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What Does 'Highest Honors' in High School Mean?

I've been hearing about graduating 'with highest honors' from high school. But what exactly does that mean? How do you achieve this? And do colleges place a great deal of emphasis on this?

16 days ago

"Highest Honors" in a high school setting typically indicates that a student has achieved the highest level of academic excellence throughout their high school years. The parameters for achieving this status can vary somewhat between schools, but it's usually linked to having a high grade point average (GPA), often within the top 5% or 10% of the class.

These honors are often divided into different categories that closely mirror those used in colleges: summa cum laude (or highest), magna cum laude (or high), and cum laude (or with). A summa cum laude honor typically requires a GPA of 4.0 and above, magna cum laude maybe 3.8 and above, and cum laude 3.6 and above. But again, these thresholds can vary depending on the school.

To achieve this, students would essentially need to maintain consistently high grades, taking rigorous courses, and often excelling in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes if they're available, as these can boost weighted GPAs. The school's specific GPA calculations and how they weigh honors, AP, or IB classes should be considered.

As to your question about the weight colleges give to 'highest honors', yes, colleges do take note of this achievement. It's further proof of a student's consistent academic excellence throughout high school. However, it's just one factor of many within the broader context of a student's application – colleges also will examine course rigor, extracurricular involvement, leadership roles, essays, recommendation letters, and more. Therefore, although 'highest honors' is definitely a positive point on a student's application, it's not the sole deciding factor in admissions.

16 days ago

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