Does Being a Valedictorian or a Salutatorian Matter?

Wondering what it is to be a Valedictorian and a Salutatorian? In this article, we will discuss the difference between the two, how it matter in college, the scholarships and more.

Updated by TCM Staff on 16th October 2020

A student being tagged as a valedictorian or a salutatorian does not matter when college admissions are considered because the person is honored only until the end of the four years of high school (from 9th to 12th grades). However the GPA and class rank does matter. College Scholarships also play an important role. But, before we discuss the topic in detail, let us first understand what does valedictorian and salutatorian mean.

Who is a Valedictorian?

The term valedictorian can be defined as a student with the highest degree of academic achievement amongst all the students in a class of a high school. Teachers adore them, juniors look up to them. There can be more than one valedictorian in high school. Some schools have them in dozens. These students are determined by the GPA they have scored. The guidelines for selecting a high school valedictorian vary from school to school. In some schools, if there is a tie between the students they are designated as co-valedictorian.

Who is a Salutatorian?

A student who is honored with an award for ranking second-highest in a class after valedictorian is defined as a salutatorian. These students are determined based on their GPA. Every school has a different process of calculating the GPA. If there is a tie between the students they are designated as co-salutatorian.

Does being a valedictorian or a salutatorian matter in college?

Now let us discuss how GPA and class ranks matter concerning Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The GPA scale ranges from 0.0 to 5.0. The weighted GPA includes the grades from all courses as well as the curriculum rigor. The curriculum rigor includes AP and honors classes. The students should make sure that they focus on achieving a 4 .0 along with enrolling for  AP(Advanced Placement) or honors courses. Taking honors classes sets challenges for the students which are important to build a strong curriculum when competing to get into the best college. It challenges students to get into some intense learning along with a comprehensive and thorough study routine. Honors classes help students in earning college credits which prove fruitful in college admissions. Whereas AP  courses make the students habitual with the college courses without burdening them. However, if someone is being certified in honors or AP classes, it is extraordinary and notable. It might benefit someone with a minimal difference in GPA, who has taken up advanced courses compared to a person with a higher GPA with no such advanced courses.

Class rank compares the GPA of one student to the GPA of other students of the same grade. It is calculated amongst the students of the same high school. Hence higher the class rank, the better it is. In determining the class rank completing the AP course add to one extra point whereas the honors add to an extra 0.5 score. If someone gets an A grade which is 4 on a GPA scale, however on completing an AP class will make it to 5 whereas honors class will make it to 4.5

However, scholarships also play an important role so let us pay attention to the scholarships offered to Valedictorians and Salutatorians. 

Valedictorian Scholarships

Also, there is a tough competition amongst the valedictorians to compete for the scholarship. In some cases, scholarships are offered only to those students who completed their high school degrees from the same country in which the college is located.

Salutatorian Scholarships

These scholarships are offered by selected colleges and are not applicable on a national level.

In conclusion, this article proves that being a valedictorian or a salutatorian does not matter as much as improving the GPA and class rankings matter. Also, being enrolled in AP and honors classes prove to be quite fruitful for college admissions as it helps in increasing your GPA. 


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