Do High School Rankings Matter?

Do High School Rankings Matter?


By Admissions Expert, Dr. Paul Lowe

Several weeks ago the U.S. News World Report published their ranking for best public high schools. Only eight public high schools in Connecticut, including four in Fairfield County made the Top 500 list. Here are the top public high schools in Connecticut which received a gold ranking in the report.





  • Amistad Academy in New Haven, #1 in Connecticut, #20 in the U.S.
  •  Weston High School, #2 in Connecticut, #231 in the U.S.
  •  East Granby High School, #3 in Connecticut, #294 in the U.S.
  •  Ridgefield High School, #4 in Connecticut, #298 in the U.S.
  •  Staples High School, #5 in Connecticut, #391 in the U.S.
  •  Conard High School, #6 in Connecticut, #450 in the U.S.
  •  New Canaan High School, #7 in Connecticut, #464 in the U.S.
  •  Farmington High School, #8 in Connecticut #495 in the U.S.

Top public high schools in Fairfield County that received gold ranking: Weston High, Ridgefield High, Staples High and New Canaan High.

I have been receiving phone calls from concerned and very anxious parents whose children attend several local high schools in Fairfield County, including Greenwich High School, that were not ranked asking: Does it matter?  

As an independent private college admissions advisor who constantly communicates with admissions officers at many colleges, I know for a fact that college admissions officers review everything about applicants and their high schools. The review process is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, admissions officers holistically consider a variety of factors: the student’s academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements, personal background – and high school profile. Additionally, they scrutinize everything, using a new team approach: This new team evaluation approach involves a team of two admissions officers and allows them to have an in depth conversation about the applicant as they simultaneously review each aspect of the application on separate screens.

The question many anxious parents have is do college admissions personnel place any value in a report such as this? If so, how will they view high schools that were not ranked? Based on the ranking criteria of the report, what is the perception of the high school that was not among the ranked schools?

My answer is that admissions offices and admissions committees are not in a box. They also read U.S. News & World Report. There obviously will be a perception developed about high schools that are on the list and schools that did not make this list because the list exists and was published.

My approach to parents is to answer the question: What can your child, as a future college applicant, do to disrupt the perceptions or misconceptions conveyed by that list?

“Top qualified applicants, after all their hard work (and parents’ work) and preparation, deserve the best and should not settle for less” – Dr. Paul R. Lowe


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Greenwich Admissions Advisors. Tel. (203) 542-7288, and founder of Private School Admissions Advisors a part of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. College Admissions Affiliates: College Application Rejected and Ivy League Admissions Advisors, and College Transfer Admissions Advisors.  

Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for families and students who are interested in applying to top private schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice colleges after they have been wait-listed and rejected. Dr. Lowe and his Greenwich Admissions Advisors team provide house-calls for families with extremely busy schedules who can’t come to their office.