What is a Valedictorian?
High school is a place to earn the basic academic knowledge and skills that will remain with you lifelong. So, if you want to have a progressive future, working hard in your high school is imperative. Also, if genuine, this effort can bring you great academic honor and recognition in the form of the “valedictorian.”
The title of valedictorian is bestowed upon the student with the highest grade point average in a graduating class. Usually, the educational institutions of countries like the United States of America, Kuwait, Canada, and Egypt, follow this practice.
So, if you want to learn more about being a valedictorian, this article is just for you!
What is the Process of Determining Valedictorian?
The top-ranked student in a graduating class is titled the “valedictorian”. They attain the highest GPA among the other graduating students. Different schools measure GPA on different scales, namely, weighted or unweighted scales.
A weighted GPA is calculated by taking into account the difficulty level of the course pursued by the students. Hence, getting an A in an advanced placement course means a 5.0 GPA, while an A in a regular level course implies getting a 4.0 GPA. However, some high schools offer honors classes that are mid-level courses, where an A translates to a 4.5 GPA.
Now, an unweighted GPA measures the grades obtained in all courses equally. So, for example, getting an A grade in advanced placement, honors, or a regular course would result in a 4.0 GPA.
Thus, depending on the grading system a high school follows, they select the valedictorian accordingly. However, most schools use the weighted GPA scale to determine the highest-class rank and valedictorian.
Duties of a Valedictorian
The valedictorian plays an active part in the graduation ceremony. They have a permanent seat on the stage, unlike their peers who only get on the podium to receive their degree certificates.
Besides, as they represent the entire graduating batch, they should deliver a closing speech at the ceremony on behalf of their fellow batchmates. Valedictorian speeches are usually an interesting affair. They mark the departure of the students from high school and their new beginning as adults on a different path. Their speech comprises 2 parts.
The first section highlights students’ memories and lessons learned in high school. On the contrary, the second section focuses on how they will carry and implement the high school learnings in their future.
Valedictorians also have specific graduation regalia that set them apart from other students. It also serves as a great way to honor their outstanding academic performance.
The Significance of the Title After Graduation
The title of valedictorian doesn’t exactly influence a student’s ability to get into a good university. By the time this honor is usually given, applications are already submitted to the universities, and you are admitted to your desired course. This academic title is generally awarded while you are in the second semester of your university.
However, if, in any case, you can put your valedictorian title in the university application, there will still be the least chances for the institutes to consider it in their decision-making process. In addition, as various high schools follow different grading scales to choose valedictorians, universities prefer not to consider the honor as reliable eligibility criteria for admission.
Nevertheless, some universities offer scholarships to the valedictorian after its officially announced, stabilizing your education finance. Also, the hard work and efforts you put in to earn this highest academic achievement in graduation will undoubtedly help you in your career.
Changes in Valedictorian Appointments in Recent Years
Previously, high schools chose a single valedictorian who gave the ending speech at the graduation ceremony. But in recent times, institutes have increased the number of valedictorians in a graduating class, from appointing co-valedictorians to choosing multiple candidates based on their GPAs.
In contrast, many high schools have decided to abolish the custom itself by not appointing any valedictorian. It is so because, unlike before, students now face fierce competition in the GPA rankings. Often there are minuscule point differences between the first and second rank-holders.
Other latest changes include explicitly detailing the courses considered in evaluating the GPA while choosing the valedictorian. A few high schools don’t include electives with the core courses when calculating the average, while some do.
Many students covet the title of valedictorian, as it is a high honor. However, please note that this title does not impact your university admission. Hence, it only serves as a recognition and reward for the hard work you’ve put in throughout your high school.