The Ivy Coach Daily
June 19, 2023
Texas High School Class Rank
Originally Published on June 7, 2019:
In most states, one’s high school class rank at graduation doesn’t matter much. And why? Because students have already earned admission to college by the time high school graduation rolls around. It’s not like Princeton University will rescind the admission of a student who slipped from first in their class to second because of an A- in AP Physics C.
So when we came across an article where a student, Jackson Hansen, groaned about how he could have slipped from salutatorian to sixth in his graduating class at his Dallas high school, Woodrow Wilson High School, because of a late change to its ranking system, we rolled our eyes.
Why does he care? What difference does it make? Doesn’t he realize these press pieces 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
Yet, however foolish his public grumblings may be, the student is correct. The Dallas high school should not have drastically changed its ranking system mere days before graduation.
Hope Schreiber wrote in a piece about how this high school senior was shocked to see his class rank change days before commencement, “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.”
Schrieber continues, “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.”
Late Class Rank Change Impacted Automatic Admission to UT Austin
But correct as he may be, we have little sympathy for Hansen, whose rank slipped from salutatorian to sixth. However, we sympathize with students whose class rank fell below the top 6% in their graduating class because of the change in the ranking system.
And why? Because, as of 2023, students in the top 6% of their Texas high school graduating class enjoy automatic admission to one of America’s leading public schools (it used to be the top 7%, and, before that, it was the top 10%): the University of Texas at Austin. Likewise, students below the top 6% of their graduating class do not enjoy automatic admission to UT.
So while Woods’ story in which the class ranking change supercharged her ranking to within the top 6% and allowed her to achieve her college dream, one has to imagine that some students fell out of the top 6% and thereby lost their automatic admission to Texas’ leading public university as a result of the change.
And that’s wrong. Students and parents at Woodrow Wilson High School should have been informed much earlier in the school year about this change to the ranking system — especially when automatic admission to the state’s flagship university is at stake.
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