How much does your high school matter in the admissions process?

<p>Looking at Andover's matriculation list, compared with some public schools where most students don't even go to college, I wonder if I am confusing cause with correlation. Do colleges like Harvard see an Andover/Exeter/St. Paul's applicant and immediately give them preference over someone who went to a low-ranked public school? Or is it simply that way because there are more kids at Andover who are serious about their studies and maybe have connections with top schools and have the opportunities to take SAT prep, etc.?</p>

<p>How about this? You're invited to a black-tie event at a five star restaurant, with fine entertainment coinciding with the meal. Also, one day on the run, you stop by the taco truck and the sweaty guy hands you a greasy burrito smeared with some goop. </p>

<p>At the end of both meals, you're reasonably sated. However, which one is more memorable?</p>

<p>The so-called "top schools" have high accept standards and have excellent programs. That's universally known. Successful Harvard applicants are routine. Would it be reasonable to expect the same quality and quantity from some rural Kentucky county high school? Nope. But it doesn't mean some great kid from that HS doesn't come around every once in a while and "wow" the selective college admissions staffs.</p>

<p>Those schools have ton of wealthy kids, a ton of recruited athletes, a ton of the wealthy and connected and they recruite top URMs. On top of that the prep schools have already vetted the students using the same methodology top colleges use.</p>

<p>Probably the worst position you can be in applying to HYPS is to go to Andover and not be in one of the above categories--you would have to be very top of class for a shot. However at schools below the ivies and peers, graduating from those schools is an advantage for 2 reasons. You are very well prepared and can probably (70%) be full pay.</p>