high school

Is My High School Good Enough?

Many parents worry if the school their children attend will be good enough to get them into the best colleges and universities. This is a bit of a loaded question. The truth is that the more expensive private boarding schools in the United States have the highest rates of Ivy or elite school acceptance rates. So I wonder if this has more to do with the amount of money a parent has or the actual ability of the school to prepare your child for university?

Most of us can’t afford such schools though so spending 70,000 USD on a private boarding school is probably out of the question. If that is so then where should we send our children? Here the statistics get a bit more fuzzy. There is no clear correlation between the type or location of the high school you attend and acceptance rates. Colleges will look at a student based on the resources they have available to them while in school. So a homeschooled student has the same chance of entering an elite school as an international student. I actually know a homeschooled student that attended Princeton but have yet to meet an international student in the last 10 years that has been accepted to Princeton.

Colleges and universities use a number of different ways to assess a students ability based on their educational environment, not that amount of AP courses they took. The key is did the student challenge themselves and do things beyond the norm within the environment they were educated in. So again, and as I have mentioned multiple times, the key is to make yourself stand out and be different. Something that seems to be extremely difficult for international students to do.

So I think approaching High School should be thought about in a different way. Maybe we should think about how the school builds or adds to our child’s character development. How does the school they attend shape and form their image of the world around them? How does it prepare them for the real world?

I had a friend who’s daughter attended Dulwich College ( high school ) in Shanghai. She was one of the top students there. His son attended SMIC Shanghai. However, as this father watched his children grow and interacted with the parents and teachers around him he began to realize that his family was living in a somewhat elite and unrealistic environment. He then decided to pull his family out of Shanghai all together and moved back to the United States so that they could attend a large public high school.

It was one of the bravest decisions that I have ever seen made by a parent and one that has paid huge dividends. Both daughter and son are thriving educationally and easily able to adapt and work in a chaotic environment. Both children ( and wife ) were extremely upset about the move when it happened. However, fast forward 10 years later and both are grateful and thankful for the decision their father made. Both children had multiple choices of elite universities to attend and more interestingly they both have had amazing and dynamic internships while in high school and college that have boosted their career opportunities.

Maybe it is time to think about why and what we educate our children to become rather than where we should go so they can attend an elite school? In the end, educating them to have strong characters and the ability to navigate in a diverse environment might actually help them get into those pillars of higher education.

Famous Alumni

Barbara Walters, The late Barbara Walters is arguably the most accomplished broadcast journalist ever. She became famous for her countless interviews of some of the most powerful people in the world. She studied English at Sarah Lawrence College receiving her Bachelors of Arts Degree in 1951. Sarah Lawrence College is a small liberal arts college in Yonkers, New York.

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