?

I've seen some students with 'honors titles' like 'cum laude' or 'magna cum laude' in high school. How do schools determine these titles and what exactly do they mean? Any guidance about these distinctions would be greatly appreciated.

6 months ago

Honors titles such as "cum laude," "magna cum laude," and "summa cum laude" are academic distinctions awarded to high school students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement throughout their high school careers. These Latin phrases translate to "with honor," "with great honor," and "with the highest honor," respectively.

Schools typically determine these honors titles based on students' GPAs, class rank, or a combination of the two. The specific criteria for each title varies by school, so it's important to consult your school's guidelines or speak with a guidance counselor for specific information.

Here's a general overview of the distinctions:

1. Cum Laude: This is the most basic level of distinction and typically awarded to students who have met the minimum GPA cutoff for academic honors. The cutoff may be defined by the school or based on a select percentage of top students in the graduating class, such as the top 20%.

2. Magna Cum Laude: This level of distinction is awarded to students who have achieved a higher GPA or class rank than what is required for the cum laude title. It might be awarded to students in the top 10% or 15% of their graduating class.

3. Summa Cum Laude: As the highest level of academic distinction, summa cum laude is awarded to students who have achieved the highest GPA or highest class rank in their graduating class. This honor is often reserved for those in the top 1-5% depending on the school's guidelines.

Receiving an honors title can be helpful in the college application process, as it demonstrates your dedication to academics and your ability to excel in rigorous coursework. Additionally, colleges value students with strong academic achievements, so having such a distinction on your transcript can make you stand out among applicants.

However, keep in mind that college admissions consider various factors beyond academic distinctions, including extracurricular activities, personal essays, and recommendation letters.

6 months ago

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