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NewlyRetired

College Admissions Questions

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16 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

The unfortunate answer is yes, some schools (not all), do put a major emphasis on current home value.

My brother has 4 children all at Northeastern.  He gets nothing from them for aid.  He got so frustrated that he and his wife went to the school to sit down with the financial aid officers.  After getting the run around, he finally forced the head of the department to talk to them.  It was then that the head told him that it was his home that prevented any financial aid.

This sucks.  I just finished paying off my house.  I intentionally planned it to be paid off so I wouldn't have that debt when it came time for college bills.  My wife and I are easily in that 'tweener category where we make/have too much to get any aid, but can't really afford the price tag either.

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2 minutes ago, Galileo said:

This sucks.  I just finished paying off my house.  I intentionally planned it to be paid off so I wouldn't have that debt when it came time for college bills.  My wife and I are easily in that 'tweener category where we make/have too much to get any aid, but can't really afford the price tag either.

The fact that some (not all, but enough to be outrageous) schools think a parent should sell their home to pay for college is one of the most ridiculous things in a process filled with ridiculous things.

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1 hour ago, NewlyRetired said:
1 hour ago, GStrot said:

I figured this was the answer. I just don’t want a college thinking I pulled out my home’s appreciation through refinancing.  I actually hate telling them how much my home is worth.  Do they anticipate I am going to sell my home to pay for college?  Does the purchase price really matter?

guessing I should have “sold” my house to my builder and “bought” it back when done so I had a record.  
 

Thanks.  

The unfortunate answer is yes, some schools (not all), do put a major emphasis on current home value.

My brother has 4 children all at Northeastern.  He gets nothing from them for aid.  He got so frustrated that he and his wife went to the school to sit down with the financial aid officers.  After getting the run around, he finally forced the head of the department to talk to them.  It was then that the head told him that it was his home that prevented any financial aid.

My brother and his wife don't make that much, but their house value has skyrocketed (SF suburb). My niece got into Barnard and really wanted to go...but because of the house value, they ended up qualifying for bupkis financial aid there, so she went in-state instead. This is all just insanity.

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6 hours ago, GStrot said:

I figured this was the answer. I just don’t want a college thinking I pulled out my home’s appreciation through refinancing.  I actually hate telling them how much my home is worth.  Do they anticipate I am going to sell my home to pay for college?  Does the purchase price really matter?

guessing I should have “sold” my house to my builder and “bought” it back when done so I had a record.  
 

Thanks.  

Id put what the house is assessed at for taxes.

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46 minutes ago, ffjunk said:

Id put what the house is assessed at for taxes.

Colleges ask that you do not do this because many municipalities do not assess homes for their full market value.

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On 10/10/2019 at 5:42 PM, NewlyRetired said:

Colleges ask that you do not do this because many municipalities do not assess homes for their full market value.

I think I am going to put Zillow value minus commissions for sale of my house, cost of fixing up my house for sale, cost of renting a one bedroom apartment since I just sold my house to get all the equity out to pay for college, and cost of a divorce attorney. 

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Not sure anyone will know the answer to these questions, but seems worth a shot...

For schools that give admissions preference to 'legacy' students, would this only apply if the relative (a grandparent in this case) graduated from the school, or would it still potentially help if they attended for a year or two before transferring to another school?

I've seen stats on some schools that are easier to get into for girls (and others that are easier for boys).  Does anyone know if there are schools where this is specifically true for engineering departments, and where stats on that might be available?

My daughter is a high school sophomore.  If I'm understanding what I read correctly, then from 1/1/2020-12/31/2020 is the first year of my income that will impact her financial aid.  Will that year be the only one that impacts her for her entire time in collect, or will subsequent years' income affect financial aid for her 2nd-4th years of collect?

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I can’t imagine that an admissions department will give legacy consideration to someone who only went there for a year or two and didn’t graduate from the school unless they have a history of giving to the college. 

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9 hours ago, zoobird said:

Not sure anyone will know the answer to these questions, but seems worth a shot...

For schools that give admissions preference to 'legacy' students, would this only apply if the relative (a grandparent in this case) graduated from the school, or would it still potentially help if they attended for a year or two before transferring to another school?

I've seen stats on some schools that are easier to get into for girls (and others that are easier for boys).  Does anyone know if there are schools where this is specifically true for engineering departments, and where stats on that might be available?

My daughter is a high school sophomore.  If I'm understanding what I read correctly, then from 1/1/2020-12/31/2020 is the first year of my income that will impact her financial aid.  Will that year be the only one that impacts her for her entire time in collect, or will subsequent years' income affect financial aid for her 2nd-4th years of collect?

I agree with bigbottom on the legacy question.

Don't know where to find the stats but I bet it's easier for a girl to get into an engineering department.

You have to re-do the financial aid reporting each year, so your 2021, 2022, and 2023 incomes will impact your aid.

 

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19 hours ago, zoobird said:

I've seen stats on some schools that are easier to get into for girls (and others that are easier for boys).  Does anyone know if there are schools where this is specifically true for engineering departments, and where stats on that might be available?

I don’t know of a list of the kind you are seeking, but schools provide what’s called a common data set that provides a lot of data, including admissions data. There are admissions statistics broken down between men and women, but most of the data sets I’ve reviewed haven’t broken it down by majors (engineering, business, etc.).  However, I did find this data digest for Purdue University that allows you to sort by engineering applicants. Purdue isn’t a highly selective institution like some others, and 61% of their students are from the state of Indiana, but since it offers one of the best engineering programs in the country, the data may be instructive for you. 

For the College of Engineering Fall 2019:

3,622 female applicants

2,637 females admitted

592 females matriculated

11,202 male applicants

6,736 males admitted

1,714 males matriculated

The above data points show that the admission rate for girls was 72.8%, compared to 60.1% for boys. However, more than two and a half times the number of boys were admitted.  It’s hard to draw anything definitive from these numbers because we don’t know what the girls’ scores, gpa, etc. are compared to the boys who are applying, but just given the admission rate, I would think it might be very slightly easier for a girl to gain admission to Purdue engineering than boys.  But she’ll be outnumbered nearly three to one when she gets there.

Here’s the link:  https://www.purdue.edu/datadigest/

Edited by bigbottom

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On 10/10/2019 at 5:28 PM, Galileo said:

This sucks.  I just finished paying off my house.  I intentionally planned it to be paid off so I wouldn't have that debt when it came time for college bills.  My wife and I are easily in that 'tweener category where we make/have too much to get any aid, but can't really afford the price tag either.

Sell the house to an LLC and plunge the cash into some protected asset class?

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And here is the Common Data Set for Cal Tech.

http://www.iro.caltech.edu/documents/102-common_data_set_2017_-_2018.pdf

I don’t see numbers specifically for engineering, but if you assume the numbers are relatively similar across disciplines, here are the stats for Fall 2017:

1,958 female applicants

306 females admitted

108 females matriculated

5,381 male applicants

262 males admitted

127 males matriculated

That’s a 15.6% admit rate for girls compared to a 4.9% admit rate for boys. 

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On 10/10/2019 at 6:42 PM, NewlyRetired said:

Colleges ask that you do not do this because many municipalities do not assess homes for their full market value.

Right so they can stick it to you. If there is a documented value and that’s the assessment Id have no issues putting that. Also they are asking for the value of your house. If they want to split hairs there is a house value and land value. But I wouldn’t go that route. Thought about it but couldn’t.
The whole process is based on where you live not taking any consideration for the cost of living. I actually did the fafsa forecaster (just an estimator) saying I lived in the poorest section of the country but put everything tax wise the same so I had more money in pocket due to the home values and my EFC  went down. Makes no sense at all. 

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Not sure what to do about this one and my wife is livid and on the warpath. Our son got denied National Honor Society as a junior last year and again this year as a senior. I think she is a shade away from having an aneurysm. Seriously, I will have to keep her away from the high school as there could be casualties if she shows up. 

We have no idea why he was turned down. Top 3% of his class. 4.75 weighted GPA. 1420 SAT’s. Almost double the hours required for community service. Tutors kids on his own time for free. Had phenomenal teacher recommendations. His athletic coaches call him the leader and motivator of his teams. He volunteers to teach elementary school kids sports. The only comments on his report cards have been excellent, outstanding, or exceptional student. He’s never had any discipline issues and has never set foot in the school office for a behavioral issue. All his friends got picked for NHS and academically he trumps them by a proverbial mile. The review panel TURNED DOWN three kids ranked in the Top 10 in terms of class rank and highest GPA’s. That makes NO SENSE to me.

I am going to have to go investigate at the school. Does National Honor Society carry a lot of weight or matter much on a college application? Like I said, I came home and my wife turned into a drunken sailor. I can’t even begin to count up all the F bombs she threw out. In the grand scheme of college admissions, does this matter much?

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2 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

Not sure what to do about this one and my wife is livid and on the warpath. Our son got denied National Honor Society as a junior last year and again this year as a senior. I think she is a shade away from having an aneurysm. Seriously, I will have to keep her away from the high school as there could be casualties if she shows up. 

We have no idea why he was turned down. Top 3% of his class. 4.75 weighted GPA. 1420 SAT’s. Almost double the hours required for community service. Tutors kids on his own time for free. Had phenomenal teacher recommendations. His athletic coaches call him the leader and motivator of his teams. He volunteers to teach elementary school kids sports. The only comments on his report cards have been excellent, outstanding, or exceptional student. He’s never had any discipline issues and has never set foot in the school office for a behavioral issue. All his friends got picked for NHS and academically he trumps them by a proverbial mile. The review panel TURNED DOWN three kids ranked in the Top 10 in terms of class rank and highest GPA’s. That makes NO SENSE to me.

I am going to have to go investigate at the school. Does National Honor Society carry a lot of weight or matter much on a college application? Like I said, I came home and my wife turned into a drunken sailor. I can’t even begin to count up all the F bombs she threw out. In the grand scheme of college admissions, does this matter much?

Can't believe he was turned down. Definitely agree that an investigation is in order. Perhaps you can get them to change their minds. 

I believe my daughter was in three: Art and a Language, in addition to the standard NHS. As I recall, we just added them in with her long list of accomplishments to sort of "overwhelm" the various admissions departments but I don't know that they necessarily stood out more than anything else on her application.   

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3 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

Not sure what to do about this one and my wife is livid and on the warpath. Our son got denied National Honor Society as a junior last year and again this year as a senior. I think she is a shade away from having an aneurysm. Seriously, I will have to keep her away from the high school as there could be casualties if she shows up. 

We have no idea why he was turned down. Top 3% of his class. 4.75 weighted GPA. 1420 SAT’s. Almost double the hours required for community service. Tutors kids on his own time for free. Had phenomenal teacher recommendations. His athletic coaches call him the leader and motivator of his teams. He volunteers to teach elementary school kids sports. The only comments on his report cards have been excellent, outstanding, or exceptional student. He’s never had any discipline issues and has never set foot in the school office for a behavioral issue. All his friends got picked for NHS and academically he trumps them by a proverbial mile. The review panel TURNED DOWN three kids ranked in the Top 10 in terms of class rank and highest GPA’s. That makes NO SENSE to me.

I am going to have to go investigate at the school. Does National Honor Society carry a lot of weight or matter much on a college application? Like I said, I came home and my wife turned into a drunken sailor. I can’t even begin to count up all the F bombs she threw out. In the grand scheme of college admissions, does this matter much?

Assuming your description is accurate it seems rather odd that he was turned down.  NHS is based on 4 criteria...scholarship, leadership, service, and character.  I have certainly seen people rejected on the basis of being weak in just one area.  Service is one of the primary areas where I have seen kids fall short.  I know at our school, it is not simply about checking off a specific number of hours...it is more about sustained/continued service.  It is much more favorable for a student to show a pattern of commitment over time to a particular cause than it is to accumulate random hours.  I have seen other kids get torpedoed by a character issue.  You claim he had phenomenal teacher recommendations.  How would you know that?  You should not be able to see teacher ratings/recs.  Again, sounds pretty fishy if the situation you describe is accurate.  

As to your question about college applications, I don't think it is a huge deal, but I am certainly not a college admissions person.  I know there are a ####load on non-NHS kids getting into colleges.  Maybe at some of the elite places it becomes an expectation??  I don't really know.

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10 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

Not sure what to do about this one and my wife is livid and on the warpath. Our son got denied National Honor Society as a junior last year and again this year as a senior. I think she is a shade away from having an aneurysm. Seriously, I will have to keep her away from the high school as there could be casualties if she shows up. 

We have no idea why he was turned down. Top 3% of his class. 4.75 weighted GPA. 1420 SAT’s. Almost double the hours required for community service. Tutors kids on his own time for free. Had phenomenal teacher recommendations. His athletic coaches call him the leader and motivator of his teams. He volunteers to teach elementary school kids sports. The only comments on his report cards have been excellent, outstanding, or exceptional student. He’s never had any discipline issues and has never set foot in the school office for a behavioral issue. All his friends got picked for NHS and academically he trumps them by a proverbial mile. The review panel TURNED DOWN three kids ranked in the Top 10 in terms of class rank and highest GPA’s. That makes NO SENSE to me.

I am going to have to go investigate at the school. Does National Honor Society carry a lot of weight or matter much on a college application? Like I said, I came home and my wife turned into a drunken sailor. I can’t even begin to count up all the F bombs she threw out. In the grand scheme of college admissions, does this matter much?

Don’t lose sleep over it.  Just on the application, highlight his academic prowess, community service, leadership and character.
 

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It sucks for your son and I think is worth a call to school- maybe more in the “This seems unusual based on what we know about our son and we’re concerned there’s something we’re not seeing” vein rather than “I’m gonna take a flamethrower to this place if I don’t get some answers.”

The good news is NHS in itself means virtually nothing for college admissions. But what is important is finding out if there is some unseen underlying issue that kept him out - bad recommendation or discipline issue or something else I can’t imagine - and making sure it doesn’t surface again in his college application materials 

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I get what most likely happened and understand the process. Our son rubbed somebody the wrong way and that teacher is on the voting panel and thus our son got voted out. Why that happened is the mystery. 

We went to every parent teacher conference over the years and specifically asked how he was doing academically, socially, was he being respectful and supportive to students and teachers, were there any behavioral issues, any concerns, anything they saw inside or outside the classroom that was becoming an issue. You name it, we asked about it. Almost universally the answer was great student, great kid, no concerns, and if they had 29 other kids like him in the class their life would be easy. 

That’s why my wife is on the warpath. The teachers had every opportunity to communicate with us any concerns and they didn’t. As I already said, he never once set foot in the office for disciplinary reasons. I myself even sat down with his counselor 2 or 3 times about course scheduling and college prep and was told he is one of the most respected kids in the school by both faculty and students alike. 

My wife’s position is if he did something so terrible to keep him out of NHS, then that had to be something serious and certainly should have been brought to our attention by the teacher, his counselor, or the administration. I can’t say that she is wrong. 

The other irony here is that our son runs study groups and tutors kids in his classes and every single one of them made NHS except him. Clearly in the big picture this is a blip on the radar and a year from now it won’t matter at all. 

I took the wife out for dinner and drinks to try to talk her off the ledge. It didn’t work. She is just as angry and upset. I get that she is hyper emotional as this is our last kid, but he’s done the most out of all our kids and the others all made NHS without a problem. The whole situation is both odd and unfortunate. 

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Yeah, there’s something you’re definitely not being told here. I would absolutely meet with the school and ask for an explanation. Did they say anything last year as to why he was not granted admission?

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I would also add that he’s going to need positive letters of recommendation from folks at school. Sounds like there might be issues to smooth over that could influence those. Flame-throwing could make it worse - I think a calm approach is best.

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21 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Yeah, there’s something you’re definitely not being told here. I would absolutely meet with the school and ask for an explanation. Did they say anything last year as to why he was not granted admission?

The story they gave us last year was that he didn’t have enough community service hours. We asked if there were any other issues and they said no. Since then, he volunteered at a local food kitchen / pantry and accumulated quadruple the hours they require just from that. He had plenty of other stuff on top of that including church projects, animal shelter, work he did for the town rec sports program, etc. 

My wife was the one that pursued them last year and said requiring volunteer hours BEFORE kids were in NHS was nuts, especially when kids weren’t even licensed to drive yet. They since agreed and dropped the community service threshold a ton since then. 

Allegedly, one of the people involved with NHS from the school told our son that they realistically only consider kids once and either you make it or you don’t. That person said it is extremely rare they take a senior that they said no to as a junior. 

I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but that’s what he was told. Maybe my wife meeting with people at the school last year about NHS influenced them this year. Don’t know if that was a factor or not. 

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14 minutes ago, Nigel said:

I would also add that he’s going to need positive letters of recommendation from folks at school. Sounds like there might be issues to smooth over that could influence those. Flame-throwing could make it worse - I think a calm approach is best.

Plenty of people have already given him glowing recommendations for multiple reasons including college apps, other honor societies, etc. Those folks included coaches, AP teachers, places he volunteered for, etc. Those were included in his NHS application. His teachers this year were shocked he didn’t get in last year, and they even mentioned that in their recommendations for him for this year. They pointed out that he far exceeds the NHS standards and said he should be on their short list of top candidates for this year. 

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National Honor Society is a local issue.  Not all high schools have it.  Schools that have it have different requirements and the whole thing is subjective.

 

This snub won’t matter with college admissions. Trust me. 

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43 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

The story they gave us last year was that he didn’t have enough community service hours. We asked if there were any other issues and they said no. Since then, he volunteered at a local food kitchen / pantry and accumulated quadruple the hours they require just from that. He had plenty of other stuff on top of that including church projects, animal shelter, work he did for the town rec sports program, etc. 

My wife was the one that pursued them last year and said requiring volunteer hours BEFORE kids were in NHS was nuts, especially when kids weren’t even licensed to drive yet. They since agreed and dropped the community service threshold a ton since then. 

Allegedly, one of the people involved with NHS from the school told our son that they realistically only consider kids once and either you make it or you don’t. That person said it is extremely rare they take a senior that they said no to as a junior. 

I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but that’s what he was told. Maybe my wife meeting with people at the school last year about NHS influenced them this year. Don’t know if that was a factor or not. 

As Steel Curtain mentioned, NHS requirements are set locally by the school. I will say, however, that my son’s chapter requires prior service hours for admission. I don’t think that requirement is nuts at all. Galileo explained above that service is one of the four primary criteria for admission, and the one where applicants often fall short. So last year’s decision makes sense. This year seems inexplicable unless, as you suspect, they just don’t consider seniors who have been previously denied.

Like others, I really don’t think it’s going to make a lick of difference on your son’s college applications. In fact, on the Common App, they ask what years are applicable for particular honors or activities. By only putting “12” for NHS, you’d be highlighting that he didn’t make NHS as a sophomore or junior. It may actually be better not to list it. 

Again, I would inquire about it. But I would strongly advise against taking a flamethrower approach when you do (or your wife does).  Even if it doesn’t impact your teacher recommendations, most colleges also require a school counselor recommendation and you don’t want to get the school pissed at you right as those evaluations are being written. Remember, you won’t ever get to see those or what is written in them. No reason to make a bad situation worse. 

Best of luck to you with this. The good news is that it sounds like your boy is an amazing kid with great qualities. He will have lots of fantastic options I’m sure. 

Edited by bigbottom
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My spidey sense tells me there is a recommendation that is far from glowing that you have not seen.

I agree with every one else to take a calm approach but definitely insist on finding out the reason he was not accepted.  They are immediately going to tell you he was great but they can't accept everyone so you have to be patient and push past it to get the real answer and then make sure what ever you find gets removed or blocked from his college applications.

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PSAT day.  8am start time had me a little concerned for my sleep-loving 16 year old, but he's up and at 'em.   Here's hoping all FBG kiddos rock it. 

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1 hour ago, General Malaise said:

PSAT day.  8am start time had me a little concerned for my sleep-loving 16 year old, but he's up and at 'em.   Here's hoping all FBG kiddos rock it. 

Best of luck to your boy!

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5 hours ago, General Malaise said:

PSAT day.  8am start time had me a little concerned for my sleep-loving 16 year old, but he's up and at 'em.   Here's hoping all FBG kiddos rock it. 

My son took it on Oct 16th.  He said it was easy.  Ha ha.  I hope he did well.  I am confident rocked the math portion.  The reading and writing...well, I will just wait and see on that.

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11 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

Plenty of people have already given him glowing recommendations for multiple reasons including college apps, other honor societies, etc. Those folks included coaches, AP teachers, places he volunteered for, etc. Those were included in his NHS application. His teachers this year were shocked he didn’t get in last year, and they even mentioned that in their recommendations for him for this year. They pointed out that he far exceeds the NHS standards and said he should be on their short list of top candidates for this year. 

I was the first National Merit Scholar at my school in at least ten years. I didn't get into NHS as a junior (when I had been a PITA my sophomore year) and then didn't my senior year (when I had an exemplary junior year). My mom was on the school board and raised hell. NHS wasn't allowed in the school for the rest of her term.

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If his test scores and grades are good, then he can tell NHS to go to hell. I'd dumb anyway. I'm all for service and bettering the community, but doing it strictly for college admissions is lame.  Anyway, he should just find something he loves and is passionate about and continue doing that.  That'll serve him better in the long run anyway.

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Welp, had my sit down meeting with the two people that run the NHS at our high school. Let's just say it was . . . interesting. Our son far exceeded the requirements for community service. And he far exceeded the requirements for academics. So far so good. That's two of their four pillars.

But things went way south from there. The other two pillars are character and leadership. They are saying the MAJORITY of teachers had nothing good to say about him. Apparently this chapter of NHS requires an average score from teachers of 7.5 in each category. They said he averaged the lowest out of any candidate in both categories with an average of 4 in character and a 5 in leadership. To me, it sounds like teachers either loved him and gave him a 9 or a 10 or couldn't stand him and gave him a 1 or a 2.

I explained to them that his report cards all say excellent / outstanding / phenomenal student and a joy to have in class. Not once or twice. Not now and again. All of them. All the time, in every class. I explained we've gone to his meet-the-teacher and parent / teacher conference nights and nothing came up. I explained he never once was sent to the office or the principal. I explained I asked all his teachers in person if he had any issues and they said he was a great kid without any issues. I explained to them that we have not received a single letter, note, email, or phone call in 4 years to indicate to us there was an issue from anyone from the school. Not once. I explained to them that after he was denied admission to NHS last year that their reason was he did not have enough community service hours.

Their response was they have way more stuff to deal with and other kids to worry about every day then reaching out to a parent about a student that they felt was disrespectful to them or the other students. Then then tried citing me chapter and verse all the things that they feel mandate bringing in parents and nothing he did met any of their criteria. Essentially, a snotty kid is not worth their time to send to the office or shoot a quick email about.

I did my part for the war effort. I explained the day's events to the wife and child. Now they are even more livid. The Mrs. is going to talk to the principal and explain what happened and the total mixed messages that they are sending us. Basically, your kid is awesome but in reality he's a total jerk. Well which is it? She saved all his report cards and is going to show them to the principal and again ask if he was such an ogre, how were we to know? And why didn't anyone tell us?

We already have recommendations from his teachers, coaches, and counselors sent to the colleges he applied to. Can my wife go scorched earth on them now or is it still best to just lay low? I explained that in the big scheme of things, not getting into NHS doesn't make much difference and they are just raising their blood pressure for no reason. He's not going to get into NHS at this point, just let it go any worry about something else . . . anything else.

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41 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

Welp, had my sit down meeting with the two people that run the NHS at our high school. Let's just say it was . . . interesting. Our son far exceeded the requirements for community service. And he far exceeded the requirements for academics. So far so good. That's two of their four pillars.

But things went way south from there. The other two pillars are character and leadership. They are saying the MAJORITY of teachers had nothing good to say about him. Apparently this chapter of NHS requires an average score from teachers of 7.5 in each category. They said he averaged the lowest out of any candidate in both categories with an average of 4 in character and a 5 in leadership. To me, it sounds like teachers either loved him and gave him a 9 or a 10 or couldn't stand him and gave him a 1 or a 2.

I explained to them that his report cards all say excellent / outstanding / phenomenal student and a joy to have in class. Not once or twice. Not now and again. All of them. All the time, in every class. I explained we've gone to his meet-the-teacher and parent / teacher conference nights and nothing came up. I explained he never once was sent to the office or the principal. I explained I asked all his teachers in person if he had any issues and they said he was a great kid without any issues. I explained to them that we have not received a single letter, note, email, or phone call in 4 years to indicate to us there was an issue from anyone from the school. Not once. I explained to them that after he was denied admission to NHS last year that their reason was he did not have enough community service hours.

Their response was they have way more stuff to deal with and other kids to worry about every day then reaching out to a parent about a student that they felt was disrespectful to them or the other students. Then then tried citing me chapter and verse all the things that they feel mandate bringing in parents and nothing he did met any of their criteria. Essentially, a snotty kid is not worth their time to send to the office or shoot a quick email about.

I did my part for the war effort. I explained the day's events to the wife and child. Now they are even more livid. The Mrs. is going to talk to the principal and explain what happened and the total mixed messages that they are sending us. Basically, your kid is awesome but in reality he's a total jerk. Well which is it? She saved all his report cards and is going to show them to the principal and again ask if he was such an ogre, how were we to know? And why didn't anyone tell us?

We already have recommendations from his teachers, coaches, and counselors sent to the colleges he applied to. Can my wife go scorched earth on them now or is it still best to just lay low? I explained that in the big scheme of things, not getting into NHS doesn't make much difference and they are just raising their blood pressure for no reason. He's not going to get into NHS at this point, just let it go any worry about something else . . . anything else.

fascinating!  And thank you for explaining everything you found out.

First and foremost before you do any sort of scorch earthing, find out who your son is using for recommendations with 100% certainty (I know you think you have them but really triple check).  If there have been a couple of teachers who have not enjoyed having him in class, you need to find that out.  It seems clear from your explanation that neither you nor your son are aware of who these teachers might be.  You do not want those on an application for obvious reasons.

I personally don't see any benefit to your son by going scorched earth and may actually hurt him if there were any teachers who were fine with him but maybe could be persuaded that he does have issues if your wife goes nuts.  It is not fair but it is human nature.

I do kind of understand their point that they can't send every smart alecky kid to the principles office (not saying that your son is this, just using an example).

Edited by NewlyRetired

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29 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

fascinating!  And thank you for explaining everything you found out.

First and foremost before you do any sort of scorch earthing, find out who your son is using for recommendations.  If there have been a couple of teachers who have not enjoyed having him in class, you need to find that out.  It seems clear from your explanation that neither you nor your son are aware of who these teachers might be.  You do not want those on an application for obvious reasons.

I personally don't see any benefit to your son by going scorched earth and may actually hurt him if there were any teachers who were fine with him but maybe could be persuaded that he does have issues if your wife goes nuts.  It is not fair but it is human nature.

I do kind of understand their point that they can't send every smart alecky kid to the principles office (not saying that your son is this, just using an example).

Anyone that has read anything from me over the years knows I am not the scorched earth type. My wife is the one that when rubbed the wrong way wants to burn s*** to the ground. The two universes or alternate realities here is so bizarre to me. For example, today our son got picked to represent the school as part of a sports management program at another school so they drove him two hours away for a conference and they even took him out to lunch at a restaurant. His AP Calc teacher sent my wife a note saying how well he is doing this year and he has yet to get a problem wrong on any test or in class and has been instrumental in helping the other kids learn how to do the problems. He's been tutoring math and science kids for free multiple days after school, which one would think he wouldn't be doing if were such a monster.

I forget to mention that our older son got into NHS without any problems and he had TONS of issues. He got cited for bullying. He got suspended. He got suspended another time and kicked off a sports team he was captain of for partying and drug possession (and should have been arrested). IMO, any of one of those warranted him not getting into NHS. Yet he made it in as a junior, no problem. He was definitely hot headed and opinionated and if anyone had an attitude, it would be him. 

Yet the younger one is the one getting labelled as the one with the BAD ATTITUDE.

Edited by Anarchy99
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Wow...sounds like a definite disconnect somewhere.  Not sure what to tell you, but scorched earth probably doesn't improve the situation in any way.   I can also understand that doing nothing would not be satisfying either.  Out of curiosity, did you ask how many teacher rankings were included in the scoring?  Did it include all of his teachers over the 4 years, or just recent ones?  Anytime we rate a student low in some area at my school, we are asked to add commentary to elaborate as to why.  Not sure if your school does that...if they do, I doubt they want to share the commentary with you, but maybe you could ask them to anonymously share some commentary at least for the purpose of understanding what is going on with your son.

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36 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

Yet the younger one is the one getting labelled as the one with the BAD ATTITUDE.

Do the two people who you spoke with at the school actually know your son?  If not, I'd think about how to verify that there isn't some kind of mix up or mistake.  We've had three or four times that my daughter got inexplicably bad test results (some in class, some on standardized tests) and were always able to determine (and prove) that it was a complete error...a page of answers didn't get added to her score, her score was swapped with another student's, etc.  Seems like there's a very slight chance that something like this could be happening here.

Assuming that it isn't an error, I'd suggest focusing on finding out what behaviors of your son's are causing teachers to perceive him badly.  It sounds like he's a good, hard-working kid who deserves to get feedback from his teachers that gives him a chance to improve himself going forward.

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56 minutes ago, Galileo said:

Wow...sounds like a definite disconnect somewhere.  Not sure what to tell you, but scorched earth probably doesn't improve the situation in any way.   I can also understand that doing nothing would not be satisfying either.  Out of curiosity, did you ask how many teacher rankings were included in the scoring?  Did it include all of his teachers over the 4 years, or just recent ones?  Anytime we rate a student low in some area at my school, we are asked to add commentary to elaborate as to why.  Not sure if your school does that...if they do, I doubt they want to share the commentary with you, but maybe you could ask them to anonymously share some commentary at least for the purpose of understanding what is going on with your son.

I got more out of them than I expected, mostly because I wasn't banging the drum that they had to take my kid into NHS. I said I wanted to better understand the process and figure out some reasons why he didn't get in. They tried to give me the line that there are 4 pillars and he didn't meet them. I indicated I thought I knew about the process, went over what I knew, and then asked them to go line item to review what happened. I told them I didn't want them to disclose any anonymous or confidential information, but could they summarize what some of the feedback was.

They claim that most of the time freshman teachers elect to not participate in the NHS process because the kids are often immature at the time. However, those comments count the same as a senior teacher should anyone have provided some. I forgot to ask how many teachers participated. It could be a case of a lot of the teachers that would have given him rave reviews didn't participate and only they ones that didn't care for him did. But they did in general terms say that multiple teachers felt he was disrespectful to both teachers and students, bragged about how well he did and put down others that did not do as well, and called others names when he did better than them.

I followed up with that with my son, who explained he would never put down a "regular" student and that he and his closest friends CONSTANTLY act like that with each other. So if his BFF missed a simple question on a test, he would call him a dumba$$ for missing such an easy question. They all do that on his sports teams, too, and they constantly call themselves names when they screw up.

The good news is my wife sees the system as being so flawed that she now wants to drop it. My son, however, is really fuming about the situation. He says he hangs out with and talks to all his teachers, past and present, all the time. They corner him in the hallway to talk, several have asked him to come by and help with a unit that he did well in, and he often eats breakfast or lunch with his teachers. He could only think of 3 teachers that ever had anything even remotely inflammatory, so he's peeved that some of the teachers he is still buddy buddy with are giving him negative feedback.

He on his own is now compiling all his facts and information and plans on sitting down with the principal to illustrate that the whole process is flawed. As an example, he wants to show what teachers posted on his report cards or papers. That certain teachers nominated him for awards that he won in school. That papers he wrote were submitted for other academic awards. Basically, that every one of his teachers told him how well he was doing and went above and beyond to further his recognition or had him help his teachers with their other students. Again, he just wants to know how teachers are his BFF's one day and shooting him down the next and he doesn't like the veil of secrecy being the obstacle to finding out what his teachers said about him.

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1 hour ago, zoobird said:

Do the two people who you spoke with at the school actually know your son?  If not, I'd think about how to verify that there isn't some kind of mix up or mistake.  We've had three or four times that my daughter got inexplicably bad test results (some in class, some on standardized tests) and were always able to determine (and prove) that it was a complete error...a page of answers didn't get added to her score, her score was swapped with another student's, etc.  Seems like there's a very slight chance that something like this could be happening here.

Assuming that it isn't an error, I'd suggest focusing on finding out what behaviors of your son's are causing teachers to perceive him badly.  It sounds like he's a good, hard-working kid who deserves to get feedback from his teachers that gives him a chance to improve himself going forward.

The two people I met with never had my son in one of their classes and don't know him at all. I asked them if either one of them ever gave a 1 or a 2 on a NHS evaluation and they said no. I asked if they felt inclined to give a student a score that low, would they have contacted the parents of that student because there would have to be a pretty major issue leading to a score that low. They agreed that both of them would have contacted the parents. They also said they had rarely seen one student get MULTIPLE scores that low . . . to which I again asked then why didn't someone from the school reach out to us last year or this year when the evaluations came in. Once they figured out that I backed them into a corner, they basically said thanks for coming in but they really didn't have anything else to add.

There are some issues that could have played a role in the low scores. One example was a math class where my son did the problem correctly but it was marked incorrect. He did it over and over again and he came up with the same answer. He wanted to ask the teacher about it and she said wrong is still wrong, go away. So he went to the head of the math department, who verified that his answer was correct and the textbook and test answer key were wrong. So the department head came to the class and announced to everyone that they were getting a free 10 points whether they were close to getting the answer right or not. The teacher was not amused. A couple of other times he had political differences with teachers, so I don't know if that factored into things.

We'll see if he gets anywhere talking to the principal. He wants teachers to have to give a quarterly update on how students are progressing and if they have any areas of concern if they want to be in NHS and how to remedy them outlined by the teacher. It's a great idea . . . which of course means they will never even consider it.

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This is a tough one. Frankly, I think it’s best to let your son advocate for himself, which it sounds like he is doing. That said, it appears that your son’s behavior has rubbed more than one teacher the wrong way. As a parent, that would probably be my priority - finding out as much as I can about the issue, and helping this be a learning experience for my son. And I’m not sure I agree that the system is “flawed.”  I sort of agree with the school that unless it’s a true disciplinary issue, it’s not really the teacher’s or the school’s responsibility to inform your son or you that he’s simply being disrespectful.  But when it comes time to provide feedback on something like an honor society recommendation, I guess they will.  But I wouldn’t worry too much about this. It sounds like your son has a ton going for him.  He’ll be just fine, and this NHS issue won’t even register in the long run. But this can definitely serve as a valuable learning experience for him, on how seemingly innocuous behaviors can impact how others view him, and the negative consequences that can result from those perceptions.  However, if there is a singular focus on the unfairness (whether real or perceived) of the process or the decision, the likelihood of this being a valuable learning experience decreases considerably. 

The above being said, the one additional thing that would be a huge priority for me is to get some guidance from the school or the NHS folks regarding which teachers should be asked for college app recommendations. Hopefully the school’s college counselor can speak with the NHS folks to get the scoop. 

I’m really sorry your son (and you and your wife) are having to deal with this, and I wish him the best of luck with his college apps and the rest of senior year. 

Edited by bigbottom
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Anarchy, tough situation.  I would suggest you read Bigbottom’s post above a few times.  Really great advice there especially regarding the stance you, your wife and son are taking.  
 

I don’t know your son at all except for what you have posted here.  But, there are more than enough examples you have posted that would indicate why a teacher might give him low marks for character and leadership that wouldn’t show up on a report card or in a disciplinary action but might be reflected in an NHS application.   Especially if they don’t see the good things he is doing outside the classroom.  You mentioned political differences with teachers, ridiculing classmates (possibly in front of teachers and the rest of the class) for missing a question or getting a less than perfect grade, going above a teacher’s head on an issue, an older brother who was a troublemaker and a family who has on multiple occasions questioned teacher and administrative decisions to the point of having policy changed to (seemingly) favor him.  
 

I don’t believe a group of teachers got together and plotted to get back at your son by giving him low scores for NHS.  Teachers are usually way too busy trying to help kids to worry about screwing a kid over.  I am guessing a few teachers came to these decisions independently and it’s not the system screwing your son over on this.  
 

But, I don’t know much. So, take it for what it’s worth.  To bring it back to college admissions, sounds like the letters of recommendation are already in.  Here’s hoping you picked the right teachers.  Best of luck to you and your son with this situation and your college application process.  

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1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

  However, if there is a singular focus on the unfairness (whether real or perceived) of the process or the decision, the likelihood of this being a valuable learning experience decreases considerably.

very very very well said.

This is probably not easy advice for any parent to absorb as they want to obviously assume the best about their own child but there is enough going on here that it is worth looking into in the hopes of removing or improving what ever the issue is.

The real trick here is finding someone in the school to exactly say what the issue is so that steps can be used to show the son how he can improve.

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Another item that might be hard for a parent to absorb but it is worth mentioning anyway.  If this is the biggest hardship the child faced in high school, thank your lucky stars and enjoy as he goes on to a great college and working career.

There are some parents like myself who would trade all accolades like NHS in a second for an easier time for their child in the future.

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Seven apps in, two to go.  And then some more essays for honors college apps.  Will this grind ever end?!?  

I feel bad for the kid. He has a challenging courseload and then he is having to write what seems like 50 application essays. 

Edited by bigbottom
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Good luck all of you. 

And continued thanks for sharing your journeys here so honestly. Invaluable info...much appreciated!

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How hard is getting into a graduate program compared to undergrad?

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1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

Seven apps in, two to go.  And then some more essays for honors college apps.  Will this grind ever end?!?

Yes.  As you said, "two to go".  The light is at the end of the tunnel.

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41 minutes ago, Galileo said:

Yes.  As you said, "two to go".  The light is at the end of the tunnel.

Yeah, I see it, but it's very faint. My kid just found out that he won't make varsity soccer this year, so his high school soccer career is done (seniors don't play on JV).  That was a real bummer, but not a big surprise.  His school is extremely competitive in soccer (and athletics generally - this is the school with the high school sprinter who broke all the HS records last year), and they recruit players from all over the city.  Coach said he just missed the cut.  On the applications we submitted thus far, we indicated that he was trying out for varsity, but now, we'll have no HS soccer listed for his senior year. Hopefully that won't make a huge difference.  He's still playing Club, though he's been sidelined for the past 4 weeks due to injury (which may have played a role in the cut from the HS team).  He seems to be handling it okay, but it's hard to tell with this kid - he shows very little emotion.  He did say that he wants to play rugby.  It's a no cut sport and he has some buddies on the team.  Just have to convince the wife that he won't get murdered out there.

Edited by bigbottom

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Just now, bigbottom said:

Yeah, I see it, but it's vary faint. My kid just found out that he won't make varsity soccer this year, so his high school soccer career is done (seniors don't play on JV).  That was a real bummer, but not a big surprise.  His school is extremely competitive in soccer (and athletics generally - this is the school with the high school sprinter who broke all the HS records last year), and they recruit players from all over the city.  Coach said he just missed the cut.  On the applications we submitted thus far, we indicated that he was trying out for varsity, but now, we'll have no HS soccer listed for his senior year. Hopefully that won't make a huge difference.  He's still playing Club, though he's been sidelined for the past 4 weeks due to injury (which may have played a role in the cut from the HS team).  He seems to be handling it okay, but it's hard to tell with this kid - he shows very little emotion.  He did say that he wants to play rugby.  It's a no cut sport and he has some buddies on the team.  Just have to convince the wife that he won't get murdered out there.

Late season.  Soccer is a fall sport here

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23 minutes ago, Galileo said:

Late season.  Soccer is a fall sport here

We’re in Texas, so football pretty much owns the fall. School soccer is a winter sport here. Club soccer is fall and spring. 

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Math question for all the admissions experts.  As discussed many pages back, my son recently started 9th grade at a pretty well-regarded private school after being in public school through 8th grade.  Things seem to be going really well so far, but before we go in next week for a quarterly meeting with his advisor, I told his mom I would get some advice from the FFA.  

Background:  The GT program at the local middle schools had kids taking Geometry in 8th grade then Algebra II in 9th.  Meanwhile, Baltimore private schools don't start Geometry till 9th grade.  The two paths at his new school for good math students from grades 9-12 are:

Geometry --> Algebra II --> Precalc/w trig --> Calc I  

or

Advanced Geometry w/ Algebra --> Advanced Algebra w/Trig --> Advanced Calc --> Calc II

Because my son already had Geometry in 8th grade, he started in Algebra II with 10th graders so as not to repeat work.  On the downside, this means he will talk Calc I as a junior rather than Advanced Calc, and then won't be able to take Calc II as a senior.

The Question:  Should see about how to get him on the most advanced math track?  He's good at math, but I wouldn't call him a whiz or anything.  He loves languages and social science-type classes, so I don't see him going to college to be an engineer or doctor.  On the other hand, he's likely going to want to apply to relatively selective colleges down the road, and I'm curious as to whether taking Calc I and maybe Stats could be any sort of impediment compared to Advanced Calc and Calc II.

My son doesn't really have an opinion, and we've never really been the pushy parents in regards to school stuff, so wanted to hear folks' thoughts before possibly discussing with his advisor.  

 

 

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