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WSJ Article: High Schools sending most kids to top schools

momof2011momof2011 28 replies15 threads Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Parents Forum
A little hard to read in this format...but info is interesting:


How the Schools Stack Up

Weekend Journal looked at the freshman classes at eight top colleges and compiled a list of the students' high-school alma maters. The survey ranked the high schools based on the number of students sent to those eight colleges, divided by the high school's number of graduates in 2007, limiting the scope to schools that had senior classes of at least 50 (see below). The "success rate" column represents the percentage of students in each high-school's graduating class that attended one of our chosen colleges. (See related story.) —Compiled by Ellen Gamerman, Juliet Chung, SungHa Park and Candace Jackson


Collegiate School New York 50 13 26.0% 29,100 Just over 600 boys make up the student body from Kindergarten through 12th grade at this small private school.
Brearley School New York 51 12 23.5% 31,300 The all-girls school says on its Web site that it sent a total of 93 kids to the Ivy League in the last five years.
Chapin School New York 58 13 22.4% 29,100 Kindergartners at this all-girls school learn creative writing; third-graders study yoga.
Polytechnic School Pasadena, Calif. 87 17 19.5% 23,750 School sent 9 kids to Stanford last year, more than to any other college.
University of Chicago Lab Schools Chicago 113 22 19.5% 20,445 College counseling office recently hired a former University of Chicago admissions officer.
College Preparatory School Oakland, Calif. 86 15 17.4% 26,850 School's director of college counseling worked in the University of Pennsylvania admissions office for eight years.
Trinity School New York 116 20 17.2% 30,120 School will celebrate its 300th birthday next year.
Phillips Academy Andover, Mass. 327 52 15.9% 29,000* School says that about 10% of its students are from outside the U.S. and 35% are students of color.
Delbarton School Morristown, N.J. 116 18 15.5% 23,600 Independent school for boys is led by an order of Benedictine monks; about 30% of students are non-Catholic.
Phillips Exeter Academy Exeter, N.H. 317 47 14.8% 28,200* This year Exeter announced it will waive tuition for students whose family income is under $75,000.
Milton Academy Milton, Mass. 184 27 14.7% 31,175* School requires seniors to take a course on transition to adult life. Students do mock college interviews
Groton School Groton, Mass. 83 12 14.5% 31,530* Students are required to write two college essays summer before senior year, which are critiqued by faculty.
Daewon Foreign Language High School Seoul, South Korea 78 11 14.1% 05,000 School is divided into two separate programs; one for students planning to attend university in South Korea, the other for those bound for U.S. colleges. Our class-size figure reflects the U.S.-bound track
Lawrenceville School Lawrenceville, N.J. 239 33 13.8% 32,110* School sent 16 kids to Princeton last year; since 2003, it says it has sent 59 students there.
Kent Place School Summit, N.J. 59 8 13.6% 26,818 Director of college advising worked in undergraduate admissions at Columbia and Georgetown universities.
Hunter College High School New York 177 24 13.6% 0 The public school, administered by Hunter College, limits 7th grade applicants to kids who scored at least 90% in reading and math on standardized tests.
Rivers School Weston, Mass. 74 10 13.5% 30,500 Applications to Rivers increased 20% over the past year, and ninth grade applications rose 27%, school says.
Saint Ann's School Brooklyn, N.Y. 76 10 13.2% 25,500 School has an arts-centered approach; poetry teacher starts working with kids as young as 5.
San Francisco University High School San Francisco 92 12 13.0% 28,725 Last year's seniors scored about 10% higher on SATs than previous class, says director of college counseling.
Menlo School Atherton, Calif. 139 18 12.9% 29,400 School offers a program that pairs kids with parents to discuss college, careers and community service.
St. Paul's School Concord, N.H. 150 19 12.7% 39,300 The boarding-only school now offers a "gut check" for seniors, with faculty reading college essays in three minutes, as a college admissions officer might.
Harker School San Jose, Calif. 167 20 12.0% 29,894 Five studentsfrom Harker were selected as a youth delegation to the G8 conference in Germany this year.
John Burroughs School St. Louis 97 11 11.3% 18,575 School has one of the lowest tuitions of the U.S. private schools in our study. Midwestern schools generally cost less than those on the coasts.
Rye Country Day School Rye, N.Y. 92 10 10.9% 27,500 (11-12th grades) School says that since 1996, 97% of kids taking the Advanced Placement BC Calculus course received perfect scores on the AP exam.
Korean Minjok Leadership Academy South Korea 133 14 10.5% 16,000 School in South Korea's Gangwon-do province requires students to speak only English for many classes.
Buckingham Browne & Nichols Cambridge, Mass. 115 12 10.4% 31,440 School opened $26 million visual and performing arts center this year.
Princeton High School Princeton, N.J. 299 31 10.4% 0 This year, school sent 19 kids to Princeton University, which is across the street from the high school.
Ramaz Upper School New York 100 10 10.0% 20,000 Many students at the Jewish day school spend a year in Israel before college, which the school says may affect its numbers in our survey.
Stuyvesant High School New York 674 67 9.9% 0 Selective public high school specializing in math and science says it sent 17 kids to Harvard last year.
Head-Royce School Oakland, Calif. 81 8 9.9% 25,590 School opened a new building devoted to world languages this year, and recently added Mandarin classes
Regis High School New York 125 12 9.6% 0 Tuition-free Catholic boys school says it drew more than 2,300 prospective students to recent open houses
Blake School Minneapolis, Minn. 127 12 9.4% 19,900 Minnesota school has both alpine and nordic skiing teams.
Illinois Mathematics And Science Academy Aurora, Ill. 203 19 9.4% 0 School requires kids to participate in an "intersession" in January, a break from regular studies with courses like "Exploring the Meaning of Life: Why It All Matters."
Hotchkiss School Lakeville, Conn. 172 16 9.3% 32,400* New headmaster is a former head of schools in Botswana and Wales.
Bishop's School La Jolla, Calif. 120 11 9.2% 24,400 A Bishop's graduate won the Olympic trials in laser sailing-competing in a small single-handed boat-and will participate in the Olympics in China next year.
Thomas Jefferson High School For Science And Technology Alexandria, Va. 428 39 9.1% 0 Competitive magnet school for science-minded kids sent 13 students to MIT this year.
Lakeside School Seattle 132 12 9.1% 22,160 Students can't graduate without at least 80 hours of community service and a weeklong outdoor program.
Deerfield Academy Deerfield, Mass. 188 17 9.0% 27,642* School asks parents to submit anecdotes about their kids to inform college counselors' recommendation letters.
St. John's School Houston 122 11 9.0% 16,825 Students can take educational summer trips with faculty to places like Indian monasteries or the French Alps.
Boston Latin School Boston 381 33 8.7% 0 The school, founded in 1635, sent 26 kids to Harvard--more than any other high school on our list.
Sidwell Friends School Washington 118 10 8.5% 27,790

Li Po Chun United World College Hong Kong 121 10 8.3% N/A

Choate Rosemary Hall Wallingford, Conn. 230 19 8.3% 29,260

Dalton School New York 112 9 8.0% 31,200

Horace Mann School Riverdale, N.Y. 177 14 7.9% 30,830

Bard High School Early College New York 128 10 7.8% 0

Northside College Preparatory High School Chicago 244 19 7.8% 0

Westminster Schools Atlanta 184 14 7.6% 18,000, according to Web site

Taft School Watertown, Conn. 160 12 7.5% 29,000*

United World College of the Atlantic South Wales, U.K. 167 12 7.2% 37,000

Hopkins School New Haven, Conn. 126 9 7.1% 27,050

International Academy Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 133 9 6.8% 0

Cranbrook Kingswood School Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 196 13 6.6% 23,900*

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Baltimore 232 15 6.5% 0

Harvard-Westlake School North Hollywood, Calif. 287 18 6.3% 25,000

Mary Institute And St. Louis Country Day School St. Louis 145 9 6.2% 18,690

Loomis Chaffee School Windsor, Conn. 194 10 5.2% 29,500*

Kent School Kent, Conn. 158 8 5.1% 31,300*, according to Web site

Iolani School Honolulu 227 10 4.4% 14,000

Taipei American School Taipei, Taiwan 210 9 4.3% 13,460, according to Web site

Belmont High School Belmont, Mass. 282 12 4.3% 0

Scarsdale High School Scarsdale, N.Y. 360 15 4.2% 0

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Durham, N.C. 309 11 3.6% 0

New Canaan High School New Canaan, Conn. 286 10 3.5% 0

Lower Merion High School Ardmore, Penn. 418 14 3.3% 0
edited July 2009
46 replies
Post edited by momof2011 on
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Replies to: WSJ Article: High Schools sending most kids to top schools

  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    The several threads on this ought to be combined.

    Anyway, as I said on another thread: It's interesting to note that this rating uses as different base of index colleges than last time. It's only 8 colleges, with 7,000+ freshmen, vs. 10 colleges with close to 16,000 freshmen. So the data base is a little less stable. Duke was dropped, shifting the base northwards somewhat, and Swarthmore and Williams added (and all of the Ivies except Harvard and Princeton dropped), giving it a more LAC-oriented cast. And hurting Ithaca High School a lot!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30224 replies59 threads Senior Member
    This is a bit misleading in my book. For example, if Princeton were excluded from those 8 schools, instead of Yale, the Princeton High School's numbers would be severely hit. You really need a 5 year time period and a grouping of more colleges, the most selective and with more geographics put in.
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  • gprimegprime 459 replies26 threads Member
    The numbers are interesting, but the schools chosen are fairly random: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins. Why some of those of Yale, MIT, Stanford, Duke, ect?

    They "chose eight colleges with an average admissions selectivity of 18% and whose accepted applicants had reading and math SAT scores in the 1350-1450 range, according to the College Board: Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams, Pomona, Swarthmore, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins." But why, as an example, is an average selectivity of 18% better than one with an average selectivity of 15%, which they could get?
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 27835 replies196 threads Senior Member
    what I found most interesting was the relatively lower rank of the HS with well-known names, such as Choate, TJ, Boston Latin (since H is in the survey), & Harvard-Westlake in contrast to the other school in my backyard, Pasadena-Poly.
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  • katliamomkatliamom 13807 replies170 threads Student Voice
    I had the same reaction, bluebayou
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  • cecils15cecils15 120 replies14 threads Junior Member
    I think it has alot to do with the colleges they picked. At Sps, very few students in my grade are even applying to MIT, Swarthmore, and UCHicago
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  • nynyparentnynyparent 106 replies5 threads Junior Member
    The selection of colleges for the survey clearly has a huge impact on the rankings. For example, St. Ann's was number one a few years ago with a much more heavily Ivy-weighted group, but fell to number 18 with this group of colleges even though their placement record has not changed appreciably over this time period. I've seen stats for Trinity's class of 2006, from which over 50% (not a typo) went to the 8 Ivy League schools. Trinity was ranked highly in this year's ranking, but my guess is that is almost entirely from their placement at Harvard and Princeton (the only two Ivy's surveyed in this year's article). Very few from Trinity went to any of the other six colleges included in this group. With a survey of a different group of colleges, you'd get very different results.
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  • icy9ff8icy9ff8 - 1587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    I agree with the above two posts. The two top schools are Roxbury Latin, outside of Boston, and St. Ann's in NYC. The top boarding schools are St. Paul's School , Phillips Academy at Andover, Deerfield Academy and Groton. These top four boarding schools are in a class by themselves when rated on college placement from the top 10% to the bottom 10% of each graduating class. Milton Academy and Hotchkiss were next, showing superb college matriculation success when rating 100% of each graduating class' U.S. based college and university placement. Including Harvard and excluding Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn & Cornell is as silly as including Chicago while excluding Nortwestern, Carleton College, Rice, Wash. U. St. L.& Notre Dame. Ignoring Georgetown, Duke, Amherst, Middlebury, Bowdoin and Davidson also greatly alters the results. For example, St. Paul's School matriculated 6 students to Amherst--which was excluded from the WSJ survey, but sent only one student to Williams College--which was included in this misleading WSJ survey. When examining rating and ranking college placements for the entire graduating class among boarding schools, Exeter doesn't even make the top ten northeastern U.S. boarding schools, while the WSJ misleads its readers into believing it is properly ranked as the #2 boarding school. Yes, it was a substantially more demanding task to rate and rank each member of every schools' graduating class, but if I can do it, and I did, certainly the WSJ has the resources to do so in the interest of journalistic integrity.
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  • BurnThisBurnThis 710 replies36 threads Member
    The reason Harvard-Westlake is ranked so low is the schools the WSJ decided to focus on. We sent 78 students to the Ivy League last year (16 to Yale alone), another 7 to Stanford, 7 to Berkeley, 6 to WashU St.L. That's 27% of the graduating class going to Ivy, not to mention all the other top schools the WSJ excluded from their list. So, take this with a grain of salt!
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  • icy9ff8icy9ff8 - 1587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    To further appreciate Harvard Westlake, read The Gatekeepers, which was published in 2002.
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  • ramblinramblin 57 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Off the top of my head I know of at least one school with a graduating class >50 (WSJ's criterion) that had a "success rate" of 14.5%. Undoubtedly there are others they missed, too, not that these figures really mean anything.
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  • oldfortoldfort 23336 replies307 threads Senior Member
    Not sure how accurate it is. My duaghter's school sent 8% of kids to those schools in 2007, which included 5 to Harvard, and it is not listed.
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    The old list wasn't completely accurate. When they did the list a few years ago, my kids' school wasn't included, although it had sent 30 kids to the index colleges. Apparently the school hadn't cooperated with the WSJ; the principal was pretty miffed when he found out. That year, with that index, their school did better than Lower Merion, which was very highly ranked this year. (Taking out Penn hurt all the Philadelphia-area schools. Frankly, I'm stunned that LM sent 14 kids to the schools listed,)

    But, so what? It's all more or less in fun. I think the idea of having an index of representative colleges is a good one, but I don't think they've found the sweet spot just yet. Including MIT and a couple of LACs is a good idea. Excluding Duke was a bad one. Including Chicago and Hopkins is interesting, although maybe not a good idea for over 25% of the students in the pool. And it's never going to be really satisfactory if Stanford doesn't cooperate.

    Amherst: there's not enough students there to make a meaningful contribution. Of course, with any partial index you will have an anomaly like a school sending 6 kids to Amherst and 1 to Williams, but for the life of me I can't imagine why you would need both of them.

    Exeter: ic9ff8 clearly has done some work on this, but I would really want to examine any analysis that put Exeter outside the top 10 boarding schools for college placement. In my hazy impression, it is THE top boarding school for education, and reputations don't tend to change much faster than glaciars.
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  • BookladyBooklady 3086 replies36 threads Senior Member
    (Taking out Penn hurt all the Philadelphia-area schools. Frankly, I'm stunned that LM sent 14 kids to the schools listed,)

    JHS, me too. And none of the private schools here made the list at all, which wouldn't have been the case if they'd included Penn.
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22893 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Obviously the choice of "index" schools matters, but I was interested to see that the HS from which I graduated in CT made the list, even though when I graduated by FAR the most Ivy admits were to Yale, which would theoretically have a negative impact on its standing...

    The list also makes it obvious how favored prep school students are in college admissions, and how comparatively difficult it is to get in from any public school, especially if it isn't a magnet.
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  • NJresNJres 6098 replies189 threads Senior Member
    Prep schools screen the kids so they are only working with the top students to begin with. Look at the top public schools that made the list. They also have selective admissions policies. How many of the kids attending Princeton University from Princeton HS are children of Princeton faculty?
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  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 threads Senior Member
    One other variable to factor in is ability to pay. Boston Latin is a public (exam) school. Many of its graduates head off to UMass-Amherst; Ditto, with TJ, except that its graduates head off to UVA.

    It is possible that many students from high performing suburban public high schools are admitted or admissible but choose to attend less expensive schools either because these are their state's flagship schools or they receive merit money from private schools not on this list.

    Many private schools do provide an excellent education. They also have many students whose families are quite able to pay full fare at the colleges on the list. I believe most offer need-based aid?
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  • JHSJHS 18503 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Just look at the numbers: There are well over 20,000 public high schools in the country. The colleges in the index have about 7,000 freshmen, and tend to get about 60% of their students from public schools. So that's 4,000 kids from 20,000 schools. They get 35% of their kids from private schools. I don't know how many private schools there are with graduating classes of more than 50, but it isn't anything like 20,000. 2,000 is probably closer to the right number.
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  • ConsolationConsolation 22893 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Prep schools are not necessarily working only with the top students, although certainly some of them may have a higher percentage of them.

    I know that things have changed, but there was a not-too-distant time when the major criteria for entering most prep schools were the right connections and the ability to pay. I really find it hard to imagine that the legacy factor isn't still at work today.

    Locally, the kids who leave our public school system and go to the area private schools--religiously affiliated or not--are very unlikely to be the brightest and/or most successful students. Generally they are kids whose parents have money and who think their kids are in danger of being overlooked. In fact, someone with both kids in private school told me several years ago that "studies have shown" that that is the most common reason for moving kids to private school. Whether she was correct or not I do not know, but my observation would tend to support her.

    Now, there is of course a difference between the local private school and an elite prep school.
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  • icy9ff8icy9ff8 - 1587 replies18 threads Senior Member
    JHS: Exeter was ranked #11 when examing its actual college placement for the years of 2006, 2005 & 2004. All U.S. based college matriculations were rated for this ranking. Exeter's weakness is it's placement outside of the top third of each class. This info. was supplied by Exeter. Andover, on the other hand, has outstanding college placement for almost it's entire graduating class. And, I was particularly sensitive regarding Exeter in this study. Exeter folks with whom I spoke were friendly, gracious and helpful when dealing with my project. But no, Exeter did not even make the top ten "northeastern" U.S. boarding schools for college placement success. I will gladly furnish you with my findings if you PM me. As hard as it is to believe, my results are accurate-- much more accurate than any other study of which I and many "in the industry" are aware. You will also receive the methodology which will enable you to verify my findings.
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