3 years ago
Admissions Advice

How important is class rank?

(Currently a sophomore) When starting high school, I decided to take a new language that I had been wanting to take for years, but wasn't available to me earlier. Unfortunately, there isn't an honors option for the first two years of the language. Then, because of COVID-19, my school district gave everyone automatic As in their classes. Due to this, my class rank is currently below the top 25%. I'm taking two APs this year and six next year (out of seven classes total), but my school district is extremely competitive and I know multiple people who are taking more APs than me (not able to due to my schedule). I'm worried that I won't even be able to crack the top 5% by the time I graduate. Will it severely hurt my chances to not be in the top 1% of my class? Or will colleges like the fact that I am genuinely pursuing what I love instead of just taking as many APs as possible?

Edit: This is my second foreign language, but my spike is economics with an international focus so I'm incorporating it into my extracurriculars as well.

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Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

HI there,

To be a bit frank, I genuinely doubt colleges would look at your class schedule and say "Wow, they could be a great admit if only they had scrapped that foreign language (or ASL) and had taken another AP class in their otherwise AP-packed schedule. I guess we have to reject them". Many high schools don't offer honors/dual credit/ AP foreign language and yet many colleges and universities really want to see 3-4 years of them. I recently met with an admissions counselor at Cal Poly to discuss some of my own questions and they happened to mention that they saw students this year with extremely rigorous course loads get rejected because they only had two years of a foreign language, or only one year of visual performing arts, etc. I know you've probably had it drilled into you that all colleges care about is AP/IB, which they do care about, but of course there are other factors they must consider, too. Foreign language, performing and visual arts, etc. are often those of other considering factors. Most people don't get rejected with strong applications because they took choir or band over another AP class, and I would almost make the point that foreign languages are even less likely to face it.

Additionally, as you asked in the question, schools do like to see you pursue what you are passionate about. I would even recommend that you embrace the language-- it could potentially become your "spike" if you pursue it and fins a way to incorporate it into your ECs.

As for class rank, many universities don't consider them. For those that do, I have heard that there is little emphasis, and I don't think it is usually the determining factor between getting admitted and getting rejected. However, I am not someone with experience in admissions, so take that aspect of this advice as you will.

I hope this helps! :)

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