The Importance Of Building A Broad And Diverse School List 

It is no secret that Covid and other factors have disrupted the secondary school admissions landscape. Schools, both boarding and day, have grown increasingly more selective. This can be a tough reality to face as a parent of a successful student (trust me, I’ve been there!).

In the past few years, we have heard more and more parents across the globe say that they are interested in embarking on a school search but want to limit the school list to those which are “stronger” than the independent or public school that they currently attend. If their child is going to make a change, they want it to be worth it.

Here are a few reasons why we think families might want to reconsider this way of thinking when building a school list: 

  1. High school is about more than academic rigor. It is also about the extracurricular opportunities, the style of teaching, the size of the classroom, and the people that surround you (friends and faculty). If your current school is “better” academically, it doesn’t mean it is the best all-around FIT for your student. 
  2. Students applying to secondary schools are young. Rejection is hard at any age, but especially hard at such a young age. Allow them to experience some success in this process. Providing them with options is the developmentally appropriate approach–and staying where they are can be one of those options. 
  3. It is a myth that the more selective the high school is the better (or only) route to a “good” college. In fact, a more selective school means more competition. A student is better served by being in the top quartile of the high school class, wherever that may be, than in the middle of the pack at a more selective school. 
  4. Finally, high school is the time in a student’s life when they should be focused on building confidence and experiencing success (rather than feeling stressed and anxious).

When we work with students for college planning, we build a list that is made up of “reach, target and likely” colleges because it is strategic, healthy and more likely to lead to success. When building a secondary school list, we approach it the same way, and for the very same reasons. We look forward to working with you to build a well-researched, balanced and “best fit” list for your student!