Class Rank: Pros and Cons

Class Rank: Pros and Cons

Across the country, most public high school students receive their class ranking at some point in their four-year career. This class ranking is used to quantitatively determine academic success compared to other students in the class. Colleges often consider class rank to be a considerable component in admissions. Additionally, scholarship programs usually factor class rank into selecting students to award scholarships.

However, BHS has no class ranking system, as has been the tradition for many years. At first I found it pretty atypical for a large public high school to not use class rank; usually, populous high schools are the most likely to rank students, according to the College Board.

The question is: is class rank good or bad for students? This is a controversial topic that has been debated in many districts around the nation. From my experience of attending two high schools, one which used class rank and one that did not, I would say that ranking students is necessary for some schools but not for all.

Using class rank inevitably leads to competition and there are both pros and cons of competition. Some of the pros include challenging and motivating students to take more demanding courses. The common counter-argument is that class rank arouses unnecessary competition, but I think competition is, in general, healthy, even when it comes to learning.

When I think of class rank, I think of motivation-based competition. Therefore, I think it is better and even necessary for some schools to use class rank to ignite and fuel competition. I believe competition in academics, just as in sports, can compel some, if not most, people to work harder and become better students.

Yes, high school should not be all about competition and getting into a good college, but sometimes kids need that extra push. When used effectively, I believe competition generated by a class rank system drives students to find school a little more interesting.

Besides, students are not all against class rank. A senior at my first high school said that rank helps when it comes to applying to colleges; if you have a better-than-average class rank, colleges will weigh less heavily  on standardized test scores like the SAT. It also helps students because they are able to get a sense of how they are doing compared to others and thus they can decide on what colleges to apply to.

But for schools like ours, I believe class rank can be rather pointless and unnecessary. One thing I visibly noticed when I came to Brookline was that everyone is so academically motivated. Where I used to go to school, there were far less academically enthusiastic students. Here, more students are inspired to learn, and teachers are exceptionally passionate about teaching. That is one of the reasons why it is perhaps pointless for Brookline to use class rank.

Everybody strives and wants to do their best; there is only a speck of difference between the best student and a good student. This academic passion, I would argue, is something that is not very common in most high schools, and for that I think we all deserve a pat on the back.

Paul Kim can be contacted [email protected]