In most states, one’s high school class rank at graduation doesn’t matter all that much. And why? Because students have already been admitted to college by the time high school graduation rolls around. It’s not like Princeton is going to rescind the admission of a student who slipped from first in her class to second because of an A- in AP Physics C. So when we came across an article in which a student groaned about how he could possibly have slipped from salutatorian to sixth in his graduating class at his Dallas high school, we rolled our eyes. Why does he care? What difference does it make? Doesn’t he realize these articles in which he complains about his high school rank will outlive his current frustrations?
At Texas High Schools, Top 6% Earn Automatic Admission to University of Texas at Austin
And we wholeheartedly stand by our assessment of this graduating senior — even if he happens to be right that his high school didn’t do things right in changing its ranking system and its actions adversely impacted some of its students. For these students in his graduating class, we’ve got much more sympathy. After all, in the state of Texas, students who are ranked in the top 6% (it used to be the top 7%) of their graduating class earn automatic admission to the University of Texas at Austin. So for students on the cusp of the top 6%, we get it. Slipping from salutatorian to sixth makes no difference whatsoever in light of his class size (except to the student’s ego) but for other students close to that cutoff, it can certainly mean a whole lot.
As Hope Schreiber writes in a piece for “Yahoo Lifestyle” entitled “High school seniors shocked to see class ranking drastically change days before graduation,” “The change in rank was the result of certain International Baccalaureate courses, like biology, that would count as double credits starting this school year. If students took the classes in the previous year, they received one credit for completing it, whereas students who took it this year received double the credit and an advantage…The district did not inform seniors that the International Baccalaureate courses now counted as double the credits, and the school didn’t use the new course codes to determine the class rank until April…Sophia Woods was one student who benefitted from the credit change decision, going from 38 in the class to 24. Her mother, Jennifer, told WFAA that she had already been accepted into the University of Arkansas, but now that she is in the school’s top 6 percent, she could be automatically admitted into the University of Texas, her dream school.”
Students and their parents, of course, should have been informed much earlier on about this change. We absolutely agree with Sophia’s mom, Jennifer, and we hope her high school will work things out with the University of Texas so Sophia can attend UT-Austin next year rather than the University of Arkansas. It would be the right thing to do. Make it right, Woodrow Wilson High School!