Do colleges look at Valedictorians?

Have you ever wondered if colleges look into valedictorians? What a class rank is and how is it determined? Its pros and cons? Its general acceptance in the United States?

The United States of America has one of the best colleges in the world and these colleges still thrive to improve on their best. DO colleges look at valedictorians? Yes, they do but do not totally base their screening of each candidate by it rather they check out for the student’s ability to balance the holistic education. If you have always wanted to know more about this then I have got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about class rank.

Do colleges look at Valedictorians?

Do Colleges in the United States of America (USA) look into Valedictorian 

Being a Valedictorian is neither a curse nor a blank cheque when it comes to securing an admission in the US. For the sake of history you may have wondered how many valedictorians the USA gets every year: well, the total number is 26,000 but I might surprise you to say that not all of them were accepted or admitted into the top most colleges or universities or the colleges of their choice.  The Reason is simply because most schools in all are more concerned with the holistic education of every student which are the physical, mental, social and spiritual rather than the school grades, class rank or test score.

The academic committee looks forward to selecting candidates who are unique and can make their environment evergreen. Those who can strike a balance between their academics and other less qualifiable credentials —- some of which are: extracurricular activities, background, experiences, skills, personality, testimonial etc

That is not to demean the importance of being a valedictorian. A valedictorian also has an edge when it comes to securing admission. For instance, The University of Texas gives automatic admission to the top 7% 

In essence, what this means is that schools look into Valedictorians but not in its totality but as a part of a whole. 

 What is Class R?ss rank is the comparison of the cumulative GPA of students from a uniform school. When a school wants to select the best student they check for the highest academic standing which is usually the arithmetic formula of Grade Point Average (GPA) and pick the highest point. In most cases this happens to be the valedictorian.

A valedictorian is someone who has achieved a perfect or the highest GPA at the end of the school year.  Also, consideration is given to the type of courses a student takes (Weighted or Unweighted). A valedictorian is picked by how perfect his transcript is. A perfect transcript will have a combination of both weighted courses and Unweighted courses. A B in a weighted course would be preferred by the college admission committee to an A in an Unweighted course (regular).

Why? This is so because a student who takes a weighted course appears to be someone who always challenges his/her and takes challenges. 

If a classroom contains 700 students and a student ranks 20 it means he has succeeded in passing 680 of his colleagues and 19 has passed him

How is Class Rank determined?

There are two ways the Class ranking is determined:-

1. Unweighted 

2. Weighted 

Unweighted courses are the regular or less complicated courses. The highest Grade point average of an unweighted course is 4.0 which represents an A and 3.0 which represents a B. 

The weighted courses are the more complex and difficult courses. The weighted courses are grade point average on the scale of 5.0. Which is actually a good encouragement for students who take on these courses and those still contemplating whether to take them or not.

Most parents don’t know if to advise their wards to take the unweighted or weighted courses because it is easier for their children to score a straight A in the unweighted courses in comparison to the weighted. It is important to note that not every high school calculates their GPA the same way because they operate a varied set of standards. That is why college admission committees in the US, pick candidates based on how well the candidate has performed compared to other candidates from the same school.

The school can decide to award the class rank based on the Unweighted or weighted courses but most times is by the weighted courses. These courses are electives and students decide on which they are going to study. The purpose of an elective is for students to look for courses that aligns with their area of interest and study it but it turns out that a number of students take on elective courses that are less challenging 

 What are the Pros and Cons

Pros of been a Valedictorian:

• If there is a reward for handwork, diligence, commitment, then every student who has fulfilled all these terms should be recognized and awarded.

• These students who emerge as Valedictorians have burnt midnight candles and have gone an extra mile to come out the best. So, generalizing the recognition to everyone can frustrate the effort of these students and can discourage many from striving for the best.

Some of these students are not the best in extracurricular activities but are book smart. If the best athletes are awarded then the best students should be also as “Intellectuals” 

 Some of the Pros are

• Serves as a means of encouragement to the student and other students.

• It gives the student an edge in gaining admission to a choice university 

• Colleges also award scholarships to those with this title 

• It can also aid in landing jobs or internships. 


• It promotes unhealthy competition: Students engage in an unhealthy competition when their attention is diverted from the fun of learning and enjoying the process to ranking the top at the end of the Learning period.

• Learning should be fun and the process enjoyed but when students start seeing education as a place of competition they start losing the essence of learning and the value for teamwork and cooperation

Is it generally accepted in the USA?

The acceptance rate of valedictorians in colleges in the United States is to a reasonable amount but not all get to be accepted.

Some high schools in America do not operate a system of picking and showcasing the overall best student while some others do.

Also, some other schools do not use the Grade Point Average while some others do. Prolly you have been wondering how you are going to measure up with schools that have GPA or if you could still get an admission to the University of your Choice. Then, not to worry, the college admission committee has a way to examine you. 

So in essence, the selection of a valedictorian is not generally accepted in all high schools and it is not a total determinant for admission.


It pays to work hard and attain the best in your academics because it will be rewarded and it puts you in a place of advantage and opportunity 

Also, do not forget that education is fun and should be enjoyed. It should not be competition centric. Try to balance your academics with other aspects of your life social, physical and if possible spiritual.

Frequent Questions 

Q1. Do all high schools in America select a Valedictorian? 

No. Not all high schools in the United States select valedictorians because not all schools operate the same system. Some do while some do not.

Q2. Do colleges give automatic admission to Valedictorians?

Some colleges do give automatic admission to a percentage of valedictorians while the others do not.