Do colleges and universities care more about grades or the prestige of a high school?

Navyaashali asks: I am going to class eleventh now, and I study in a big boarding school whose cost is a lot. If I stay in school then I will have the school name and my principal’s CV, which will help me get into a college, but I will have very little time to study. But if I leave school then maybe I would have a high percentile, and it would help my parents financially, but I would not have the extra stuff which is helpful to get into a good college (provided you are a brilliant student). Please give me some advice.

Hi Navyaashali –


You seem to have the pros and cons of each decision very clear:  If you stay at the boarding school, you’ll have lower marks from a higher-rated institution; and if you go to another school, you’ll likely have higher marks from a lower-rated place.


I don’t know that I can choose between these two, any more easily than you can – based on what you tell me here.  So I would suggest that you bring another issue into the mix.


When a human applies to colleges and universities, the admission staff does look at the prestige of the schools the person attended, and at their grades.  But they also look at the person.  What their personality is like, what sort of boy or girl they are, what their potential appears to be.  And none of those qualities are determined by the prestige of one’s school, or by one’s grades.


They’re determined by how one lives their life.


I would recommend that you take a very hard look at these two schools, and what your life would be like in either one.  If you’re at the fancier one, does that mean you’d be studying all the time, and not exercising or having fun with friends?  If you’re at the less expensive one, does it mean you wouldn’t be hanging out with people as smart as you, or that you’d be wasting your time on things you don’t care about?  And what are the other students like at these places?  Do the kids from one hang out doing things they shouldn’t, while the other bunch are more productive?  Do you simply like the students at one place more than another?


All of these are factors that will affect your life, and the person those colleges will see.  Maybe you’re someone who just loves acting and singing – which school would give you more chances to do those?  Maybe you’re someone who hates those things, and would much rather be at a place where they weren’t forced onto you.  This alone could be the reason to choose one over the other.


And the most difficult question I’d look at: what about your home life?  Is living with your family more positive or negative?  Would a boarding school give you freedom from a tough home, or make you miserably homesick?  Can you determine who your roommates would be at that boarding school?


And, biggest of all… is there a wonderful four-legged friend living at your home, who gives you everything they have every day, who no one at the boarding school could come close to replacing?


All of these are factors, Navyaashali.  The best way for you to decide is to consider all of them.


And if you do, no matter what you decide, you’ll have made the best decision possible.  And if I were choosing who would go to my college, the simple fact that you’d worked so hard on that decision would get you in right away, guaranteed!


Best of Luck!


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Navyaashali - June 22, 2015 Reply

Thank you Shirelle. This has really helped me. I chose to stay at boarding school, but to pay less attention to co curlicular activities and more towards studies. Thank you

    Shirelle - June 24, 2015 Reply

    I’m really proud of you for making such a strong decision! Well-done my friend!! BIG licks across your face for that!

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