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What if My Child is Not at the Top?


What if my child is not at the top of his/her class?


Because of how competitive college admissions is these days, I completely understand why this is something weighing on you and your child. This can be especially scary if your child wants to attend some of the more exclusive universities in the country. It can sometimes feel like being at the top of his/her class is a requirement for your child to be accepted!

The short answer is its okay if your child isn’t at the top of his/her class.

There are a couple of things to consider.

Depending on where your child is in his/her high school career, there’s always the possibility of improving grades, GPA, and class standing. You’ll need to identify the underlying reasons behind your child’s current academic standing. Is he/she struggling with a particular subject? Were there circumstances in his/her personal life that impacted his/her academic performance and he/she is trying to recover from it?

If your child is struggling with a subject, I recommend investing in tutoring to help them better understand the material being covered and to help improve his/her grades. If there are personal reasons for his/her current academic standing, be sure to have your child talk about this in one of his/her college essays. When the reason is really impactful like homelessness, terminal illness, or the death of a parent; admissions committees take that into consideration when looking at your child’s grades.

Depending on the schools your child is applying to, not being in the top of their class might not weigh as heavily. The more competitive schools talk a lot about how many students are at the top of their class or at least in the top 10% of their class. If you look closely at their statistics, however, those schools do accept students outside of that range. It all depends on what else your child brings to the table when he/she is applying for schools. Being at the top of his/her class increases your child’s chances of being admitted, but not being there doesn’t mean they will automatically be rejected.


If you’re not sure that your child needs to see a tutor, I recommend reading this article. It gives a lot of warning signs to look out for when your child is struggling academically and doesn’t know how to ask for help.

In the event that you and your child realize tutoring is a necessary next step, we provide tutoring services in various subjects. We would love to work one on one with your child to ensure their future academic success and help them work through the challenges they’re facing in certain areas.

College Board, the company who puts out the PSAT and SAT, goes in-depth about class rank in this article and how it’s really not a good way to evaluate students. There are even schools eliminating class rank. Whether or not that’s true for your child’s school, this is a good article for what else matters in the college admissions process