High School Admissions - Choosing The Right School
For those students who have been accepted to city and boarding schools, congratulations are in order!
Getting accepted to the top high schools becomes more and more difficult every year. As you probably already know, the acceptance rates at most of these schools rival those of Ivy League schools. This year, in particular, was a tough admissions year. The boarding schools have been widening their recruitment of students, bringing in students from across the country and around the world, and, of course, the city schools aren't getting any larger, despite an increasing population of prospective 8th graders.
Now that the hard part is over (getting in! you did it!), it's time to face perhaps a greater challenge: deciding which school is the best fit for your child.
We have ten years of experience working with students in classes at all of these schools and we're more than happy to share our thoughts and perceptions of them. We know which subjects are harder at High School A than at High School B, which subjects students from Middle School C struggle with when they go to High School A, and even when to expect the toughest tests to fall in geometry or chemistry over the course of the year. We also pay attention to (and celebrate) where our students get into college and what it takes at individual schools to stand out and get in.
Once you’ve decided where to go, there still are a couple of loose ends. The first is placement tests. Schools often give placement tests in math and languages to help them to place students in the most approriately challenging courses for 9th grade. Since math is one of the four core subjects colleges emphasize, it might be worth brushing up on Algebra before taking these tests. Getting in the right 9th grade math class determines whether the student will reach calculus or have enough pre-calculus to be able to take the Math Level 2 test. For some students, this doesn’t matter as much because their strongest side isn’t math. But for the majority of students, it is important to be advanced enough in math to have the option of taking the Math Level 2 test in 11th grade.
The second important thing to consider is the general schedule over the next years with regard to standardized tests. Leaving all of the standardized tests, particularly SAT Subject Tests, until the Spring of Junior year is likely to lead to a lot of unnecessary stress! There are SAT subject tests, such as Chemistry, that your child might consider "getting out of the way" before 11th grade, and the SAT testing calendar can be challenging to navigate. We’d be happy to give you the lay of the land any time, especially if this is your first time as the parent of a high school student.
Some high schools will give you all of this information, but in our experience, most schools shy away from getting too involved in standardized testing. Or, if they do get involved, it is usually too late in the game. Planning and preparation are crucial elements of successful test taking!
Please feel free to call us with your questions (or just to chat!). We hope you all enjoy a lovely spring break!