Class rank can leave students left behind

Editorial staff

Class rank and GPA: four words that students often dread hearing from teachers, counselors, and parents. However, not all GPA’s are created equal. A 4.23 here is not the same thing as a 4.23 in Allen. So, at schools like ours where expectations and grades are increasingly higher- why do state universities still only automatically accept the top 10 percent?

The answer is not simple. With Texas being a diverse, complex state- and the schools residing in the state even more varied- it is nearly impossible for the College Board to make college acceptance and scholarships fair for all. At a school like this, requiring four core classes each year, going above the requirements for graduation, say Student A has decent grades with a 4.0 GPA. At our school, many people have this GPA, and having just a 4.1 or a 4.2 can bump someone up many ranking spots; leading to just a tenth of a point determining what college a student gets into. It is highly possible that a 4.0 GPA may not even get Student A to be in the top half of their class. And still, despite some schools having ridiculously high student grades like ours, the state only gives automatic admission to the top seven percent.

Because of this emphasis on grade point average, school, unfortunately, is based solely on grades; the little numbers that mark your future. Yes, we may have learned how to solve equations, write papers, and spell words, but we have also learned that it doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to get the grade. School has taught us to pass and to get an A at all costs. There are many people within the top percent and even the top two percent that are there because of some unethical decisions. Sadly, this is what school has evolved into, not learning; but little numbers on PowerSchool.

That is what class rank and GPA is. It is a ranking of how many A’s you get. Colleges have taken steps to reward well rounded students but how many students with a 2.0 get into an Ivy League school based off their non-school activities? Nothing is wrong with being a very smart person. There is nothing wrong with getting all A’s, but when school is done, no one will ask what your 10th grade English grade was. Sorry, it just won’t happen. Some students in the top 10 percent are only focused on grades. Colleges need to take into consideration what this means. When a student goes off to a practice, recital, or event, you’re right, they aren’t going to have as much time to focus on their homework. There are just not enough hours in the day. Those who only focus on their school work are going to be less well rounded. What is the reward for the students that get home late on a Tuesday night from piano practice and are too tired to put as much time into their homework?

Many well-rounded and hard-working students are not in the coveted position of top ten percent. Of course, it is truly an amazing thing that our school has such amazing and dedicated individuals. Our school can be considered an anomaly compared to other public high schools, especially with the district’s newest addition to their list of awards. However, when college comes knocking, these great grades that students achieve for the school’s ranking and integrity don’t matter. Despite their grades and efforts, these students wind up being ranked one hundredth or more. And still, the Texas college acceptance system has yet to change this system that leaves so many hard-working students at high-achieving schools in the dust. These students, who would have been automatically accepted into universities and given scholarships at less-achieving high schools, wind up scrambling with stress and applications and eventually paying the big bucks for college.