Does your school have a Valedictorian? If so, do you know how they are chosen or even what a Valedictorian is? Are there any benefits of being a Valedictorian? There are so many unknowns about Valedictorians that we hope to answer in this article.
Regardless of if you are just starting out at a school and are curious about what a Valedictorian is or if you are almost done with school and wondering if you have a chance at being Valedictorian, you have come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be talking about what a Valedictorian is and giving you some helpful tips and tricks to start applying to your school life if you think that becoming a Valedictorian is a goal you want to strive towards.
What Makes a Valedictorian? How Are They Chosen?
Generally speaking, a Valedictorian is the graduating senior from a given class year with the highest GPA or grade point average. This means that a Valedictorian is based entirely on the grades you receive in the classes that you take throughout your time at that institution.
Valedictorians are chosen by number; that is to say that their grades determine their class standing and rank. Many schools that have a Valedictorian will give out class ranks through a few people, so if you are right below the Valedictorian in terms of average GPA or are close, you may know. However, not all schools do this, so make sure you know if your school does class rank, Valedictorian, both, or neither.
A Valedictorian can be from either a graduating high school class or graduating college class, but not every school has an official Valedictorian. Many schools are starting to shy away from having one Valedictorian and are instead giving out if students are in the top quarter, second quarter, third quarter, or fourth quarter of their class, or some other broader ranking. This helps minimize the potential competition that can come from having one Valedictorian.
What Qualities Make a Valedictorian?
While becoming a Valedictorian is based on the grades that you receive, Valedictorians generally possess a few particular characteristics. Since this title is given out based on grades and not on you as a person, these characteristics may not apply to every Valedictorian.
Since even becoming a potential candidate for Valedictorian can take a lot of work, most Valedictorians are very hard working. These tend to be the people that dedicate time each day to study for their classes and are very diligent about taking notes throughout every class.
A Valedictorian has to be someone who is academically smart in comparison to those around them. This means that becoming Valedictorian at a highly selective school might be much harder than becoming Valedictorian at a school with a low graduation rate. Just remember that being smart in school is not always the best way to judge if someone will do well after school, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get Valedictorian for your class year.
As we’ve mentioned, becoming a Valedictorian takes a large amount of work, so many Valedictorians utilize various resources to help them along the way. Finding and identifying resources that may help make your studying a little bit easier is a common trait of many Valedictorians.
How to Become a Valedictorian?
Becoming Valedictorian of your high school class or your college class, since some colleges give out this title as well, is not something that happens overnight. It is a title that you start working for almost as soon as you enter that particular school. Grades add up, so even grades from your first semester or quarter at that school will help you get Valedictorian or prevent you from getting Valedictorian.
Some schools have a weighted GPA that can impact who becomes Valedictorian, and it is important to know if your school uses a weighted or unweighted GPA since it can vastly change the outcome. A weighted GPA is a GPA where an A in a regular class will earn you 4.0 points, while an A in honors or AP class will earn you either 4.5 points or 5.0 points. This higher number will mean that you are extremely unlikely to get the title of Valedictorian if you don’t take any honors classes.
In contrast, an unweighted GPA is one where an A in any class will only ever earn you 4.0 points regardless of if the class is AP, honors, or regular. This tends to skew class ranks towards people who take primarily and do well in regular classes since it is often much harder to achieve the same high grades while taking mostly AP or honors classes.
While there are pros and cons to each style of GPA calculation, colleges will take into account what style your school uses. In general, the trend amongst colleges in recent years has been to weight standardized test scores and class ranks less than essays you write and the actual grades that you received throughout high school.
How Do Valedictorians Study? 9 Tips
Valedictorians have to develop some good study habits in order to help them maintain their grades throughout their years of school. Here are some tips and tricks that Valedictorians use to keep their grades up over a long amount of time. Remember that becoming Valedictorian takes time, so any strategy you use to help you become a Valedictorian must be something that you will be able to maintain over time.
Study every day
We know it sounds boring, but studying every day is the best way to stay on top of all of your schoolwork. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours studying every day, but you should review the notes that you’ve taken throughout the day at the end of each day, just to go over the information again. If you take the time to review the information every day, you will start to find it much easier to study for tests when they come around.
Invest in a good planner
Getting a good planner and using it is key to staying on top of your classes and assignments. This can be a written planner, but many people prefer to use a calendar app on their phone to organize all their assignments and projects in the age of smartphones.
Take good notes
Take notes by hand during every class. This might sound tedious, but there have been so many studies that show that taking notes by hand helps you retain the information way better than taking notes on a computer. Typing out information doesn’t draw the same mental connections between information in your brain, so get a pen or pencil that you like and start taking notes.
Learn to read effectively for information
Figuring out how best to read in order to get all the information out of the reading is a skill that will take time to develop but is immensely useful throughout high school and college. This could mean reading the heading first, or taking notes throughout, or answering questions at the end; just make sure you find what works for you to help the information stick.
Use all the resources available
If your school has a writing center or a math help desk, go to those places and utilize the resources there. Knowing how to use the tools available to you is a great skill and is oftentimes necessary to get Valedictorians to the places they are now. Resources don’t necessarily have to be provided by your school, so feel free to ask your teachers or professors if they have any YouTube channels or study websites that they really like for their subject.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Like tip number five, asking your teachers or professors for help is a super useful skill for Valedictorians. We know that it can seem like you are floundering if you need to ask for help, but many teachers and professors love it when students want to come in and talk to them more about whatever you are learning in class.
Eat good food
While studying lots can be good, it is important to feed your brain well to retain all the information you are studying. If you choose to feed your body food that doesn’t provide all the necessary nutrients, your brain will not get enough energy to get you through all the studying.
Get plenty of rest
Similar to eating well, if you don’t let your body get enough sleep at night, your brain won’t be able to convert the information from short-term storage to long-term storage. Using your brain takes a large amount of energy, so you need to make sure that you give it the time it needs to recharge in order to maintain your study habits.
Keep your body healthy
Overall, keeping your body healthy involves tips number seven and eight and giving your body the amount of exercise it needs. If your body is not performing well, how can you expect your brain to perform well? Taking care of your physical body is super important to help your brain function as well as it can, so make sure you take care of your whole well-being.
Does Being a Valedictorian Matter?
The big question after all this talk of Valedictorians is, does it all really matter? Does being Valedictorian help you get into a good college? Does it help you in life? Does it even matter in the long run? The short answer is no, but it is still important in its own way.
While being Valedictorian won’t help you get into a good college for a variety of reasons, being a good student, which all Valedictorian candidates are, will help you get into college. The main reason being the one person given the title of Valedictorian at the end of your senior year of high school won’t help you get into college because you would have had to commit to a college months before you find out if you are Valedictorian or not.
Being a Valedictorian can help you in life beyond school, but it doesn’t mean that life after school will be easier for you than the person you beat out for Valedictorian. Being named your class’s Valedictorian is a judgment about how well you work in an academic setting. Since the real world is not a purely academic setting, sometimes Valedictorians thrive outside of school, and sometimes they don’t.
Overall, if you feel like being Valedictorian is something that matters a lot to you personally, then study hard and work towards that title. Suppose the title isn’t something that matters to you; no worries. Regardless of how you feel about the title of Valedictorian, you should always strive to do your best and push yourself to continue learning and growing in school and in life.
Wrapping Things Up: How Do Valedictorian Study?
Becoming your graduating class’s Valedictorian is a big deal. A Valedictorian is someone who has put in the time and effort over all the years at the school in order to get to where they are today, but this title is not a free ticket to a successful future. Working hard and becoming a Valedictorian is an honor and should be treated as such, but you have to remember that becoming Valedictorian is not the only thing that matters in life.