A Realistic View of Hunter College High School

Perhaps the most prestigious high school in New York City is Hunter College High School. True, it isn't as famous as Stuyvesant or as fancy as many private schools, but it could well be the hardest high school to gain admissions to. (To provide context, almost all of the children who take the Hunter College High School admissions exam and do not get in are accepted to Stuyvesant if they end up taking the SHSAT.) Hunter is undoubtedly an excellent school. Although small, its graduates include senior editors at the New York Times and the New Yorker, a United States Ambassador, the composer-lyricist of The Book of Mormon, at least one Olympic athlete, a United States Supreme Court Justice, and winners of nearly every intellectually prestigious prize you care to name. But is Hunter College High School right for your child?

As a tutor, I often find myself counseling families about whether they should pursue admittance to Hunter. It is without doubt a great school, but it's not for everyone.

There seems to be an overall impression that Hunter College High School is a math and science school. It is definitely true that it has rigorous math and science classes, but it would be a mistake to assume that Hunter glosses over the humanities. Perhaps the best way to convey how rigorous the humanities are at Hunter is to list some of the texts that 7th graders read in their humanities class a few years ago. Students read widely from original sources such as The Prince by Machiavelli, The Republic by Plato, and Two Treatises on Civil Government by John Locke (as well as many other, less well-known, documents of similar difficulty). When considering Hunter, you should ask yourself if your child would enjoy reading and discussing primary sources of this nature.

Other classes at Hunter are similarly challenging. Several years ago, I tutored a 7th grader at Hunter who was understandably dismayed when she turned in writing that would have earned her an A at her old school (a well-regarded NYC private school) but, at Hunter, it was returned to her by her English teacher with masses of comments and the expectation that she would do a thorough revision. Parents should consider whether this level of expectation will help their child flourish or feel like too heavy a burden; it can go either way.

Of course, the high expectations at Hunter are not limited to humanities courses; math and science classes are similarly challenging. When I was tutoring that same 7th grader I said, "Huh... I've never seen this math taught anywhere else" so many times that it turned into a running joke between us (and this was after I had almost a decade of experience working as a full-time tutor). Indeed, I was startled by both the scope and difficulty of the math curriculum in nearly every lesson.

Article Source: Jessie Mathisen

No comments:

Post a Comment