THE COLLEGE PATHWAY
STARTS with HIGH SCHOOL
In recent years, high school admissions has become more and more like college admissions: rigorous competition for scarce availability of spots, enforcement of standardized testing for seventh- and eighth-grade minds, the stress of getting waitlisted, the disappointment of getting denied, and the joy of getting accepted. The trend sounds all too familiar for those of us who have been college counselors for years, only in a very different arena, with very different sets of students and very different sets of parents.
While the arena is different, there is a strong link between the choice of high school, college, and career choices of a student. Studies suggest students who are exposed to the stresses and emotional roller coaster of events surrounding high school admissions at an early age, for example, seventh and eighth grades, end up competing better and faster to get ahead of their peers, who, in high school, in prep for college, in college, and beyond, simply did not. We understand there are conflicting viewpoints about such rigor and outcomes for middle school students, but the truth is that the trend is here. In fact, it has been here for the last three to five years, and it will be gaining more ground in the near future. Before you know it, parents around you will be questioning what your plans are for your sixth-grader’s high school education. If your answer is unknown at that point, it may be too late.
Greater Houston area private high schools all have the same goal: to create a graduating class that is diverse and well-rounded with high college acceptance rates. Some private high schools target higher goals, such as a certain percentage of their graduating class attending Ivy League colleges. Regardless of how high the targets are, their goal is to provide quality and up-to-date education along with well-balanced extracurricular activities. Therefore, the planning for an incoming freshmen class at a private high school takes time, analysis, review, and careful selection. There is the review of the “fit” just as there is in college admissions. In order to identify your fit, you must think about the following: academics, athletics, social structure, college counseling, size, location, cost, school culture, technology, and where the graduates go to college.
It is important to be educated on the entire, and evolving, world of high school admissions in order to give yourself the tools and information necessary to make this important decision on your own rather than basing it on rumors, and, most importantly, to live up to our mission and vision for our students: educating our future with solutions for life ©. The decision you are about to make for high school admissions will change the future of your child… Forever…
Ibrahim C. Firat is a recognized educational consultant and President and Co-Founder of Firat Educational Solutions, LLC, in which he works with students of all ages and their families from the Greater Houston Area, Texas, nationally, and abroad. Firat regularly appears on local and national TV, radio, and podcasts and publishes works on matters related to education, high school, and college admissions. Firat is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, Higher Education Consultants Association, and National Association of College Admissions Counseling.