Is the Grass Greener on the New School's Side of the Fence?

Is the Grass Greener on the New School's Side of the Fence?

By Tasha

Dear Tasha,

I have a dilemma because next year there will be a new high school opening up in my county and I have the option of switching high schools. I am aiming for the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania. I have a 3.8 GPA and am taking 4 (possibly 5) AP classes this year (including 1 last year, and multiple honors classes), and if all goes well I should have a good looking transcript. But, I know that I am weak on extracurricular's and the school looks for leadership potential and positions. I am not currently in any positions other than my school's student leadership team, and am doubtful that I will have any more next year. I want to go the new high school because:

1. My ranking would be higher
2. A greater chance of landing a leadership role
3. (depending on the principal) More opportunities to create new clubs, traditions, and etc.

My problem is that I am not all 100% sure it would be the best choice. I know that more information about the new school will be given next semester but it is something that I am pondering now. How would transferring to a new high school look on an application, particularly for a top-ranked school? What you recommend me to do?

You're facing a major choice here, and I think you're smart to wait for the rest of the information before making your decision. That said, my gut instinct is that you should stay in your current school. Here's why:

-- It sounds like you have consistently signed up for—and successfully completed—some of the most academically challenging courses your current school offers. The last thing you want to do is transfer to a school that doesn’t come close to matching the kinds of courses that you can take now, and that admissions committees love to see on transcripts.

-- Transferring to a new school can be hard, especially during your senior year. You don’t want your grades to suffer because you're stressed.

-- I’m betting you have formed lots of relationships with your teachers by now—and won’t those recommendation letters be even stronger if you stick around for the last year and finish strong?

-- Another thing to think about: as students at your current school transfer, their absence will only help your college application. What I mean is this: You will be a big fish in a small pond—academically strong, a student leader, and someone who is seen as a high achiever by your peers and teachers.

In short, I wouldn’t risk all that you’ve got going for you. It’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side, but what if you get to the new school and find yourself unhappy with your teachers, course material, or lack of opportunities? It could easily happen—and in addition, you'd have given up all the benefits of your current situation.

All that said, if the new school offers compelling advantages that I'm not aware of, switching might be the best decision for you. Be sure to talk it all over carefully with your parents before making your final choice.

Good luck!

Tasha

To ask Tasha a question, email advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: transfers

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