They (the schools) aren't what you think. They're
just secondary schools that attract achievers for one reason or
another. Some are selective city high schools, like the Bronx High
School of Science, and others are selective private schools, like
Andover. A handful of them use to send "tons" to the Ivy League when
the Ivy League was more aristocratic than meritocratic. But nowadays
they send about as many kids as might be expected to get in on their
own (the kids' own) merits, without an advantageous shove, or perhaps
with a slightly advantageous shove, from connected college counseling
But by your question I suppose you meant, literally, Where are the
private boarding schools that feed or once fed the Ivy League? The
answer is New England, of course.
A while back I proposed an Ancient Eight for prep schools
comprising, in descending order of preppiness, Groton School in Groton,
Massachusetts, St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, Choate
School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut,
Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, Deerfield Academy in
Deerfield, Massachusetts, Lawrenceville School in (non-New England)
Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New
Hampshire, and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
But that was then and this is now.
Just a little quirk of mine, that probably has something to do with
the fact that Bronx Science is my high school's (Stuyvesant's) rival
school.. or *was* traditionally. But I don't think Bronx can any
longer be categorized as a "feeder" school by any stretch of the
imagination. The bulk of the top talent (almost 95% if not higher) in
New York City (public) is drawn by Stuyvesant and in lesser part by
Hunter College High School. Both of those schools (Stuyvesant and
Hunter, both in Manhattan) are two amazing schools comprising close to
90-95% of the top students selected from public schools in NYC to the
Ivies and other top schools (minus Cornell state colleges). The
percentage figure is a rough estimate of admission patterns over the
last decade, but I am sure if someone took the time and effort to
confirm that the actual figure is not going to be very far off at all.
Townshend Harris (Queens) and Midwood (Brooklyn) come in close after
Stuy and Hunter in New York City. But college acceptances (though in
this case relevant to the question posed) aren't the only measure of
the quality of a school. Neither are avg. SAT scores, National Merit
finalists, and whatever have you. If they are, I think Stuyvesant and
Hunter would easily come out on top. But those two schools (perhaps
expectedly so) consistently produce the top talent in other areas as
well: musical prodigies, actors, debate, chess, so on and so forth.
Bronx Science most certainly has a rich history and tradition of
academic excellence. It is, along with Stuyvesant and Brooklyn
Technical High School, one of the three specialized "M & S" high
schools in NYC (magnet schools). Students take a common SAT-type
examination for all three schools (scored out of an 800) in 8th grade
and depending on their performance, get into a certain school. This is
the only basis of admissions to all of three schools. Over the last
two or so decades, the cutoff score for Stuyvesant has been far higher
(by a margin of 75 points) than Bronx. Brooklyn Tech has the lowest
cutoff score of the three. There is a preference order students can
select of the three so that even if they get a score high enough to
get into Stuyvesant, they can still select Tech as their first choice.
But around 95% of all the students who take the standarized test list
Stuyvesant as their primary choice (and this is a figure often quoted
in the critiques of this test-based admissions policy). Hunter also
has a test-based admissions policy, but it is a 6year school (whereby
students take the exam in 6th grade and enroll at Hunter in the 7th).
A good number of Hunterites transfer to Stuyvesant after 8th grade.
About two decades ago or so, Bronx had the highest of the cutoff
scores and hence attracted the top talent in the city. It has thus
historically been more popular than Stuyvesant in the rest of the
country. But over the last two decades, Stuy has shifted as the leader
in terms of the cutoff scores and have hence admitted the upper
echelon of the students. In 1991, Stuyvesant acquired a new $150
million building (www.stuy.edu) in downtown Manhatan, a mere two
minute walk from the World Trade towers. All this has led to the
emergence of its reputation in college admissions offices. Bronx, on
the other hand, has conversely faded in the other direction.