High school rankings important and helpful for East students

Charlie Feinerman (’09)/Eastside Staff

“Top High Schools”: a title found every year on magazines around the country, but yet some people doubt the rankings’ importance. I want to clarify that the rankings are extremely important for any student that attends high school. For one, high school rankings allow prospective students to compare local schools and choose which high school would best suit them. I find only a few problems with the rankings and am, for the most part, greatly in favor of them.

However, there is a limit to my approval. The rankings can be great when based upon a school’s mean GPA and SAT scores, but when a school is judged by the number of AP tests that are taken per student, the rankings get out of hand, as schools can easily exploit these numbers by requiring students to take a given number of AP tests.

An example of a good ranking system would be that of South Jersey Magazine, which ranked Cherry Hill East as the fourteenth-best high school in this year’s rankings. These rankings were based primarily on statistics like GPA, SAT and the graduation percentage. Additionally, the magazine showed the AP test stats but did not include these figures in the rankings.

The main reason that I believe that rankings are important is the role they play in helping colleges compare applicants to each other. For example, if you were to apply to a college alongside another fellow New Jersey student with identical GPA and SAT scores, the high school rankings can help the admissions officers determine which student is better suited for their college.

How, you ask?

Simple: The college can use the rankings to judge how difficult the high school environment is for each student. Because East is a prominent academic school, you may fare better when applying against a person with the same class rank from a less competitive school.

The benefits of high school rankings far outweigh their downsides. It’s really not difficult to believe the rankings are good if you have chosen to attend a competitive school like East because all they can do is help you. If you refuse to believe that rankings matter, then go ahead: it’s your choice, but just don’t come crying to me when that other South Jersey kid beats you out in the race to your dream college.