2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Under what circumstances can I use class rank?

My school doesn't exactly have a ranking system of students per se, but what we do have is a once-yearly academic achievement award given to the one student in each grade with the best academics (highest GPA, essentially).

I've seen here on CollegeVine that a lot of schools consider class rank, and having a high one could be a boost to my admissions. If I've won the above award, can I write that I have a class rank of 1/<# of students in my grade>? Or can this only be done if my school is explicitly using the rank-based system?


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Short answer - No. You may not do this.

Detailed answer - If your high school doesn't rank it's respective classes, then you can't create a rank for yourself. When a high school has a rank policy for say 1500 students, then all 1500 students have to adhere to the ranking criteria. For some schools that's overall weighted GPA, for others it might be a combination of things. When your high school counselor submits the school profile to your list of college admissions officers, it will say on the school profile whether your school ranks or not. If it says your school doesn't rank, then you can't add a rank of say 1/400 to your common app. Why? Because you'd be doing something inconsistent with the school profile policies and frankly the only applicant from your high school doing that. If you truly have the highest GPA in your class, then that will self-evident from your transcript and by comparing and contrasting your application to others who apply from your HS to the same colleges you are.

As tempting as this sounds for you to do this, I think it will backfire and college admissions officers will think you were over-reaching in self-promotion when your high school does not rank as a matter of policy. What you should do if you think this Achievement Award is that important to you, is to list it as one of your 5 honors or achievements in that section. That should suffice and be self-explanatory.

Good luck.

2 years ago

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