There are many factors to consider when deciding there to go for high school. One of the purposes of high school is setting you up for success in college. Given the competitive nature of college admissions these days, it is key to consider enrolling yourself in a high school that will set you up for success. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a high school.

1. Academics

The cornerstone of any learning institution is, of course, academics. This means that you should look for a school that offers the coursework that you are interested in and that it is delivered in a way in line with your learning style. For instance, some schools do not offer computer science or high-level science courses. If those are subjects you want t have access to in your school, consider finding a different institution. You can always take extra classes and enroll in programs outside of school, but many students prefer to have these subjects in their schools.

Also, it is important to know the learning philosophy of the school before you enroll. Some schools value test taking skills over more innovative forms of assessments such as presentations, debates, and hands-on projects. Some schools also choose to follow standardized curriculums such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. Successful completion of these classes and their associated exams can allow you to bypass certain college classes (depending on the subject and the college in which you enroll). If this is something you value, you may want to consider enrolling in a school that offers such classes.

2. Extracurricular Opportunities

Whether you are enrolling as a day or boarding student the extracurricular offerings of a school is crucial to consider. Some schools may have a greater emphasis towards sports, others towards academic activities such as Model UN, and other schools have a strong balance between the two. Depending on how you gravitate, you may want to select a school accordingly, but keep in mind that most successful applicants to top colleges have pursued sports as well as other extracurricular activities. There are some schools that offer more sports opportunities to competitive athletes and often cut more casual or less experienced players from their teams. If you fall into the latter category it is worth asking the school if they have Junior Varsity and other teams before enrolling.

3. An Environment in Which You Can Thrive:

When making their admissions decisions, colleges consider how students leveraged the opportunities available to them in their high school. This means that in order to get into the nation’s most competitive colleges students should plan to maximize all of the opportunities available to them on campus (as well as taking on roles outside school). Therefore, if your schools offers AP classes, you should plan to take them. The same goes with extracurricular activities. This does not mean you should do everything at your school and spread yourself too thin. Instead it means that in each “category” of school life– academics, athletics, and extracurricular / community involvement— you should aim to participate in the highest level offered. This way you will stand out from other students at your same school.

Environment also plays a large role in this. Your school and teacher recommendations are crucial in having a successful application, so making sure that you are in a school where your contributions will be valued and you can make deep connections with faculty is key. In essence, make sure that you go to a school where you can see yourself not only grow but perform well.

Choosing a high school is not an easy task, but by keeping in mind the key factors of academics, extracurriculars, and environment, you can ensure that you pick a school that works for you. If you want to learn more about our high school admissions and selection process, book a commitment-free call with 4Schoolers today.