Valedictorian is an academic title of success for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony (called a valediction). The chosen valedictorian is often the student with the highest ranking (highest GPA) among their graduating class.  Some institutions confer the title on the class member chosen to deliver the final graduation address, regardless of the speaker’s academic credentials.


  • Historically and traditionally, schools confer the title “Valedictorian” upon the highest ranking graduate of the class, who thereby earns the honor of delivering the valedictory address.
  • Some schools award the title based upon various criteria such as overall academic record of grades and credits, a student’s grade point average, the level of rigor within a student’s academic program of studies, a vote by school administrators, the level of participation in and dedication to extracurricular activities, and one’s public-speaking skills and abilities.
  • In other schools, the position may be elected by the school body or appointed directly by the school administration based on various systems of merit.
  • Some schools may feature “co-valedictorians” in lieu of conferring the title on a single individual from among the graduating class. This may occur in the case of a numerical tie in grade point averages, as part of a Latin honors system.


  • Changing from Valedictorian/Salutatorian Rankings-Responses from Counselor Talk (November 2017)
  •  Often the differences separating the top student from the nearest competitors are small and sometimes there are accusations that the winner took advantage of the rules in a way that seemed unfair, such as taking easy courses to get additional credits. Some schools have dropped the honor or changed the rules to allow multiple recipients.



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