Monday, December 11, 2017

Class Rank for Merit Scholarships and College Admissions

article by : Brianna Moores
edited by : Katelyn Dearborn

Class Rank was very important for colleges to look at to determine whether or not they wanted the student attending at their college. But then it was said to be bad, and most schools did away with it. People thought it was unfair for students to be considered #1 in their class, to be better than most of the students. Schools took action to that and either took valedictorian away, or started allowing multiple valedictorians.

Many school officials, according to The Washington Post, had said that they wanted their students to focus more on their own accomplishments without worrying about where they fell in terms of their own class. And with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses - which can boost a student’s GPA to a 4.0 - highlighting class rank can push students to overload themselves during their high school years. College admissions officers had seen an immense drop in the number of applicants who came from a high school that provided class rank.

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Many deans and admissions officers of universities and colleges believe class rank should be given, as it offers another data point to help judge students' academic performances since the grading precision can be so unequal. But because of the lack in class ranks being provided, college admissions officers have been forced to look more closely at the student applications.

Massabesic High School was one of many schools who went away with class rank. As found on the Massabesic High School website, the school was planning on not providing class rank for the class of 2019 for a number of reasons. One was the fact that, “It eliminates worthy students from scholarship contention that are not in the set number of students chosen by Top Ten %.” Another was that using the Summa, Magma, and Cum Laude are more appropriate designations because they still recognize levels of superiority, without eliminating worthy students from the consideration of receiving scholarship awards.

In some ways however, class rank makes students work harder to get recognized as one of the top in their class, and creates a motivation-based competition. For other people, it just creates an unnecessary competition, which many people think is useless.

Recently, Massabesic has decided to completely bring back class rank. The members of the School Board, students, and parents all met on November 13, 2017, and again on November 27, 2017. Given the concern of parents and students over Merit Scholarships and admission to universities and colleges, the School Board has committed to taking immediate action on making class rank available through the Guidance Office. You can access this information to include on College Applications and when applying for scholarship awards. However, it has been changed from being used to recognize students for achievements and hard-work. “Class rank can hurt a student as much as it can help,” Mr. James Hand says. Class rank compares students with other students instead of measuring the student’s proficiency of graduation standards, as the school believes it should be. “In RSU #57, we want to recognize students for challenging themselves, taking a pathway that interests them and for meeting required proficiencies. By using the Latin Honor System, we can recognize all students that meet the proficiency criteria, without limiting it to the top 10 or top 10%.”

Most students, teachers, and parents have an opinion on whether or not class rank is crucial or useless to college admissions, and school achievements in general. How do you feel about this? Do you think that it is unnecessary and just causes a competition where everybody but one loses? Or do you think that it is important information to have in order to apply for scholarships and include in your college applications?

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  1. Very thoughtfully written: comprehensive and nonjudgmental, "just the facts" as sited from the sources provided. nicely done.