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How Does a High School's National Ranking Affect College Admission?

Students often wonder if their high school's ranking in the country affects their college admission. Here's the answer!

Francesca Morrisey

Francesca Morrissey
Founder & College Consultant
Access Success LLC
I've met with over 100 college admission representatives, and not one of them has ever mentioned a high school's national ranking. What they do pay attention to is a high school's profile. This is a document that’s submitted along with your transcript. In my opinion, every family should be familiar with their student’s high school's profile. The profile highlights all the things your high school does well. It often includes a list of AP and honors classes offered at your school, colleges that provide dual enrollment, standardized testing statistics—including mean SAT/ACT scores and number of AP tests taken at your school—and a list of colleges past students have been accepted to.

The profile should also feature programs that are unique and impressive. Perhaps your high school is a Project Lead the Way school, offers an award-winning musical theater program, or has an athletics team that places in state championships every year. These things should make your high school's profile but often don't. That's why families should be familiar with their school's profile. If you see there are programs you’re involved with missing from the profile, be sure to write about them in the Common Application's “Additional Information” section. While colleges that often admit many students from particular high schools will have reps who are already familiar with its offerings, there will be many more college admission reps who will only know what’s stated in the profile. For this reason, always err on the side of caution and talk about the wonderful programs your high school offered that you took advantage of. You will be assessed in relation to what the profile claims your school offers. 

For more expert advice on getting into college, check out our College Admission—Ask The Experts section.

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