HELP-Should I attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology?

<p>Dear all,</p>

<p>Thank you so much for your time. I am currently in a dilemma, and require some help. I applied to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) my rising freshman year, and I got rejected. However, I just applied my rising sophomore year, and got accepted (TJHSST calls it a "froshmore" acceptance). Now I have to make the tough decision of whether or not to attend TJHSST.</p>

<p>For those of you who are not familiar with TJHSST, US News consistently ranks it as the #1 high school in the nation:</p>

<p>US News:
Gold</a> Medal List | US News Best High Schools</p>

<p>TJHSST:
Thomas</a> Jefferson High School for Science and Technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p>

<p>I have evaluated both the pro's and con's of going, and still have a tough time deciding. First a little about me:</p>

<p>-SAT I/II: N/A, but I got a 217 on the PSAT my freshman year.
-Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 4.0 Weighted GPA: 4.3
-Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable):N/A
-AP/College Level Classes: Did not take any my freshman year, however AP's I will take during my sophomore year include: AP World History, AP Calculus BC, and AP Statistics.
-Major Awards (USAMO, Intel, etc.):2011 Intel ISEF Finalist
-Extracurriculars (place leadership in parathesis): Future Medical Leaders of America (Secretary), Medical Explorer's Club at Inova Fairfax Hospital (Vice-President), Medical Research (Lab Assistant), Percussion/band: top 7 percussionists in the district, state qualified, and section leader at school wind symphony, Varsity Track, Key Club.
Job/Work Experience: Lab assistant at Peking University School of Basic Medical Sciences in Beijing, China.
Volunteer/Community Service: 50+ hours at local hospital.
Summer Activities: Cancer Research at Peking University, volunteer work
Counselor Rec: N/A
Region (if domestic applicant): Mid-Atlantic
School Type: Large public school (2500+ kids), but in the top 50 schools in the country.</p>

<p>The main reason I would love to go to TJ would be the amazing research opportunities it would provide. I am extremely passionate about research, and I believe TJ would do a great job of nurturing my passion. Another pro of TJ is its great community. I have heard numerous accounts by numerous people saying how wonderful TJ's environment is, and how everyone is equally as hard-working as you/self-motivated. I would love to join this environment, and be surrounded by peers who have similar interests/goals as I do.</p>

<p>However, there are a few con's to attending TJ. The first is that I would have to make up a few classes. All rising sophomores who are accepted are required to take a Design & Technology class, and all students need to have completed a computer science class before junior year. This is not such a big deal, but it could potentially prevent me from taking as many AP's or taking classes I enjoy. </p>

<p>Another con that many people have spoken to me about is that it would be harder to stand out at TJ. Many claim that it being "a small fish in a big pond" is not desirable. However if I do go to TJ, I believe that my hard work and research should make me stand out a little. Not saying that I definitely will, but I am willing to work hard/do the work required to stand out.</p>

<p>As for staying with my current school, there are many pro's. First off, my current school is ranked top 50 in the nation, and sends numerous kids to ivies every year. The main reason that I want to stay at my current school is that I have already achieved a lot of success there. This year I was lucky enough to qualify for the Intel ISEF competition, which I believe would be easier to do at Langley. In addition, being at Langley would allow me to take more AP's. </p>

<p>I would love ANY input or constructive criticism, as I am still stuck at a crossroads here. Thanks so much for everyone's help/time, and I look forward to receiving a lot of helpful comments.</p>

<p>If I were in your position, I would go with TJHSST. It seems that you could receive one of the best high school educations possible there, which is something that I wouldn't sacrifice for the fear of being the "little fish in a big pond." You seem genuinely excited by the research opportunities, so it seems like a good choice for you. </p>

<p>However, I'm just a random dude on the internet. I'm not in your position. Don't take what I said too seriously.</p>

<p>Well, I'm going to be a senior at TJ next year, and I've seen a lot of people take summer school to make room for their AP's. Also, I don't know if you know, but TJ's diploma also requires a fourth history credit, since freshmen take Design and Tech instead of history. A lot of people take computer science during the summer of their freshman year and a history class the summer of sophomore year to make room for AP's/electives like art, band, etc.</p>

<p>I did computer science freshman year, and it's a breeze compared to full-year computer science. ;) You should consider that if you decide to go to TJ.</p>