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how much does attending a private hs really help?

northeastgirl24northeastgirl24 249 replies7 threads Junior Member
last year I was offered admission to a couple of private schools (Princeton Day, Lawrenceville and Hotchkiss) I decided not to go though for a couple of reasons (cost, didn't know if I would stand out during college admissions)...

My public school is one of the best in the area and offers plenty of honors/AP courses

I was just wondering if I made the best decision and if I should consider reapplying
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Replies to: how much does attending a private hs really help?

  • goldenbear2020goldenbear2020 891 replies17 threads Member
    As you said, it can be difficult to stand out at a competitive private school especially for unhooked students, because many of the students there will have major hooks during admission (multiple legacies, wealthy donors, recruited athletes, high-achieving URMs, etc).
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  • anxiousenior1anxiousenior1 1074 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Counselors and teachers at private high schools may get to know students better because they tend to have a smaller student body than large high schools, which means you may be able to get better letters of rec. I still think that if you're proactive enough in a public school, you have the means to get to know your teachers well enough.
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5331 replies90 threads Senior Member
    One reason the students in those schools do so well is that the schools pre-select students using the same sort of criteria that will later be used to select students for top colleges. Then they educate them really well using a rigorous curriculum. As with top colleges, students who get into the top prep schools but don't attend probably do very well too. Further, students who graduate from top public high schools (like ones you'd find around Princeton, for example) and who succeed with a rigorous curriculum also do well. Those schools also have longstanding relationships with admissions in top colleges but that has become a less sure bet. Instead of worrying about college. Worry about which high school will give your the best high school experience. High school isn't just about getting into college. It is 4 very important years of your life. Make the most of them-not for college but so that you have a great 4 years and the best chance at growing into the kind of adult that you want to be.
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  • northeastgirl24northeastgirl24 249 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks guys, lots of great points!
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  • 2manybooks2manybooks 263 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My S goes to a private (parochial) HS, but one that is very diverse, including in educational attainment prior to entering the school. All of the students are expected to go to college - and do! - but it's not an Ivy (or Stanford) admissions factory by any means. Some students go to community college, CSUs, some of the less-selective SLACs - but the overall environment is one of direction and achievement. It's really cool. I don't think he'd have liked more of a "prep" prep school, honestly.

    What makes the most difference is probably the low counselor:student ratio - I don't think any of the GCs have more than about 120 students over all 4 years to work with. The college advising staff itself is 3-4 people, including one who helps coordinate programs for first-gen students .At a nearby public school, as of the last I heard about a year ago, they had one GC (in fact, one *counselor* - for all purposes) for over 1800 students.

    Public schools may have more AP class options, ECs, etc. - and more course choices overall. Private schools may have more available resources for this crazy college process. Look holistically at the schools and see what you like, don't like, and see how likely it is that your GC will know your name. These things matter.
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