One day in my Sophomore year of high school my teacher passed out our transcripts because we were about to get a huge college talk. As soon as I had my transcript in my hand, I ran my eyes up and down and left to right taking in my academic life, mostly with pride, from seventh grade to the first quarter of my sophomore year. Around me voices rose breaking my concentration and inadvertently my self-esteem.
You see, at the time I was in the in the top 20 of my class of 400+, however many of the people around me were in the top 15 or even in the top 10. Hearing the chorus of numbers lower than my own in numerical value yet higher in academic status me drove me crazy. I spent the rest of the day with my head bent to the side and my palm against my cheek (there may have been a few sighs here and there). I couldn’t stop thinking about my rank. Once I got home, I went online searching for GPA calculators that would tell me what grades I needed to raise my GPA. Looking back, the constant calculating wasn’t as pertinent as I thought because even if I raised my GPA, there was nothing stopping others from doing the same. I remember having a hard time falling asleep that night as the self-deprecating thoughts crowded my head, pushing out anything that would have put me at ease.
Fast forward to today. The time between sophomore year and the end of junior year was a rough one full of ups and downs academically and mentally. I bounced back and forth between a 3.8 and a 4.0 each semester and ended junior year with an unweighted 4.0. My class rank remained the same. This is when I realized that you can do your absolute best… and still lose. But did I really lose?
In the spring semester of my junior year I had to AP/IB classes and two regular classes. If I was really stuck on raising my rank, I would’ve ditched those regular classes for an AP/IB/Honors in order to give my GPA a boost, but in doing this I would’ve missed out on the vast amount of new skills I gained from those classes. I learned how to play the guitar which was something I never saw myself doing but I’m absolutely proud of myself for learning. The second class was an ROP Health Careers class which provided me with so many amazing opportunities like observing 3 surgeries, doing hospital rotations, and learning the basic skills of a Medical Assistant. Both of these classes left me with skills that I couldn’t get (at my school atleast) from an AP/IB/Honors class.
Even though I’m not as tormented by my class rank as I was before, I still keep an eye on it because I think setting a rank goal is a great way to motivate yourself especially if you have a slight competitive edge. You don’t even have to challenge any of your classmates; just focus on pushing yourself to the greatness you know you can achieve. Here are some tips on how to raise your GPA and hopefully, your class rank at the same time.
1. Use a GPA calculator.
GPA calculators are a great tool in helping you plan out your school schedule. They can give you an idea of how many credits you need, the amount of AP/IB/ Honors classes you need to take, and the grades you need in each class in order to reach your GPA goal. All you have to do is type in your target GPA and it will lay everything out for you. Here is one that is simple yet efficient: http://www.back2college.com/raisegpa.htm
2. Take AP/IB/Honors Classes
Since these classes boost the GPA from the typical 4.0 limit, they are a great way to help boost your GPA as well. Try finding classes in subjects you’re actually interested in so you don’t find yourself feeling too overwhelmed. Since these classes are internationally well-known, there are many who have taken them before you and have left countless amounts of resources and aides whether on the internet, in videos, or in books. Check out websites like Khanacademy.org, Crash Course videos on Youtube, and study aides by The Princeton Review or Barron’s for support outside of school.
3. Create a personalized study habit.
Now there are a bunch of studying tips and tricks that I could list for you, but they wouldn’t really be serving their purpose because they’d mostly end up catering to my specific needs and ways of learning and I think it’s safe to assume that you probably have different needs than I do.
I hope these are of help to you! Remember your class rank does not in any way define you and will probably mean nothing to you in a few years. However, if your school ranks and you find yourself unsatisfied, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and explore new academic territory. Good luck!