Oh, boy - my son loves every school he has seen, but he has two that are his favorites. His first choice was a very prestigious school, somewhat sterile when we visited, lots of fin aid $$, the sport's coach never responded to his email last spring or a final one now. So no sports if he got in, which I am NOT counting on, and he would have to really work to keep up, as he is very social, and has been in a high school that offers fewer APs, accelerated classes, etc.
Second school - excellent, but one step down. He would do very well there and I don't think he would have to kill himself, the way he would with the more prestigious school. He would still have to work, don't get me wrong, it is an excellent school, but not one of those grind schools.
He says he likes the harder one, and I think it is because of the prestige/pride getting in. I don't think he fits as well as the other one. So how do you help them decide? What if their chances are much better getting in using ED, but then they decide they want to go to the other school and play sports??