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Experience with Prep Schools??

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by HEARTLESS-531, May 23, 2011.

  1. tj100

    tj100 Well-Known Member

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    So if the parents' goal is a good university, then the location of a boarding school and the parents' residence are just as important as a big name school. The kids from New Mexico applying to Exeter face much less competition then say one from CA or in New England. So if the goal is for admission to Yale, then Midwest or West Coast boarding school make more sense.

    I would agree 100% with this. If your goal is an Ivy league college, going to boarding school in New England is probably a losing proposition. It's just too competitive. You've got to realize that 75% of your class is applying to Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Dartmouth - ALL of them are qualified to go, but only about 25 - 30% are going to get in to ONE of them.

    My class (a little more than 15 years ago, at this point) had about 40% go on to the Ivy league; but once you did the math and eliminated highly recruited athletes, very smart underprivileged kids, long-term legacies, children of billionaires, etc., you ended up with two or three kids who got in - and a big pile of kids with 1500s on their SATs, A-/B+ grades, multiple varsity sports, who went to Amherst/Middlebury/Williams/etc. And I understand that it's gotten significantly more competitive since then.

    If the Ivy League is your goal, you're much better off at college admissions time, IMHO, being the best student in ten years to come out of some terrible public school than being even in the top 10% of your prep school class.

    However, in terms of raw education, I think the classic boarding experience is as good as it gets.
     
  2. Dashaansafin

    Dashaansafin Well-Known Member

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    Roxbury Latin is all boys, so that might be a stretch for her.

    Also, unless your daughter is truly exceptional in some way (i.e. Olympic-level athlete, has cured cancer, daughter of a billionaire), you're probably going to want to consider some schools beyond the first tier. Every school in that group has acceptance rates in the mid teens - and the quality of the pool that's applying to prep school is generally pretty high. You probably want to add one or two in the Loomis Chaffee range to have something as a backup.


    Meh I wasnt exceptional and neither was my friend and we got into some of these schools. We had great grades and a good interview, it also helped that we were great athletes.

    Honestly I would look beyond boarding school if you want to see your daughter. There are seriously tons of day schools across the country which place just as well, if not better than boarding. Collegiate, Pingry, etc etc.

    Personally I would send my kid to a prep school, but would be kind of iffy on boarding.
     
  3. tj100

    tj100 Well-Known Member

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    Meh I wasnt exceptional and neither was my friend and we got into some of these schools. We had great grades and a good interview, it also helped that we were great athletes.

    Naturally, not everybody is as 'great' as you and your friend.

    I'm just pointing out that admissions is competitive - a lot of people who are new to the process think it's like sleep-away camp: you choose where you want to go, sign up, and pay your money.
     
  4. Dashaansafin

    Dashaansafin Well-Known Member

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    Naturally, not everybody is as 'great' as you and your friend.

    I'm just pointing out that admissions is competitive - a lot of people who are new to the process think it's like sleep-away camp: you choose where you want to go, sign up, and pay your money.


    We really werent great. We went to public high school together, albeit in a wealthy community. Had good grades, sprinklings of B's here and there. Personally I feel the interview was extremely important and one of our deciding factors.

    But yea admissions in general are very competitive.
     
  5. Pennglock

    Pennglock Well-Known Member

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    Whatever route you go, if your daughter really wants to get into an Ivy, make sure you give her a change to excel in a sport. The more obscure the better. Schools actually recruit for stuff like fencing and shot-put.

    And just a caveat. As a group, the guys I know who prepped are generally some of the smartest, kindest, well-adjusted folks Ive ever met.

    The girls I've run into are more of a mixed bag. The sense of entitlement was high, and probably plenty of eating disorders in the bunch too. I got the impression that their experiences didnt bring out the best in girls like it did in the guys. It seemed like it was more of a competetive/catty atmosphere for the girls.

    This is just the limited observation of a guy who went to public school
     
  6. DaveB

    DaveB Well-Known Member

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    My opinion is if the student has the smarts and drive to succeed in a prep or public school and get into Ivy they probably will regardless of where you send them. I went to a mediocre public school in a not very affluent district. I was pretty lazy, got ok grades, did decent on the SATs and got into a top public school but certainly no Harvard. Would have I done better had I gone to a top prep school? Maybe. On the other hand my brother and neighbor went to the same public school and one is a MIT graduate while the other is getting a PHD and DPT from Northwestern. Would they have accomplished more if they went to prep school? Probably not.

    I guess my underlying point is if your daughter is smart enough to be in the top 15% or w/e of applicants for these tier one prep schools she will probably be smart enough to get into an ivy league school whether she goes to prep or not.

    That being said prep probably does not hurt are chances so if you’re rolling in the dough might as well send her.
     
  7. HEARTLESS-531

    HEARTLESS-531 Well-Known Member

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    You're right - my mistake. Roxbury Latin is all boys. Thanks to everyone for their insight and comments.
    I think I'm the one getting schooled here.


    Roxbury Latin is all boys, so that might be a stretch for her.

    Also, unless your daughter is truly exceptional in some way (i.e. Olympic-level athlete, has cured cancer, daughter of a billionaire), you're probably going to want to consider some schools beyond the first tier. Every school in that group has acceptance rates in the mid teens - and the quality of the pool that's applying to prep school is generally pretty high. You probably want to add one or two in the Loomis Chaffee range to have something as a backup.
     
  8. Fred49

    Fred49 Well-Known Member

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    Can't go wrong with any of these. I attended one of them.

    The upside of boarding is that you get the full experience, probably end up with more lasting friendships, etc. It's near college level freedom much earlier in your life. It's great from the student perspective.

    The downside is that as a parent, you're effectively relinquishing control to a bunch of radical liberal educators who don't pay enough attention. Outcomes range from your kid becoming a stoner to a gangbang receptacle.

    http://www.time.com/time/arts/articl...659616,00.html

    If it were me, I'd never send a daughter to boarding school.


    Correct answer. Do not give away the time you can spend with your child to someone else.
     
  9. FtRoyalty

    FtRoyalty Well-Known Member

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    If you ever look further south, I taught at two prep schools in VA and can give you a pretty good lay of the land, including MA and PA to lesser degrees.

    Are there still schools that have only weekday (five-night) boarding? A former colleague from Boston mentioned that some schools did this.

    +1 for sports and extracurriculars; however, better to excel at one than tread at many
     
  10. Lighthouse

    Lighthouse Well-Known Member

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    Keep your kids in your custody. And keep them out of all boys schools because all those wacky hormones will find an outlet, one way or another.

    That there is anything wrong with that.
     
  11. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Well-Known Member

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    Harvard-Westlake in CA is a feeder school to Stanford just as Exeter and Andover to the major Ivy schools. These schools all have very generous scholarship, and admission is based on aptitude more than family income. In fact, kids from underrepresented groups (blacks/Hispanics/Native Indians) have just as high a chance as white and Asian kids from low-income households. Legacy plays an important role but those that got in from this batch is no more than 16-25%.

    Meh. I think only a certain type of kid with a certain type of background can go through these places and become successful enough to justify the cost.

    My best friend/ex and I grew up in the same upper middle class Asian community; I went to the public highschool and she went to Harvard Westlake. Her first couple of years she had trouble understanding the whole rich kid culture and she didn't grow up fast enough to adapt to the environment, socially and academically. It's too early to call the intangible effects of elite prep school right now, but at the very least I really think she would have gone on to a better school had she stayed.
     
  12. PeterMetro

    PeterMetro Well-Known Member

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    You probably want to add one or two in the Loomis Chaffee range to have something as a backup.

    Burn! (Just don't dip down to a Taft or ::snicker:: Avon Old Farms.)

    I went to a fancy-pants prep school and I appreciated it. The most common trait among my friends who went to prep school versus those who didn't is an intellectual curiosity - call it learning for learning's sake. I don't find them to be any more competitive or to have a greater expectation of success; in fact, many come from serious money, and lack any kind of drive as a result.

    This discussion brought to mind an interesting article I read today about the income divide at top colleges. The problem is much worse at prep schools.
     
  13. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Well-Known Member

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    This thread has already moved onto which prep school is the best, but I will give a differing opinion.

    Its very hard to separate out the effect of prep school alone on the type of people who typically attend them. If they are well-off, well-connected already, are you saying they would have done worse if they hadn't attended?

    I went to public schools from k-12 and was admitted to every college I applied to (2 of the top 5 + Williams + 2 Ivys, etc), I'm not in an underrepresented category.

    Also, I'm not sure how prep schools deal with class rank (is there one?), but if your kid is borderline, it could be a soul-crushing experience. Going from top third of a public school to bottom fifth and watching half your class go Ivy league while you don't ...

    Lastly, although my public school was not prestigious in any way, there are plenty that are. If you live in a well-off area, make sure your public school is as inferior as you think it is before choosing a prep. Sure, Harvard-Westlake sends tons to Stanford, so do Gunn and Palo Alto High, and Los Altos High, and Fremont/cupertino High - all public schools
     
  14. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Well-Known Member

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    Lastly, although my public school was not prestigious in any way, there are plenty that are. If you live in a well-off area, make sure your public school is as inferior as you think it is before choosing a prep. Sure, Harvard-Westlake sends tons to Stanford, so do Gunn and Palo Alto High, and Los Altos High, and Fremont/cupertino High - all public schools


    That's a good point. Berkeley High sends their top 5% to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Standford, and Cal every year.
     
  15. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point. Berkeley High sends their top 5% to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Standford, and Cal every year.
    Just about every really good public high school (and I'm not talking Stuyvesant kind of school here), and there are quite a few of them, sends their top 2-5% to elite schools. My graduating class was one of the weaker ones and something like the top 10-12% were Cal/UCLA level. I'd imagine the competition at elite prep schools are brutal nearly all the way through the class since its such a self selected pool; at public school I'd say there was only real competition in the top 5%.
     
  16. HEARTLESS-531

    HEARTLESS-531 Well-Known Member

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    Fellas - thanks for everything. There have been some interesting comments and insight. Much appreciated!
    I don't mean to keep this thread going if we've milked it, but has anyone watched WAITING FOR SUPERMAN? G-d D--n. Unbelievable. It is a documentary about the American education system - the bureaucratic bungling, inequities, teacher underperformance - man, I just needed a drink after watching that doc. So I feel a little better about sending my daughter to a prep school. Dumb question - please tell me that underperforming teachers at prep schools are fired. They are obviously not public, but do they have the same convoluted system of tenure that public (high) schools have?
     
  17. tj100

    tj100 Well-Known Member

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    Dumb question - please tell me that underperforming teachers at prep schools are fired. They are obviously not public, but do they have the same convoluted system of tenure that public (high) schools have?

    Underperforming teachers - if they get hired at all - are fired, and fired quickly. The teaching population tends to be of two varieties: straight out of college (typically an ivy or similar college), or long-term boarding school stock (have been doing this for 30 years, probably mostly at the same school). There's a constant influx of smart, young teachers (probably 5 - 10% of the faculty in any given year) and the best ones mature into long-term roles.

    In some ways, it's similar to the investment banking / law model: bring in several energetic, smart bodies every year, slowly winnow the field over the years until you're left with relatively few 'partners' at the top.

    Compensation is another key difference. Longstanding, excellent teachers tend to be very well compensated.
     
  18. medtech_expat

    medtech_expat Well-Known Member

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    Harvard-Westlake sends tons to Stanford, so do Gunn and Palo Alto High, and Los Altos High, and Fremont/cupertino High - all public schools

    +1

    Without going into cause & effect, these schools also have massive Asian representation, especially Chinese & Indian. I have a few friends who avoid these schools for their kids due to the hyper-competitive environment - and these friends are Chinese & Indian. [​IMG]
     
  19. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Well-Known Member

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    +1

    Without going into cause & effect, these schools also have massive Asian representation, especially Chinese & Indian. I have a few friends who avoid these schools for their kids due to the hyper-competitive environment - and these friends are Chinese & Indian. [​IMG]


    this is wrong, Gunn and PA are not massively Asian. Not sure about Los Altos. fremont/cup yes.

    Anyway, I guess this gets to the hidden reason why people go to prep schools, to stay with the whites?
     
  20. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

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    I went to Choate one summer and was impressed with it. I went to a top prep school in Florida which was a boarding school not too far from my Dad.

    At UVA I definitely noticed that prep schools offered a quality foundation for learning in college. My AP/honors classes gave me a leg up.
     

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