Feeder Schools: What are they?

By William Cao. Edited by Swastik Patel 


Like their name suggests, “Feeder Schools” are schools primarily designed for one goal: getting students into their “dream school”. This article will take a deeper dive into this terminology.  

Discretionary note: I am currently a highschooler soon to be going through the college application process.

What are they? Any Advantages?

When one mentions a “feeder school”, the term is most commonly associated and seen in the high school setting. The primary objective for these schools is to get their students admitted into higher education institutions, which are typically made up of top colleges such as private (Ivy League, etc.) or public universities (UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc.). Here is a good quote that resonated with me from Megan Zogby’s article summarizing the motive behind feeder schools:

“Feeder schools are a way of keeping elite education elite…American higher education is a hodge-podge of missions and educational approaches, but for the most elite schools, the path to an acceptance letter is narrow”

Feeder schools typically are structured in the same way that private schools are. They generally have exceptionally skilled professors and an abundance of course offerings to provide high-quality education, a wide range of resources, more than enough funding, and the list goes on. As a result, if a student succeeds (as the vast majority do), then they have an inherent advantage in gaining admission to a higher-level and competitive college. Private schools such as Harker and BASIS Independent Silicon Valley are great instances of this. Furthermore, these feeder schools’ reputation is further substantiated by a majority of their students being accepted into these institutions or universities. For instance, in my area around Silicon Valley, it would not be a surprise that a student from Harker would get into a top program at a university such as Berkeley Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS).


Feeder Schools are primarily designed for getting students into top schools across America as they have an abundance of resources that cover the needs of students. They are primarily private schools with the students attending them being mostly from the middle and upper classes. These students are typically accepted by colleges and universities with preferences, and can have the possibility of expanding the gap between students from lower and middle class. Now with all this being said, I do think that the advantages of feeder schools do outweigh their disadvantages and they certainly do their job effectively.

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