2
a month ago
Admissions Advice

My school does class ranking weirdly, and I'm scared it's going to affect my admissions chances! Will it?
Answered

Heyyyy! At my school, we do class rank very weirdly, and it's a bit unfair in my opinion. I fear it may affect my admissions chances, as my class rank is a bit lower.

Basically, we offer both AP courses and DE courses through a local community college. I've chosen to take AP courses, as the credits transfer to more schools and it's a more rigorous course of study. However, for year-long AP courses, my school only counts the second-semester as an "AP" course. Essentially, the first semester of your AP, while still an AP class, is only weighted on a 4.5 honors course GPA scale. The second semester is when you finally get your GPA weighted on a 5.0 scale for year-long APs. The problem is that students who choose to take DE courses, which are less rigorous and have fewer credit-transfer opportunities, year-long courses are weighted on a 5.0 scale both semesters. This gives DE students a significant GPA advantage over AP students, and therefore, a higher class rank.

Moreover, we don't do class rank "ties." If you have the same GPA as another student, your class rank goes in order of last name, so the name that's higher in the alphabet gets the higher rank. This is extraordinarily unfair and I have no idea why we do it. My last name is a C name, so thankfully, I'm more likely to attain the higher rank, but it's still ridiculous that this is being implemented.

Prior to this year (my sophomore year), we couldn't take DE courses yet. I was ranked ~20/~500 students, and by the end of my junior year, I've dropped to 86/481. I've been knocked out of the top 10% of my class (I'm now top 17%), which was super important to me, as I plan on applying to colleges that prefer this, like Vanderbilt (top school right now). I'm especially worried that I'll continue to drop next year, potentially kicking me out of the top quarter of my class. I will not be able to boost my GPA enough to surpass my DE peers, as I'm continuing to take AP courses next year and will be at the same disadvantage.

Will colleges recognize this and take it into account when considering me as an applicant? Thank you so much for your help!!

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classrank
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Accepted Answer
a month ago

If you politely and briefly explain this in your application, I think they will respect that. Include it in the additional information section and be sure to have other people edit your explanation first to make sure it sounds okay. As frustrating as things like this are, colleges will view a upset-sounding explanation as immature or whiny (instant red flag). So as much as it sucks, try to be polite and concisely state the facts.

Just do your best and that's what matters! Also, if AP demand more than DE, it is impressive that you are getting good grades, despite the sacrifice of a lower rank.

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