Private school vs. public school admissions

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: November 2003 Archive: Private school vs. public school admissions
By Hirschdog5 (Hirschdog5) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 03:54 pm: Edit

How do admissions counselors differ between public school students and private school students. Over and over again I see the majority of public school sutdents with perfect GPA's but sat scores that range from a 1200 to a 1350 and sometimes lower. Whereas, I see private school students with 3.0-3.3 GPA's with 1400 and above. How does the college admission process work.Do colleges know that alot of the very hard private schools are better than the majority of public schools (not trying to offend anyone). Please explain because I don't understand how this works.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Each college has its own way of treating applications. However, highly selective schools usually use a method that evaluates the curriculum that a candidate is taking. For instance, a IB diploma program, or many (usually 4-5 or more) AP courses will give a student a top mark for curriculum. On a 1-5 scale with 5 being the best score, such a student would generally get a 5 for curriculum. There are also schools that have so many applicants regularly to certain colleges that their curriculum is well known to the admissions office. Many of the independent prep/boarding schools such as Deerfield,Groton, Choate fit that profile. The course of study is so accelerated at those schools and the grade curve is so much lower that these kids are given a boost on their curriculum score. There are also some excellent public school such as Stuyvessant in NYC, Jefferson in Va that fit this profile. Many schools send a profile of their curriculum with their candidates transcripts that also let the admissions counselor assess the curriculum.
The other adjustment comes with GPA. If you just look through this message board, you will find thousands of different kinds of GPAs. Some on a 4.0 scale, 4.3 scale, 5.0 scale, 12 point scale, 100% scale, weighted, unweighted, class ranks,etc. Again those numbers have to be changed to a standard scale at each college so that the 93 average from School A can be assessed with the 3.7 nonweighted versus the 4.2 weighted, etc. Each college has its own way of doing this. And many time, alot of discretion is given to the admissions person making the assessment. But basically your grades are turned into a score, again, like the 1-5, with 5 being the highest.
It is not a perfect system. There are kids who fall between the cracks or who benefit from their school's method of reporting or the colleges way of assessing. But on the whole, it does give a bird's eye view of what kind of student the candidate is in light of other candidates to the same school.

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