Mediocre suburban high schools & top colleges

<p>If you go to a mediocre (but not inner-city bad) suburban public high school, does that put you at a disadvantage for top colleges indirectly? Even assuming that colleges don't care what high school you go to, there are a lot of things that the quality/budget of the school affects.</p>

<p>I keep reading about students just starting clubs at their school, but at our school that's extremely difficult because our advisors have to be paid extra, and our budget has always been tight. To make matters even worse, yesterday our levy failed for the first time in decades. This will cut a TON of extracurricular activities (almost everything that doesn't fund itself).</p>

<p>Our guidance counselors are incompetent, or maybe it's just because there are way too many students for just 3 of them. Either way, every opportunity outside of school I've found by myself. I hear that at other schools the guidance department regularly informs students of internships, competitions, and scholarships, and that the guidance department actually guides students along college application process.</p>

<p>Are regional admissions officers of top colleges aware of schools like this, even though it doesn't seem prohibitively terrible? Do they understand that a person at this type of school would have a disadvantage over a person at a better high school, and do they take that into account?</p>

<p>"I hear that at other schools the guidance department regularly informs students of internships, competitions, and scholarships, and that the guidance department actually guides students along college application process."</p>

<p>Maybe at private schools, but at most public high schools, even good ones in affluent areas, the guidence staff are too busy with students having problems to do a lot of hand-holding for students who are succeeding academically, at least in our area. They may give an overview of the process or remind students of deadlines for requesting transcripts. There may be a list of scholarships on file - generally not up to date. But even at the top ranked high schools, the resources are needed elsewhere. If you are lucky, you have a motivated teacher who keeps their eyes on opportunities in their areas that they let students know about. For the most part, public schools students (or their parents) have to take the initiative. (In our house, we call it 'sweat equity' in lieu of private school tuition.)</p>

<p>And yes, colleges know the difference between students who are applying from private schools and those who are applying from public schools and maybe they give it a bit a weight. But the fact remains, lots of public school students don't find out about what's available to them, especially those in public schools where the parents are not college educated and/or don't have time to help their kids find this stuff out. (Which is why CC is such an amazing resource and why parents whose kids are done with the process continue to post - it's leveling the playing field just a bit).</p>