Best bets for getting into us ivy leagues; CLGS, G&L, Latymer Upper Jags

(43 Posts)
Panchali1 Mon 17-Feb-14 19:10:34

Which school offer the best chances of helping girls gain admission into US Ivy's versus, Oxbridge in which SPGS seems tops

Reincarnatedpig Mon 17-Feb-14 20:18:14

No idea but there are specialist companies in this area who can advise. They even came to DD's state school last year.

Eastpoint Mon 17-Feb-14 20:18:46

A cou

Eastpoint Mon 17-Feb-14 20:21:43

Four years ago the Head Girl at G&L won an academic scholarship (or whatever the correct expression is) to Harvard having followed the IB route. Some girls move to KCS to do IB as they want mixed & I think KCS has a good US College record.

TalkinPeace Mon 17-Feb-14 20:24:37

the Ivy League misses out so many great US colleges though because they are geographically narrow ..

Op you have started two threads on this. May I respectfully suggest you pick the right school now for your DD as she is now. She is presumably only 10 or 11 and it's probably a bit early to determine whether or not Ivy League is right for her and so picking your school on that basis might take you in the wrong direction. But if you pick the school where she will thrive and which suits her best then you will have given her the best chance if achieving her ambitions later. You have three quite different schools there to choose amongst - which feels right to her and you?

Panchali1 Wed 19-Feb-14 05:15:55

I agree with your sentiment.. It's just that I'm caught in the thick of things, and donot know girls from these schools.. I am trying to get a feel.. Even dd has been to one open morning and will go to an offer holders event but they don't give that much insight into ethos. The reputation of G&L is very interesting but frankly the headmistress, and head girls talk we attended on 2 occasions was completely underwhelming..different than the dynamism of some the excellent IB exits into Ivy's I read about in their news letter. I agree there is a lot of hype about schools here, and it is often a SPGS or bust..
I greatly appreciate the smattering a of insights that I get from the responses..

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 19-Feb-14 10:12:03

Call the schools and ask about their Ivy league "campaign".

But they're all great schools, as others have said I seriously would choose the one you and your dd have the best feel for and also, which is closest to home as they're very diverse geographically . Less time travelling means more time for study/extra-curricular pursuits/rest, plus closer to friends.

But if a school with a good reputation didn't click with you for whatever reason then don't hesitate to drop it from consideration. So if not impressed with G and L then pick one of the others. Not worrying about Ivy League at this stage will make that choice easier for you.

Iseenyou Wed 19-Feb-14 11:03:19

Also, schools will change a lot in six or seven years - their 'policies' on university advice and so on may be completely different by the time your dd is older.
And your dd may want to move for 6th form anyway - quite common these days. So i agree - go for the school where you and your dd think she will be happy. That of course is a much harder question! It is very difficult if you don't know parents or girls at any of the schools, i can see that. Havent read your other thread - are you making the choice in the next week or so? Your dd has done really well if so.
Does your dd have a particular interest that one or other of the schools caters for particularly well (at her level - always make sure the orchestra is not grade 5 and up only if that is what you're after and dc is at grade 1! )
Journey time also important - though may be outweighed by other things!

Shootingatpigeons Wed 19-Feb-14 11:13:42

You are also missing that it is the girls who decide and make successful applications to US universities, not the schools. That depends on them having the motivation and qualities (and money) to get in and for US universities that is an even more idiosyncratic process than Oxbridge. You have to make individual applications which require you not only to do the SATs tests, possibly including for specific subjects, but also to produce essays etc specifically to meet the specifications of each university. There are also all manner of strategies, early acceptances, sports scholarships (that eg recruit the top LEH rowers, but not always top academically hmm, to Ivy League) etc to get in. Even the US expats I know who have gone through the process have to do a considerable amount of research and individual preparation. I am sure all these schools will respond to the increasing trend for girls, especially in affluent West London, to want to embark on that intimidating process, with sessions by Consultants , contact with old girls etc. but they cannot provide the individual support preparing for SATS etc.

I absolutely would not be making prep for Ivy League unis a consideration in choosing a west London school, a complete blind alley. Lots of factors already mentioned here are worth considering, and above all, where your DD feels she would be happy.

Also I disagree with Needmoresleep slightly, which I don't normally. Knowing the US expats who have been successful from other parts of the world, the fevered preparation in extra curricular that happens in the UK does not seem to happen there, perhaps because there wouldn't be the opportunities. Rather they target certain unis and come up with strategies to maximise the strength of their applications for those. One of my friends did remark " it isn't good enough to be rounded these days, you have to be rounded with square edges and sharp elbows" grin I think as with Oxbridge that requirement for huge amounts of extra curricular valour may exist largely in the parent's minds, unless they know their DCs are not going to get in on intellect alone and their strategy is to go for a sports scholarship, but then IME the talent scouts come to you, not the other way round.

missinglalaland Wed 19-Feb-14 11:54:55

To get into a great US university, you need high SAT scores, that is the most important thing. Then course of study and your grade ranking within your graduating class. Finally, you must show extracurricular attainment: president of the debating society, captain of the hockey team, grade 8 violin, etc. You also need to show a commitment to volunteering. (More than a three week jolly to some sunny climate.). You will also need a polished personal statement (essay) and sparkling references.

I don't think the particular school matters much beyond its ability to support the child in meeting those requirements.

TalkinPeace Wed 19-Feb-14 12:52:36

and SATs are a pretty alien thing compared with UK exams : when I sat mine I got really high marks and got my place offers, but then failed my A levels!

missinglalaland Wed 19-Feb-14 13:54:23

Yes, they are closer to the +11 exams, than they are to A levels.

Oneglassandpuzzled Wed 19-Feb-14 17:23:05

My daughter is 15 and at a highly selective girls' school. If we asked about US university entrance rates they would look at us very oddly. It is not something that the girls become too worried about until sixth form. My son is 17, lower sixth, and only just getting really into university applications. He is also at a very selective school.

First things first.

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 19-Feb-14 21:16:23

You need to look at one of the American schools in the London area - ASL (American School of London) or one of the ACS schools. ASL is stuffed with the offspring of the Hampstead/St John's Wood set as it is seen as the best bet for Ivy League. But bear in mind that ASL offers a solely American education, so SATs, High School Diploma and AP exams, whereas ACS does IB as well.

Panchali1 Thu 20-Feb-14 02:45:56

It does take the pressure off a bit when I look at how far away uni is. .. Policies , heads etc. are bound to change. However, I would like to say that people around do plan ahead. I have seen school cv building in prep to get into SPGS so that they can ultimately get into Oxbridge..not necessarily choosing it as it will be the best experience.. There is a lot of pushing, and cultivating of "interest " rather than girls just doing what they like..I have no idea what the new head of CLGS ( I'm terrible with acronyms) stands for..my DD just likes the buzz, and the reputation for excellence it has. Strangely, she likes it's city location. annoyingly it is a 45 min. Commute, as opposed to about 20 for GL... I wonder if she will have time for friends, extra c. Etc as academically very competitive. She had a great open day
experience at CLGS with teaching staff there as well. ironically, at GL she didn't get a warm feeling at all, ( for which it is know)..and wasn't impressed by anything..and although,she does instrument to a high level and dabbles in sport- she has yet to discover her true passion in life.. Doesn't necessarily have the eye of the tiger...although she has obtained the deadline for deciding is the first week of March... Again , just want to thank all you respondents- your comments are providing much food for thought smile

claraschu Thu 20-Feb-14 03:25:58

Good SAT scores are just a starting point for US University acceptance. Also, something like Grade 8 violin is not going to impress them. If music (for instance) is very important to her, she would send a DVD of herself playing, and try to pull some strings to make sure the right person listens to it. For this to make a difference to her application, she would need to play really well, far beyond what it takes to pass a grade 8 exam.

In my experience, the US application procedure is far more gruelling than getting into Oxford or Cambridge, and your daughter will really need to think ahead if she is serious about it. If you want to hear about the details of the process, my son is at an Ivy League, and I would be happy to talk to you if you want to PM me.

Having said that, I agree with everyone who is saying send her to the school which will make her happiest now, as that is FAR more important.

Also, I really agree that there are many wonderful US universities not in the Ivy League.

meditrina Thu 20-Feb-14 04:52:06

There's no real difference between those three schools. The name of St Paul's Girls is probably better known outside London, JAGS is the consistently highest rated in league tables, and NLCS is usually up there in the too 10 too.

Parents with a girl that clever would usually choose by convenience of commute, as they are in quite different parts of London (bit like choosing between KCS, StP or W for a boy).

If you want to know about respective success rates for US universities, you need to ask how many applied and how many secured offers. The system is quite different, and an experienced staff member guiding someone through it could make a difference. Though of course it's impossible to predict who will be on the staff in the years relevant to your DD.

Taz1212 Thu 20-Feb-14 08:29:14

I agree with clarachu . I wasn't interested in the Ivies although I was at that level- I wanted a much smaller college and went little Ivy (Bowdoin) instead. Having a true passion is key. I had near perfect SAT scores, an A average and was 4th in my class (#1 only applied to Harvard and MIT and got into both, #2 went to Standford and #3 to Columbia). Each of us had an edge over the run of the mill top SAT/GPA scores.

I played the violin, but I played it at a level well beyond most teenagers- I practised for at least 3 hours a day and I played in a university orchestra which toured around the world. We performed in Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, St Paul's Cathedral, St Mark's Basilica, Chartres Cathedral etc. I missed an awful of school to go on tour. I wrote my essay on the challenge of balancing my passion for performing with keeping on top of school when I only attended 65% of the time!

You can get into an Ivy without going to such extremes, but if that's what you are aiming for, having a true passion for something will make it a lot easier (on top of SAT scores, exam results and a kick ass essay(s) )

Is there a particular Ivy that you are targeting or are you using "Ivy" as shorthand for "top tier" US school- I.e. including Stanford, MIT, Williams etc? If it is just the Ivies, there are big differences between them- e.g. Dartmouth will give an entirely different experience to Columbia. I'd also look at early action/early decision programmes as well as you can have a better shot at acceptance through them (and it saves months of stressful waiting!).

If you are just looking at the Ivies I'd have a good look at the ratio of undergrad classes taught by TAs vs professors. One of the reasons I went little Ivy was because all of the classes were taught by full professors, though this might not matter to you - a lot of people don't care!

Needmoresleep Thu 20-Feb-14 08:37:35

First I will disagree with Meditrina. There is quite a lot of difference between these schools, though much is subjective. We know plenty who are delighted with G&L often describing it at "nurturing". Others wont spot a spark and wonder about whether it is challenging enough. My guess is that if you were to pull together a group of G&L and LU girls very few would want to swap school, yet most would respect the others' choices. One is not "better" than the other, its about which feels right.

Grades and academic achievement are very important at SPGS. SPGS girls we have come across in other contexts, can often come across as unduly competitive (not all I should add!) as if this behaviour is the norm at school. There can also be a level of arrogance from both pupils and parents as if passing an exam at 11 is clear proof that they are brighter and better than their peers. In fairness though this assumption, and determination to be, the best helps produce some remarkably accomplished children and provide a sound platform for an Ivy League application.

45 mins commute is tedious but not unusual. Ask the school (when we looked round CLGS had a large chart showing where pupils came from, and I think all schools are required to provide this data as part of their school travel plan to help with transport planning). My guess is that there will be plenty of others from your post code. If so commuting can become fun, a chance to catch up with friends after school. (And annoy commuters by standing in a big gang near the exits!)

And I suspect I don't disagree with Shooting. I dont know a huge amount but have attended presentations on US applications at both my children's schools. The line as I remember is that as you are applying to a college rather than a course, there is a greater emphasis on what you have to offer, rather than your commitment to your subject. And that though EC is important requirements for overseas students are lower than they might be in the US, as overseas students tend know less about the process and because they bring useful international diversity. I think this is right, as we know plenty of straightforward, though obviously reasonably accomplished, applicants who are successful.

I would here watch for the dramatic year on year rise in applications from the UK, which may mean that entry expectations will be more stringent in a few years time.

In contrast I have witnessed some of the West London expat frenzy to fill children's schedules with useful activities. Personal triathlon coach at 9, research trip to Africa at 10.... This may be imported East Coast behaviour, and a bit over the top for London. My observation is simply that these children have parents who are well informed, normally Ivy League educated themselves. Some are very bright, others perhaps less so, but all will have pretty starry Personal Statements, and there is a lot of SAT coaching going on, starting quite early.

From what OP has said, City sounds like the school for her daughter. In 7 years time, numbers applying to the States will have increased and all these schools will have had several years more experience. If she is performing well but you have your doubts, you could always consider a move for sixth form to Westminster, ACS, SPGS or Kings Wimbledon. A lot of people use consultants. I hear some charge as much as much as £10,000, a lot, but small beer in comparison with Ivy League tuition fees.

I would also keep a weather eye out for developing your child's own interests. If she is sporty, think about sports which are taught well in the UK and popular in the US. Rowing, girl's soccer etc. If musical, look at interesting things to do. My understanding is that it is not just what you yourself achieve but how you use it. One lovely and very sporty girl started volunteered to help with disabled sport. She then realised that disabled teenagers got more enjoyment from mixing with able bodied teenagers than from the sport itself so organised for a group of her friends to join her. She was applying to the US. I hope she did well!

wordfactory Thu 20-Feb-14 08:42:00

I agree needsmoresleep

All the top achieveing schools are waking up to the Ivy experience (by which as Taz poibts out they mean well thought of US schools, rather than actual Ivy).

Advice is becoming more readily available and the US schools themselves are offering presentations etc.

complexnumber Thu 20-Feb-14 08:43:25

Have you considered any of the American International schools in London, there are a few.

Presumably they would have a lot of experience getting pupils into US unis, they would probably also have visiting university fairs where your daughter might pick up on the sorts of things they are looking for.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 20-Feb-14 08:49:59

I agree with Complex - all of the American International schools are aimed at getting kids into the US universities. DD1's school gets all of the big US universities visiting, plus the big UK ones and other highly thought of ones like McGill in Canada. This is why, over the past few years, ASL has had a huge increase in the number of local British kids attending - ASL gets far more students into the Ivy League than any other British school - understandably.

Taz1212 Thu 20-Feb-14 09:56:30

Oh, and the academic reference can make a big difference as well! I think I had to submit two. I remember one teacher just did a generic, "great student, high achiever, would be an asset anywhere" etc reference, but my English teacher did an absolutely fantastic reference. He'd gone to that college and understood the importance of standing out. His reference for me was tailored and personalised, full of, "Taz approached me in the hallway one day and said..." "Taz will often be found..." In our senior year we were allowed to see our files and the Dean of Admissions had written to my English teacher thanking him for the well thought out reference because it gave them a real picture of me beyond the generic crap they often receive. (paraphrased, they didn't say "crap"!)

I know this isn't any help in deciding which schools to consider for your daughter but hopefully it'll give you a bit of the bigger picture you'll be looking at over the coming years.

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