Knowing where you stand as you begin the journey out of high school and into college can propel your chances of acceptance into college. While fewer schools are offering class rank to students who attend, it’s a handy tool for what can be a complicated college application process. Calculating where you rank within your class is relatively easy once you have acquired the basic information needed to get an exact number.

How Colleges Use Class Rank

A lot of information comes together during the application process. It gives the professionals a chance to look at how you have performed while in high school. College admissions officers can use a student’s class rank to assist them with determining how well the student did within the same group of peers from the same environment and among the same faculty. But the class rank is a small portion of what most college admissions officers actually look at when considering a student for acceptance. The GPA, ACT and SAT scores along with the class rank status, any personal essays, potential in-person interviews and the weight of extracurricular activities can affect a student’s acceptance.

Why Class Rank May Matter

Basically, if you can offer more information to the college admissions board than required, no matter how trivial it may appear, you set yourself up for triumph. Once you have your class rank and it is high, it is a good idea to present it along with all of the other information that the institution is asking for. It says a lot about how you perform within a peer group and can be a positive sign to college admissions officers.

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Determining Your Class Rank

A GPA is a wonderful barometer of your talents, but it is not your class rank, as is often incorrectly thought. The entire academic record from the last semester gets tallied in a mathematical combination to arrive at the class rank. If you had a hard semester but bounced back in the latest term your class rank will reflect that. The same is true of the reverse situation. Private schools don’t hold class rank up to the same standard as public schools, which tend to use it much more often. Each A grade that you receive gets a 4.0. AP classes get a 5.0. AP classes can boost a GPA and in turn the class rank because they tend to be harder than the standard classes and get more weight. The class rank comes from dividing the number of students enrolled in the same grade as you and multiplying that by 100. Subtract that number from 100, and you arrive at your unique class rank.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.