CHAPEL HILL – Colleges looking at students from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district soon may not be able to see where that student finished in his or her class.
Executive director of community relations with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Jeff Nash, says the emphasis placed on class rank drives students to take less engaging classes, like a study hall, over foreign language or art or career technical education classes because these classes are not weighed as heavily.
“They’ll rather take study hall because it doesn’t hurt their GPA. Even if they make an A in their woodworking class and their friend takes an extra AP class, they’re going to lose in their class rank battle,” Nash said. “It’s really a twisted kind of system.”
Nash says the schools in the area don’t want to eliminate reporting class rank overall, but merely want the reporting to be optional.
“We did ask for a waver from the state board last year. They did not grant that and they said that it would require legislative action, so we would love to see legislation, if not next year, soon,” Nash said.
According to Nash, 40 to 60 percent of high schools in the United States do not report class rank on transcripts.
“We’re getting a lot of students obviously from out of state coming to our state universities. They do have a system in place for deciding whether to admit students or not admit students without having these class ranks,” Nash said.
Steve Farmer, admissions director at UNC-Chapel Hill, says the university has considered class rank less and less in the past ten years.
“We’ve learned how to do our work without paying as much attention to class rank as we did,” Farmer said.
Farmer says that class rank ultimately does not affect an undergraduate’s chances to get into UNC.
“I don’t think any school systems should worry that dropping class rank will make it harder for their kids to get into school,” Farmer said. “I also don’t think that any school systems should drop class rank because they think dropping class rank will make it easier for their kids to get into school.”
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro district has begun petitioning the state Board of Education to make reporting class rank optional.