Effect of HS's academic reputation on college acceptance

<p>I agree with you Mathmom - to an extent. However, at son's HS there is no AP Euro or AP US History per say but many students take the AP exams at the end of the year. Writing isn't a choice via AP, it is part and parcel of the overall curriculum. This is not to say that other kids don't get plenty of writing experience in their respective schools, but comparative to others in the area, the "regular" curriculum would be considered accelerated or honors at the public option. My point really is that whereas other kids who were accepted to son's college were 4.0+ students but there have only been four 4.0 students in the past twenty years at son's school. This is not to say, however, that there haven't been plenty in the 3.8 - 3.9 range who seem to land with regularity at Harvard, but a gpa of a 3.6 is considered very very good, especially when taking many accelerated and AP classes in the process. A 3.6 at daughter's public would land you in the bottom top half of the class. The question at hand is whether or not reputation helps in college admissions and in our case (while also considering achievement of course) I believe the reputation of the academic rigor carried some influence. This isn't the same as asking if pubilc schools can prepare students adequately for college because certainly they can and do so every day with great success.</p>

<p>Sooo...I go to a fairly mediocre school in our area...recently, our teacher was arrested for having relations with a female student. Also, our chief custodian was removed from his job (almost faced with firing) because he took inappropriate pictures of our high school models.</p>

<p>Our principal was sacked as well...and the local news editor wrote an article explaining he had once dated a student in the past, which seemed discomforting.</p>

<p>I've achieved fairly a lot in my high school, even more than the typical rank 5 does. Am I at an advantage then?</p>

<p>In the same area, I think kids who go to a better HS may have a better chance to get into a better college. but area could make a difference. To illustrate my point -
A friend of mine has a d. who had a friend in HS. They perform similarly, my friend's d. did better in a couple things. Then in sophomore year her d.'s friend's family moved to downtown Washington D.C. area, attended a HS where attendance was even a problem. Now the situation is the girl in D.C. has admissions from every college she applied to including ivies. my friend's d. is still in the dark.</p>

<p>I can tell you the better the high school, the more of its students colleges want. But colleges do tend to put a cap at a certain point if that high school doesn't have a diverse student population to choose from. </p>

<p>I am considered a minority and I went to a very poor high school in Northern New Jersey but had excellent grades and SAT etc. I got into a top NCAA Division I university over other top ranked students from other really great high schools who also applied to the same university.</p>

<p>So yes the quality of your high school has a lot to do with college acceptance, but only up to a certain point because college admissions have other factors to fulfill like diversity.</p>

<p>Blossom: >>So it's great that folks who live high on the hog in Amish country qualify for aid from Harvard (and I'm sure that's good news to the nurse, married to the sanitation worker, who rents an apartment in Queens but don't qualify for aid because their gross income is too high.)<<</p>

<p>I hear you - all I can think of is that there is a legacy somewhere (moved here from someplace else?) or maybe there is a Mennonite/Amish thing going on in FinAid that we just don't know about. ;)</p>

<p>However, there may actually not BE numbers from places like our school that would even be able to support what I said. I mean, probably that one person was the ONLY person in the last 15 years to even APPLY for Harvard, you know? So right there, that person will stick out.</p>

<p>You need to know that kids who go to smaller, rural high schools do not have the same outlook on life that suburban etc. kids do. You would not believe how unsophisticated our kids are. Half of them are farmers' kids. They are actually half afraid to go far from home, and the parents are not much better. I was never even IN Philadelphia (which is a little over an hour away) until I was in COLLEGE. What, drive in traffic? lol They don't buy name brand clothing just for the sake of a brand, which is actually a good thing IMO. It's almost like Happy Days, only a little more redneck. ;)</p>

<p>As a rule, they would never Dream of applying to one of those top schools, because they just would not think they could get in. Even the National Merit Scholars we have had over the years went to local colleges. More recently families have moved here from the Philly suburbs because it's cheaper to live, and their kids *have applied. So the thing is, if the kids don't apply, the colleges don't HAVE the numbers. You won't see the True results. </p>

<p>On the other hand, the local colleges will tend to take their local students more often than "outsiders" - why do you think it's so hard to get into Penn State now?</p>

<p>If you don't think the schools have quotas for all kinds of different things, you need to work at a college for a while. I know for a fact that my husband was told what kind of kids to accept, and what kind not to.</p>

<p>@Vlequez - Where's your source on that? How do you know those scores are all from students from "competitive high schools"? And are there stats for the non-competitives?</p>

<p>Oh, one other thing....something I read just jolted my mind...</p>

<p>The better the high school, the more students they want, PARTLY because they figure their parents are able to PAY for it.</p>

<p>Modadunn, my own HS education was public, but I do not think that influenced my interview observations in any way. I tried to be completely objective regardless of the interviewees' high schools.</p>

<p>I do recognize that the prestigious independent schools here in the Hampton Roads area probably do offer more rigorous curricula than the public schools, principally because the latter are forced to serve a much broader range of abilities and intellects than the former. I am not saying that college admissions people necessarily are wrong in seemingly giving a bit of an edge to applicants from college preparatory schools or public schools noted for excellence.</p>

<p>The Clark School of Engineering at UMCP, one of the public ivies recently published a list of "source" schools with exceptional numbers of matriculants. Applicants from this group get a serious leg up in admissions to the LEP and special financial aid. Things generally aren't as clear cut as this, however, if my top choice were an Ivy-League school, I would rather hail a huge, no name public school so that without a doubt, my college preparatory curriculum would be the most rigorous my school offered. And, I'd have CC to shock me into excellence regardlessly.</p>

<p>Top</a> 25 High Schools, Prospective Students, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland</p>

<p>I read the first two pages of this post and then skipped to the end. I hope I'm still on topic. A kid at our non-competitive rural high school with 2400 SAT and ranked 3rd/500++ who is Hispanic/Indian was deferred from MIT. He's president of several clubs and plays a JV sport. Our school profile doesn't mention that top kids from our school are currently attending at Columbia, Georgetown, Dartmouth, and Emory (and thriving). It also doesn't mention anything about our AP test results. I'm told by my daughter that our AP Bio teacher has 80% of her students scoring 5. Do you think his deferral might be the result of our school's reputation - or non-reputation?</p>

<p>I think I'd try to get the school to put together a more comprehensive profile that updates every year based on the stats/outcomes of the last few years. As for the one kid who seems to hit all the right buttons and still fails to get in (although in this case just deferred), he's the exception that proves the rule I guess.</p>

<p>Yes it does matter what school you went to. Example:</p>

<p>My school is the dirtiest school (F school) in the county. While another school in the county had an admissions counselor go to their school and accepted students to his university on the spot (all they had to do was have their transcripts with them).</p>

<p>When he came to my school, he just gave us a boring speech of what the requirements where? </p>

<p>(i know this because i know lots of students from the other high school)</p>

<p>I don't think it makes much of a difference. A student at a wealthy school will probably have to work harder to get into the top 10%, but they will have a lot more opportunities to build their resume that another student might simply not have.</p>

<p>I went to a title 1 school near Houston that was on probation from the state for standardized test scores. I was right on the border of a much wealthier school district and knew some kids who went there as well as some that left our district for private schools. There were about two dozen out of 500 of us who took every AP class the school offered. We had a lot of 4s and 5s and maybe a dozen of us had top 2 or 3% SAT scores as well. However, getting into the top 10% wasn't terribly hard as long as you were either a good student or smart.</p>

<p>My school sent a student to berkeley out-of-state, a URM to Brown on a full ride and a URM to Northwestern on a full ride. One of my friends went to Case Western with a large scholarship, too. 2 years ago our school sent a student to Harvard and another to Princeton. Each year, about a dozen students out of our top 10% each went to UTexas and Texas A&M. I don't think anyone else went to a tier 1 university. A lot of the mediocre students went to Texas State, Texas Tech, U Houston and similar. I don't know anyone who went to Rice or SMU, but my school didn't have a lot of wealthy students.</p>

<p>As for the students who left for private school, one of the ones I know was applying to Texas Tech, Texas State, U Houston and similar as well. Her parents would talk about how she "would have" been top 10% at my high school and in that case "would be" going to UT or A&M if not Harvard, but she was never the brightest when she was going to my school. It was like her parents knew she wasn't going to have a great rank, so they found a private school that would take her so they could assure themselves it was the school and not their daughter's fault that she wasn't going to an amazing university.</p>

<p>The how do you explain the Harvard-Westlake phenomenon? I mean it is impossible that the only Harvard worthy students in the entire LA area attend this one private highschool.</p>

<p>I have often wondered this.</p>

<p>I live in Montgomery County, MD and we are consistently ranked as one of the top public school districts in the country. My teachers often tell me that just attending school in this county gives me an edge, but I really didn't know if they were exaggerating or not.</p>

<p>@Bandgeek (i like your name!) - Those are all local high schools to UMCP. Since UM is a state university, that would make sense. If they were all that picky about the high schools they draw from, I don't think Aberdeen would be on that list.</p>

<p>If the students have the same exact stats then the kid from the less-advantaged school will probably stand a slightly better chance of getting in. However, I would say that the better schools are better overall because you can can involved in a lot of things that kids at smaller/weaker schools have never even heard of.</p>

<p>I posted a while back (on page 2 I think), but I never responded to this</p>


jackpot, is this one of the NYC day schools, if you can't tell the name of the school?


<p>I go to Horace Mann, one of the "ivy prep" nyc schools. Last year we sent (as in matriculation wise, I'm not so sure about raw admissions numbers), 11 to Columbia, 10 to Brown, 18 to Penn (this was an anomaly), 8 to Cornell (I think 18 got in), 7 to Harvard, 7 to Georgetown (I think ~20 got in), 3 to Yale (9 got in, but 6 chose Harvard). This is all out of class of ~180 students. Even the bottom students in the <30% of the class region end up at nationally prestigious, albeit less selective, schools like NYU (9 kids enrolled last year), UMich (8 enrolled, 38 admitted... kids view Mich as a safety school of some sort) etc.</p>

<p>Going to a top (very top) school absolutely absolutely makes a difference. When you go to a top college prep school (and I think even more so for the boarding schools eg Exeter, Andover etc), you really only have to be in the top ~50% of the class to get into a top college. That's probably the reason why parents are willing to pay so much for their kids to attend these schools: because they are very very good at placing kids.</p>

<p>Jackpot, I think you're right on...</p>

<p>I go to a prestigious new england boarding school that prides itself on placing kids into top universities and have done two summers at Andover. The students that attend top boarding schools generally rank in the top ten percent of the population before they even arrive...and once you're in...the environment is the most academically challenging in the nation. Moreover, just to attend one of these schools you have to apply and be accepted. Andover accepted about 15% of applicants that applied (my school accepted about 21)...</p>

<p>So yeah, if you go to a significantly more challenging school, I believe it makes a difference...</p>

<p>It can go either way.</p>

<p>Students are helped by attending an elite, top-notch private school with a good reputation that "better prepares" students, but it only really helps the students near the top of the class with admissions. My high school had only 2 AP classes offered, so pretty much every "normal" class was AP level or above. In that sense, it was great preparation for college-level work.</p>

<p>However - it also meant that the top students in each subject were in all of your classes, competing with you for grades. I had a 3.54 in high school with no AP classes, but if I'd gone to the local (and excellent) public school, I probably would have had close to a 4.0 and 10 AP classes by my senior year. I had friends at the public school in the AP classes - several of them ended up at Ivies, while I was rejected.</p>

<p>When out of 114 students, 9 end up at Stanford, 4 at Harvard, 4 at Yale, etc., it's very difficult to compete, and they're all applying to the same schools as those in the middle of the pack. When their match is your reach and their safety is your match and most LACs won't admit more than a certain number from each school (no matter its reputation), it can work against you.</p>