Bradshaw College Consulting

Sept. 12, 2019

Educated Advice Columnist
Gerald M. Bradshaw

Dear Mr. Bradshaw,

I am beginning my junior year in high school and I have been told that my chances of getting admitted to an Ivy League college may depend upon the reputation of my high school. Is this true? If so, what schools have an advantage?

Signed, Confused Junior

Excelling at a top school — whether public or private —
will aid in Ivy League application

Dear Confused Junior,

There was a day when attendance at a top prep school was nearly a prerequisite for admission to an Ivy League college. Today, 63 percent of Harvard freshman admissions are from public high schools.

For example, The Harvard Crimson reported that in Harvard’s Class of 2017, six percent of admitted students came from only 10 high schools. Eleven percent of high schools with students admitted to Harvard sent 36 percent of students, while 74 percent of schools sent only one student.

In 2018, the high schools with the highest percentage of graduates accepted to the Ivies were: Trinity, Collegiate School, Brearley School and The Spence School — all of New York..

Today, it is becoming less true that where an applicant attended high school will have an impact on their chances of being admitted to an Ivy or another top college such as Stanford University and the University of Chicago.

In most cases if you do well at any private or public school, you are capable of competing with other students to gain admission to a top college. If your high school has a top-notch college counseling program and a curriculum that prepares you for rigorous academic achievement in college, it will make a huge difference in your admission chances.

I always tell my clients that their high school resume will need to show significant community service and an outstanding academic record. You will need to pursue the most challenging educational track at your school, and developing your writing skills should be a priority. Letters of recommendation will be important. You should ask someone who has an academic or supervisory relationship with you to write your letter because they can speak to your preparedness for the rigors of a college curriculum.

Begin your college application process early. As a junior in high school, the time is now!

If you have a career path in mind that is backed up by your high school academic choices and community service activities, it will greatly enhance your application and impress college admissions officers. 

While public schools vary in quality, there are abundant opportunities for motivated and talented students to stand out. Advanced Placement courses are recommended if you are gearing up for a top-tier college and it is still a world where your SAT scores speak volumes to admissions people. Study hard for these tests and get coaching help if you need to develop good study habits.

Even if you do not prepare at an elite high school, top colleges are still looking for diversity across the board. It will be to your credit if you have taken advantage of all that your high school offers to you — in both academic and extracurricular areas.

Contact Gerald Bradshaw, The US States Top college consultant. One-on-one college consulting. Get help with the college application essay. Make you dream of being admitted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania a reality. 


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