By Hayden Welty ’19
While some detractors contend that class rank damages a collaborative spirit, the measurement serves as a useful college admissions tool––not to mention that class rank rewards hard-working students and has a limited impact on community.
Class rank at Brophy could act as a useful benchmark with which students and college admissions counselors can judge students’ academic records within the context of a certain high school. Although Brophy counseling reports GPA breakdown by quintiles (and also the top half of the first quintile, or top ten percent) to colleges, a specific class rank more brightly illuminates the quality of a select student’s performance.
Without ranking, though, prospective applicants actually suffer in the college admissions process. Let me explain: a prime example of how a lack of class rank impacts students negatively is in the case of the University of Texas at Austin. In their admissions process, class rank serves as the largest factor in admissions, even allowing for automatic in-state admission for qualifying Texas students. Out-of-state students without rank lack a crucial decision factor, which hurts an application and dissuades prospective applicants.
Additionally, extraordinarily selective schools like Dartmouth and Georgetown give a huge preference to students who are either ranked one or two in their class, a boost no Brophy student could possibly earn.
Moreover, test scores from schools that fail to rank weigh much heavier in the admissions process, as those scores serve as the only standardized, nationwide and adjusted measures with which admissions officers can compare students from wildly disparate backgrounds.
Of course every externality––which results from the existence of a class ranking––fails to impress entirely positive results. At the same time, though, I would contend that the benefits outweigh the detriments.
After four years containing countless long nights of study, hours of review, and dozens of filled composition books, the vast majority of students in schools without class rank simply do not receive recognition for their accomplishments. While some people view class rank as a way to oust slackers and embarrass less talented workers, one could just as easily look at class rank as a way to lift up and praise well-performing students who devote extra time, energy and effort to their course of studies; it is a glass half-full versus half-empty mentality.
Brophy is exceedingly capable of fostering competition––just look at the cornucopia of awards given out each year. Are these honors intended to humiliate the average person? Of course not. It’s the same principle with class rank.
Ultimately, the combination of providing a college admissions edge, deemphasizing test scores and recognizing student achievement makes class rank worth it.