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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Rank Week Is A Huge Burden For Students

Alessandra Ashford
Rank week started on Monday, Jan. 22 and will end on Friday, Jan. 26. While for some, finding out their class rank is a source for motivation to improve in school, for others it can be a source of significant anxiety.

Rank week started on Monday, Jan. 22 and will end on Friday, Jan. 26, when ranks are shredded and unknown, except to those in the top 10%. Along with class rank, the week brings either a pleasant surprise or, for some, a mix of stress, dread, and disappointment as they associate their rank and GPA with their imminent future. Rank week, despite any measures taken, is ultimately a burden to students. 

Many students have their own opinions about Rank week, and they generally fall into two categories: those who don’t care or prefer not to check, and those who see it as a significant source of motivation to study. 

Rank can push students to work harder. It is a way to measure your progress and hard work against everyone else. However, instead of a competition with other students in your grade, it should simply be a competition with yourself, pitting yourself against your past self as a way to watch overall progress and personal growth. 

On the other hand, even with the new system disregarding class rank beyond the top 10%, the idea of ranking students by GPA is a burden by itself. To many students, college is the ultimate focus during their high school years, and they spend countless hours trying to find a guaranteed way to make it to their dream university. 

This is where a student’s rank comes in. What better way is there to show college admissions officers your devotion to school and perseverance? To achieve this goal, students start piling on harder classes, and the desire to get into the top 10% is always in the back of their minds. This causes the heavy weight of unwanted and unneeded anxiety, and in the long run, most likely will be mentally burdening and harmful.

According to a Yale survey from 2020, 80% of students observed reported feeling stressed. Additionally, around 75% of students had negative  feelings about school or things related to school. With class rankings, a place created to teach students has become the site of a competition. 

However, in recent years, a student’s rank has decreased in importance in the college admissions process. A U.S. News & World Report study revealed only 37% of those surveyed considered class rank to be very important in regards to college. As something that has been the norm for decades, rankings are being slowly replaced by individual strengths, such as projects and extracurriculars that show a student’s originality. 

A majority of people recognize class rank as an antiquated concept. Teachers and counselors have noticed students pursuing harder classes, but not necessarily classes that pique their interest, and urge students to choose courses to demonstrate their passions and interests. However, even though many recognize rank is not a suitable way to evaluate students, it still remains. 

Nevertheless, rank ultimately reduces a unique person to 3 numbers and a percentage, disregarding talents or individual interests. Westwood’s system of disregarding rank alleviates a little of the stress that can arise when students tie their self worth and identity to their class rank. Getting rid of the system entirely may be a stretch, but overall, it may lift the burden of expectations and a sense of freedom by being disconnected from one’s capability. 

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About the Contributors
Jia Chun
Jia Chun, Reporter
Class of 2026 Along with writing, I love listening to r&b, journaling, and have a newly found interest in painting. I'm excited for my first year in Student Press and the new experiences I'll encounter.
Alessandra Ashford
Alessandra Ashford, Opinions Editor
Class of 2025 When I’m not writing or editing you can find me reading, drawing, painting, listening to music, and ranting. I always love to tell stories and start conversations. I’m so excited to be on Student Press!

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  • A

    Aiden WenJan 30, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    Great article!! I really agree with many of your points, and I believe that the best course of action for Westwood High School is to get rid of ranking completely. Personally, I view it as completely unnecessary and a huge burden to many students.

    However, I also want to offer a bit of extra insight into this topic, perhaps an alternate perspective. A while back, I planned on forming a group of students who would lobby to the district to get rid of ranks. Unfortunately, I immediately found out that this is not in the district’s control — in fact, it seems that with Westwood’s system of only putting ranks on transcripts where students are in the top 10%, the district actually also wants to minimize the idea of ranks.

    Texas House Bill 588, passed in 1997, requires every public high school in Texas to rank the top 10% of their students, and then state-funded colleges are obligated to admit those students (UT is slightly different due to its size). Although in Westwood, we view it as a burden, the key function of this bill is to promote diversity in higher education by offering this race neutral method in college admissions — and research has shown that it works. Minorities who were previously extremely underrepresented in higher education saw a big increase in access to higher education.

    There is even an article online that believes that, with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action, other states may begin to implement laws similar to Texas’s Top 10% law in order to diversify their campuses.

    I hope that one day this bill could be modified to continue ensuring the positive aspects it achieves, while also taking into account the negative learning culture it has fostered in schools like Westwood.

  • S

    Sarah JungJan 28, 2024 at 12:09 am

    This is so well written!