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Alternative hs or traditional hs

Potter3846Potter3846 66 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
I am considering transferring and I need help deciding.

I am a high school sophomore with mostly A’s and I want to go to a competitive college. Here are some pros and cons on transferring. Do colleges look down on alternative highschools? Would transferring destroy my chances?

- there are no grades (all classes are pass/fail)
-there are no AP classes (if I stay in my current school I’ll be in 2 AP classes next year)
- school is 3 days a week and the other two days I participate in various internships.

Okay, that was a very short list but I need some insight... what are my chances of a top-tier college if I transfer? Does anyone have any tips?
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Replies to: Alternative hs or traditional hs

  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why do you want to transfer to alternative high school?
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  • Potter3846Potter3846 66 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Lindagaf I’m not happy with my school’s environment and I’m wondering if I could thrive else where. I have heard that the alternative high school I want to transfer to has a great community and that’s something I want to be apart of. It has nothing to do with academic reasons which is why I’m hesitant. If it could harm my college admissions due to the lack of APs and lack of grades, I would rather not transfer.
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  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU 1540 replies17 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is this more of a career readiness school? What are the internships? I would check to see if the school is actually a charter school or some other name. Maybe I'm old, but when I hear "alternative school" I think of the school attended by children who are considered discipline problems. You may need to check the results information on the school to see what % of students go on to college and see if the classes offered are still in line with what you need to receive a high school diploma in your school district.

    My understanding is the colleges are interested in seeing that a student has taken a vigorous course load and has committed to outside interests. You seem to be on track where you are. Why do you want to transfer?
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  • Potter3846Potter3846 66 replies11 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @TQfromtheU well I have good grades and yes I am on track so far but I also do have literal dozens of absences due to personal problems. It has caused me to fall back in the past and may continue to do so if I stay. If I transfer I plan to take college classes at a nearby school to make up for the no AP classes as well.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I’m going to paste this very helpful advice, because I can’t link the blog it’s from:

    > In the eyes of college admissions, not all high schools are equal.

    If you are leaving a tough, academically rigorous high school in order to attend a less competitive alternative school, the admissions office will want to know why. If your only answer is “I thought it would be easier, and I’m the sort of person who likes to slide by doing the bare minimum,” your application probably won’t be very impressive. But if you see your diploma as a means to a different, more impressive end (graduating early, starting college, spending more time on your music or a sport, traveling, working full-time, caring for family members, etc.), your choice will be understood in that spirit.

    > Not all alternative schools are the same.

    There are many different kinds of alternative high schools. Some cater to working adults and recent immigrants. This is good. It means they will treat you with the respect they give to other adults, and will understand that you are there to meet a specific goal: getting your diploma. But if the school caters to teens who have been repeatedly expelled from other schools, they might have a strict discipline code. If you are leaving high school to gain more independence, this is the very opposite of what you want!

    Most alternative schools operate in the wide middle ground between these two extremes. They are open to anyone who wants to get a diploma, and they have a very small staff-to-student ratio, so you’ll get a lot of individual attention and will be able to finish your courses in a shorter amount of time. Often you can work at your own pace, and get credit as you complete the work. The other students will come from all sorts of backgrounds: young working moms, older students who needed time to learn English, ambitious high schoolers who want to graduate early, kids who left high school to work, kids who took time off from school due to health problems.

    Once you find a school you like, call and ask what it takes to register and to get a diploma. Some schools will enroll you class-by-class; others will enroll you as an official student but won’t make you attend full-time. Some schools operate like public schools; others are affiliated with public or private colleges and might charge a small fee per class or for books. You also might be able to find a distance learning program online.

    > Alternative schools don’t always offer all the classes and extracurriculars you’ll need to go to college.

    Most colleges want to see:

    4 years of English
    3 years of science (including 2 years of lab science)
    Algebra I and II and Geometry
    3 years of social studies
    at least 2 years of a single foreign language

    Very selective schools will want more: at least 4 years of a foreign language, math through Calculus, several AP courses with scores of 4 or 5, and challenging electives.

    Some alternative schools are great with guidance and will make sure you have this background if they know you’re college bound, but other schools don’t even offer all the classes you would need, much less insist that you take them. The requirements to earn a high school diploma are lower than the requirements to get into college. And a diploma is just one part of your college admissions packet — colleges are also interested in your extracurricular activities, and an alternative school might not offer any.

    This isn’t a problem, if you’re prepared. You can take what you need at school to get your diploma, and meet the other college prep requirements in different ways. These might include:

    -a portfolio of work you’ve done independently
    -skills you’ve learned through work, internships, or on study abroad programs
    -extracurricular activities like clubs, lessons, and camps (outside school)
    -college classes
    -online or correspondence classes
    -standardized tests in core subject areas

    Most four-year colleges allow you a lot of flexibility in demonstrating your learning, if you’ve had a non-traditional education. A high school diploma alone, though, won’t be enough.

    You need to carefully weigh up your reasons for doing this. My first thought is that transferring from an environment where you’re doing well is going to perhaps raise some eyebrows. “This student was doing great. Why leave?” So what is more important to you? Having a possibly better chance of getting into a competitive college, or possibly being happier at another high school? Only you can decide.
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  • TQfromtheUTQfromtheU 1540 replies17 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Talk to a counselor at your school to further see what options are best for you. If that person is aware of the personal issues you have dealt with, they are better able to direct you to a solution that works for you.
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  • happy1happy1 22662 replies2225 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    edited June 19
    Switching schools will not solve personal problems. And multiple absences will be even more difficult when classes are only held 3x/week and you are expected to be at an internship the other two days. I don't think switching schools will help you here.

    Have you discussed this with your parents? What do they think?
    In terms of will the Alternative School allow you to go to competitive colleges -- have you done your research? Here are some questions I have offhand:

    Is the alternative school a college preparatory school?
    Will you be taking a full complement of college prep courses?
    If you take college classes how will that fit in with your schedule?
    If so, how does it all fit in three days of school?
    Is there anything to supplement the P/F grades (perhaps written evaluations for each course)?
    What colleges have graduates of the alternative school been accepted to in the past?
    Does the pattern of college acceptances differ from the traditional school?
    What do you plan to do with the two days/week internship?
    Also in another post you said "I am in a STEM program right now that has offered to kind of "set me up" with a research mentor in the category that I would like" Would you have to give this up to attend the Alternative school?

    FWIW my D did go into the Alternative School program at her HS. BUT it was a full college prep curriculum, any courses not taught in the A-School could be taken in the main school, classes were held 5 days/week (although they did internships for a few weeks in January every year),, there were not grades but there were written evaluations for each course which college admissions officers seems to have no issue handling, and the kids got into the same colleges that the students in the main school did. In our opinion there was no academic downside to this program for my D and she did benefit from the close-knit community. If we felt that academics would be compromised she never would have moved into this program.
    edited June 19
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I just saw post 4. You seem to be running away from problems. Address the problems first.
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