A Completely Hypothetical Situation (Or: Which school would you attend?)

You are a prospective student with a terrible dilemma. There are two excellent schools close to your home and you simply cannot decide which one to enroll in.

School Won is a school with excellent academics. It is known far and wide for the top-quality education it offers. Students’ test scores are off-the-charts good, the teachers are knowledgeable and the students are intelligent.

However, it suffers from a dearth of classes and electives. It has all the core classes (Math, Science, English, History) and not much beyond that.

School Bee, on the other hand, teaches a large breadth of subjects. Aside from the core curricula, you have plenty of interesting classes to choose from - some of which you really want to take.

But, School Bee’s education quality isn’t as good as School Won’s. Its education quality is good; School Won’s is great.

Equipped with this information, which school do you decide to go to?

I chose the third option… I wouldn’t want to go to a school close to home, no matter what classes are offered or how high quality the education is.

What does “school” mean here? When I hear the word, I immediately assume primary or secondary level – so I assumed the question as about two high schools. However, geneb’s comment, “I chose the third option… I wouldn’t want to go to a school close to home,” suggests that it’s being used in a U.S. sense, i.e., college or university.

School Bee. Assuming this is an undergraduate/college level thing, it offers both the courses needed by the student and a bunch of options the student will enjoy. Since the quality of education is “good”, that is enough for me: having gone through (just about) two undergraduate degrees at two different schools, I can tell you that past a certain point, the grades and quality of knowledge the student receives are entirely in the hands of the student. You could have the best prof in the world teaching his favourite subject, but if the student doesn’t put in the work, their grades will reflect that. A good prof teaching a subject he or she is competent to teach, with a student that puts in the work leads to a better educated student.

My first university had a good reputation, but not great in the field I studied and so had a very small and limited department, and the current university has an amazing reputation, particularly in my new field, with a ton of options and large faculty and number of students. Honestly, my new school sucks. It’s all show and facade with very little substance, and the size of the department is such that students really are nameless numbers rather than part of the academic community.

Definitely go to school Bee. Unless School Sea has something else to offer, which could include the opportunity to live away from home - that’s something I really needed when I first went off to university!

I had exactly this choice in college and I picked the school with the reputation that had no options. You can create breadth of education on your own there is no way to create your school’s academic reputation on you own.

I chose School Bee. You get out of education what you put into it.

The difference between good and great is insignificant next to offering the classes that really spark an interest.

bah, double post. Curse you, Internets!

I use “school” to mean high school, but if people want to think of it as college, that’s perfectly fine.

I don’t think my answer changes all that much for high school; students at that age are still testing the waters to see what they like, what they want to do in life, who they are. Being exposed to a lot of different things is way more advantageous than being boxed into a limited curriculum, even if the reputation of the more limited school is better. Once I hit post-secondary level education, no one gave a damn about where I went to high school; what mattered was whether I knew how to do things, not where I learned to do it.

One catch, though is if you feel you already know what you want to do as a career, and *require *access to a prestigious university to do it, though I’d consider the less prestigious schools for the same field as well. In that case, your high school might matter for admissions, but I’d still be wary about limiting your options now, because what you think you want to do might change…ask my why I have two university degrees!

Most importantly at your age, IMHO, is your social network - where are your friends going? If you are new to the area and don’t know anyone, which school offers a daytime schedule/routine that interests you more? Which one has clubs or sports or extra-curriculars that you like? Where do you think you’d “fit in” best? I’d consider all these things long before I’d consider the academic reputation of the school, especially since School Bee is still considered to be a good school.

Whoops… I thought you meant college. I didn’t know people generally had a choice in high schools, short of going to private boarding schools.

As far as high schools go… I’d just go to the local public high school. No way I would shell out tens of thousands of dollars a year to go to a private school. I’d much rather save that money to go to college on.

I might rethink it if it were a case of the local school being exceedingly unsafe or if they were unwilling/unable to teach me basic concepts that I would need to function.

High School, which one is my best mate going to? But in the end school bee.

This is true. If school Won is renowned for the quality of its programs, then you can’t really beat the power of a degree from it.

Do keep in mind that if you do choose school Won and slack off and do poorly because of the monotony, then you might end up worse if your GPA ends up too low. Now, predicting that, and deciding which is more important to you and your future (degree from a more prestigious school, or higher GPA) is something you’d have to consider yourself.

As mentioned above, you can study what you want in your spare time. If you’d really love to take Archaeology, but the school doesn’t offer it, maybe you could start an Archaeology Club and find some professor in the History department who minored in Archaeology to help you find a good basic textbook, and you can go out and have fun digging in the park (ask a ranger first).

Oh. I thought you meant college or university.

Does anybody care about the reputation of high schools? Do to whichever one you have more friends at.

I might choose to go to a less fun high school if I could get like 40 AP credits there and the other school didn’t offer any, but really, it’s high school, nobody cares.

The high school I graduated from doesn’t matter. At all. I even got a special “Extended Studies” seal from the office of the Governor. Nobody cares because I have a BS and that is what counts.

If the degree you want is offered at the better school, and all other things are equal, then go there. But prestige is not the most important criteria when choosing a college. In the end they all give you a degree. You want a place that has a campus life that’s most agreeable with you, because that will increase the chances that you’ll stay there and stay enrolled. A super conservative person probably wouldn’t enjoy attending Oberlin. A super liberal minority probably wouldn’t enjoy attending Harvard. Both are prestigious degree-granting institutions, but there is a hell of a lot of difference between them.

As it is in the provided hypothetical, prestige is good. Lack of prestige is not necessarily bad. So put one more Yes checkmark next to the prestigious school, don’t put a No checkmark next to the less prestigious school, and continue to evaluate their relative worths based on other factors.

I’d need to know more before answering.

Is this a public high school, or are you debating between two private schools?

How smart are you? How driven are you? Are you the latest in a long line of doctors and Mom and Dad fully expect you to carry on the family tradition of going to (insert Ivy League school here) and your life will be over if you don’t get into said college? Or are you even going to college?

In other words … just how much pressure are you under (either from yourself or your family)?

If you know that you’re definitely going to college, and assuming you want to get into a “good” college and thus you need every edge possible to do so - School Won.

If your college choice isn’t a matter of life and death - School Bee.

FWIW – unless you are from some old money upper crust family – what college you went to isn’t going to matter much in the real world. Whether or not you get the degree is what matters. IME, anyway. YMMV.

Oh you’re choosing a high school to go to? Pick the one where you’re more likely to be ranked near the top of your class. Many state universities assign scholarships based on grades AND class rank. I got a full tuition state scholarship because my high school was mediocre and I ended up at the top of my class. This particular university gave full rides to every valedictorian in the state, and half rides to every salutatorian (as long as you beat a 1k on the SAT). If I was at a great high school, I would only have been upper-middle class even though my GPA would still have exceeded a 4.0 at either place (weighted grades from AP/honors classes).

It unfortunately means more (money) to be an excellent student at a mediocre school than an excellent student at an excellent school.