Tracy Nguyen walking out the front doors of Lake Ridge. (Jacob Uggen)
Tracy Nguyen walking out the front doors of Lake Ridge.

Jacob Uggen

The View From The Top

November 10, 2016

Competing with the best and the brightest of your graduating class can be stressful and could even cause you to miss some high school experiences. The top ten percent of the senior class has been able to relate to this for four years.

“I definitely missed out on some opportunities because I was overwhelmed with homework, but not too many. I always try to be involved in school and the community while also managing my time in order to finish my homework,” said senior Tracy Nguyen.

Nguyen works diligently every day to keep her grades up. She says that being in the top ten percent gives her confidence.

“Being in the top ten percent shows that my hard work has paid off and helps me feel as if I can do what I want to if I put my mind to it,” Nguyen said.

The top ten percent of the senior class extends from rank 1 to 45, and the lowest grade point average is a 97.6. The amount of time put into these top ten percenters ranges form one to six hours a day.

“Sometimes the workload can be stressful or endless, especially with all of my extracurricular activities, but I always make sure to study and finish my work, and all the work has paid off,” said senior Ben Manoli.

Manoli is ranked No. 3 in his class, with a GPA of 103.3. He has been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, as well as taken AP and Pre-AP classes his entire high school career.

“Maybe I’ve missed a few experiences in high school because of my focus, but I’m happy with my choices and I feel that the sacrifice is well worth it,” Manoli said.

Alex Ruthford listening to music in the hallway
Jacob Uggen
Alex Ruthford listening to music in the hallway.

But not all of the top 45 focus entirely on grades. For senior Alex Ruthford, No. 13 in his class, good grades seem to come easy. He says that he doesn’t strive to be in the top ten percent, he simply likes working hard in school.

“I try not to miss out on anything, I have priorities and doing things with friends is high on that list. If it were to come down between doing homework and experiencing something, whether it’s with my friends of my family, I would choose the experience every time,” Ruthford said.

Also, according to College Board, class rank might not be as important as it used to be. Currently most private and competitive high schools don’t have class rankings, even some public schools have made it an option for your rank to be shown on your transcript. These schools believe it leaves students, who have been pushed out of the top, out of the pool of students elite colleges consider.

Reneé Tutchton, the Assistant Director of Admissions at Rice University stated, “In making a decision to admit a student to Rice, we are careful not to ascribe too much value to any single metric, such as class rank, GPA, or SAT/ACT scores. We use a broader perspective that includes such qualitative factors as the overall strength of a student’s academic program and the ways in which a student has engaged in his or her community.”

Many admission offices have started to count for the discontinuous nature of the class ranking system.

“Due to the tremendous differences in curricula and grading standards at different high schools, many admission officers (especially at selective private colleges) have begun to discount the accuracy and importance of class rank as a factor in evaluating students.” – College Board

Ben Manoli taking notes in class
Jacob Uggen
Ben Manoli taking notes in class.

At this point students may ask why should you even bother. Good grades, and a good GPA, are the proof that you are giving your all. It’s the embodiment of what you worked on in your entire high school career.

“I’d say it is worth it. It is a great honor to be a part of the top 10%, for it earns me respect from my peers, and it also opens many doors for me in the future,” said Manoli.


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