Preparing for College

IB Magnet High School vs. Sci-Tech School?

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)