Determining (or estimating) rank

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sophistical
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:03 pm

Determining (or estimating) rank

Postby sophistical » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:10 pm

For transfer purposes, how would you determine your approximate ranking based only on your own grades and publicly known information? Some schools like Berkeley and GWU don't rank. All you know at such schools is that you fall within a certain group (e.g. top 10% or top 15%).

I read Arrow's entire post on transferring, and it gives some helpful information, but I don't fully understand how schools can just "figure this out". I can see how they might know more information than me since they receive the applications of many students. But is there a way to do it for myself so I can estimate my chances before I waste money applying to transfer?

At the Drive-In
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:04 am

Re: Determining (or estimating) rank

Postby At the Drive-In » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:34 pm

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=157992

Can give you a pretty good idea if you know at least what GPA puts you in what %ile.

sophistical
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:03 pm

Re: Determining (or estimating) rank

Postby sophistical » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:36 pm

Interesting, but if the school doesn't rank, how would you know a certain ranked data point? For example you might know that a friend falls within the top 10%, but then you wouldn't know whether they were closer to 1% or 10%. Doesn't that formula require information that you can only have if the school supplies rankings?

At the Drive-In
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:04 am

Re: Determining (or estimating) rank

Postby At the Drive-In » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:20 pm

Let's take GW for example, which uses ranking bands of 1-15% and 16-30%.
Assuming you are in the first band of 1-15%, without knowing ANY outside data, it'd be hard to know if your GPA was near the 1% or near the 15%. But chances are you'll know SOMEONE else in the same ranking band as you are, and for every person who has a GPA that you know that is in the same band as you, your guess can get a little bit better.

You could do a "pessimistic" run on the calculator. Let's take the example you gave of a friend in the top 10%. Let's assume they have a 3.65 and know they are in the top 10%. You could run it once assuming that your friend's GPA is the absolute bottom point. (IE. that 3.65 is the lowest cut-off for the top 10%). For every point you find in addition to that, which is also in the top 10%, and under 3.65, you could adjust the cutoff for the top 10% on the calc. This is even better if you are within this range as well, and you can tilt your estimate positively for every person within the range under you and negatively for every person within the range with a higher GPA than you. I am sure there is a better "mathematical" way to do this using statistics, but that's an estimate just as much as this is.

So let's pretend you have a GPA of 3.56, and your friend has one of 3.6, and you're both in the top 10%. You use 3.56 as the floor, but then discover that someone has a 3.51 and is also in the top 10%. You can use 3.51 as the new 10%ile range, and then plug in your GPA which would give you a higher ranking/%ile, but you can use 3.6 as the regulator to know that your ranking will not be above that.

This is all very hypothetical and technical, and requires you finding reliable people honest about their GPA AND in the same range as you. Those factors may not align and probably won't.

The thing about Arrow's post and the listings of %iles required to transfer is that they are generalities. GENERALLY the people who want to transfer into the t14 from a t2, for example, are people in the top 10%. If your school doesn't rank super extensively, the transfer school can't really hold it against you AND won't know what your real %ile ranking is any better than you do. It's not like they're going to look at your app and say "Well, if he was in the top 5% he'd be in for sure, but it seems like he could only be in the top 6%. Chances are wherever you want to apply to transfer will probably only have a few students AT MOST from your school including you. Those transfer schools can only know as much about your ranking as your school is willing to give. So it can't hurt to try.

Granted, if your range is something like Top 1%-Top 30% or something crazy, then I don't know what to tell you.

Sorry, I wrote this post over the course of a few hours doing several other things, so if it doesn't fit together I apologize.

sophistical
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:03 pm

Re: Determining (or estimating) rank

Postby sophistical » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:11 pm

Wow, that was a very informative post. I thought it was perfectly understandable. I'm actually surprised someone took the time to give that level of detail. I've been reluctant to post at TLS forums because I've seen a lot of hostile responses to people who ask questions over the years. I only did so in this case because I couldn't find help anywhere else. Thanks!




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