Class Rank


Some schools calculate class rank and some students provide it to colleges. Class rank is the top 10% of students in their graduating class that get recognized. “I think doing away with class rank will create a more equal environment,” said Barnes, the principal of Hollis Brookline High School.

Abigail Brown, Op-Ed Editor

This year will be the last year Hollis Brookline High School decides Salutatorian and Valedictorian. The graduating class of 2021 will be the last class to see class rank. Class rank is another way colleges look at whether to admit students or not on top of GPA, grades, and extracurriculars. This information, along with other factors, give admissions officers and insight as to whether a student is an appropriate fit for that specific college.   


Class rank is a numerical representation of a student’s academic achievements in comparison to their graduating class based on their Grade Point Average (GPA). For example, if your class has 100 students and you have a higher GPA than 90 students, you are in the top 10 percent of your class and ranked number 10 overall. The website “What is Class Rank and Why is it important?” states that colleges  look at other factors more, like GPA and the level of classes taken, if a school doesn’t have class rank. 


That being said, class rank is being removed starting with the class of 2022. According to Rick Barnes, the principal at HB, the school board proposed investigating class rank. “When you look at the pathway on how you get to the top ten it just is not equal,” said Barnes. The school has decided to move to the latin honors system. The titles for the latin honors system are cum laude, summa cum laude, and magna cum laude (in order from lowest to highest). This system allows for more than just ten students to achieve the highest title of summa cum laude. Mr. Barnes stated that it would be an estimate of around 30 students that would fit into criteria instead of just 10 students. People can achieve the highest honors without taking any weighted courses, which includes AP. Another reason why the school board felt it was necessary to take away class rank was to reduce students’ stress. “The pressure it was creating for students on trying to compete for the top ten was not worth it,” said Barnes. 


If you are applying to one of the military academies like the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, then the school will provide a student’s class rank. Any other student in need of their rank will not be provided by the school. “The only way students are going to get class rank is if they are legitimately applying to one of those military academies,” said Barnes. He added that “Overall, the school has a great reputation and we just don’t need class rank to put students in stressful situations.”  Barnes explained that many times, determining valedictorian or salutatorian comes down to one assignment or a thousandth of a decimal point. Barnes felt that other core values could be brought forward. HB regozines the top ten for academic achievement but Mr. Barnes feels it takes away from people that achieve other goals like in the community. The school creates an environment that only focuses on academics and Barnes suggests bringing all core values to light. 


Having class rank being taken away does directly affect students. Hannah Brown ‘21 is a part of the last class to see class rank. “I think taking class rank away won’t affect anyone and will be good,” said Brown ‘21. “I think that it will be good to recognize more people, and being able to make sure it is not only grades that are recognized, since that is a tremendous part of HB,” stated  by Brown ‘21. According to Hazelton ‘21 for the class of 2022 people that were in the top 10 may have not liked the idea  but were not opposed to it. She said since those kids will still be recognized in the top tier of the latin system. Other than that she said nobody else was opposed to the idea that she knows of.


The school board recently held a few meetings to decide on taking class rank away completely. Ann Hazelton, a senior at HB on student council, went to some of the board meetings about class rank. “One of the main factors was wanting to make sure it was equal,” said Hazelton ‘21. The class of 2022 voted directly to have class rank taken away. Keep checking your school emails for updates about class rank and graduation details in the future as well as the school website.