Metea recognizes academic excellence without class ranking

Metea, along with other schools in District 203 and 204, does not do class ranking in its system. Class ranking is something that puts the students in numerical order of GPA and academics out of their whole class. Since ranking is not something used at Metea, there are alternatives such as the school profile that colleges look at instead of ranking.

“Most colleges have a very holistic approach, so they look at the student as a whole along with multiple factors instead of just their ranking,” Director of Guidance Darcy Hutzler said. 

Class ranking is something that can be unfair to some students as they are placed in one ranking to represent their academic ability for that year. More and more schools are eliminating class ranking, so it has become a normality that colleges do not take importance on it. 

“Instead of class ranking, colleges look at the school profile which is sent with every transcript that we send,” guidance counselor Thomas Daugherty said. 

The school profile is a handout given to colleges during admissions and is updated by high school administration each year. The school profile has indicators of grade distribution that change each year, depending on the highest GPA a student has of that year and the lowest as well. This year the highest GPA is capped at 4.74. 

Colleges then use that handout to determine what percentile each student falls in with their cumulative gpa. Students can fall on the 95th percentile if they are on the higher end of the GPA scaling of that year, and as each gpa goes lower, it goes to the 90th, 75th, 50th, then 25th percentile. Although there is no exact ranking given to each student, the percentile still allows for some recognition of each student’s academic standing in comparison to the rest of the class. 

“ I think the fact that we still use Illinois Scholar Rankings, as well as Cum Laude rankings still lets students’ hard work be commemorated in a more subtle way,” senior Samantha Zak said. 

Since Metea does not have class rankings, there is no process and choosing of a valedictorian and a salutatorian. Traditionally, having that first and second place position has a lot of competition because those top two students compete for that first ranking. To have one of the highest rankings, students have to have one of the highest GPA’s and also be taking more rigorous classes. Prior to eliminating class ranking, students would choose honors or AP level classes to boost their class rank, so many students were overloading their schedules with rigorous courses. 

“With class ranking, you would have a valedictorian and a salutatorian who would try to compete to have that number one ranking position,” Hutzler said. “The Latin honor recognition system allows for more recognition with a greater number of students.” 

An effect of the elimination of class rank has been a reduced amount of stress and pressure from the students. Students now are not just only picking honors or AP classes to boost a ranking, and they also can balance out harder classes with enjoyable ones with less pressure. 

Not having a class ranking does not set Metea students at a disadvantage. It does not make the  college admissions process any different either because of how common it is for schools not to rank anymore. What it has done though, is to provide a less competitive environment for the students all around and give students the chance to be evaluated as a whole rather than in just one way.