Guidance Department

Class Rank FAQ

Effective with the Class of 2015, Xavier High School will be dropping class rank.

Q: Why does Xavier High School want to stop ranking its students?
A: Stated very broadly, it will be beneficial for our senior students as they go through the college admission process.

Q: How will it help the students?
A: It will help them because in many non-public schools, such as ours, with a high college-bound population, ranking can hurt many students who have taken a very challenging college preparatory curriculum and have high GPA’s. In the Xavier Class of 2014, for example, 44 seniors have a 4.00 GPA or higher. There are 176 seniors in this class; the half-way GPA for the class is 3.66 (a very solid B average). So having a 3.65 GPA puts you in the bottom half of this graduating class.

Q: What do other schools do and what is the trend?
A: Some schools still rank their students. It is fair to say, though, that the trend seems to be moving more toward dropping rank. A recent Milwaukee newspaper said “nearly a decade after some of the state’s top-performing high schools began dropping class rank from their students’ transcripts, more are following their lead.” One Wisconsin principal said “it’s been a change that has had zero negative side effects that literally everybody has been happy with.”

Q: Are there specific examples?
A: Yes, within the last year, 28 high schools in Iowa have dropped class rank. At a recent Region 9 meeting of NCEA (National Catholic Education Association) an invited panel of college admissions people estimated that only about 50% of high schools rank their students. Within the last few years, 16 out of 17 Roman Catholic Jesuit high schools dropped rank to help their students. Dowling Catholic, Wahlert Catholic, Iowa City West and Linn-Mar have dropped class rank.

Q: How does this relate to competition?
A: Applying to college has become more and more competitive in recent years. An undue emphasis on class rank has the effect of diminishing other, more significant, factors that need to be considered in the application, such as coursework, grades, standardized test scores, etc. Not using rank levels the playing field for our students, putting greater emphasis on the things that should receive it.

Q: What do colleges do when high schools don’t provide rank?
A: Speaking in a general way, they consider all the other factors in the application (e.g. essays, recommendations, course work, etc.)

Q: What will the Regents universities in Iowa do if class rank isn’t provided?
A: They will use all the other information provided to make a decision on admission. The Regent Schools have created the following formula to calculate one’s RAI for non-ranking schools:

3 x ACT Composite Score

30 x Cumulative Weighted GPA

5 x the number of years of core courses taken

Click here to calculate.

Q: In cases where military appointments or certain specific scholarships rely on receiving students’ rank, will Xavier provide it?

A: Under very specific circumstances the Xavier Guidance Office can calculate a student’s rank and provide it directly to college, university of scholarship agency directly.