High schools are compared based on academic as well as non-academic factors. Some points of comparison include curriculum structure, in-depth study options, class sizes, teaching styles, extracurricular activities and diversity.
When comparing academics between high schools, some factors to look out for are a rigorous yet flexible curriculum, attentive and engaging teaching instruction, good standardized test scores and awards for academic excellence. The number of Advanced Placement or dual-credit courses offers insight on whether the high school challenges its students.
It is also good to examine whether each school has a component of flexibility built into its system. This allows students to focus on some subject areas more than others, which is especially beneficial if a student is particularly strong or weak in some areas.
High schools should also be compared based on non-academic factors such as the availability of extracurricular activities, diversity, parent engagement and overall school culture. These factors help build a well-rounded student. Students benefit from diverse schools that promote caring, supportive interpersonal relationships while encouraging sensitivity towards cultural and racial issues.
The effectiveness of a high school's curriculum and culture is also reflected in its graduation rate and college placement statistics. When comparing high schools, it is good to examine each school's postgraduate planning system. High schools that organize activities and advisement sessions to educate students and parents on postgraduate options demonstrate a more serious commitment to seeing students through to the next education level.