Small Private HS vs. larger choice

<p>Our oldest is a freshman in HS. We are hoping to move to an adjacent county and wondering how school choices will impact his attractiveness to colleges. Our choices are a small co-ed private school that, although strong academically, also has a lingering reputation for being a school of last resort for problem students. Their own admissions staff told us on a recent tour that public colleges seem to have quotas and most of their grads go on to private college$$. We think it may also have something to do with the school legacy and that they offer limited athletics (though they are very competitive in the 4-5 varsity sports they do offer). They do not offer the sport that our son excels in. Apart from those downsides, our son feels drawn to that school. Our other choice is a large public high school that seems to compete very well in college admissions and athletics but our son feels intimidated by its size, or a medium sized catholic private school that also excels in academics and athletics. Looking for other parental or college insight that can help us make this decision.
Should we select a high school with a less than stellar college placement record and hope our child stands out (even w/o offering his best sport) or choose another school with a better record on "good" (Ivy leagues, top state schools, etc.) college admissions?</p>

<p>If you can afford the private school and your son likes it there go with that. Though the high school you go to doesn't make that much of a difference, a college looks more favorably upon a student who excels at a private school than one who excels at a public school, though it very much depends on the school itself. I go to a top public(125 in the nation as far as public rankings go, and it is looked very favorably upon. I could have a 3.0 GPA and be competitive with someone with a 3.5 at a lesser public just because a college understands that the intensity of work at my school is higher. Unless your son is a dominant athlete I would not go to a public school just for athletics. It is much harder to make it in the realm of athletics.</p>