Seniors at Monticello High School have to complete a Citizen Action Project in order to graduate and pass their government course. Our group’s project focused on Albemarle County’s decision to stop reporting class rank to colleges.
We are in favor of the School Board’s decision, feel that class ranks are unfair to the students, and that they aren’t as important and they are made to seem.
When applying for colleges in the past, students have had to worry about SAT scores, GPA, extracurriculars, and their ranking in the class. However, this routine will be slightly different for the students applying to colleges during the 2014-2015 school year.
Now when filling out applications, students will simply check “Does not report” in the class ranking section. However, this minor change has caused quite a controversy within the community.
The Albemarle County School Board voted recently to stop reporting class ranking to colleges. Therefore, class ranking is no longer a factor in the college application process. The schools will still rank the students for scholarship opportunities and military purposes, so those students will essentially be at no disadvantage in those fields.
While there has been a big debate about whether or not this decision will help or hurt the students of Albemarle County, it is important to think about the big picture.
Students that have worked hard in school will still have no problem showcasing all of their achievements, as colleges will still be able to look at their grades, awards, and SAT scores. Not reporting rank will be a benefit to the kids that fall short of their desired decile.
All class ranking really does is show the students where they lineup with the rest of their peers. However, many competitive colleges rerank students in their own way regardless of their rank in the class.
A few colleges have even mentioned that they don’t pay much attention to class ranking at all. So not reporting rank will not hurt the students at the top of the class, and it will benefit the kids in the middle of the class.
The factor of class ranking is one of the lesser-understood parts of the transcript.
Albemarle County Schools ranked students using a decile system in the most recent years. The decile system ranks students in terms of top 10 percent, top 20 percent, etc. based upon the student’s grade point average.
The grade point average is calculated in a way that is very controversial because it penalizes students for taking classes that are unweighted, such as art or band, but has no effect on the students that chose to take a study hall.
Thus, it has a habit of discouraging students from taking new courses that they are interested in. Without worrying about class rank, students can take a whole new approach to choosing courses for the new academic year that involves exploring new subjects.
As the admissions process changes rapidly, students, counselors, teachers, and administrators must work together just to keep up. As issues like class rank become obsolete, it is important that we change the way we do things to ensure that students have the best opportunities possible to succeed after their high school education.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Lasha Campbell, Sebastian Glickman, and Leah Coleman are Seniors at Monticello High School