High School Choices

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Discus: High School Life and Pre-college Issues: May, 2003 and Earlier Archive: High School Choices
By Jen on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 02:11 am: Edit

Hey...I'm a current 9th grader at a basically average California high school. I really hope to get into a prestigious university when I graduate (since I hope to go into political science). Because of this, I am debating whether to transfer into a prep school to improve my chances. Any thoughts or advice on this? Thank you.

By Bitz on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 03:24 am: Edit

Hi Jen, I'm currently an 11th grader at Phillips Andover. I live in CA and had basically the same choice as you back when I was in 8th grade.

On to the advice -

You will find that prep schools tend to have a greater selection of courses, higher quality faculty, and better college counseling. However, these can be offset by other factors. Your work load, both in terms of time and difficulty will increase leading to lower grades. The quality of your peers will increase (lowering your class rank). You may not be able to make the varsity teams or earn a spot in the band or orchestra after having such spots at your current school.

It is one of the biggest jokes among 11th and 12th grade students at Andover that the admissions office will tell tales of students finding it easier to get into prestigious universities from Andover, but when you first meet a college counselor, he or she will tell you that staying home may have been a better decision. This stems from the fact that many of the students who go off to boarding schools would have been valedictorians or varsity athletes had they stayed at home.

In the end, the decision should not be made based on the idea that it will be good for college (which may not even be true). Instead, look into the other benefits. The biggest plusses for me so far have been the independence of dorm life and the social atmosphere that exists when almost every student lives within a half-mile of the center of campus.

There's much more to be said about this. Feel free to email me at emitzenmacher@andover.edu.
One question for you - Which "basically average CA high school" do you attend?

By wow on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 08:03 pm: Edit

Does anybody have any opinions on the following prep schools?

Choate Rosemary Hall

By school on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 11:50 pm: Edit

A little comment: Many times, colleges like to take students who attend public high schools (like the UCs). They need a set quota of Public school students and private school students. Though you may have a better chance of getting into a private university from a private high school, it is not so for the UCs.

About Exeter: I'm not sure.. but I somewhat remember that they do not offer AP/honors courses, thus giving the students a disadvantage in gaining college credits in high school. It is something important to think about.

By exeter_student on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 11:51 pm: Edit

Exeter is great. The method of teaching is amazing and the diversity is better than you'd think. The students are some of the smartest in the country, but generally aren't nerds (most play interscholastic sports). AP courses are simply not offered as AP...instead, your college couselor will tell you which classes to take to prepare for the AP exams and recieve credit. The school also has strong ties to Ivy's and other top colleges, especially the big 3. Strong teams in water polo, crew, lacrosse, hockey, and swimming, among others. If you have any questions, post here and i will try to answer them...

By a on Saturday, January 18, 2003 - 11:58 am: Edit

Choate Rosemary Hall--waste of money

By ?? on Monday, January 20, 2003 - 03:05 pm: Edit

How is Choate Rosemary Hall a waste of money?

By bumper on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 10:16 pm: Edit


By incognito on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 - 10:22 pm: Edit

Jen, if you really want to get into a good school, then what you really need to do is start preparing for the SAT I. Take it from me, I'm a senior. Why dont you join me and my buddies at the SAT/ACT message board on this web site for info

By Perot on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 09:07 pm: Edit

Jen, although it gets harder when you get into a new england prep school, the college matriculations are amazing. I was reading the Andover catalog and something like 50% of students attend an ivy-league, whereas in public school the matriculations are maybe one to three kids out of 1800.

By ivy leaguer on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 06:38 pm: Edit

The following site is where Andover graduates have gone to college. From skimming it, it looks to me like about one third end up at ivies. But this isn't including the other elite schools like MIT, Stanford, Duke, and all the good liberal arts colleges, etc.


Yeah it's amazing. Pretty much if you can get in and graduate in the top half of your class, you will go to an elite school. But you don't have to go to these kinds of schools to get in. I go to public high school, and I'm still going to an ivy next year.

By Babiit09 (Babiit09) on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 09:52 pm: Edit

Hi im a 8th grader and i just got into Choate, Loomis and Miss Porters... i was just wondering which do u think will put me off better? Why did someone say that Choate is a waste of Money?I have no idea which to choose... thanks

By Starboard05 (Starboard05) on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 10:40 am: Edit

Babiit, first you have to decide whether or not you want to go to a single-sex school or not. I actually went through the same issue when applying to boarding school as a new 10th grader. A lot of girls who rave about it say that girls feel more comfortable "going to classes in pajamas" because the pressure of looking good for boys isn't there, girls have more leadership positions and form better friendships because no boys are involved. That being said, some of the downsides include not being able to talk to and interact with boys normally so it might be awkward in the future. I'm not sure if Miss Porter's is affiliated with any coed or boys school that they have dances with but you might want to check that out.

If you decide an all-girls school isn't for you, then you have to decide between Choate and Loomis. Both have a lot to offer but the best way to decide is to ask students who go there now how that school is different from other prep schools (Hotchkiss, Exeter, Deerfield, etc.). There was an article on prep schools in US News and World Report that gave a pretty accurate description of both. It described Choate as trendy and very focused, and Loomis as more relaxed and athletic.

My guess is either some bitter Choate student going through finals felt like ranting about Choate, or some student from Choate's rival school wanted to discourage you. If Loomis and Choate offer spring visits for accepted applicants where you can go to classes, by all means, go- see whether you could see yourself going there, living there, etc.

By Amphionkid06 (Amphionkid06) on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 11:16 pm: Edit

In response to the assanine comment made by "a": I'd have to agree with Starboard05; you're probably someone rejected from Choate, or just ignorant. I doubt you're from Deerfield; they are our arch rivals, but at least they have a tangible amount of class. Choate is one of the most prestigious and excellent secondary schools in the world, and if you have any questions, I urge you to log on to our website at "www.choate.edu" and perhaps learn something.

I am a student at Choate Rosemary Hall. In response to "wow's" comment; I have many friends at boarding school, and Choate, Exeter and Andover are referred to by many as The Big Three. They are three boarding schools with enormous amounts of prestige, and also have excellent academics and athletics. All three have extremely good records with college matriculations. While Andover/Exeter typically send more to "HYP," (read the Worth magazine article, HYP = Harvard, Yale, Princeton), I believe they have a 3% adfvantage over Choate, all three send an unbelievable amount of students to the Ivies. You can look at another one of my posts on this site about NE Prep Schools to see the exact College Matriculation #s at Choate. Overall, the three are just a group of excellent boarding schools, with a wide variety of opportunities for their graduates.

By Brigitte (Brigitte) on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 03:02 am: Edit

Jen, there are also a lot of good college prep schools that aren't boarding schools. For example, Harker, Archbishop Mitty, Saint Francis, Presentation, Notre Dame Belmont, Notre Dame San Jose, College Prep etc. Some of these schools may or may not be better than the public school in your area, depending on where you live. These schools definitely have a great community, though, and you'll have a wonderful experience at any of them. A huge advantage of these private college prep schools is the individual attention you get from counselors, something you don't usually get in public schools. These schools also offer many AP courses and extra curricular activities that you can get involved in.

Hope this helps.

By Mjo (Mjo) on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Does anybody have an opinion of how The Hill School,PA ranks against schools like Andover,Exeter,Choate, Hun, Peddie, Loomis, Lawrenceville ...?

By Upenn06 (Upenn06) on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:19 am: Edit


are u joking??? Andover, Exeter, and Choate DO NOT comprise the big 3.

Choate is like 2nd tier these days; are you in denial or something??

Deerfield Academy is, by far and away, the most selective boarding school in America. Its academics are on the same level as Andover's and Exeter's, but it has a MUCH smaller student body, so it's numerically more selective than A and E.

Choate is not even close to being in the Big Three.


-deerfield '02

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 01:14 am: Edit

Jen I would look at the Athenian School
One of my daughters best friends in college went there and he is hardly arrogant at all plus you wouldn't have to go live on the East Coast!

By Valley_Girl (Valley_Girl) on Monday, April 21, 2003 - 10:00 pm: Edit

rumor tells me that colleges actually expect students from private schools to perform better than those attending public schools. therefore, it puts more weight on your shoulders being compared to a student in a public school, making the same grades and sat scores.

as for the co-ed decision, i believe that the only distraction a girl can recieve from a boy is the one she creates for herself. if you like being around crazy hormones all day then fine, but if you'd rather put yourself in a situation that would better prepare your social interactions withthe opposite gender in the future, co-ed will do just fine.

By Jollyapplepie (Jollyapplepie) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Anyone know how Magnet schools considered in the eyes of colleges?

By Anothersuitcase (Anothersuitcase) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 06:30 pm: Edit

True magnet schools - the kind that require a selective and somewhat intensive admissions process - reflect well with colleges, especially in the states that the magnet school is located within (I say "true" because there are some schools that claim to be "magnet" schools but give acceptance to anyone who applies, whether or not they're qualified.) For example, in Virginia -the- magnet school to attend is Thomas Jefferson High School; it practically feeds into the University of Virginia (and sends a good amount on to the Ivys.) The students from TJ tend to be compared to their private school counterparts in terms of test scores, GPAs, ECs, etc.

By Amphionkid06 (Amphionkid06) on Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 06:01 pm: Edit

This is in response to UPENN's comment. IF you indeed attend UPenn, perhaps it would have been easier to have been admitted there had you gone to Choate, seeing as we send around 12 students a year there. Deerfield is a school mostly for jocks who did not get into Choate, Andover, or Exeter, and it is widely renowned as a school were the academics are sub-par. Where are you getting your facts for admissions? Unless I'm mistaken, I believe there was only one school this year where admissions went up: Choate. Also, how many National Merit Finalists did Deerfield have? 5? Compare that to Choate's 23 Finalists. Are you aware of the college statistics for the class of 2003 at CRH? One in three were admitted to Ivy League schools. So before you begin insulting Choate Rosemary Hall and try to compare it to Deerfield, just remember this: you might beat us on the lacrosse fields, but when it comes to the boarding school experience, no school, especially not Deerfield, can match a Choate education.

By Jmateoj (Jmateoj) on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 11:48 pm: Edit

We know that the GROUP OF SEVEN (Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, St. Pauls, Hotchkiss, and Lawrenceville) all are GREAT and very prestigious schools. Lets not forget about other very good school's Milton Academy, and The Taft School. Their has always been a big discussion about if prep school help to get into the ivy's, well maybe not as much as 50 years ago, but still think about prep school as an investment and think about all the different programs and social opportunites you may have. Also the good prep school have a much more diverse student body than any public school. I would definetly recommend going to Prep School if it a very good one. CHOATE RULES!! choate students msg me... or other group of seven students since I can maybe meet you in athletics stuff

By Jmateoj (Jmateoj) on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 02:32 am: Edit

why do you say Choate is a waste of money?

By Tman (Tman) on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 11:25 am: Edit

Phillips Exeter is in a class of its own academically. Phillips Andover has the fewest school days out of the New England prep schools and Exeter has the mostů that alone should be convincing of the drastic difference between their rigor.

(If you cant tell I go to Phillips Exeter)

By Bitz (Bitz) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 01:22 am: Edit

Tman - perhaps you should rethink your comments.

Andover and Exeter are almost always neck and neck in terms of AP scores, SAT scores, and matriculation statistics. Andover however, has less days of school. While this may seem to mean that Andover is a less rigorous school, I would push the point that Andover students need less time to learn the same material. Since quality of education remains nearly the same (evidenced by test scores [esp. AP]), pace must be taken into account.

You Exeter folks learn slower. Deal with it.

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