2 years ago
Admissions Advice

What are ways to become valedictorian (to boost GPA)?

Hey, I’m currently aiming for valedictorian at my school. There are around 400 kids in my grade (my school is the only one in the city, it’s pretty small).

As of right now, one of my close friends and I are tied for first. It’s only sophomore year and I know many kids who are taking the same amount of APs, just with an extra class lowering their average.

I’m just wondering what other ways there are to raise my gpa and how much does each class weigh in. We use the standard UC gpa calculations. I know APs count for a 5.0, what do Honors classes do? What about dual enrollment? What other options are there, I’m confident in my ability to earn solely A’s, so rigor isn’t an issue.

Thank you and I’d love anyones input!!


I just want to be valedictorian for myself, not colleges. I'm not trying to get it to look good on my resume, it's a personal goal that I think would be cool to achieve, nothing else :))


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

This isn’t the answer you want to hear… but I wouldn’t fixate on the valedictorian status. I’d focus on what classes you really want to take and that tell your narrative. Whether it’s the sciences or business or humanities. Take the toughest courses you can and lean in - while possibly throwing in a minor emphasis…

If you self study for AP courses not offered at your school - you don’t the GPA boost - but you look like you took a lot of initiative and show a lot of drive.

At my son’s school - some dual enrollment courses counts double - but without GPA boost - it HURTS his GPA. He gets no boost for honors courses either. That’s why schools look at rigor or your curriculum on an individual/school basis.

If you feel it’s vitally important to have the title - then look into how your school calculates GPA, load up on AP courses and don’t take anything that doesn’t give you a boost just being mindful you fulfill UC requirements. But realize that valedictorian status, while a great honor, for top schools is just a “that’s nice”. It’s what courses you take AND even more importantly what Extracurricular experience you have and how well you construct your essays to tell a strong narrative.

2 years ago[edited]

Striving to be a valedictorian should be a personal decision so you need to own it if you want it. But more often than not, it comes at a cost. Sometimes the cost is extremely expensive and you can't get it back. For instance, if the criteria at your HS is just a weighted GPA, then to become VD, you have to take as many weighted classes according to the weighting policy in your HS profile. It's not up to you. It's up to your HS to determine what kind of class counts has a weighting or not. Many HS do not have weighted classes and have done away with VD and salutatorians altogether because having the highest GPA doesn't mean you are the best student in the eyes of college admissions officers. If you just focus on being VD, you will miss out on key leadership roles, varsity sports, community service, and other ECS that take a whole lot of time. At my school, if you want to be Student Body President and Editor of the NewsPaper and be on the Constitutional Law debate team you have to take 3 electives, Newspaper, Leadership, and ConLaw. And these are all non-weighted classes. So someone who want all 3 amazing ECs will take an automatic hit to their GPA. In the eyes of admissions officers, they would rather take the applicant with amazing ECs with a 4.4GPA vs a VD with a 4.6GPA that has tier 3 ECs because they just cared about that 1 metric. Make good choices.

2 years ago

I agree with @Aleecarboni , it's something that would be good to have but shouldn't be focused on too much. As a high school senior I keep hearing from people that who you are as a person -- extracurriculars, your personality, your experiences -- are what matter because a ton of people already have high grades and rankings. At my school, it's possible to get a GPA boost by being a TA (which doesn't count as a class so the average is calculated out of seven classes instead of eight). Again, though, I'd say focus on your own personal growth, and don't define yourself purely by your rank.

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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