Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

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Our counselors answered:

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Prep School Students

As the parent of one prep schooler and adviser to many, I know for certain that there is no way that prep school students have an automatic advantage. This is made very clear when one considers how much colleges seem to weigh having first-generation applicants. Prep schools are very good at providing opportunities to students, particularly in terms of demanding college-prep courses. However, it is up to an individual student to take advantage of those opportunities, and that is what the colleges will assess. There are some cases where prep schools send consistently high quality candidates to colleges, and admissions officers will recognize or expect a certain caliber of applicant.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Yes, but those advantages are limited.

College do not necessarily prefer prep school students. Most, if not all, colleges want to create a diverse freshman class. This diversity includes: geographic, racial, religious and socio-economic. Colleges often like having "first-generation" students too. That refers to students where neither parent has a college degree. Where a prep school student does have an advantage is that most prep schools have college counselors, whose main job is to assist those students with choosing and applying to college. Those counselors usually would have a relatively small case-load as compared to public schools and are given the time to attend college conferences and network with admission officers. A public school student can make up for this by working harder both in choosing and/or applying to colleges, or he might consider working with an Independent Educational Consultant. To find a qualified consultant in your area, please check out the website for IECA.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

In the sense that many prep school students come from affluent backgrounds and are privy to some of the best educational opportunities around -- they do, in my opinion, have distinct advantages. However, it is one thing to have advantages and it's quite another to make the most of them! Coming from a prep school won't help you in college admissions if you don't work hard in your classes, challenge yourself inside and outside of the classroom, and prepare yourself for the rigors of college academics. In addition, it's important to remember that there are many students from middle and lower middle class backgrounds at prep schools who attend on scholarships. Just because you come from a prep school -- doesn't necessarily mean you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth! And don't forget -- there are many many public schools in affluent areas that rival and sometimes surpass private prep schools in terms of prestige, resources, and opportunities. The most important thing is to make the most of your circumstances -- whether you are in public school, private school, an urban area, or the suburbs. It's you (and not your high school) who can give yourself "advantages" by working to your full potential.

็Ž‹ๆ–‡ๅ› June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Yes, confirmed by satistical results

in general, prep school offers the students the best prep curricumlums and personal growth to better transition for college. prep school students are typically more mature with better study skills. they are more disciplined in many ways. however, many public schools are also competitive for admissions. there is a huge gap between most elite public schools and not so afflulent public schools. the qualify of counseling of each school will add advantages or disadvantages to the students.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

No. Every student is looked at within the context of the school he or she is coming from. Some prep schools are stronger than others and some public high schools are stronger than others. No matter what school you attend, you need to be challenging yourself and taking full advantage of the opportunities. If your school is not challenging you, a prep school might be a good option for you, but more so you are not bored than for the promise of a particular college.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

No. They may have access to more consistent and personalized college counseling, and by virtue of the nature of the school there is apt to be a culture more oriented towards college preparation, but it would be wrong to say that they have an advantage in the application process simply because they are prep school students. Each college reviews a student's record in the context of the opportunities and program available. Consequently, while a prep school might offer some programatic advantages, how a student responds to those opportunities is more important than their mere existence. The ultimate decision making process is a highly individualized one with the context in which each student operates playing an important role.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

No! Virtually no one does.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

No one student has an "automatic" advantage who comes from a prep school verses a public or charter school as many colleges use a holistic review for each applicant. That being said, the prep student may have been offered more programs to chose from, stronger academic courses with lots of hands-on and experiential learning, the ability to not have to work during high school thus freeing time up for extracurriculars or school work, have unlimited tutoring and test prep funds, and a strong support system at home. Unfortunately, these things combined often do put one student in a better admittance position than others, but it is not only because of the school they attended, it is merely based on their various levels of support from home.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

Colleges examine many factors in selecting a candidate. The rigor of your high school curriculum is one of these criteria. If your school has a long history of sending students who excel to a certain college, it is likely that the school will look on your high school experience as favorable. At the same time, this can occur at any school, whether private or public. If this is not the case, and to outweigh any sort of bias that a "prep" school may receive, make sure that you take the most rigorous schedule that is reasonable for your interests and schedule and by taking universally accepted courses, such as AP or IB, you can ensure that schools will pay attention.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

Do prep school students have an automatic advantage?

No and Yes. Students are evaluated in the context of their school. Prep schools vary widely as do the students who attend them. In some cases the appearance of privilege can be a disadvantage in college admission. While this is true, a quality core education, from a prep school or a public school is never a bad thing. In fact, certain prep schools have admission rates at the ivy league approaching one third. When a schools students have historically performed well at a college there is an advantage.