My daughter attends a large suburban Texas high school where students are obsessed with class rank. When planning course schedules for the next year, students and parents inevitably mention how certain classes can benefit a student’s class rank. The problem is class rank matters a lot less than most people think.


In this video I discuss the top 10% rule for admission to state universities in Texas. (Yes, in this case rank matters.) But when students want to apply to private colleges or universities out of state, rank is almost a non-factor.

I also discuss what really matters:

  1. Grades
  2. Classes taken

Students should focus on taking the right classes– core academic choices first with an appropriate level of challenge. I mention how in some cases taking classes to try to “look good to colleges” or boost your rank can backfire.

Finally, those students at the very top of their classes considering the most selective colleges need to understand that rank may mean very little. I share a story of a student I worked with who was #19 in his class and got into MIT when other students ranked above him did not.