As the school year comes to an end, it's nice to know where you stand in the ranking of the class that has worked all year alongside you. Fewer schools provide class rank, which a few national universities may ask for in the sometimes-arduous college application process. Figuring out your class rank percentile isn't a difficult task, considering all that you've studied hard to understand all year.
Why is Class Rank Important?
The college application process pulls together a lot of information about a student to decide on acceptance. The class rank can be paired with GPA, ACT and SAT scores, written personal essays, in-person interviews and a list of extracurricular activities. The college admissions officers look at the student’s class rank to determine how the student placed with the peers they engaged with throughout the school year. The more information you can share in the college admission process, the better. If your class rank is high, and the college hasn't requested it, don’t be shy about sharing this positive information on your performance as a student.
How is Class Rank Determined?
Class rank percentile is much more than a comparison of a student’s GPA to their peers that attend the school. Class rank is the mathematical combination of your entire academic record, including all classes and extracurricular class activities. It's compared to other students in the class to give a tally of all students from those with the highest performance numbers to those who bring up the rear of the academic range. Public schools tend to depend on class rank more than private institutions, but not all schools use a rank system to evaluate its student body. Class rank can assist public schools with funding, scholarship offers and other financial needs that can provide students with a leg up while attending the institution. AP classes can boost a student’s GPA. The AP classes are more difficult and graded on a different GPA scale, which should be taken into consideration when determining class rank.
How to Find Your Class Rank Percentile
Each time new grades are released, the class rank is reevaluated. Every A that a student receives is given a 4.0. If the student gained an A in an AP class, they're given a 5.0. Take the total number of students enrolled in your specific grade, not the entire school, and divide your rank by that number. Multiply that number by 100 and then subtract the number you arrived at from 100 to reach your class rank percentile.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.