Proximity control: Does your location have an effect on your acceptance to college?

A group of seniors pose to represent their respective college choices.

A group of seniors pose to represent their respective college choices.

High schoolers have been shaped by a variety of experiences, including academic studies, volunteer work and extracurricular activities in preparation for college. According to U.S. News, America has some of the best colleges in the world and a 66 percent rate of students attending. Chances are at the end of eighth grade while trying to figure out what high school the district was assigning you to attend, you were not thinking about how it would affect your college acceptance. “Senior year has really brought out the truth in all of us,” senior Miranda Katzenberg said. “I feel like no matter what high school I attended, I would still be getting into college.”

During my last year of middle school I was considering if I wanted to follow in my brothers footsteps and attend high school at Wakefield. I didn’t take my decision making too seriously, although I did constantly look at the rankings of high schools in Arlington. Washington-Lee was ranked higher than my other choices, and I felt as if I was capable of challenging myself with IB, so I went for it.

In fact, a high school’s reputation matters very little, according to New York City independent college counselor Jane Gabin, who was an admissions counselor for 10 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. USA Today stated that no matter what high school is written on a college application, the more intense and rigorous the classes you take are, the higher chance you have of getting accepted. “It’s dangerous to compare yourself to others in different high schools who have a similar GPA or class rank and assume you’ll get accepted or rejected based on their experiences,” Ann McDermott, director of admissions at the College of the Holy Cross said. “Colleges evaluate students within the context of their high school, taking into account differences in grading scales, class size, course offerings and historical data.”

Colleges may consider evaluating high school transcripts if your G.P.A does not abide by the requested scale or if your high school does not teach courses that the colleges expect you to take. Every high school is different. /Some have a rigid class structure, whereas others don’t even offer honors courses. Higher ranked high schools are more likely to have more strenuous classes available. For example, the IB Program is only taught through W-L in Arlington. Other schools in the county, such as Wakefield and Yorktown, do not have this program available to students but alternatively offer, the AP Program, which is taught at all three schools. “Schools have always been portrayed differently, one being better than another,” Wakefield senior Brendon Novak said. “Although, I don’t really see how going to Wakefield would affect my college acceptance. My GPA is one of the highest in my class. We are all learning the same curriculum, just taught by different people.”