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Competitive High School?

BrainCrampBrainCramp 117 replies9 discussions- Posts: 126 Junior Member
edited July 2008 in Parents Forum
What does this mean? I assume if a HS has class ranking, that's competition; so beyond the "regular" competition, what are colleges referring to? My S is going for his first college interviews and wants to accurately portray his HS. I'm no help. Can anyone shed some light?
edited July 2008
10 replies
Post edited by BrainCramp on
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Replies to: Competitive High School?

  • HSNHSN 336 replies64 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 400 Member
    I would say that a "competitive high school" is one in which the great majority of kids go on to 4 year colleges, and that historically a certain percentage go on to Ivys and other top level schools. Also, unless it is a stated policy not to include APs (such as at Dalton in New York city), a school that offers a lot of APs would also show that it is "competitive." But this is just my subjective take on it.
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  • HSNHSN 336 replies64 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 400 Member
    P.S. Many competitive high schools do not rank their students.
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  • mathmommathmom 31930 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,085 Senior Member
    Really competitive high schools require exams or IQ tests to be admitted. I think of Thomas Jefferson in VA, or Stuyvassent and the like in NYC. Or the top prep schools like Exeter and Andover. Just a bit down the food chain are the high schools in wealthy communities like Scarsdale and Bronxville in NY, less familiar with the names in other parts of the US. I'd also say kids are regular Intel winners, math competition winners, Science Olympiad winners etc.

    Somewhat competitive high schools are as HSN described, and I'd say also have SAT or ACT score averages that are well above state averages. Our high school is fairly competitive at the upper end, (lots of APs, 75% go to 4 year colleges, top 5% class go to well known colleges), but is usually described as a "comprehensive" high school - there are a sizable number of more average kids and a good percentage of low income kids.
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  • MidwestMom2Kids_MidwestMom2Kids_ 6345 replies328 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,673 Senior Member
    I agree with HSN.

    I would call a public high school competitive if
    - the great majority of kids go on to 4 year colleges
    - historically a certain percentage go on to Ivys and other top level schools
    - a dozen or more AP classes offered and students who take the AP classes pass the AP tests

    There are high schools within which the students compete with each other but I wouldn't think that these are considered competitive high schools.
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    My D. HS does not rank. More so, it does not have "Valedictorians". It offers very limited number of APs. However, as an example, just Honors Freshman HS Biology was using College textbook that was the same as my D. later used in her Freshman year at college, newer edition, of course. She also mentioned that she was much better prepared in her HS Honors Chemistry class than a lot of others who took AP in HS. Colleges simply are aware of the level of preparation at different schools. Her HS is known in our state as being very competitve. It places 100% into 4 years colleges with significant % going to Ivy and other top schools. My D. has received invitations to apply to Harvard & Prinston and we thought that it was a result of her graduating from her school. She did not pursue it.
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  • kryptonsa36kryptonsa36 1721 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,735 Senior Member
    My D. has received invitations to apply to Harvard & Prinston and we thought that it was a result of her graduating from her school.
    First your D graduates high school, THEN she receives invitations just to apply to Harvard and Princeton? Uncanny.
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  • BrainCrampBrainCramp 117 replies9 discussions- Posts: 126 Junior Member
    ok, I'm still confused. My son's HS is public w/~1,500 students. I'd say top 15% go to top tier colleges with top 2-3% Ivy/Ivy like. Lots of AP's. 55% go to 4 yr colleges, balance could certainly go, but due to interest or finances, chose other options. Standardized test scores are above average in NJ (which I think are above the natl avg). Based on the above posted info it sounds like his school is not competitive, oh well. Thanks to all who posted and anyone else who wants to weigh in, I'd appreciate it.
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  • NewHope33NewHope33 6136 replies72 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    As MiamiDAP noted, many competitive HSs use college texts for their Honors level courses. Also, students are ENCOURAGED to apply to top tier schools commensurate with their credentials.
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  • cottonwood513cottonwood513 1755 replies73 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    Competitive high schools do not rank so the students are not chasing each other around in a circle so fast, they turn in to butter, like the tiger in "Little
    Black Sambo".
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  • 2collegewego2collegewego 2615 replies95 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,710 Senior Member
    BrainCamp,

    I'm not sure what it matters if we're calling it "competitive high school" or not. After all, I would think a regional officer at a top-tier college/ university would know the nuances far more than the rough category of competitive or not competitve.

    55% going to college is not very competitive *however* getting the top 15% of students in a top-tier school is a good indication that if your son is in the top 15%, he will have a good chance at those colleges. That is all that matters, isn't it?

    The only issue I have with some of the definitions here is that sometimes big high schools have a magnet within them and students in that magnet might as well be attending a "competitve high school." So a school might only have 55% attending college-- but if there's a well-respected magnet program in place, it serves the same purpose as saying it's a "competitve hs."
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