High School?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by FutureCadet12, May 20, 2016.

  1. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    So currently I am deciding upon a high school to attend - my two options:
    1) small, "college prep" high school
    Cons:
    -less variety of clubs/ECs
    -smaller- less people to meet
    -sports are poor quality (Division 4 or something ridiculous like that)
    -lots of busy work - not necessarily productive
    Pros:
    -stronger relationships with peers/teachers
    -more individual attention from counselors to help out with college app process
    -apparently stronger academics? top 20 school in the nation...but those reviews aren't always the most accurate.

    2) big (about 4000 students), still academically strong high school
    Cons:
    -less of a connection with peers/teachers
    -less individual attention from counselors

    Pros:
    -larger variety of clubs
    -more people to get to know
    -state of the art athletics - Division 1 and state champion in numerous sports
    -strong academics

    Thoughts? Will USxA favor one over the other?

    EDIT: Please note that regardless of where I decide to go, I will work hard and stay involved in clubs, sports, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  2. MabryPsyD

    MabryPsyD Dr. G.

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    Regardless of which school you attend, top performance in academics and willingness to participate and excel in extracurriculars will increase your chances of ANY scholarship.
     
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  3. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    +1 Mabry. SAs look at school profiles. That includes where the graduates of schools go to college, what courses are offered, etc. It looks like you can't go wrong at either school. Look around the forum and you'll see a lot of examples of trade-offs that are your decision to make - e.g. ranked #1 of 200 kids in a less-academic school vs ranked #8 of 350 in a more academic. It is a big, complicated decision. Talk to lots of people about this - including your parents!!

    Food for thought: will one school give you more opportunities for leadership than the other? That may affect your decision.
     
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  4. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Here's the thing - quite frankly, I hate the school I currently attend (school #1; the smaller school). People are fake, everyone is constantly "tired" as a result of the homework load and it's difficult to make arrangements just to hang out for an hour or two, it's small and I feel like I'm holed up in a prison. The same would probably occur at the bigger school...I don't know. When I toured the larger school, I felt right at home. Of course, a tour cannot be compared to actually attending the school. Anyhow, time is running out as we speak to make my decision :biggrin:
     
  5. Zandercott

    Zandercott USAFA

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    Leave the prison, if that's how you feel there, it will destroy your motivation
     
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  6. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    These issues would be different in what way at the larger school? You think there aren't numerous cliques (I saw The Breakfast Club, which took place at a large suburban high school)? If you are in an IB curriculum, AP, or whatever they call the top academics in your school , do you honestly think you are not going to have hours and hours of (sometimes totally inane) homework every single night, with papers due over holiday breaks? Do you think it will be easier to make friends with kids you see for 45 minutes a day in Latin II, or easier to make friends at a school with <100 kids per class, kids that you will have several classes and lunch with, with whom you will labor to succeed in your Div 4 sports teams?

    On the other hand, smaller schools can indeed feel like a smothering hole.

    Perhaps you should leave the decision of WHICH high school to your parents? At age 14ish, you certainly do not have enough information nor enough maturity to make such an important decision. It's why you have parents! You've got two good options (or ask for the homeschooling option, which this mother would endorse!) - sit down with them and abide by what they deem best for your future.

    Good luck! Work hard and stay out of trouble!
     
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  7. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    You make excellent points.

    It's just frustrating when people from bigger schools are literally handed all these opportunities, while at my school, I have to go scouring for them. (I didn't mention this before, but I attended middle school at School #1 being referred to in this thread.) Indeed, it feels like a smothering hole to me; lacking the excitement and unpredictability of the "high school experience" - which I do not define by constant partying and relaxation, by the way. Regardless of where I attend school, I will work hard to achieve my goals - I just don't want to be miserable while doing so.

    Well, that's all for tonight's rant. My apologies if that sounded really cynical and immature.
     
  8. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My kids were homeschooled and by some people's accounts, lacked EVERY opportunity. Two are now ADAF pilots, two working in their chosen fields. Three married, two with children. Two owning their own homes, all with hot-dang cars & pick ups, all traveled the world.

    The Ivies and Service Academies will look at what you have done with what you've been given. If you attend that large school and just fade off into academia, well, good luck. If you are tops in the small school - they'll know all about that.
     
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  9. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Agree with fencersmother. Sometimes smaller is better. DD came from a very small school with limited ECs and sports; graduating class of 25, but was able to excel and go beyond the walls for opportunities. She received an appointment to USAFA for class of 2020.
     
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  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I agree that smaller can sometimes be better. That decision might depend upon the individual. I had three children who attended small prep schools all under 350 total enrolment, our local high school has about 1,400. The first two would have been lost in public high school. One for not having the confidence to stand out. The second because he could have lost himself in classes of 20 or more and performed only enough to get by. The third could have gone anywhere but wanted to go to the school her sister went to because she had learned to love it. With about 10 in a class they were forced to participate and I don't remember any of them complaining about busy work. Each school had a large variety of ECs (30 to 40), about 20 interscholastic sports and 15 to 25 APs. This compares to what is available at our high school. Athletic participation was required every season not like a public school where you can take it or leave it. Division 4 vs Division 1 does not mean poor quality. I assume at high school level in your area, as it is done here, schools are placed in the correct divisional level depending upon the size of the school not the quality of its teams. If you win a championship at division 4 you beat the best schools of comparable size. Another great thing about small prep schools is that you learn time management and if boarding how to fend for yourself (a great plus in college). They all said that most of their college courses did not force them to work as hard as they did in high school. Choose what is best for you and good luck.
     
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  11. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    This sounds very similar to the atmosphere of the school my kids went to. We, as parents, made the decision for them to go to this school and did not give them the option. In fact, they really didn't want to go to this school. By the time they graduated, they both loved their school. I think having to find opportunities helped them stand out on their Academy and ROTC applications. Our school offered no AP courses and no electives; Every kids took the same honors, Socratic style curriculum and every kids that graduates from this school has gone to college. It was a rigorous curriculum with Latin, tons of reading of classical books and they had to write and defend a senior thesis. They developed a wonderful sense of community, every teacher and administrator knew every kids very well and could write details letters of recommendation for all of their applications. Because the school was small, it allowed them to play sports and not worry about being cut from the teams. They created many of their own leadership opportunities, as well. Both of my kids were very prepared for college and are excelling at USMA and with NROTC scholarship.
     
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  12. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Well, just wanted to thank everyone for all your replies. They definitely have given me a different perspective on things. I have decided - reluctantly - that I will stay at the small school and push to find more opportunities for myself. I mean, things could change and I could end up actually liking this school (If I still despise it by the end of freshman year should I still stay??).... Oh well. Once again, thank you all for your valuable opinions.
     
  13. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    If everyone doesn't mind me asking, does USMA consider the school background when reviewing applications? Obviously less EC choices are available at smaller schools so how would you go about filling that gap? Volunteering/academics/athletics? I've seen the incredible applications on here that somehow did not get accepted - even with strong credentials and a plethora of leadership positions and participation in EC's. My apologies for the barrage of questions.
     
  14. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    USAFA does, I would suspect most SAs take school profile into consideration.
     
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  15. brovol

    brovol Member

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    High school should be an experience you look back on fondly. I think it is a mistake to try to calculate this all out. There are too many unknown factors.

    Frankly, if you are enjoying the experience, you are more likely to be more involved and successful. Still, the most important factors on a SA application are ACT/SAT scores and class standing. Then the leadership, which consist of many components, including varsity athletics, student government and teacher evaluations. Then CFA , which is an individual element where your school won't matter at all.

    My son attended a relatively small school, not because he picked it, but because that is where we live. It is not a high achiever school, unless you are grading based on how good the crops were during a particular season. A good percentage of kids have no interest in going to even a community college. There are only 5 AP courses offered, and the teachers for those classes aren't the best. On the other hand, there was nothing holding my son back from being a high achiever. His graduating class had only 139 students, and he was certainly able to distinguish himself. He knew every one of his classmates, and those in other classes, by their nickname, and all their parents too. His teachers were able to give very knowledgeable evaluations. He was a starter in three varsity sports, captain in two, and earned All Conference, and All District First teams. He was President of his NHS, beating three of his buddies in an election. All these things score points with the academies; big points. Would he have earned the same résumé at a big or prestigious high school? Maybe, but I doubt it.

    My son was active, but not overloaded. He had time to work hard on his CFA, and ACT, where he brought his scores from a 29 composite up to scores of M34, E31, S34, and R30 ( 32+ superscore).

    Lots of folks talk about kids attending very competitive high schools, and how that's an advantage. I don't dispute that; however, I do think a bigger deal is made with that on these forums than with the academies. They literally score points based mostly on objective criteria. You can certainly earn those points at a smaller, and far less "competitive" school. We talked to admissions officers from USMA, USNA, and USAFA, and no one ever suggested even remotely that the quality of my sons school hurt him at all. They talked about his accomplishments.

    Don't over think this.
     
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  16. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Again, it is what you do with what's on your plate that will make the difference for you, in high school, in college, in life. No situation is perfect. No leadership possibilities at your school? Make your own! Start a club, a business, a team. No sports at your school? Join a club, start a team, document your own workout routine, then market it to your peers. No foreign language at your school? Um, can I just say: Rosetta Stone?

    Is it fun or easy to take the helm at 14? No. At 18? Nope. At 22? maybe.

    JUST DO IT.
     
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  17. Idzak

    Idzak Member

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    Flip a coin. Heads is #1, tails #2. Observe your gut as you peek at the coin. If you feel like puking, don't go there. If you feel good, then that's the one you. Not complicated.
     
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  18. No1Fanof2

    No1Fanof2 Member

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    4000k kids that is very large. Unless you know you are athletically competitive for one of their sports I would pick the smaller school. The academics are so so important. You can always build the ECs somewhere else. You are very lucky to have the ability to choose. Many have no choice but to sink or swim in a large public high school.
     
  19. socalfan

    socalfan Member

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    Lots of responses leaning toward the small school. I would say it also depends on the quality of the large school. My DS went to a school with nearly 4000, it was a great experience. Can you be a leader there and stand out? This large school has sent several to the various academies. It may be easier to be a stand out at a smaller school but that doesn't mean you can't at a larger.
     
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  20. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    That's very true. The larger school being discussed sent 8 students to the academies this year. That being said, I have decided I'm going to the small school - due to more leadership opportunities and closer connections with my peers/teachers. Thank you for your response though!
     

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