Some of the “best” schools in the Bay like Paly, Lynbrook and Mission SJ has pretty bad admit rate around 10-12%. Even the lowly Evergreen is higher than that. Peninsula schools like Aragon and Mills had a great year last year, with over 20% admits.
I have theories, but no concrete reasons backed with data.
Here’s my theory. UC’s test-blind policy hurt the hyper competitive schools the most, because now the only data they can draw on is students’ grades in their own high schools. In hyper competitive schools like in PA and CU, a B student could very well be an A student in a less competitive environment.
Now admissions office is supposed to do some adjustments to account for this. But without public tests, they can only go so far without being accused of biases. Therefore their adjustment did not go far enough to compensate for the lack of a uniform SAT metric.
But a school can’t be too awful. If a school is too crappy, it doesn’t provide the resources like AP and honor classes to help kids succeed. More importantly, kids are surrounded by other less motivated kids and trouble makers and that will drag down even the smartest and most driven kids. There is a fine balance to be had. Peninsula schools strike that good balance.
Not an answer to your question but if you are optimizing for successful future of your kids, IMO, the best thing you can do is to live closest to the most successful place you can afford (think Palo Alto, Saratoga, South Bay). Kids may not necessarily get the top college but they will pick characters, habits, and friends that will help throughout their lives.
The admit rate can be misleading. In top schools like Mission San Jose about 500 kids apply to Berkeley and 60-70 get in, with an admission rate of 12-14%. But in crappier schools very few students even apply to Berkeley so admission rate could be higher. Doesn’t tell the whole story.
Also, like someone else said, peer influence is a big factor at that age. So better to be in good schools.
I used to think that way too. But my counter is that the kids who apply to Berkeley form MSJ and kids applying from a “crappier” school are at similar levels. In fact, the applicants at MSJ may even be more academically gifted. Therefore the odds are longer at MSJ and other hyper competitive schools.
I am not saying crappy schools are better. I am simply saying going for the best of the best may not be a smart strategy college admission wise. Maybe the next tier lower is a good balance. Still good schools but not the absolute best.
thanks. This leads me to another question, what would be the difference/ no difference between a kid growing up in PA, Saratoga, SB compared to a kid growing up in the best school district in TX and FL?
Right. Definitely don’t go to a school where nobody ever makes it to Ivies or Stanford.
I guess one way to decide is look at the absolute number of kids who got admitted to Berkeley. For Mission San Jose that number is 40 in 2022. Ask yourself would your kid rank in the top 40 in the senior class of 500 kids at MSJ? If not then maybe shop for another school.
Of the 40 that got accepted, only 28 decided to enroll. So the 12 that didn’t go must have better options, most likely some high brow privates.
Honestly, there is more to a school than college admission stats. School is to help build great values, develop curiosity & creativity that can help them life long. Bad schools can inspire bad influence & it is a pipe dream to think that your kid is going to be on the top (coz others are mediocre) – your kid will be more interested in things outside of academics & may end up in the middle / worse on a bad school. You need a good environment to flourish. A bad influence / lack of motivation in learning years will affect them. It is a BS to say I am going to bad school neighborhood to make my kid a topper. Of course there are some really smart and motivated ones that can still flourish in any environment – however, the likelihood is low. Only sad part is that not everyone can afford to live in places with best schools, and hope this can change.