Rank or Rigor ... Which Do Colleges Prefer?

Question: First of all, thank you for answering many questions by U.S. High school students. I and many others appreciate it dearly. I go to a very tough private high school in Southern California. Everyone here is unbelievably smart, thus there is a lot of competition to be valedictorian compared to an average public school. My question is, is being in the top 25% in your class (Class rank based off GPA) in a tough private school as good as being in the top 10% at a public school? I don't want my class rank to deter me from my dreams of going to Brown (I am in the top 30% in my class). Thanks!

Admission officials at hyper-selective colleges like Brown are well aware that not all high schools are created equal. They realize that at challenging schools like yours, the workload can be very heavy, and A's are not easily earned. So the admission folks typically allot some extra wiggle room to applicants who hail from the most competitive private (and public) schools.

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