The rankings for Connecticut high schools are out. What’s the relevance for most parents of high school students? Bragging rights or a sense of irritation that a neighboring town has a higher ranked high school. Some sense of how your high school’s rigor compares to others and prepares its students for college. Property values. But unless you are going to move, these are all non-action oriented items.
What does it really mean? Grades are more subjective than most parents think. In the Shoreline, CT area, East Lyme High School, Guilford High School and Daniel Hand High School in Madison are highly ranked. No surprise to me. I’ve worked with students from Southeastern, CT for 15 plus years and students from each of those schools are generally strong. I’ve also worked with students from towns more inland. Some high schools in Connecticut’s more northern regions are very strong but the quality is more inconsistent particularly in the northeast corner of the state.
Nonetheless, those schools have students with the exact same grades and class rank of those in your child’s strong high school. Moreover, do not be fooled into thinking that college admissions staff memorizes the rankings of high schools and factors the strength of the school into their decisions. Some elite prep schools – Choate and Hopkins – do have that benefit. But most public schools do not.
As admissions officers have told me – off the record – they have a difficult time sorting out grades from different schools. For that reason, they weigh test scores far more heavily than they care to publicly admit.
Use this summer for test prep.