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Old 07-26-2013, 07:47 AM
 
256 posts, read 338,673 times
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I have seen a bunch of these "Town A vs. Town B" threads over the years here and understandably, one criteria for choosing a town to buy a home in is whether or not it has a good school district.

My question isn't about what makes high school A better than high school B, but rather it is about whether any of it really matters.

If your child gets straight As in a school with a "bad" rep like Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ (sorry), will you still get into Harvard? If yes, then, to me, that makes Dwight Morrow High a very good school.

What's the point in sending your kids to Tenafly High School if they'll just be a small fish in a big pond with other straight A kids. It's possible they may end up being a very smart kid who happened to get straight Cs, and the kid from Hackensack with straight As, who may not be as smart, will end up in a better college.

I guess my real question is this. Does high school reputation really matter in the college admissions process? Is it worth moving to Ridgewood or Tenafly even if it means the competition is higher than say Hackensack or Paterson or even Fort Lee High or Ridgefield High?
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:55 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 43,135,216 times
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I wouldn't look at it like that. I would ask the question how likely is the same student to get good grades at school A vs. school B? And what exactly is offered at both schools? Do they both have AP classes? Do they both have the same extra curricular activities? How about preparing students for the SATs?

I don't think there is any question that some students do very well at "bad schools".
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:00 AM
 
357 posts, read 962,158 times
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Yes, it matters to a degree. In your example, absolutely matters. Straight A student from Englewood probably does not get into Harvard. College admissions is more than just straight As.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:03 AM
 
2,535 posts, read 6,134,949 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_vader123 View Post
I have seen a bunch of these "Town A vs. Town B" threads over the years here and understandably, one criteria for choosing a town to buy a home in is whether or not it has a good school district.

My question isn't about what makes high school A better than high school B, but rather it is about whether any of it really matters.

If your child gets straight As in a school with a "bad" rep like Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, NJ (sorry), will you still get into Harvard? If yes, then, to me, that makes Dwight Morrow High a very good school.

What's the point in sending your kids to Tenafly High School if they'll just be a small fish in a big pond with other straight A kids. It's possible they may end up being a very smart kid who happened to get straight Cs, and the kid from Hackensack with straight As, who may not be as smart, will end up in a better college.

I guess my real question is this. Does high school reputation really matter in the college admissions process? Is it worth moving to Ridgewood or Tenafly even if it means the competition is higher than say Hackensack or Paterson or even Fort Lee High or Ridgefield High?
The short answer is yes, it does matter. Much like applying for that first job out of college. An applicant coming from Harvard, regardless of their GPA or courseload is going to have an easier time getting the interview than the Rutger's student.

College admissions offices absolutely weight the caliber of school that you are coming from. Sure it's all just part of the mix and that part varies from school to school but it does matter.

The other thing about the "good" schools is that they typically offer a more challenging curriculum that offers better college prep( Advanced, Honors and AP classes). If you are in a "bad" school you may only have access to a couple AP classes whereas at a "good" school you have access to all of them.

Schools are a system like anything else and systems follow basic principles. Since we are talking about education we might as well use the bell curve as an example. The middle of the curve is going to be at a higher level in "good" schools than a "bad" school so it stands to reason that being in a "good" school statistically gives your kid a better chance since the system is set up to push them to toward a higher level(a higher middle in most cases).

This in no way says that if you go to a "bad" school you can't get into Harvard or some other top school, MANY do but that doesn't change the fact that a higher percentage of "good" school students will...in the end it's how they get to be categorized as "good" schools.

Last edited by Goldendoodle1969; 07-26-2013 at 08:54 AM..
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:14 AM
 
16,833 posts, read 15,887,682 times
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First, colleges have a pretty good handle on which schools are grade inflators and which are not. So being a B student at HTHS is going to be more impressive than an A student at Manasquan.

Second, typically but not always "better" schools are associated with more opportunities and/or less negative peers. If a child is prone to being influenced by peers it might make a huge difference.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:16 AM
 
206 posts, read 488,969 times
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It also matters in the sense that the quality of teacher matters! Think back to your own experiences in school; i know i learned alot more in the classes that had really good teachers. There can be really good teachers at any school, but the odds are that there will be more of them in most top districts, or at least in the districts that perform above-average for their socio-economic class. It also can matter from the standpoint of the environment your kids are in. For some kids - this won't matter. For others - they'll perform better when in classes with other studious / high-achiever types. Still others might do worse when they're not standing out and just one of many strong students. So it depends on the specific individual, but in general the "elite" districts will have a good % of really good teachers and will have involved parents that will make sure the kids are being offered AP opportunities, enrichment classes, etc. A great self-motivated kid/student will do great in just about any school system, but certain types will definitely benefit from being in a top district.

In other words, what tdstyles said.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:22 AM
 
206 posts, read 488,969 times
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But more to the original question, yes the valedictorian from any decent-sized school can probably get into a top college, but a very strong high school will probably send 20+ kids to top colleges. I went to a slightly-above-average but pretty mediocre high school and we still had 5/120 going to Ivy and another 10-15 going to very well-regarded national universities (Michigan, Boston College, etc). So getting a couple kids from a high school into elite colleges doesn't tell you anything other than the very best kids will succeed anywhere.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:37 AM
 
857 posts, read 1,891,185 times
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It only matters at the very top and the very bottom.
Yes, students in the most elite schools are probably groomed for elite colleges. And on the other hand, things are probably tough for students at the Joe Clark chains-on-the-doors schools.

Everything else is pretty much the same.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:50 AM
 
1,041 posts, read 2,799,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoapie View Post
Yes, it matters to a degree. In your example, absolutely matters. Straight A student from Englewood probably does not get into Harvard. College admissions is more than just straight As.
BS

Obviously a kid who took a non college prep track that included basket weaving, shop, gym, and other fluff is not going to get into Harvard even if they had all A's, but if the kid at Englewood took AP courses, scored in the highest percentile of SAT etc, why wouldn't they have an equal shot? I'm an engineer, guess what Calc is calc. Physics is Physics, Thermo is Thermo, Dynamics is Dyamics. Whether its taught here, or some area in Northern India. That's the whole point of STANDARDIZED test scores, an EVEN playing field.

You think a college admin officer doesnt have bias as well. For example, two kids, equal AP test scores, equal SAT scores, equal everything. One kid goes to West Windsor, the other goes to Mediocre High NJ. WW kid is ranked top 18% (because everyone at that school is a genius (), Mediocre high kid is ranked top 5% (because Mediocre High). Which kid is getting the benefit of the doubt? The kid at WW who probably grew up wealthy with every opportunity handed to him, or the kid who succeeded despite the trials and tribulations of going to medicore high Nj?

Now, I am not saying send your kid to Camden High, I am talking about averages here. If the high school is in the top 2/3's in NJ, offers some AP courses, and you take an active role, the kid can succeed.

And please lets drop the "better teachers". Every kid that I went to high school that is now a teacher, weren't exactly "stellar" students. They go into teaching for the summers off/holidays and Benefits. I know this is a massive generalization, and I am sure there are some exceptions, but it is what it is.

Here in NJ, all "better school district" means is higher number of families/students with the "means" (i.e wealth) to provide better opportunities.

These kids are tracked, your genius at mediocre high wont be in the same class as the "shop" kids. I really am puzzled why so many school nazi's on this board care what the bottom half of a school is doing? What impact does that kids test scores have on your kids?
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: High Bridge, NJ
3,858 posts, read 9,141,661 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyStarksNJ View Post
And please lets drop the "better teachers". Every kid that I went to high school that is now a teacher, weren't exactly "stellar" students. They go into teaching for the summers off/holidays and Benefits. I know this is a massive generalization, and I am sure there are some exceptions, but it is what it is.
Beyond massive-my wife and I met in college because we were both education majors. Both of us planned to become high school teachers-she was English, I was history. We both did student teaching the Spring semester of our senior year. She loved it, and I ran screaming from the classroom. I hated it-didn't like dealing with the crap from the kids, didn't like dealing with the crap from the parents, etc... No amount of vacation time, benefits package, or anything else would compel me to stay in the profession. Seven years later she is still teaching, has a Masters in Writing, and is certified to teach special education which she also loves, and I am in a regular nine to five job with not a lot of holidays off and a pretty standard benefits/vacation package. We are both very happy now. To say that any idiot with a pulse can go into teaching and stay in for the benefits and Summers off is ridiculous. To address the topic at hand, school rankings are BS-we've hashed this out many times before.
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