evaluating agricultural h.s. education?
Hoping for some help with dilemma.
My 13 y/o dau is in 8th gr and will be entering h.s. next year. She wants to attend the county agricultural high school rather than our public school. I'm having a big problem with the decision.
She is a straight A student and receives highest praises from all her teachers re: motivation, participation, preparedness, etc. She also has lots of friends, is very pretty, popular, etc. so it's not that she's afraid to attend the public h.s.
She is extremely involved in equestrian activities, takes lessons, competes in shows, works at barn mucking stalls on wknds, plans to teach riding lessons in another year or two, etc. Right now, she thinks she wants to be a veterinarian; two of her recent riding instructors now attend UVM for pre-veterinary studies, and this is where she also wants to go. They have been great role models for her, and I couldn't be happier about her academic achievements & goals.
The county agricultural h.s. ('aggie') has an equestrian club & drill team, which is big part of why she wants to attend; it's a beautiful 500 acre campus and is practically across the street from us, another plus (it's been a big part of our lives, walking our dogs, etc.). I tutored there several years ago, and found it to be a genuinely happy place with very high attendance rate; graduation rate is 100%, and 80% go on to higher educ. With a smaller student body, my dau feels she can be a big fish in a little pond, so to speak, with chance to really stand out, perhaps even be class valedictorian.
On the down side: 'aggie' type schools have traditionally been lumped together with the vocational tech schools, and usually attended by non-academic achievers, although this seems to be changing. This particular school has great reputation, and admission has become very competitive, with 120 accepted out of 500 annual applications. I've been emailing college admissions departments and talked to our own veterinarian, and they have not been encouraging, mainly because the school does not have AP classes or languages, although it does have an arrangement with a public college for 'select' students to take televised language college courses.
The only positive feedback I received was from UVM admissions, who said that in general, they do not recommend students attend vocational schools, but this school is 'one we find acceptable for students who have maximized their course selection with the most rigorous college prep courses in math & science'.
I'm concerned about all the negative feedback, that she may be penalized when it comes time to apply to college, and that curriculum may not be challenging enough for this bright, excellent student.
Any input would be most gratefully received!
Here is a link that might be useful: Norfolk Aggie