By Melissa Smith | Arts and Entertainment Editor
Kelsey Clark was determined to attend Texas A&M after she graduated from Johnson in 2011. It was the school of her dreams; the place she was set upon for the next step in her academic life. Her GPA was a 99.8- not too shabby. She had been in soccer for all four years of her high school career; three of them on varsity. She was an active member of FRIENDS Club, the junior class secretary, a National Honors Society member, and peer tutor. To top it all off, she was able to maintain a job outside of school. Most thought she was a shoe-in to Texas A&M. Imagine the shock and dissappointment she and many others had when she recieved her rejection letter that fall.
She was missing one thing: being in the top ten percent.
At a school like Johnson, it is very difficult to get to the front of the pack. With all the weighted classes available and a good portion of the student body taking them, it becomes very difficult for students to handle the massive amount of work involved in keeping pace with other college-bound peers. Suddenly, a GPA of 113 isn’t so far-fetched. At a school like Johnson, if you have a 99.5, you’re 132nd in the class. It is possible that at schools in other communities, class rankings play out much differently.
The top ten percent rule has created an obsession with rank among the students, causing much stress and unnecessary frustration. We’re told that there’s more to college admissions than rank. But, at least in Texas, this does not seem to be the case. Rank, in my humble opinion, should not be the highly-regarded criteria it has become. Schools like A&M should look more at the individual than how they compare to their fellow classmates. Especially at schools like Johnson, where the competitive environment borders the absurd. Certain changing policies seem to indicate that colleges are, in fact, taking note. With UT changing its automatic acceptance policy to only take in the top eight percent next year, it is, as principal John Melbrech has said in the past, making more room for the worthwhile students who are below the top ten percent at schools like Johnson.
It seems a little sketchy to me; a little hard to believe. I’ll tell you what- I’ll believe it when I get my acceptance letter from them next year. But as for now, I’m pretty doubtful.
Grades aren’t everything. People are more than numbers. Don’t get me wrong- congrats to the number-one kid- but in my humble opinion, it doesn’t mean you’re better than number 200. There are more qualifications to being the best than having a 110 GPA. So, UT and A&M, reconsider your top ten percent deal. When you’re accepting all those kids just because they make a certain number cut-off, you might be missing out on a gem at schools like Johnson.