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Private Schools and Ivy League Admission
July 27, 2012
Students from private schools do not have better odds of admission to Ivy League colleges than students from public schools (photo credit: John Phelan)
There is a common belief out there that students hailing from private high schools have better odds of getting into Ivy League colleges. There are many folks who believe that if they don’t send their children to fancy private schools, they will be at a significant disadvantage when they apply to Harvard, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Brown. The fact is that these parents are absolutely, positively wrong. Students hailing from private schools do not have better odds of getting into highly selective colleges — like the Ivy League colleges — than students hailing from public schools. Did they many years ago? Yes. But times have changed and it’s high time to get with it.
Do a number of students from the likes of Deerfield, Exeter, and Harvard-Westlake gain admission to Ivy League colleges year in and year out? Absolutely. But a number of students from public high schools across America also gain admission to Ivy League colleges year in and year out. Because Ivy League admissions counselors want those students! They are fully aware that many — and in fact most — of their admitted students will hail from public schools. After all, they seek a diverse class of uniquely talented students. Do you think if every student came from Exeter, they’d have a diverse class? Well, Exeter has certainly increased the diversity of its student body over the years but absolutely not! If every student hailed from Exeter, that university would have a student body that is quite the opposite of diverse.
Schools like Exeter and Andover are quite often for the privileged few. While they may have scholarship cases, so many of their students come from very wealthy families who attended Ivy League universities years before. Ivy League admissions counselors don’t root for students who are privileged. They root for students who dared to do what no member of their family did before them (get a college degree). They root for students who are from underrepresented minorities. They root for high-achieving students whose parents drive a taxi and work at a factory. They root for all different kinds of students — that’s the point of what we’re trying to say. They don’t just root for those from fancy private schools. And, quite often, those students are rooted against!