My daughter is a recent graduate who stated that, all things considered, she felt that the education she got at HCHS was no better than what she would have gotten in our district. She did appreciate the experiences and insight of many of her teachers, but found the opportunities not as great as originally presented (eg, there is no longer an EMT program funded there).
It is very important for parents and students to be aware of the "top 10%" law in TX, which requires TX state funded schools to preferentially admit those who graduate in the top 10% of their HS. HCHS is full of extremely intelligent, motivated students; being in the top 10% there will be much more difficult in than in an average HS. Your student might have been a top 10% in another HS, but be in the bottom 50th at HCHS; this will significantly reduce their ability to be admitted to a TX state university, requiring much higher SAT/ACT scores to compensate. You must consider this when selecting HCHS. Probably at least half of my daughter's graduating class ended up attending community colleges for that reason--to "get their grades up."
When you hear about all of the scholarship dollars that HCHS students earn, you also should be aware of how that is calculated. Students are asked to inform the guidance office of ALL of the scholarships they are offered to ALL of the schools they are accepted; those totals include scholarships that students cannot take (they can only attend one college!). And often those scholarships are to private schools, and do not come close to covering the difference between state and private. Millions of dollars are not actually used by the students; that is an artificially inflated number used by the administration.
My daughter appreciated the small class size and (usually) the diligence and attention of the teachers. It was a safe environment, but did tend to project a sense that it was "better than everyone" as a school (which I think is not necessarily true). That kind of snobbery isn't really helpful.
In reference to how the scholarship dollars were calculated and bragged about by administration, that really affected my view of this school. A school that's all about numbers--and not really numbers that matter, numbers that are artificially generated--seems focused on the wrong things. And they way those scholarship dollars are calculated is bogus, which does seem like a genuine breach in integrity, teaching the students that the appearance of success is what we are really shooting for.
Considering the reputation of this school, we expected more consistently experienced and high performing teachers. There was a significant turnover during my daughters time at HCHS, resulting in some of the most experienced teachers leaving. That was also a good thing, as it brought in new and often more current clinical/medical information. In at least one class, information that had been presented by a teacher who had retired was replaced by a new teacher who was more in touch with current practice guidelines and actual medical practice; this was an indication to me that some of the teachers are not staying abreast of actual medical practice, but a good lesson to my daughter that medicine changes regularly. I also had a negative interaction with a teacher who had presented a blatantly false nutrition paper as fact; the information had been formally rejected by Johns Hopkins (the institution the false information claimed to be from). When I pointed this out to the teacher, that her information was false and poorly referenced, I received the response that "everyone is entitled to their own opinions", as if science and medicine was a matter of opinion. This was extremely frustrating and disturbing to me as a parent; I don't think it was widely represented in the staff, but do find it a significant problem especially for this high school and the expertise they claim to represent.
Most assignments seemed value added and appropriate, but my daughter did comment on some "busywork" assignments, or large stacks of papers/problems that the teacher either never gave feedback on or that included errors and misinformation.
The program is aggressive and forced my daughter to become efficient and organized. She achieved a solid GPA while attending club swimming 4 hrs/day, which was good practice for balancing college and real life.
The last person to posts are people who can't handle the rigor of HCHS and refuse to accept they are not a good fit for this school. If you work hard, HCHS will open massive doors. It's no surprise we get over 18 million dollars in scholarships every year for under 200 seniors. Also, most of the negative comments were not written by our students, but other "rival" schools (no one comes close to HCHS). Once a phoenix, always a phoenix.
Just because we have high test scores does not make this a good school. A good school has a good atmosphere and teaching philosophy, both of which are lacking here. This, coming from a student who excelled academically and in extracurriculars. While you will meet a more mature group of students here, the prevalence of snarky and inadequate teachers makes HCHS just like any other school. In the recent years, the administration has grown especially intolerable, with the new principal who shows passive aggressive favoritism. The amount of busy work (especially in Anatomy and Physiology) is ridiculous, but probably on par with other area high schools. While the other comment talks about bonding over studying, competition is fierce and the vast majority of conversations center around lack of sleep or gpa. Not a healthy environment, imo. A few great teachers (latin teachers, some freshman teachers, a few medical course teachers). In short, nothing special, probably more complaining students on average, no sports team, and a falsely inflated sense of elitism.
This is a wonderful school; the close environment is a great way to make close friends. The school is not only for health as it excels in the maths and sciences. I went here, and now I am at MIT, and I'm sure it is due to the teachers, the volunteer work, and the specialized health classes like the in-hospital Clinical Rotation class.
I'm only a Freshman (or Fish...) , but I'm already attached to this "nerd" school, and am proud to be a "nerd" :) ! At this school, nerd is a teasing compliment, and there is good peer pressure (for example: friends remind and urge each other to do homework, study, etc.) . On days of big tests, my friends and I also make big study groups at lunch. Lastly, I believe that this school is already preparing me for college, as well as the work field, and not just preparing me for tests and such. Most of the teachers are very good, and the Latin program is amazing as well! An altogether awesome school!