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Does It Matter Where You Go To High School?

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

For decades parents have wondered if sending their student to the “right” school would give them a leg up when applying to college. It is and has always been a valid question that I personally relate to in having grown up in the private school sector. What I’ve learned as a counselor though is that it’s less about the school and more about what a student does while they’re there.

Not everyone knows this, but when you apply to college, your high school will send an Academic Profile with your transcript that details important information on where you’re coming from.

These Academic or School Profiles contain sections like:

· Accreditation and Membership

· Honor Societies Offered

· Curriculum (Graduation) Requirements

· Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement Offerings

· Testing Statistics

· Grading and Class Rank

· Athletic Information

· The Previous Year’s College Acceptances

Each school’s profile will look different and admissions officers know that certain schools will have more resources to dazzle them with an impressive one. Certain schools will also have less students or a more equipped team to handle their recommendation letters.

Whereas in past decades coming from an elite high school would carry substantial weight, a lot has changed in the way these applications are reviewed. Point blank, it won’t help or hinder a student, but rather assist an admissions counselor by putting things into context.

A college’s admissions department is fully aware that a student coming from one school might not have had the same opportunities if they went somewhere else, which is a circumstance that has to be considered.

These opportunities include things like more access to test preparation, a stronger selection of dual enrollment and AP courses, and a wider range of extra-curricular activities offered.

On that same note, colleges also know that students with the will and drive will find a way to prosper anywhere. Where you go to high school just shows what you were working with.

Simply put, the school sets the context, the student reveals the standard. The real question is whether or not you took advantage of everything you were offered.

Furthermore, elite colleges and universities want a diverse pool of admitted students, which means they’ll be coming from diverse parts of the nation and beyond.

No matter where they come from…“people become successful the minute they decide to be.”

-Harvey MacKay

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