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Old 07-22-2020, 07:44 AM
 
59 posts, read 78,983 times
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I feel that San Mateo vs. Palo Alto is pretty much an apples-to-apples comparison. Both towns are great, and it will be a matter of finances and personal taste as to which you prefer. Personally, I did not find the shops along University Avenue in Palo Alto useful or interesting, but I'm not a high-end boutique person. I did love the lights in the trees and found Palo Alto's downtown beautiful, though not useful for me in terms of shopping. I imagine that schools are rated highly more uniformly in Palo Alto, but students in Palo Alto may feel more stressed by the competitive nature of the schools, so both of those are factors to consider. I would read up about schools on greatschools.org and see what parents have to say. We moved out-of-state before our child was school-aged, so I can't comment much about schools in either place. Another nice feature of San Mateo is its proximity to Half Moon Bay, which has family-friendly activities, such as the Pumpkin Festival and Lemos Farm, not to mention that great greenway for hiking and biking along the ocean. San Mateo is cooler than Palo Alto, especially up in the hills, but I thought that the weather in Palo Alto was pleasant.
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
13,071 posts, read 7,910,723 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanMateoMom View Post
I feel that San Mateo vs. Palo Alto is pretty much an apples-to-apples comparison. Both towns are great, and it will be a matter of finances and personal taste as to which you prefer. Personally, I did not find the shops along University Avenue in Palo Alto useful or interesting, but I'm not a high-end boutique person. I did love the lights in the trees and found Palo Alto's downtown beautiful, though not useful for me in terms of shopping. I imagine that schools are rated highly more uniformly in Palo Alto, but students in Palo Alto may feel more stressed by the competitive nature of the schools, so both of those are factors to consider. I would read up about schools on greatschools.org and see what parents have to say. We moved out-of-state before our child was school-aged, so I can't comment much about schools in either place. Another nice feature of San Mateo is its proximity to Half Moon Bay, which has family-friendly activities, such as the Pumpkin Festival and Lemos Farm, not to mention that great greenway for hiking and biking along the ocean. San Mateo is cooler than Palo Alto, especially up in the hills, but I thought that the weather in Palo Alto was pleasant.
For HS in the San Mateo area, may want to see if you can be zoned for Aragon High, which is one of the higher achieving ones in SM. AHS isn't quite at the hypercompetitiveness of say, the Palo Alto schools, but they do quite well. SM High and Hillsdale High are decent but if there isn't enough students who sign up for it, they might not offer some AP courses, say, in math.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
191 posts, read 298,968 times
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Originally Posted by silverkris View Post
For HS in the San Mateo area, may want to see if you can be zoned for Aragon High, which is one of the higher achieving ones in SM. AHS isn't quite at the hypercompetitiveness of say, the Palo Alto schools, but they do quite well. SM High and Hillsdale High are decent but if there isn't enough students who sign up for it, they might not offer some AP courses, say, in math.
If you're familiar with SM schools, mind if I ask a follow-up question? Is Aragon typically considered a better school because of the demographics there, or are its programs and academics actually better then other nearby schools? I have also heard good things about San Mateo High and Hillsdale and wonder how much their lower rankings are a reflection of less affluent student body versus educational quality.
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Old 07-24-2020, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
13,071 posts, read 7,910,723 times
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Originally Posted by eastwestcoast View Post
If you're familiar with SM schools, mind if I ask a follow-up question? Is Aragon typically considered a better school because of the demographics there, or are its programs and academics actually better then other nearby schools? I have also heard good things about San Mateo High and Hillsdale and wonder how much their lower rankings are a reflection of less affluent student body versus educational quality.
It's likely to be more so due to the demographics ---> which will also drive some of the offerings. You can do well at SM or Hillsdale - though if you want to take AP Calculus BC, it might not be offered, depending on demand, so you may instead need to take a community college course in advanced math - which fortunately, is available.
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