Is being at a competitive school a disadvantage?

<p>Since grades mean drastically different things at different schools.
Even if your counselor indicates that you have taken the hardest course load, those differ between schools as well.</p>

<p>in that case your rank is important</p>

<p>my school doesn't rank
and even if it did, that wouldn't solve the problem, since being #1 at some schools is much easier than in others</p>

<p>your GC sends a description of your school.</p>

<p>If your school has 5 people go to harvard every year and you are #1, you probably will get in. Stop worrying about how hard your school is and focus on actually doing the best you can.</p>

<p>Schools know which high schools are good. Thats how they get the best students they can normally</p>

<p>^ What grades you made on your school's most rigorous coursework is key. And how your grades compare to your classmates' grades puts the rigor of the coursework in context. In other words, the focus of your GC's presentation is going to be on how you measure up against others at your school = rank, or if you attend a non-ranking school, then grade distribution (ask your GC to explain). </p>

<p>So...if the disadvantage you're referring to is tough grading on high rigor, then that will be demonstrated, too. For example, you could have a seemingly modest GPA, but be highly ranked in your class, or a B in the most rigorous science class that was the highest or among the highest grades given.</p>

<p>Admission officers are very familiar with the comparative rigor of courses at competitive high schools around the country. Your GC will know whether the colleges to which you are applying are familiar with your school...or not, in which case, it is your GC's job to reach out and make sure the admission team understands your school, the courses offered and how you performed in comparison to your classmates. </p>

<p>Remember, also, one rationale for standardized testing is to serve as a very rough equalizer of the variations in curricula around the country. So, e.g., if your grades are more Bs than As, but you are scoring in the top percentiles on subject tests, that may corroborate high rigor.</p>

<p>
[quote]
What grades you made on your school's most rigorous coursework is key. And how your grades compare to your classmates' grades puts the rigor of the coursework in context. In other words, the focus of your GC's presentation is going to be on how you measure up against others at your school = rank, or if you attend a non-ranking school, then grade distribution (ask your GC to explain).

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Your grades will be less important than your rank, whether that rank is explicitly stated or not. </p>

<p>For a middle-of-the-pack student, however, attending a competitive school may mean their rank/impressiveness in the classroom is lower/less than it would be at your run-of-the-mill public. For the top kids in a competitive class, however, attending a school known to top schools for rigor is a good thing.</p>