"I like small school's more safe more one to one "
"We made a similar mistake sending our daughter to an all girls private
school on the main line. The girls at the school are very cut throat and
the teachers make it impossible to to get A's. He self esteem has
deteriorated and she no longer believes she is capable of getting an A. "
"There are about 150 most highly selective colleges in the universities in
the U.S. The other 4,000 or so Colleges and universities range from highly
selective to open admissions. There may be several hundred colleges and
universities that use class rank in their admissions decisions the rest do
not. I have been a chief admissions officer at a highly selective liberal
arts college, a state supported research university, two comprehensive
universities, and a specialty school(visual arts). What most colleges and
universities are looking for in the admissions process are good grades in
challenging college prepartory courses, above average test scores, the
ability to express yourself in standard written English (it is why we ask
for an essay), good citizenship in their school and community and
participation in life activities (sports, volunteer work, the arts, work
etc.). Most high schools that are not 'failing schools' can offer students
the opportunity to prepare for college. J!
ust like college the high school with the best reputation or the one that
is the most competetive might not be the best 'fit' for your child. The
student 'institution fit' is crucial for both high school and college.
Life is too short to be miserable in a high school you don't like just
because you think that it will get you into one of those 150 mostly highly
selective colleges. Look at corporate rosters, college faculty
credentials, political leaders bios and you will find that just as many of
our nations leaders come from colleges and universities that are not the
most highly selective but that did provide that individual the 'fit' they
needed to 'shine' in college and beyond. I have spent 37 years in college
admissions and financial aid and this is what I believe based upon my
"Interesting article but we chose schools where we thought our daughters
would get the best education and be prepared for college and it would be a
good fit for them. It turned out it was different for middle school, but
the same high school. No my oldest was not at the top of her class but
she was well prepared for college and learned a lot. Education, not
grades should be the goal here I think. She got scholarships to the #1
women's catholic college in the nation-small, private, catholic and a good
fit for her. Her sister is in the top 10th of her class at the same high
school and a stellar athlete, but again getting a great education and
will be well prepared for college - maybe Stanford for her. "
"I don't think the idea of going for the best high-school is wrong. I
believe that the UNIVERSITY ADMISSION POLICIES are wrong. Each candidate
should be judged only against the rest of the candidates regardless of any
local ranking which could be extremely arbitrary. They should know better
how to come up with a scientific way of selecting students based on
absolute achievements and not on local rankings which don't mean anything."
"What a timely article! We're trying to decide a reasonably priced area in
which to move that also offers a good enough, safe High school for our 6th
grader. Why is this such a challenging task! This article was helpful
though and may relieve some if the pressure."
"With two kids in high school and another in 8th grade, I think about this
most of my waking day. With this #3 child, who is a grade ahead for his
age and not very big, we are worried about him making the sports teams of
his choice. So, we are opting for a small private school that has a
no-cut policy. This means that he can play JV until he gets bigger. We
really want him to have the time to grow into himself. It doesn't hurt
that his older brother will be graduating from this school and his older
sister has been there for two years. It is a small school, making it
easier for both of my older children to be at the top of their respective
classes. It also makes it easier for them to be at the top of their
athletic teams. My older son has applied and is receiving great feedback
from several Ivy League schools as well as a few top public universities."
"We moved our son in high school and had a similar experience. The school
we had left was not a top rated school, but had significantly more
opportunities to be involved. That meant that our son could get a part in
a play without having to be stage crew for two years first. Also, he could
play the viola and have it matter to the orchestra if he decided to quit.
It meant there were several more opportunities to learn responsibility,
and each person mattered just a little bit more when you didn't have ten
others wanting to take your place.
"My daughter attended magnet schools offered in middle school and the first
year of high school. We relocated and chose to enroll her in the regular
high school. My daughter thrived -- took all honors classes and graduated
Salutatorian, was a National Merit Scholar Finalist, Presidential Scholar
nominee(for getting near perfect SATs), accepted to all schools applied
including two Ivys and two combined Medical school programs. She will be
graduating next year from Med school. It was a great choice to attend the
neighborhood public high school."
"To me, the best high school is one where my child can be near the top in
class rank if she applies herself but not so far up that she's not being
challenged. Also, it's important that she be surrounded by other kids who
are 'going places' and interested in achievement. I had most of that in
my school but culturally it was the type of place where most kids stayed
local or at least in state. As a result, I ended up staying local (going
to a fairly good college practically for free after scholarships). I've
always wondered where I'd be if I had gone to one of the nation's elite
"This is the exact same situation my daughter is in. She is presently in
her second year at an all girls private high school in nothern New Jersey.
The girls are cut throat, its hard to get into honors even though she was
an A student entering the school, athletics are so competitive unless
recruited you wont play much. I sent an outgoing, confident, intelligent
young lady to this school and now she is miserable. We made a huge
mistake. We were told the reputation of the school will get her somewhere
in the future but it is breaking her spirit to stay. "
"Thank you so much for this, I'm either 3rd or 4th in my class of 220
students but it's not exactly the best school in the state so I was
concerned that colleges might just pass over me because I didn't go to a
great school, this reassured me immensely. Thank you!"
"after feeling led down a dark alley with a 'best' school, that had no
accountability, and where all were after the top at any price, kids and
teachers alike...now I want somewhere my own safe kids with needed
enrichment at home can find a place more likely to value persons over
reputation, and reinforce a decent purpose for excellence."
"Thank you for the insightful article. My husband and I are having a hard
time deciding which school to enroll our 4 year old daughter. the old
adage 'public vs. private' is giving us a headache. But your article put
certain things in perspective for us. And we'll remember it for when we
have to pick for middle school and high school. thanks."
"Wow, I was just thinking about this the other day! My daughter goes to
private school, so I worry about the 'top of the class' thing. Sometimes
I'm tempted to switch her back into public school. It's so hard to know
what to do."