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Old 02-13-2014, 03:26 PM
 
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As far as expense though, Westminster runs right in the middle of the pack. It is definitely NOT the most expensive and actually one of the cheapest top tier schools although not by much. For elementary Westminster is 20,165, Pace is 21K, Lovett is 20,820, Trinity is 20,425, Woodward is 20,540 and Paideia is 19,314. I do agree it is the characteristics of the school (like small class size) that weight a school to me as better although that is just part of it. My kid's now in a small private school with a very small class size (12 kids and 2 teachers) and she hates it for various reasons which is why we are leaving. It is hard to find the perfect or "good enough" fit.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:44 PM
 
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Great. This definitely provides a bit more information than a listing of acceptances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by intownmom View Post
Many schools list only where students have been accepted (usually over the past few years); however, Westminster publishes where the graduates matriculate. I believe that this gives a slightly better picture of how the school is doing with respect to college admissions, since each student can appear only once, even if that same student was responsible for 3 or 4 impressive acceptances.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:16 PM
 
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In terms of brand recognition and people wanting to go for an expensive "name brand"....I don't think this is as huge of a factor. There is a lot of money at stake here.

There is an interesting thing I remember....it was a newspaper article that was published in the AJC about Pace Academy...it talked about the day after admissions decisions was sent out, how the admissions director's phone was filled with upset messages from parents whose kids did not get in and how she personally would respond to each and every one of those calls. My kids were babies at the time and the name Pace was imprinted in my mind.

Fast forward about 10-12 years later, Pace gives the impression of trying to woo applicants. I'm not saying it has dearth of applicants, and the non expansion grades are still hard to get in. But in expansion grades, they are having to recruit for high SSAT score or "qualified candidates" and also for diversity. When I spoke to the admissions director to ask about the average SSAT score percentiles for the 6th grade, it was in the 75th percentiles. That's not very high. That means for the higher scoring students, obviously Pace is not the 1st choice, they are choosing and going elsewhere. And since the school is only as good as its students, Pace has had to (or will have to) make changes to attract the top tier students. Unless schools keep up, the wave and tide can gradually turn for them insidiously. One of my friends sons(Asian) was given a 10,000 grant to apply and come there.

There also seems to be a new wave sweeping many of these schools which is quite palpable now. These schools were always associated with "old white money". Now with it becoming a global world, these schools are beginning to realize that they must have diversity on their campuses. And many South Asians who are very bright and hard working are not going to come into all-white, strongly Catholic campuses filled with designer labels and they are not impressed by name brand school labels. They are going to look very closely at what they are getting into. The strongly Catholic curriculum tone of Westminster has come down over the last few years and it has attracted a lot of diversity. Lovett and Pace have been slower to realize this and jump on the bandwagon, but are coming around quickly too, to catch up. Have you noticed all the mentions of diversity on their website, and their newly appointed Directors of Diversity. Westminster was the 1st to catch this wave and this may be resulting in its increased enthusiasm for enrollment. It is obviously a good and rigorous school, just the kind to appeal to South Asians, and with the diversity changes...it has now positioned itself to accept a more diverse set of students that are bright and with high scores.

It is a subtle nuance, but it is there to spot. If people were attracted by name brand and price point alone...then Woodward charges higher tuition than Westminster, and Pace has historically had as much cache, if not more.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:20 PM
 
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Another thing that these students look at and what sells the school...is what it's college acceptances are. This is the only tangible way for a school to distinguish itself. And when parents see a lot of name brand or Ivies on the list of college acceptances, they generally assume that this school must be doing something right.

I just don't believe that parents are just going on brand name or snob value of a school....or maybe because I don't go on that, I just assume that other parents wouldn't either
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Brookhaven
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Westminster is not catholic...Christian yes, but not to the degree of the really religious schools
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:25 PM
 
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I completely agree with the parent who said that it is very important to compare actual curriculums and textbooks to understand what a child will be learning. When I compared my current school with Woodward elementary, I felt it was much better...and almost 11,000 cheaper. The problem is that this information is all that easily available and needs some research and digging by a dedicated parent to find out.

Though I am looking at middle school acceptance...I am closely studying the curriculum guides of all the upper school courses offered at all these top tier schools. It is important to understand what their course offerings are, rather than just jumping into a private school based on a name or its reputation.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:31 PM
 
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I use the term Catholic and Christian more as a generic term, since I am not of this faith, so excuse my ignorance. Let me change the term to "religious teaching" instead to convey my point.

What I meant to say was...if you compare the religious curriculum of Westminster of about 5-6 years ago, it had a great deal more religious teaching incorporated in its curriculum and required a great deal more for graduation credit. This has been brought down substantially and in the middle school, even more so. The school has also shifted to saying that it tries to make religious teaching all encompassing of all religions, that it does not want to try to convert people, and is more values based rather than tenets based.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:27 PM
 
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SNSH,

If you do not think that the Westminster brand is a main selling point for parents, I guess I do not know what to say. They have a very strong brand. Even my mother, who knows absolutely nothing about the private schools in town has heard of Westminster. Has she ever heard of any of the other schools in town? Not a one.

Also, as I mentioned, there is very little that can be truly gleaned by a list of acceptances when comparing schools. When really studying the information, it is difficult to know whether you are comparing apples and apples. Almost all of the schools list at least some ivies and some well-known good schools such as Duke, Stanford, University of Chicago, NYU. As I mentioned, a list of acceptances does not reveal the distribution of the acceptances over the student population and therefore you do not know if a relative small percentage of the graduating class is responsible for the listings or if the listing actually reflects multiple students associated with various individual schools and therefore actually represents a much larger percentage of the graduating class. See how there could be a big difference? One school could have the first situation and the second the second situation.

One person mentioned one school listing the actual locations at which the students matriculated. This is definitely a more insightful representation of information because it necessarily limits the presentation to one kid per school. However, it can also be non-representative because there are many reasons that a kid may turn down a school in favor of another (e.g., turning down a school in favor of one at which Hope is given). By contrast, there may be a bigger proportion of students with $$$ who can afford an ivy (since ivies don't traditionally give as much financial aid as say a Duke or a state school). So, in that case, if you were to compare matriculation at two schools, you could get vastly different results because one school may have kids that prefer Hope scholarship savings and another school may get kids that have more of their parent's $$$ that they don't mind spending and prefer to go ivy. Once again, difficult to really know what is going on and make relative judgments between schools based on this.

However, if the school that is well-known for having the most old money uber-rich parents is the school at which most kids are shown as matriculating at ivies or expensive privates, could some of that be because they are not as pulled to the Hope scholarship savings? I imagine that could be. Then the takeaway is you really don't know whether other schools have kids getting into the same ivies but a less wealthy student body and therefore you get more state schools than ivies as far as matriculation goes.

****A much better measure of how the kids are doing are the SAT and ACT scores for the schools. For some reason, this information is harder for me to find.**** SAT and ACT scores do not lie and are the only completely neutral way that you know you are comparing apples with apples. This also eliminates the fact that some kids get help into ivies bc their parents are big time donors or whatever the other extraneous reasons can be that separate one 4.0 with a ton of ECs and AP classes from another 4.0 with a ton of ECs and AP classes.

I may be looking in the wrong places but I have been unable to locate this type of information for the privates. I see it for 1 but I have not found it for others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snsh5713 View Post
Another thing that these students look at and what sells the school...is what it's college acceptances are. This is the only tangible way for a school to distinguish itself. And when parents see a lot of name brand or Ivies on the list of college acceptances, they generally assume that this school must be doing something right.

I just don't believe that parents are just going on brand name or snob value of a school....or maybe because I don't go on that, I just assume that other parents wouldn't either

Last edited by LovelySummer; 02-13-2014 at 06:36 PM..
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:47 PM
 
3,966 posts, read 10,799,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelySummer View Post
SNSH,

If you do not think that the Westminster brand is a main selling point for parents, I guess I do not know what to say. They have a very strong brand. Even my mother, who knows absolutely nothing about the private schools in town has heard of Westminster. Has she ever heard of any of the other schools in town? Not a one.



****A much better measure of how the kids are doing are the SAT and ACT scores for the schools. For some reason, this information is harder for me to find.**** SAT and ACT scores do not lie and are the only completely neutral way that you know you are comparing apples with apples. This also eliminates the fact that some kids get help into ivies bc their parents are big time donors or whatever the other extraneous reasons can be that separate one 4.0 with a ton of ECs and AP classes from another 4.0 with a ton of ECs and AP classes.

I may be looking in the wrong places but I have been unable to locate this type of information for the privates. I see it for 1 but I have not found it for others.
When private schools release their SAT scores, they often manipulate them -- by excluding the top and bottom. There is also significant research on the impact of parents'' education level, financial background of the parents, etc on SAT/ACT scores. I actually think SAT scores, at a competitive, expensive private school, tell you very little.

I struggle, for a kid who could do well in public school, to think that 250 thousand dollars spent k-12 to end up at UGA (even with HOPE) is necessarily a good investment. (And I had a child in private school). I don't blame people for using HOPE but it must be a little painful to see all the public school kids who are in the same place, doing just as well from a public school background. There are lots of reasons to utilize private schools -- getting into college probably wouldn't be my top choice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snsh5713 View Post
I use the term Catholic and Christian more as a generic term, since I am not of this faith, so excuse my ignorance. Let me change the term to "religious teaching" instead to convey my point.

What I meant to say was...if you compare the religious curriculum of Westminster of about 5-6 years ago, it had a great deal more religious teaching incorporated in its curriculum and required a great deal more for graduation credit. This has been brought down substantially and in the middle school, even more so. The school has also shifted to saying that it tries to make religious teaching all encompassing of all religions, that it does not want to try to convert people, and is more values based rather than tenets based.
You need to be very aware that the religious leanings/teachings/requirements of a school can change with the head of religious instruction. This has happened numerous times at religious schools across Atlanta. Westminster was publicly embarrassed a few years ago because teachers had to affirm on their applications that they were Christian. Certainly their right, as they are a Christian school, but speaks to their religious perspective.

Because these are private institutions, generally with Boards of Directors who aren't parents, it is hard to complain (except by leaving) and to impact change at private schools.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:52 PM
 
115 posts, read 368,179 times
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For SAT data, look at Atlanta Magazine's annual school issue and most schools have somewhere a "profile" for colleges to look at. Here is Westminster's: http://www.westminster.net/ftpimages...on_Profile.pdf. Here is Pace's: http://www.paceacademy.org/ftpimages...le_2013-14.pdf. Here is Lovett's. http://www.lovett.org/data/files/gal...ol_Profile.pdf
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