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Fall OCI and Class Rank -- It's not just for the top!

July 10, 2013

Tags: CDO, 2013

For better or worse, grades and class rankings are here. With fall recruiting just around the corner, you'll need to consider whether and how to make adjustments to your resume and other application materials to reflect your class rank and GPA. There are no hard and fast rules that fit every situation, so you may need to make some judgment calls. We've included some guidelines below, but if you have doubts, you can always talk with one of the CDO career advisors to determine the best course of action.

Happy and you know it?

Good job and a pat on the back for you. If you are in the top third of your class or higher, you will definitely want to include your class rank on your resume.

Somewhere in the middle?

If your class rank falls between the top third and the top half, you'll probably want to designate your class rank on your resume. It really depends on where you are applying. For example, many firms may assume you are in the bottom half of the class if you do not make a designation. For other employers, it may not be advisable to include a class rank unless you are above the top third. The key is to assess each job application individually and make the move that will both show you in the best light and be responsive to the job application.

I didn't make the top half. What now?

50% of all law students are in the bottom half of their class. You are in good company. If this describes your position, you will probably not want to include your class rank on your resume (unless an employer specifically requests it). Your job in this case is to focus your application materials on your strengths and show employers other ways in which you shine. In this difficult job market, employers are valuing experience more than ever and many do not put heavy emphasis on grades and class rank.

How should I designate my class rank on my resume?

When designating your class rank on your resume:

  • Always round up. If your class rank is 20.8%, for the purposes of your resume designation, you are in the top 21%, not the top 20%.
  • Designate your rank in increments of 5%. Typically, you would not state on your resume that you are in the top 21% of your class, but rather that you are in the top 25%.

But don't OCI employers only want to hire the top of the class?

Not necessarily! Only a small percentage of the participating employers mandate a class rank from their applicants. The other participating employers will accept applications from all interested McGeorge students, regardless of rank! Fall OCI is NOT just for the top of the class; it's an excellent opportunity for all of those who participate.