Seniors stress about class rank while class size shrinks

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Lamar’s junior and senior class ranks have been affected after the first six weeks of Lamar’s 2022 fall semester as seniors, registered as juniors, recover their credits and attendance hours.

From the end of the 2022 spring semester and the beginning of the 2022 fall semester, the senior class numbers have dropped by 70+ students.  Due to this, the junior class has grown by, at least, 30 students.  While some of these fluctuations were a consequence of students dropping out, a majority of the changes in class numbers arose from a variety of reasons.  Credit recovery, makeup hours and school transfers are among the most pressing of reasons for the plunging numbers.  

“Colleges care about both GPA and class rank, but because class rank is a direct comparison of students and others in their class, colleges may pay more attention to a student’s rank,” lead counselor Glenda Simmons said. 

Simmons said if everybody had a 4.0 GPA, then GPA alone does not matter much to college admissions.  

“But, let’s say only a few people had a 4.0, that class rank would tell a college, ‘wow, you’re one of the seniors who had a really good GPA,’ which would, I believe, correlate to class rank being a little more important,” Simmons said.

The fluctuations of these numbers have dramatically increased from previous years in response to the mandatory online class procedures during the COVID-19 quarantine.  Simmons said she believed that the changes will be regulated if the following school years bring a sense of normalcy.  

Simmons predicts that – given that a majority of students succeed in credit recovery and follow-through with their makeup hours, the senior class will increase to 500, from the current 441, by the end of January 2023.   

The class rank is determined primarily by a student’s weighted GPA, a numeral system that takes into account a student’s grades as well as the difficulty of the class.  A student’s GPA will be calculated and then compared to others in their grade for an end result of their overall class rank.  For many students, a class rank in the top 10 percent means automatic admission to any public Texas college.  However, the smaller the class size is, the smaller number of students lie within the 10 percent.  Whether or not it is a fair opportunity, this has been a debate since 1997 when the top 10 percent law was originally passed.    

“I think that the top 10 percent rule is extremely fair and well balanced at the end of junior year and during the summer,” senior Rori Greene said.  

She said at the beginning of fall 2022, as the number of students in the class started to change, the number of students in the top 10 percent began to decline, though the students’ efforts remained the same from the year before. 

“From the start of the semester my rank was dropping, not because my grades were bad, but because the class size was reduced and is still dropping,” Greene said. “Long story short, you’re going to be in a bad place if you don’t apply to colleges during summer when your class rank isn’t constantly changing or dropping.”

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