How to Become a Class Valedictorian
So, you want to be the valedictorian of your class?
That's awesome, but you've got a lot of work ahead of you.
Traditionally, a valedictorian is the person in the class with the highest grades overall. If there is a tie, there may be more than one valedictorian. Some schools also have salutatorians, the student who has the second highest scores in the class.
Either the valedictorian or salutatorian will give a speech for their graduation ceremony. Sometimes, both students will say a few words.
If you've got your eye on this high honor, read on for our top tips to make it yours.
If you want to be the valedictorian, you should start preparing early. This means that you might want to start thinking about it in your ninth grade year, or your first year in college (if your college has such an honor).
In high school, your class selection may influence whether or not you become a valedictorian.
For instance, some courses, especially those that are Advanced Placement, or AP, have a higher value for your GPA than those that are not AP courses. If you score an A+ in AP History, it will mean more than scoring an A+ in the non-AP History class.
Some schools also have Honors courses that are also weighted more heavily. The difference is typically that AP courses count as college credits whereas honors may not.
Therefore, you should set yourself up to start AP and Honors courses. Some schools will allow you to start with advanced courses in 8th grade, giving you a stepping stone and solid foundation to begin AP courses.
Some junior high schools may give you the option to start Algebra I or ninth grade level English or language courses. If your school does this and you have a goal to be a valedictorian, leap at the chance. This can help you be well on your way to taking AP and Honors courses.
Most AP courses are available once you're a sophomore or junior, but depending on your previous school, you may be able to jump right in the deep end your freshman year.
Be Well Rounded
This is much easier said than done. But a valedictorian needs to have the highest marks across the board, not the highest marks in a single subject.
You'll need to be not only a "jack of all trades" but a "master of all trades" when it comes to the subjects you'll take in high school.
While you may not be the very best math student in the school, for example, and someone else takes the crown as having the highest math score, you'll still need to have a relatively high grade in the class.
You don't necessarily need to have the highest marks of all of the students in each class you take, but your grades do have to peg you as one of the top students in almost every class.
Well-roundedness is a virtue that American high schools and colleges emphasize. In many other countries around the world, students begin to narrow down their focus of subject in high school. In the United States, you don't typically do so until the last two years of college, unless you obtain specific degrees.
Therefore, you'll need to be good at almost every subject you take.
Choose Your Courses Wisely
Even electives count when it comes to being a valedictorian, so you'll want to ensure you enroll in electives where you will excel.
Some high schools will offer you different courses that fulfill the same requirement. For example, most colleges require that students have two years of a foreign language to apply, though many students take three or four years.
If you find that romance languages aren't your thing, then perhaps German or Japanese might be more fun for you.
The bottom line is choose what you're good at and where you know you will excel!
Study as Much as Possible
If you want to be a valedictorian, you should always prioritize your study time. You should ensure that you study as much as you can and that you put effort into all of your coursework and homework.
You may want to work with other students who are also performing well academically or have a goal to do so. Start study groups with them and trade tips and tricks to ensure you all meet your academic goals.
Get Help When You Need It
Even would-be valedictorians can get stumped. There is no person who won't face even a little bit of a challenge as a student or who won't get stuck on concepts learned during your courses.
If you're unsure of something, feel free to ask your teacher for help or resources for getting more help. Your teacher may be able to set you up with tutoring or may even stay after school to help you with the concepts.
Don't wait until you've failed an exam or are getting lower grades than usual in a subject. Speak to someone who can help you immediately. It's easier to remedy the issue before you get a lower grade than to try and bring a lower grade back up.
Why Do You Want to Be a Valedictorian?
Answering the question of why you personally want to be a valedictorian is very important when you decide if it is personally worth it to you. Remember, being a valedictorian will not necessarily secure you a spot at Harvard or Yale. It also will not guarantee your success at college or post-college.
You may, however, earn a great scholarship to college as a reward for all of your hard work. This may help you out tremendously in the long run.
But if you enjoy a challenge and you're up for it, then you should, by all means, go for it!
For more information about the Honor Society, visit our site.