Where the smart money is going: elite prep school college matriculation

My gifted niece is 12-years-old and my brother is starting to think about where to send her to high school. My brother decided to look into some of the elite east coast prep schools as well as the highly regarded Washington, D.C. area prep schools to see how well they place into college.

Obviously, all of the schools place well into the Ivy Leagues and Stanford, Duke, Chicago and MIT. But I found some interesting information about where students were matriculating who couldn't (or chose not to) matriculate into the Ivy Leagues + SDCM.

My brother looked at Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover, Hotchkiss, Milton Academy, and Roxbury Latin (among the truly elite east coast prep schools) and Washington International School, Georgetown Prep, Episcopal High School, and Gonzaga in the Washington, D.C. area. (A few of these are all boys schools, but I guess my nephew is 6.)

For the 65-80% of the students who didn't matriculate into Ivy + SDCM, here are some patterns that emerged:

- Georgetown was the single biggest non-Ivy + SDCM target.

- After Georgetown, Williams; Washington University (St. Louis); Trinity College (CT); George Washington; Boston College; Carnegie Mellon; NYU; Vanderbilt; and Tufts were the most consistent significant targets.

- UVA was a consistent target among the prep schools, but among the D.C. area prep schools it was the single biggest target.

- College of William & Mary; Bowdoin; Case Western; Lafayette; Wesleyan; and Colorado College consistently saw a handful of students (1-6) enrolled each year from the various prep schools.

- After UVA, Michigan and Berkeley were the most sought after public universities, followed by UCLA and Illinois - Urbana-Champaign.

- St. Andrews (Scotland) was the biggest international target, with most of the schools seeing a few of their graduates each year enroll.

- One of the most bizarre trends was the fact that Rhode Island School of Design received several students each year from most of the schools.

My brother also found that some of the schools have particular pipelines (based on some patterns in the data):

- Phillips Academy Andover: Georgetown
- Phillips Academy Exeter: Carnegie Mellon; NYU; Tufts
- Hotchkiss: Middlebury; Georgetown; Johns Hopkins; Trinity College (CT); Yale
- Roxbury Latin: Harvard
- Milton Academy: Brown; Columbia
- Gonzaga: Georgetown
- WIS: Berkeley; McGill (Canada)

So, I thought some of this information was interesting. Follow the smart money in investing; follow the smart money in college selection. My brother did all the work, so I thought this might be interesting reading for someone here to see where the smart money is choosing to attend school.

Comments (110)

Dec 29, 2014 - 2:11am
theHill, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Fascinating...thanks to your brother for the research and you for posting.

Dec 29, 2014 - 1:16pm
Name Of Profit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well,not everyone studied in the US,so i'm not really familiar with the system.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 7:00am
Matrick, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Very interesting, thanks. Did your brother also look at any international schools, e.g. Le Rosey or Salem?

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Dec 29, 2014 - 8:58am
kidflash, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Isn't Le Rosey the type of school you don't even have a shot of getting into unless you're royalty or a Kennedy/(equivalent level of social/political cache in other countries)-type family? The only kid I know who went there was some next level shit in terms of family background.

Jun 2, 2018 - 8:57am
LiechtensteinMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Know some from Le Rosey, they're all rich but nothing like you're describing. It's a pretty large school...

Dec 29, 2014 - 9:38am
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nope. He was looking at a handful of east coast and D.C. area prep schools.

He really hasn't come to a conclusion yet. The college matriculation statistics are truly incredible, but because these prep schools have highly competitive admissions, one has to consider whether these schools are producing Ivy League talent or if they are simply recruiting it. Of course, to the question of @Name of Profit, these schools apparently produce amazing post-graduation networks, which I find weird given that I currently talk to nobody from my high school days. But the network might be worth the price of admission depending on the industry one ends up in.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 10:09am
AndyLouis, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

- One of the most bizarre trends was the fact that Rhode Island School of Design received several students each year from most of the schools.

Why is that a bizarre trend? Isn't RISD one of the top art schools in the country / world?

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Dec 29, 2014 - 10:49am
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:
AndyLouis:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

- One of the most bizarre trends was the fact that Rhode Island School of Design received several students each year from most of the schools.

Why is that a bizarre trend? Isn't RISD one of the top art schools in the country / world?

Because it's an art school. It's not even ranked by the ranking sites. The degrees they offer are bull crap. If I had just spent $200,000 to send my kid to Andover I'd be pissed if they pursued an art degree from an art school. If it were Julliard or something that would be different--Julliard is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So that's why to me it seemed like a weird trend. But it's probably explainable in that those kids' parents have money to blow and have set up a nice trust fund. RISD is also probably a great place to meet hot rich girls.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 9:13pm
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Virginia Tech 4ever:
AndyLouis:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

- One of the most bizarre trends was the fact that Rhode Island School of Design received several students each year from most of the schools.

Why is that a bizarre trend? Isn't RISD one of the top art schools in the country / world?

Because it's an art school. It's not even ranked by the ranking sites. The degrees they offer are bull crap. If I had just spent $200,000 to send my kid to Andover I'd be pissed if they pursued an art degree from an art school. If it were Julliard or something that would be different--Julliard is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So that's why to me it seemed like a weird trend. But it's probably explainable in that those kids' parents have money to blow and have set up a nice trust fund. RISD is also probably a great place to meet hot rich girls.

LOL. Would you really rather these hypothetical kids go to Tufts and major in Government or something? RISD is best of the best for what it is.

Look, if you just spent 200k for your kid to go to Andover you probably aren't going to mind if they go to RISD. It's not like these kids are FOB immigrants that need to become doctors and lawyers to establish themselves (for the most part).

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Jun 2, 2018 - 7:00pm
Bruvver, what's your opinion? Comment below:
real_Skankhunt42:
AndyLouis:
Virginia Tech 4ever:

- One of the most bizarre trends was the fact that Rhode Island School of Design received several students each year from most of the schools.

Why is that a bizarre trend? Isn't RISD one of the top art schools in the country / world?

Because it's an art school. It's not even ranked by the ranking sites. The degrees they offer are bull crap. If I had just spent $200,000 to send my kid to Andover I'd be pissed if they pursued an art degree from an art school. If it were Julliard or something that would be different--Julliard is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So that's why to me it seemed like a weird trend. But it's probably explainable in that those kids' parents have money to blow and have set up a nice trust fund. RISD is also probably a great place to meet hot rich girls.

Ah, the good old rule of "if I've paid (a lot) for my kid's education, he better study and become what I want". Well done, sir

May 8, 2020 - 1:57pm
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:
real_Skankhunt42:
Because it's an art school. It's not even ranked by the ranking sites. The degrees they offer are bull crap. If I had just spent $200,000 to send my kid to Andover I'd be pissed if they pursued an art degree from an art school. If it were Julliard or something that would be different--Julliard is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So that's why to me it seemed like a weird trend. But it's probably explainable in that those kids' parents have money to blow and have set up a nice trust fund. RISD is also probably a great place to meet hot rich girls.

I would imagine that if you are wealthy enough to blow $50k/yr on sending your child to Andover, you aren't too concerned about their financial future. You'd probably rather your kid make 40-50k a year in a career they find fulfilling and a have a talent for.

And yes, RISD is a phenomenal fine arts school... I think that and SCAD are the top two, though I only think that from some very outdated info from when I was hearing classmates apply years back.

And obviously none of us know what your brother wants for your niece, but you seem to be thinking about this from a high school --> college --> finance/business trajectory, which is fine (and understandable for this site). But there are plenty of lucrative careers that can come out of a fine arts degree; browsing the wikipedia "notable alumni" section, RISD has some super wealthy alumni who own galleries, are film directors (my favorite is the guy whose claim to fame is listed as the "Whassup!" commercials), decently well known architects, etc.

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:04pm
£IB£, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Its all about Eton:) Hardest to get into imo. Uk private school offer shit all in terms of aid or financial assistance but they are fucking awsome. IMO the most exclusive in the world. I know of some people that went to La rosey but they were more impressed with places like Eton, harrow, charterhouse etc... La rosey just screams I am stupid but rich.Its just a place to hang out and chill but your parents know you are safe. The education at La rosey is shit from what I have heard.

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:37pm
Matrick, what's your opinion? Comment below:
£IB£:

Its all about Eton:)
Hardest to get into imo. Uk private school offer shit all in terms of aid or financial assistance but they are fucking awsome. IMO the most exclusive in the world.
I know of some people that went to La rosey but they were more impressed with places like Eton, harrow, charterhouse etc...
La rosey just screams I am stupid but rich.Its just a place to hang out and chill but your parents know you are safe. The education at La rosey is shit from what I have heard.

not sure I agree with your comment re Le Rosey, but then again, I am not an expert

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 11:52am
NESCAC, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Extremely interesting read. However, I think one thing being overlooked is the role athletics plays in the college process at these schools. For example, at my alma mater, I can't think of a student who went to Milton Academy who DIDN'T play a varsity sport during undergrad. Not to say that you're screwed if you can't get recruited for a sport...because that's just false (I also know a few Milton kids at top schools who don't do sports). Being a recruited athlete is a reason (that can't really be quantified) a fair amount of kids from places like Andover, Exeter, Milton, Hotchkiss, Choate...etc get into great schools

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Dec 29, 2014 - 12:01pm
copecre, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not surprising to see a ton of NESCAC schools on the list... though interesting that Amherst doesn't make an appearance. As for Trinity, I think GQ said it best: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/humor/200908/douchy-colleges-list-brown-university-duke-harvard-princeton-nyu-notre-dame-vassar-slideshow#slide=5

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:13pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:
copecre:

Not surprising to see a ton of NESCAC schools on the list... though interesting that Amherst doesn't make an appearance. As for Trinity, I think GQ said it best: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/humor/200908/douch...

There was definitely Amherst matriculation, but it was far less than I would have expected.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 12:03pm
£IB£, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want your kid to get into Investment banking then enrol them at 7th grade at a top British public school.

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:36pm
Withoutapaddle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

La Rosey is 113,000 a year...... WHAT!?!?!??!?!?

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:38pm
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can also find data on the top NYC prep schools. Trinity is here: http://www.trinityschoolnyc.org/Page/Our-Program/College-Counseling/Trinity-School-Matriculation. Horace Mann and Dalton are the others in the top 3 in NYC and have similar matriculation. For co-ed, you have Fieldston, Riverdale and a couple of others one step down. The pipeline from Trinity/Horace Mann/Dalton is 35-40% of the class to Ivy/MIT/Duke/Stanford each year (Trinity's top 5 schools fed to are Penn, Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Yale in that order). I graduated HS 10 years ago, but can confirm that for the kids not getting into Ivy/SMD, the biggest targets were Gtown, WashU, USC, Vanderbilt and a couple of others, with the biggest publics being UMich, UVA, Berkeley and probably Wisconsin.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 12:42pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, Wisconsin showed up some and so did Southern Cal and Vanderbilt. I might even say Southern Cal showed up a disproportionate number of times given that they were a continent away from all of the schools my brother looked at. So that could probably be added to the list. I'd imagine elite prep schools on the west coast feed into Southern Cal.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 8:52pm
JontellMordan, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Masterz57:

You can also find data on the top NYC prep schools. Trinity (my alma mater) is here. Horace Mann and Dalton are the others in the top 3 in NYC and have similar matriculation. For co-ed, you have Fieldston, Riverdale and a couple of others one step down. The pipeline from Trinity/Horace Mann/Dalton is 35-40% of the class to Ivy/MIT/Duke/Stanford each year (Trinity's top 5 schools fed to are Penn, Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Yale in that order). I graduated HS 10 years ago, but can confirm that for the kids not getting into Ivy/SMD, the biggest targets were Gtown, WashU, USC, Vanderbilt and a couple of others, with the biggest publics being UMich, UVA, Berkeley and probably Wisconsin.

I went to an all-scholarship NYC prep school and met many folks from Dalton, Horace Mann, Collegiate, and Trinity.

Very impressed and more so with the chicks at Brearley, Dominican Academy, Spence, and Marymount.

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May 1, 2016 - 8:34pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Regis guy!!! Hello! Dominican academy? Not the brightest bunch.

Dec 29, 2014 - 12:38pm
phillyboy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wish id gone to a top prep school. not for the education because I did well but the future connections and all round personal growth they entail

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Dec 29, 2014 - 12:43pm
Scott Irish, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not to mention the pissing contests you could win with people by bragging about high school well into your 30s, 40s, etc

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Dec 29, 2014 - 12:45pm
phillyboy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Given.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 1:18pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think that happens a lot in the deep south and Texas when it comes to high school football rivalries.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 1:18pm
ArcherVice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On the one hand this has to be the most absurd use of money I've ever seen, after all how much of a difference is the education for public vs private 6th grade classes? On the other, if the money is immaterial and you have kids why wouldn't you give them every advantage.

Dec 29, 2014 - 1:26pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Roxbury Latin sends a higher % of its students to Harvard than ANY high school in the world. Truly amazing placement stats.

Overall, I would rank Andover and Exeter as the best boarding schools in the country followed by the likes of St. Paul's, Lawrenceville, Groton, Deerfield. From talking to my prep school buddies, Choate, Hotchkiss, Taft, are considered a bit below those other schools.

Dec 29, 2014 - 1:34pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:
mbavsmfin:

Roxbury Latin sends a higher % of its students to Harvard than ANY high school in the world. Truly amazing placement stats.

Overall, I would rank Andover and Exeter as the best boarding schools in the country followed by the likes of St. Paul's, Lawrenceville, Groton, Deerfield. From talking to my prep school buddies, Choate, Hotchkiss, Taft, are considered a bit below those other schools.

That leads to a dilemma for an upper middle class / lower upper class parent like my brother. His daughter is gifted, but the local public high school is a well respected high school with the International Baccalaureate diploma. Can one justify a $50,000/year price tag (possibly $25-30,000 with financial aid) if the child is likely to excel academically either way and would likely go to a school of her choice either way? I'd think for males especially the network might be worth it, but I haven't seen women utilize their network the way men utilize it. Men seem to have a particular gift (some might call it sinful tribalism) for utilizing their network to their advantage.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 2:14pm
copecre, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Interesting point about women networking... can anyone of the fairer sex chime in?

Keep in mind also the networking doesn't just stop at your alma mater. If you're trying to network with someone who went to any prep school, it's an easier intro if you can say "I went to Exeter/Andover/Deerfield/Choate" than it is to say "I went to Local Public High School." It's an automatic (if not always accurate) qualification for someone who runs in those circles.

Dec 29, 2014 - 2:34pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I had this debate with my older sister and her son about this. I wanted him to apply to andover and exeter since they offer generous need-based aid to those who get in. My nephew is pretty good at math and music but is lazy; he plays video games with his loser friends all day long. I was hoping that an elite boarding school would force him to get his act together since he will be surrounded by talented ambitious classmates. However, my sister could not think long-term and would not let him go. His public high school is mediocre, so I'm pretty pissed at my sister's lack of wisdom on this matter.

As a general rule, I suppose it's better being a big fish in a small pond when it comes to admissions. Adcom judges a high school student within his context. They are asking, "Did this student make the most out of the opportunities that were afforded to him?" So in a way, going to an average high school could work to one's benefit. On the down side however, to get into an uber elite college from a regular public high school, he has to be an absolute demi-god, perfect in nearly all areas. I'm one of only like 4 or 5 students from the entire history of my high school who got into an elite undergrad; we were all valedictorian/salutatorian, 1500+ SAT, numerous academic and leadership awards, glowing recommendations, etc. Anything less would have relegated me to a state school or a lower T25 such as Vanderbilt, Emory, Tufts, WUSTL.

Finally, assuming your niece is white/asian, non-legacy, non-recruited athlete, she will be subject to discrimination by the ultra-liberals who run the admissions offices of our nation's finest colleges. Keep that in mind.

Dec 29, 2014 - 2:32pm
Phoenix2017, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I went to a large public high school and was comparing my experience with a friend who went to a top prep school. It's pretty insane how different the classroom experience is. The discussion format you get at those prep schools along with the diverse range of classes you can take are unparalleled. I wouldn't hesitate to sent my kids to prep school if possible.

Dec 29, 2014 - 2:36pm
jnaz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not sure about some of VT 4ever's conclusions. I graduated from one of the Phillips'. If you weren't going to an Ivy, Stanford, or MIT, NESCAC was the place most students found themselves (alongside the Claremont Colleges and Swarthmore). CMU was not very popular, Duke was surprisingly an uncommon destination (I know a lot of students who got into Duke and an Ivy then chose the Ivy, even though Duke was on paper the stronger school. Schools like Northwestern, WashU, Emory, and Hopkins also fell into this situation). Michigan and UVA were by far the top public destinations (UCLA year in and year out beat Berkeley for matriculation but was still lower on the pole). Georgetown and NYU, as you mentioned, were very popular but you always got the sense that they were consolation prizes for people who wanted to go Ivy or NESCAC. There were a ton of transfers in the second year among students who went to my school (Gtown->Penn, UNC(Morehead)->Dartmouth, Columbia->Yale, etc).

In short, people fell into two camps: those who looked for a larger school and those who looked to replicate the boarding school experience. The former went to the top schools between 4K and 15K students, the latter went to the NESCAC+Claremont.

College counseling pooled schools into 4 tiers and asked us all to select at least two from each tier. For most students, schools like NYU and even some top public were never more difficult than the third tier.

Wow.. my longest post

Dec 29, 2014 - 2:53pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not really sure where you disagree with my conclusions. But in any event, the conclusions are based on Excel and arithmetic. So I'm definitely not speaking of first-hand experience--just reported the conclusion of a physical count and some Excel.

But my #s aren't exclusive to the Phillips'. They include other schools that aren't quite as elite.

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Dec 29, 2014 - 2:56pm
jnaz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ok that's cool. I wasn't attacking or anything just giving some color. All I was saying was that after the Ivy's there was a large contingent of students that elected small liberal arts colleges over elite "Ivy sized" instituionsat the school I attended and a few others in our area. Otherwise my experiences agree with your analysis.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:07pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah this is in line with my buddies from andover/exeter when they were choosing colleges. There is a HUGE east coast bias towards the Ivies and the top liberal arts colleges. Aside from Stanford, the non-east coast schools did not get as much attention (northwestern/uchicago/wustl/duke/vandy, etc.).

Transferring from Georgetown to Penn, UNC Morehead to Dartmouth, are strange moves. Not sure what they were thinking especially given how prestigious Morehead is.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:23pm
Phoenix2017, what's your opinion? Comment below:
mbavsmfin:

Yeah this is in line with my buddies from andover/exeter when they were choosing colleges. There is a HUGE east coast bias towards the Ivies and the top liberal arts colleges. Aside from Stanford, the non-east coast schools did not get as much attention (northwestern/uchicago/wustl/duke/vandy, etc.).

Transferring from Georgetown to Penn, UNC Morehead to Dartmouth, are strange moves. Not sure what they were thinking especially given how prestigious Morehead is.

I get the sense that at elite private colleges and prep schools, there is a ton of anti-public school sentiment.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:37pm
basketballbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Competition to get in the Ivies is pretty fierce at the top boarding schools. If you are someone who has the opportunity to go to a public high school in an area of the country considered "diverse" (some states in the south for example) and be valedictorian there, then your chances of getting into the Ivies will in my opinion be greater than someone applying from an Exeter/Andover equivalent who is only in the top, say third of their class.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:55pm
jnaz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My graduating class (~300) sent about 15 people (conservatively) to Harvard, Columbia, and Pennsylvania each. For the Harvard bunch, the average GPA was a high B+ (That said grading is often harsh at these institutions, with competition obviously being stiff). It is much easier to make it to an Ivy for an elite prep school than a public school, especially if you're banking on sashaying out as a valedictorian. IMHO, the top public school students I met in college were at least hungrier if not more accomplished than my boarding school classmates.

THEN there were the beasts from the specialized highschools all over the country (Stuyvesant, Hunter College High, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Thomas Jefferson in no particular order). These were hand over fist my smartest classmates in college. Some of them sent equal numbers as my prep school to my college (by volume, not percentage). That said, I hear competition is nearly murderous at these places.

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May 1, 2016 - 8:30pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yup. And that's why us beasts were so damn bored in college. Bunch of jocks, legacies, diversity folk who just aren't as bright and/or educated as our high school pals. How I pine for my high school philosophy classes, my educated and diverse and natively brilliant classmates. Undergrad, medschool, it was all SO BORING and the peer group (if you can call it that) just not up to snuff.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:48pm
booyah914, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a recent Exeter/Andover grad and I will throw my 2 cents in. It is true that the "upper tier" prep schools people have mentioned here (your Exeter, Andover, SPS, Deerfield, etc) do send an abnormal high percentage to the elite colleges but also EVERYONE applies Sure my graduating class sent 20 kids to Harvard , but 100 applied. I currently attend an Amherst/Williams and love it but sometimes I do believe I would have a shot at HYPS if I stayed at my local school. The competition at prep school is fierce.

That being said, I do not regret my decision to attend what so ever. My prep school experience has definitely over prepared me for college academics which allows me to pursue other activities and passions, whether its sports or clubs. It gives you access to an unbelievable alumni network that is extremely helpful, especially in finance. I think I have leveraged my prep school network more than my college network so far. Prep school however isn't for everybody and I would highly recommend making it a student decision than a parent decision.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:56pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's still a 20% acceptance rate to Harvard from Andover/Exeter, which is significantly higher than the overall acceptance rate of 5-6% and higher than pretty much every high school out there except a few. There are a lot of public high schools where getting into Harvard is considered a "miracle" as in only like 1 or 2 have gotten in EVER.

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:48pm
booyah914, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a recent Exeter/Andover grad and I will throw my 2 cents in. It is true that the "upper tier" prep schools people have mentioned here (your Exeter, Andover, SPS, Deerfield, etc) do send an abnormal high percentage to the elite colleges but also EVERYONE applies Sure my graduating class sent 20 kids to Harvard , but 100 applied. I currently attend an Amherst/Williams and love it but sometimes I do believe I would have a shot at HYPS if I stayed at my local school. The competition at prep school is fierce.

That being said, I do not regret my decision to attend what so ever. My prep school experience has definitely over prepared me for college academics which allows me to pursue other activities and passions, whether its sports or clubs. It gives you access to an unbelievable alumni network that is extremely helpful, especially in finance. I think I have leveraged my prep school network more than my college network so far. Prep school however isn't for everybody and I would highly recommend making it a student decision than a parent decision.

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Mar 22, 2016 - 7:54pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is the most balanced analysis. I am a recent Exeter / Andover parent and cannot agree more that while the school may give a lot, it takes a lot for the student to absorb it or realize the value of the school while being there. The Ivy matriculation is impressive but if your GPA is in the median, you can very well forget about Ivies, and the disappointment can be poignant. A student may be truly better off being a top student in a top public school than a mediocre in a top independent school. Having said that, once you visit these schools as a student or parent when the S/D is just 14 years old, it is hard to pass it if you are selected from an incredibly competitive pool.

Mar 24, 2016 - 12:43pm
jb0938, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Let me offer up a different point of view. I attended a "lower/middle tier" boarding school, won't name, but a couple tiers below Exeter/Andover, maybe a tier below Choate/Hotchkiss/Taft. I actually think this was an advantage.

I came from a public school system previously and it was INCREDIBLY easy to differentiate myself from 90% of my classmates who I found by and large underwhelming - spoiled, extremely lazy, wannabe socialites, and frankly just unintelligent - mostly hailing from former WASP families who weren't good enough to get into the top prep schools. Again, there was the minority 10% who were very motivated and gifted who went to top schools, but we were predominantly a feeder school into mediocre liberal arts colleges like Hobart, Dickinson, F&M, etc. Nonetheless the opportunities and support offered by the school were simply amazing and on par with the eliete prep schools (and very few took advantage of this, because most were too busy doing drugs and getting expelled - parents say goodbye to that $50K tuition). The teachers took their vocations seriously, mentorship opportunities were wide, and most importantly - you grow a lot during these 14-18 years and learn to be independent / self-sufficient which prepares you for university extremely well.

I was by no means a great student w/run of the mill test scores and EC's, but I felt that having at least a prep school degree the admission office was swayed a bit (who didn't realize that the average kids from my school had no business in applying to the school) and so I got into a top 10 uni.

In summary: being the big fish in a competitive pool (top prep school) > big fish in a noncompetitive pool (shit prep school)...but maybe not by that much.

Dec 29, 2014 - 4:05pm
booyah914, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think the potential higher percentage has to do with the competition and the caliber of students. Jnaz is right that the competition is nearly murderous. Our SAT average, from my memory, was 2100 and even having 2200 was a "you're screwed mentality". Also I do not think I will ever be surrounded by more well rounded people. I am obviously biased from background but it was expected you were an athlete or artist (some cases both!), speak a 2nd or 3rd language, some academic niche (like math, economics, physics, english, whatever), volunteer, and still get b pluses or a minuses if you had a shot at an ivy. Grade deflation is also a thing at these places and I also had Saturday classes.

Dec 29, 2014 - 4:11pm
booyah914, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@jnaz very true! If anyone has any questions about prep schools feel free to pm me as I feel that is all I have to offer at this forum as I am just a lost chimp attempting to navigate the jungle that is wall street

Dec 29, 2014 - 4:26pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This conversation is depressing me. I went to a mediocre public high school. Well rounded meant you also smoked the cheap drug you were selling. :(

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Dec 29, 2014 - 5:07pm
mbavsmfin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I do alumni interviews for my alma mater. The high school seniors applying have INSANE resumes and the vast majority of them get dinged. It's downright frightening how competitive elite college admissions has become. Pedigree is now more important than ever in order to secure a top job in finance, consulting, tech. And the best high school students know this and work their ass off to get in.

Dec 29, 2014 - 5:04pm
Alt-Ctr-Left, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Just re-visited my high school's website and see our annual enrollment fees are up to $80 a year.

I'm liking my ROI right about now..

"I don't know how to explain to you that you should care about other people."

Dec 30, 2014 - 2:15am
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Threads like this just remind me how much it must suck to have kids.

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Dec 30, 2014 - 2:33am
Matrick, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The Crimson did an article on Boston Latin re the same topic: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/12/13/making-harvard-feeder-schools/

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

Dec 30, 2014 - 2:39am
Matrick, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Link says it all...

http://successfulstudent.org/26-best-private-schools-2014/

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

See my Blog & AMA

Dec 30, 2014 - 10:13am
heister, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly boarding schools are likely great educational environments but they are really for insanely busy and lazy parents.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Dec 30, 2014 - 11:16am
ke18sb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If one is concerned that his/her kid won't leverage a boarding school / prep school experience into a top tier college and ultimately a top tier profession than you can't afford it. Plain and simple. Kids will do what they do, despite parents guidance and environment...and that's OK. People of means that send their kids to those schools don't think of it as an investment to get their kid on a certain track, they do it because they think its a good place to get a lower/upper education...that and get the kids out of the house. Kids aren't and shouldn't be an investment.

It's like the old cliches...if you have to ask you can't afford it...if you are worried about your Ferrari getting scratched don't drive one.

Dec 30, 2014 - 5:02pm
Cookies With Milken, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I went to a nyc metro area prep school and my advice to others who are considering that path for their children (or have friends debating this same question) is to ask yourself if your child is really 'that smart.' If your kid is brilliant and can manage to find their way to the top of the class they will have 1 on 1 on-campus interviews with admission from Harvard and the rest. The ivies more or less accept X number of students per year from each of those schools.

If you don't think your kid can rise to the pinnacle of such a school, just go to public school, have a much more relaxed childhood, looser girls, atmosphere, still learn, still do well, and give yourself a better shot at a non-ivy while using your additional free time to master the sats and the rest of your application.

Dec 30, 2014 - 5:16pm
DCDepository, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can you speak to network? As some have noted, that's the x-factor for some of these prep schools, not college admissions so much.

Best Response
Dec 31, 2014 - 5:02pm
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As I mentioned earlier, I went to a top school in NYC, then on to a non-HYP Ivy and am now at a T15 bschool (and yes, I say T15 because it's in the Ross/Cornell/Yale/Darden etc tier). In terms of network, I generally use my undergrad network the most, then my bschool network, then high school. However, that is mostly only due to the fact that everyone from bschool and undergrad "get it", i.e. they understand the networking game and will gladly do me a favor knowing that I will return it later. A good number of people in my HS class went on to do non-business things so they are not as in to networking or aren't of value. However, that doesn't mean my high school network is not useful; in fact it's stood me in very good stead over the years. As I mentioned, roughly 40% of my class went to Ivy/MIT/Stanford, with the ones who didn't generally going to colleges like Williams, Colgate, Hamilton or universities in the top 25 (Hopkins, WashU, Gtown, etc). Many of them have since gone onto top law schools or top bschools (off the top of my head there's Kellogg, Sloan, Yale, HBS, Stanford GSB grads in my HS class) and top companies (Facebook, Google, BB, MBB, etc). Honestly, I would say between HS, undergrad, and bschool there's basically no top employer around besides small firms such as MM PE or smaller HFs that I couldn't get to through my network, and that to me is by far the biggest value of an elite education.

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May 1, 2016 - 8:37pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow. I'm sorry. How the hell did you end up at a second rate BS with that pedigree? I went to Hunter for HS and while our college placement was not to great (lots of Asians, no legacies or URMs) it all washed out in grad school. Everyone went to Wharton, Stanford, Harvard, Chicago, or if they just had to stay in NY, Columbia.

Funniest
May 3, 2016 - 11:21am
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm glad you're so sympathetic, not going to HSW for bschool is one of the great failures of my life. I sometimes have trouble looking at myself in the mirror when I wake up because I was forced to go to a top 15 bschool instead of an M7. Suicide was never far from my thoughts when I was forced to attend Cornell for bschool. Fortunately I made it through 2 years and managed to get a job as a greeter at Walmart, although I had to recruit off campus as we're only a target for 7-11.

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Dec 31, 2014 - 5:08pm
Masterz57, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not sure I entirely agree with this. I would argue it's actually much easier to get into an Ivy/top school from an elite HS than from a run-of-the-mill public. While most of the kids in my HS class were very smart, 40% of us went to Ivy/MIT/Stanford. There is no way that in a regular public school the kid in the 40th percentile is going to an Ivy. I went to a non-HYP Ivy undergrad and I might not have been in the top 50% of my class GPA-wise (I had a very strong SAT). That would never happen at a public school. However, I think the biggest advantage is to those who aren't "that smart". Yes, there were a handful of kids in my class of 110 who went to Univ. of Vermont, SUNY or Pace, but I'm talking 5-6 out of the whole class. Other than those few, the absolute WORST schools people were going to were places in the top 40 or so universities. Being in these schools generally gives you a much higher floor than if you are in a regular public school.

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Dec 30, 2014 - 8:47pm
Pokemon Master, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The fact that people spend this kind of money to send their kids to high school is mind boggling to me. Are these schools really that much better than the public schools of really wealthy NYC suburbs? You're paying high taxes for good schools in those areas anyway. I don't see many kids from Oyster Bay High School going to shit colleges.

Dec 30, 2014 - 9:38pm
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Pokemon Master:

The fact that people spend this kind of money to send their kids to high school is mind boggling to me. Are these schools really that much better than the public schools of really wealthy NYC suburbs? You're paying high taxes for good schools in those areas anyway. I don't see many kids from Oyster Bay High School going to shit colleges.

I think it was noted earlier in this thread that some of these people are wealthy enough where the $50,000/year tuition is a nominal cost relative to their incomes and that if these schools add a marginal benefit to the student then it makes sense (at least to them). I think about a quarter of those who attend are on financial aid.

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Jan 4, 2015 - 12:19am
6xLeverage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Looking at Le Rosey's website and the "day in the life of a 'Rosean".... I'd rather shoot myself square in the scrotum than attend that place

"My name's Ralph Cox, and I'm from where ever's not gonna get me hit"

Jan 4, 2015 - 12:01pm
DCDepository, what's your opinion? Comment below:
FeedMeDealFlow:

Looking at Le Rosey's website and the "day in the life of a 'Rosean".... I'd rather shoot myself square in the scrotum than attend that place

Seriously? They move to a ski resort for winter session. I'd love that place (cost notwithstanding…).

Feb 1, 2015 - 10:52am
xceli, what's your opinion? Comment below:

interesting research and comparison. i wish i had this info 10 or so years ago when i was applying to one of these. i ended up getting into one after trying again in my second year. i think i recently saw somewhere a ranking of the schools (US News?)...you might want to check that out.

Aug 31, 2016 - 11:06am
EazyMuthaf.ckinE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Piggybacking of Eddie's other post, is it worth the cost though? These elite boarding schools are often more expensive than some colleges, and if they plan on going Ivy afterwards you could be looking at over $500K to just get your kid a bachelors degree! (Which doesn't hold much weight in todays environment)

Also, does the kid really want this? I go to an SEC state school, admittedly came here to party (greek life and football), and never regretted a second of it. I actually have a couple fraternity brothers here from the DC area who went to Gonzaga prep and school of the like. Their parents paid much more for their HS education than their college, but they love it here to and never wanted to get caught up in all of that prestige chasing. Oh and guess what these guys are very mediocre students (even at my non-target!) and they have been/will do just fine because of their family connections. Sure they won't be BSD MD's at GoldmanStanleyChase but there's more than one way to skin a cat

Aug 31, 2016 - 11:11am
Memberberries, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's worth the cost if you have the money. In addition, these elite prep schools usually set aside some percentage of seats for the poor who basically can go for free, so then it's definitely worth it.

As usual, it's the middle class that is left out in the cold.

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Aug 31, 2016 - 4:52pm
Remain-Anony, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Getting caught up in where prep schoolers matriculate is missing the big picture.

Ex., it's a given an Exeter kid that ends up at UMich is the top 10% of their college class. They can comfortably get into Ross School of Business, or pursue pre-med and actually end up at medical school, instead of washing-out like 85% of UMich pre-med schmucks.

I've known really smart - legit top of their class - public kids that got into great colleges and they mostly returned home for a normal job. Prep schoolers are wired to aim higher, great at networking, and most importantly, prepared to pursue challenging paths.

Jun 1, 2018 - 9:33pm
want2bCRE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't overlook the smaller elite prep schools (low acceptance rate but not the big names) these schools provide the same education as well as a more balanced life for students, also they won't be competing with the smartest kids in the world for those college spots (top colleges usually only take a set amount from each elite).

Jun 4, 2018 - 12:07am
Dances With Newfoundland, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On a per capita basis, no high school does better with HYP placement than Roxbury Latin. But it is a day school, not boarding. It's also the oldest secondary school in the United States, founded in the 1600's.

Even the elite private schools are sending fewer kids to HYP than before, due to the insanely competitive college admission process and the elite colleges diversifying the geographic and socioeconomic base of their freshman class.

Mar 6, 2019 - 12:10pm
Philip-paul1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I know this is an old post but just can't help but reviving. My personal theory about these schools is that their benefits can be most clearly measured at the top and bottom of classes. The top of the class are hyper ambitious and tend to be the most capable of taking advantage of that ever elusive term "resources" in order to fashion their education into something it could never have been at a less-well-oiled school. Maybe it's a special project. Maybe it is winning a grant to do research. Maybe it is learning a language. People who are wired to take advantage of opportunities will get more out of a private education, period, because private educations provide more opportunities, and on top of it all, that person gets to signal not only that they pursued opportunities, but that they did so "at the highest level." Hence these schools are awesome for ambitious people. They also can serve a purpose to folks who land lower in the class and did not do a lot. Those folks are still "protected" in a way by the strength of their degree. As for everyone in the middle, I think it is harder to say and harder to compare the experience. You'll take advantage of some opportunities, and still have the strength of the degree. But the experience will not be "formative" in the sense that it probably isn't going to be the thing that sets you up down the road, whereas, for the uber ambitious or bottom feeder, the school experience in and of itself can be quite important, albeit in different ways.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 1:42pm

As someone who went to an elite New England prep school, this post is super interesting but I think there are still a lot of misconceptions people have-

  • going to one of these schools does not guarantee you go to Harvard. I'd say the top ~10% of my class went to HYP, the next ~20% went to other ivies/top schools, the next ~40% went to good schools (top publics, other semi-targets, top LACs, etc), and the final ~30% went to some pretty unimpressive schools (less prestigious LACs, public schools, etc). My point is that a lot of kids do go to great schools, but it is by no means a guarantee.

  • keep in mind a ton of the matriculations you see are athletic recruits. Especially at ivies + top LACs, I'd say half the kids of my class that ended up at those good schools were recruited for a sport. This means that, if you aren't an athlete, it can be harder to get into these schools than it would appear. If you see that 5 kids a year go to Harvard and you are the 5th best kid in your class academically, you actually probably won't get in to Harvard because 2-3 kids will have already committed to Harvard for sports, leaving less spots for kids purely off grades.

  • the networks are insane. I go to an ivy league school and I 100% think my high school's network is better and more willing to help. Anecdote to show this: my sophomore year I was applying for jobs and HR reached out to me to set up a first round. In her email, the HR woman mentioned she went to a rival school for high school. My first round interviewer also went to another school in the same league, and we spent half the interview talking about sports in high school. At my superday, the MD went to my high school. I didn't know this beforehand, but he just casually brought it up. I was relatively unqualified (sophomore applying for a respectable IBSA) but got the job, and I think this MD played a huge role in that.

Feel free to ask any questions

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May 8, 2020 - 2:28pm

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