Preparing for College

Private vs. Public High School for Our Son?

Question: Our son is in a K-8 private school. We are now in the process of selecting a high school. The local public high school is rated as excellent by the state. Will he get added value in learning in a private high school versus a very good public high school, and how will our choice affect his college plans?

College admission officials evaluate their applicants in the context of where they attended high school, but that's not to say that one route is better than the next. There are some very fine public high schools and there are some mediocre (and sometimes even awful) private ones. At the top colleges, admission officials are looking for candidates who have taken advantage of the most challenging classes available to them, but they certainly don't penalize those who haven't had the same opportunities as more well-heeled peers. So you should aim to send your son to the high school where he will be both happy (as much as you can predict teenage happiness!) and academically challenged.

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