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Articles / Applying to College / IB Magnet High School vs. Sci-Tech School?

IB Magnet High School vs. Sci-Tech School?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Feb. 8, 2012

Question: My child has a choice between an IB magnet high school and a science and technology magnet high school. What are the pros and cons? Her goal is to join medical school. Which would be a better way to go?

It sounds like you're facing a tough choice and I empathize with that. However, it would be irresponsible for me, an Internet "dean" to weigh in without knowing anything about your child or about the specific schools involved.


You need to evaluate each high school individually based on many factors such as reputation, student-body demographics, class size, and perceived fit for your daughter. Do the courses offered at each seem similarly rigorous? What percentage of seniors at each school attend four-year colleges, and is the list of the colleges that admit them roughly comparable?

Also, don’t overlook logistical issues such as start time and transportation that could have a big impact on the sanity (or lack thereof) in your household on a day-to-day basis.

As you do your “research,” it may be helpful to understand that college admission officials--even at the most hyper-competitive colleges--assess students in the context of their school environment. What your daughter does in high school is far more important than where she is in high school.

So my advice (which I already said I wouldn't give you ;) ) is to pick the school that feels like the right one to you and your child, and don’t base your decision on what you think the admission folks expect to see on an application.

(posted 2/8/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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