Denver parents have plenty of options these days when it comes to choosing a high school. Though school district envy has long been a major motivation for home buyers, today it’s no longer assumed students will simply hop on their bike and head over to the nearest high school. The public school lottery system means families can try their luck at getting into prestigious public schools in neighborhoods across town. Plus, there are a growing number of charter, alternative, and private schools in the metro area providing specialized curriculum and innovative programs.
All this to create the ideal high school transcript parents hope will grant their kid an acceptance letter from the right college.
So how do admissions offices gauge the caliber of a high school? Although it varies by university, most will tell you that the numbers don’t lie. Beyond a student’s individual record, admissions officers rely on benchmarks such as school-wide averages of standardized tests; the number of students who go on to four-year colleges; and the number who drop out completely. Then they investigate the curriculum offered, ensuring it fulfills the minimum academic standards for admittance. Admissions officers visit Colorado high schools throughout the year with a combined mission of promoting their university while also familiarizing themselves with the quality of the state’s schools. Finally, these officers examine accelerated programs, including honors and advanced placement (AP) at a given high school.