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The College Preparatory School5
Posted April 20, 2013
- a student
College Prep is the strongest prep school in NorCal with regards to education and college placement. I graduated in '12 and landed at my first-choice school. Pros (facts): -Three of my classes senior year had 5 or fewer students. The school is willing to hold classes for the sake of its students, even with limited interest. -~25% of the class is admitted to Ivy League/MIT/Stanford/Caltech every year. College counseling is excellent. -Weakest presence of drugs/alcohol of any school in a 25-mile radius. Cons: -Lack of flexibility in curriculum. Every student, more or less, takes the same track with regards to science and history through his first three years. AP classes outside of language classes are typically not taken until senior year, so scores can't be sent to colleges. -Student body divide: On one side of the spectrum you have rich kids driving BMW and Mercedes to school; on the other side you have poor kids who are experiencing private education for the first time. BUT, the "snobbery/elitism" referred to by other comments is not very prevalent, and is honestly a small price to pay for top-notch education/college placement. There are far worse influences at other schools.
This school changed my life. My parents pulled me out of the Oakland Public Schools, where I could sleep through class and get straight-As, and put me in Prep. I'll never forget getting my first English paper back with a C- on it. This school opened my eyes to what academic excellence, hard work and challenging yourself mean. It was not easy, and I was one of the "outsiders" who didn't come from a private school or moneyed background. But I found the school and the students to be welcoming, open-minded, supportive and diverse. I went on to an Ivy League university, but I can honestly say I learned more in my four years at Prep than even at a top college. I can't recommend this school enough for students who are academically-oriented.
The jury is still out on this school for me. My student loves it but the lack of diversity in the faculty and staff population, as well as the student body population is a real concern for me, especially when it comes to the male students. Additionally, a lot of the students come from the same private middle schools or have siblings already in attendance. If your student comes from the "outside" it is a little difficult to break into some of the cliques that are already established. Academically, the school is extremely rigorous and time management and organizational skills are a definite "must have" if you plan on sending your student here. However, the courses are challenging and the instructors are great. They encourage the students to request assistance from them and have an open door policy for assisting the students. As far as the school community is concerned, so far the parents that I have met have been nothing but wonderful. There is some snobbery and elitism as described by a previous reviewer, but so far from my experience, it does not represent the school as a whole. My recommendation: CAREFULLY weigh your options before selecting this school...
It has been one year since my daughter graduated from College-Prep and has moved on to her first choice college. The school has prepared her well not only academically but was instrumental in helping her "find her voice" through various opportunities and programs the school offers. At College-Prep, your child will be able to gauge him or herself against other high achieving students to discover his/her true strengths and passion. If it hadn't been for College-Prep, I doubt my daughter will be where she is now in terms of her personal development. Although I can't say that the school was a very friendly place for the parents, it created an excellent social environment for the students. If your child gets accepted, don't hesitate to send him/her.
this school is extremely hard to get into. even more so if you don't have a sibling who is / has attended College Prep. they give top priority to siblings and so you really really must be an A+++++ student to have a realistic shot. beware though, some students who were A+ students at their middle school became B students at College Prep. the demanding rigor of the curriculum knows no comparison. also, a downside to the math department is that you won't be able to take AP Calculus in your senior year unless you place into Math 2 or beyond as a freshman, when you take your placement tests. and Math 2 is VERY VERY hard to place into. rarely any freshmen gets in without being required to do summer work. also, as CPS alumni, i feel that CPS did not prepare enough for the 'real' world
Our child graduated from College Prep a few years ago and is now in college at a very top Ivy. Her college is renowned for the quality of it's teaching yet it does not compare to the intellectual rigor and inspiration that she found at CPS. Personal tutorials , stimulating classroom debates and demanding standards made a lasting impression on our student. Yet, despite the very high intellectual standards our child really did not feel pressure at all or competition from her fellow students. In fact the defining memory she has taken with her is the very close and supportive relationships she had with her CPS classmates. A real surprise from CPS was the very high quality of the athletic programs. CPS has a VERY undeserved nick name... 'Can't Play Sports'. Coaches were extremely skilled, dedicated and inspirational and many teams had great success.
College Prep has been an overwhelmingly positive influence on my four years of high school there. As a college student now, I find that I am very well prepared in academia, and I use a lot of information that I learned at Prep and apply it to my day to day experiences. However, CPS is not for the faint hearted. You have to come to school every day with an urge to learn and wanting to enjoy a challenge. The teachers are amazing, and everyone is very understanding and kind. The math and science programmes are extremely well organised and the way the curriculum is structured is very helpful to my current education in the non liberal arts subjects. However, there could be better teachers at the school who should not have been hired because they are not very well qualified for their positions.
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