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14 hours ago, El Floppo said:

And I shouldn't be surprised any more, but kids are supposed to, or are required to log volunteer hours? I'm sure we all feel this way- but if you're required to volunteer for HS or college...is it really volunteering?

NHS requires documented volunteer hours to qualify. It looks good on the college resume, so most serious students try to get it. You're correct that it's not really "volunteering" though, and with my kids, it barely qualified as work either. It usually turned into social events where they went and hung out with their friends while helping run some program for younger kids. Sure beats what I was doing at that age though. It's a win-win-win really. Good for the kids, good for the teens, and good for the parents. 

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7 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

NHS requires documented volunteer hours to qualify. It looks good on the college resume, so most serious students try to get it. You're correct that it's not really "volunteering" though, and with my kids, it barely qualified as work either. It usually turned into social events where they went and hung out with their friends while helping run some program for younger kids. Sure beats what I was doing at that age though. It's a win-win-win really. Good for the kids, good for the teens, and good for the parents. 

Our son actually did real work for his volunteer hours. He picked up and redistributed food from grocery stores and restaurants for our local food pantry. Every time he was there he did a ton of heavy lifting and relocated stuff in their storage area and put cases and boxes on shelves. He was beat when he came back. He also did a bunch of physical labor for a church group. Helped build a deck, cleared snow, raked leaves, etc. He also did clean up and maintenance for a non-profit kennel that did specialized dog training. And some of his basketball stuff involved running clinics with like 100 elementary kids for two hours at a time where it was him and one other person (and the adults that were supposed to show up never did).

The problem is, a lot of kids do next to nothing for volunteering but it is next to impossible for places to know what they actually did. At one point, our son was up for scholarship money for exceptional grades and playing football with a minimal component for community service. The order of importance was supposed to be academic performance, on-field performance, and a minimal amount of hours for volunteering. At the time, our son had the highest GPA you could get (maxed out), so no one could have done better. He led the state / league in TD's and yardage. And he met the hours requirement for volunteering. He was selected as a finalist for the scholarship banquet.

A kid won the top $3,000 scholarship award because BOTH his parents fabricated all these phantom hours of community service the kid was said to have done where the parents worked (different companies). The kid even admitted he never did any of the stuff that his parents listed. Not one bit of it. They still gave him the money. His grades were decent but not great. And he was mostly a bit player on the football team. I think they gave us a $50 dollar savings bond.

So I agree that what who knows what community service and volunteering is intended to do these days and what is actually done as a holistic volunteer?

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28 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:
15 hours ago, El Floppo said:

And I shouldn't be surprised any more, but kids are supposed to, or are required to log volunteer hours? I'm sure we all feel this way- but if you're required to volunteer for HS or college...is it really volunteering?

NHS requires documented volunteer hours to qualify. It looks good on the college resume, so most serious students try to get it. You're correct that it's not really "volunteering" though, and with my kids, it barely qualified as work either. It usually turned into social events where they went and hung out with their friends while helping run some program for younger kids. Sure beats what I was doing at that age though. It's a win-win-win really. Good for the kids, good for the teens, and good for the parents. 

A fine distinction, maybe, but I'm pretty sure the NHS calls it "community service" rather than volunteering.  Relative to EF's point, I think that takes the motivation part out of the equation.

 

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24 minutes ago, Anarchy99 said:

Our son actually did real work for his volunteer hours. He picked up and redistributed food from grocery stores and restaurants for our local food pantry. Every time he was there he did a ton of heavy lifting and relocated stuff in their storage area and put cases and boxes on shelves. He was beat when he came back. He also did a bunch of physical labor for a church group. Helped build a deck, cleared snow, raked leaves, etc. He also did clean up and maintenance for a non-profit kennel that did specialized dog training. And some of his basketball stuff involved running clinics with like 100 elementary kids for two hours at a time where it was him and one other person (and the adults that were supposed to show up never did).

The problem is, a lot of kids do next to nothing for volunteering but it is next to impossible for places to know what they actually did. At one point, our son was up for scholarship money for exceptional grades and playing football with a minimal component for community service. The order of importance was supposed to be academic performance, on-field performance, and a minimal amount of hours for volunteering. At the time, our son had the highest GPA you could get (maxed out), so no one could have done better. He led the state / league in TD's and yardage. And he met the hours requirement for volunteering. He was selected as a finalist for the scholarship banquet.

A kid won the top $3,000 scholarship award because BOTH his parents fabricated all these phantom hours of community service the kid was said to have done where the parents worked (different companies). The kid even admitted he never did any of the stuff that his parents listed. Not one bit of it. They still gave him the money. His grades were decent but not great. And he was mostly a bit player on the football team. I think they gave us a $50 dollar savings bond.

So I agree that what who knows what community service and volunteering is intended to do these days and what is actually done as a holistic volunteer?

This is now the fifth or sixth example where your son got screwed over by the system in favor of lesser qualified kids.  You really should write a book about this stuff.

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1 hour ago, E-Z Glider said:

NHS requires documented volunteer hours to qualify. It looks good on the college resume, so most serious students try to get it. You're correct that it's not really "volunteering" though, and with my kids, it barely qualified as work either. It usually turned into social events where they went and hung out with their friends while helping run some program for younger kids. Sure beats what I was doing at that age though. It's a win-win-win really. Good for the kids, good for the teens, and good for the parents. 

My kid spent Spring Break in a small border town roofing houses from sunup to sundown.  That was brutal work that, while personally rewarding, also had the benefit of probably being the best possible motivator for him to get a college education.

Service ended up being one of the biggest aspects of his college applications, which matters to some colleges and matters not a whit to others.  He logged well over a 1000 hours volunteering during his high school years.  He didn't have a job though, and didn't really participate in any school clubs or organizations.

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2 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

This is now the fifth or sixth example where your son got screwed over by the system in favor of lesser qualified kids.  You really should write a book about this stuff.

I will give you another one with both a bad and good ending. He used to go to Nike summer basketball camp at U of Dayton. They had a skills challenge that the fastest time at the end of camp would get a vintage pair of Jordan’s. He was #1 in the clubhouse and sat and watched the last few kids not beat his time. At their version of an awards ceremony (covered by local tv), they announced the winner . . . and it wasn’t him. He was furious. 

The whole thing was staged. The kid that “won” had a dad doing life in jail and a mother that had died in a fire. He had bounced around in the foster care system and this was a Kodak moment for Nike, the camp, and social services. 

The next year, they gave away official Nike basketballs as prizes. He won 5 balls for winning the skills challenge, three point contest, free throw contest, being on the championship team for the camp, and being selected as player of the camp. This time around, he himself found underprivileged kids and gave all the balls away because the kids couldn’t afford one.  He learned a lot over a year and it had nothing to do with basketball. Life is all about taking a negative and turning it into a positive. 

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3 hours ago, bigbottom said:

My kid spent Spring Break in a small border town roofing houses from sunup to sundown.  That was brutal work that, while personally rewarding, also had the benefit of probably being the best possible motivator for him to get a college education.

Service ended up being one of the biggest aspects of his college applications, which matters to some colleges and matters not a whit to others.  He logged well over a 1000 hours volunteering during his high school years.  He didn't have a job though, and didn't really participate in any school clubs or organizations.

I wish my kids had half the motivation of most of your kids in here. My daughter is being excused from a whole day of school tomorrow to go dance with elementary kids AND she's getting 8 hours community service for doing it (bringing her up to a whopping 32 hours total!). I'd like to say they're selectively resourceful, but I think they're just lazy.

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4 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

I wish my kids had half the motivation of most of your kids in here. My daughter is being excused from a whole day of school tomorrow to go dance with elementary kids AND she's getting 8 hours community service for doing it (bringing her up to a whopping 32 hours total!). I'd like to say they're selectively resourceful, but I think they're just lazy.

Well, kids get motivated by different things.  My son loves doing community service (through school, church and our foundation).  But we tried to get him to get involved with clubs and other non-sport organizations at school (always good to have some leadership positions on your resume) and he simply wasn't interested.  Ultimately, though, it's not about checking a bunch of boxes.  Its about your kid finding something that they're passionate about, and then doing that.  If it's not service or sports, perhaps its art, or music, or church, or student government, or quiz bowl, etc.

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36 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

finding something that they're passionate about

I think the problem for a lot of kids (and adults!) is that they don't know what they're passionate about.  So I'd modify what you said to add "or make a concerted effort to try a variety of things out and see what they like and don't like about each.  Probably an even more useful approach for learning about potential careers and college majors.  I think most kids are choosing their major at a time when they are familiar with maybe 5% (if that many) of the potential careers that are out there.  For most of the, they'd be better off with earlier exposure to more careers AND keeping their options open by selecting majors that are useful in a wide variety of possible careers.

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This is fascinating. 

https://www.compassprep.com/major-drop-in-psat-scores/

Not a big deal for the kids who took the PSAT this year (like mine) since they'll all presumably be impacted the same way. But this is another nail in the coffin for the credibility of the College Board. There's such a growing body of evidence that a kid's high school transcript is so much more predictive of college performance than test scores. The kicker is that the place where the discrepancy between test scores and college performance is greatest is -- among people with high test scores but low grades. In those situations, the person is much more likely to have low college grades as well. That's because (like me) those people tend to be smart underachievers who goofed off in high school and will probably continue to goof off in college. Whereas people who got low test scores but high grades in high school tend to have high grades in college too - because they are hardworking and determined to do what it takes to succeed.

I expect another bunch of schools to go test-optional before the upcoming admissions cycle. Will be very interesting to see which of the extremely selective schools is the first to take the plunge. I think the Ivy League might not be able to because they literally use test scores to compute the Academic Index that all 8 members use to determine eligibility for recruited athletes. But they are also probably not going to be the leaders in this regard either way.

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57 minutes ago, The_Man said:

This is fascinating. 

https://www.compassprep.com/major-drop-in-psat-scores/

Not a big deal for the kids who took the PSAT this year (like mine) since they'll all presumably be impacted the same way. But this is another nail in the coffin for the credibility of the College Board. There's such a growing body of evidence that a kid's high school transcript is so much more predictive of college performance than test scores. The kicker is that the place where the discrepancy between test scores and college performance is greatest is -- among people with high test scores but low grades. In those situations, the person is much more likely to have low college grades as well. That's because (like me) those people tend to be smart underachievers who goofed off in high school and will probably continue to goof off in college. Whereas people who got low test scores but high grades in high school tend to have high grades in college too - because they are hardworking and determined to do what it takes to succeed.

I expect another bunch of schools to go test-optional before the upcoming admissions cycle. Will be very interesting to see which of the extremely selective schools is the first to take the plunge. I think the Ivy League might not be able to because they literally use test scores to compute the Academic Index that all 8 members use to determine eligibility for recruited athletes. But they are also probably not going to be the leaders in this regard either way.

That's really interesting, thanks for posting this. Especially the big drop in math scores.  My junior scored lower on the math portion this past October than either of the previous two times he took the PSAT, even though he did some prep for this last one, and did not prep at all for the previous two. Considering he wants to major in engineering, that was pretty concerning. He still need to get his math score up for the real SAT he'll take this spring regardless, but this data makes me feel better - I was starting to second guess whether he should really be going down an engineering path after these recent PSAT results.

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I gotta figure out how to get my kid to keep playing basketball. They just beat a team by double digits that won 3 state titles in the past 4 years and hasn't lost a total of 10 games over 5 years. He carried the team in the second half and scored or assisted on all but one basket. It was just like the good old days. Get him the ball, get him in the paint, and let him outduel 3 or 4 guys. They are legit title contenders . . . and they are actually learning as they go. This is NOT the style of play this coach likes to play, and kids that haven't made entry passes are trying to figure out how to do it. And he is WAY into it now. Chest bumping and high fiving kids, another mega dunk, and way more emotion. The coach makes Bill Belichick look happy go lucky by comparison, and even he was grinning from ear to ear and was upbeat and happy after the game. They make the turn to the second half of the season ranked third in the state. I'm going to be a hot mess the rest of the way, but damn if it's not entertaining.

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Love reading that, anarchy. I think there's a thread for kids sports accomplishments...you should bump that one too.

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On 1/31/2020 at 4:07 PM, The_Man said:

This is fascinating. 

https://www.compassprep.com/major-drop-in-psat-scores/

Not a big deal for the kids who took the PSAT this year (like mine) since they'll all presumably be impacted the same way. But this is another nail in the coffin for the credibility of the College Board. There's such a growing body of evidence that a kid's high school transcript is so much more predictive of college performance than test scores. The kicker is that the place where the discrepancy between test scores and college performance is greatest is -- among people with high test scores but low grades. In those situations, the person is much more likely to have low college grades as well. That's because (like me) those people tend to be smart underachievers who goofed off in high school and will probably continue to goof off in college. Whereas people who got low test scores but high grades in high school tend to have high grades in college too - because they are hardworking and determined to do what it takes to succeed.

I expect another bunch of schools to go test-optional before the upcoming admissions cycle. Will be very interesting to see which of the extremely selective schools is the first to take the plunge. I think the Ivy League might not be able to because they literally use test scores to compute the Academic Index that all 8 members use to determine eligibility for recruited athletes. But they are also probably not going to be the leaders in this regard either way.

Really interesting.  So, if I'm understanding the final section of the article correctly, this year's test was easier than most years, but the conversion from results to official score seemed to overcompensate for that...particularly on the math section.

That seems consistent with what my daughter (who took it as a sophomore) found...she's way better at math than reading/writing, but her scores were surprisingly close on the two sections...worse on math and better on English than we would have expected. 

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Took our first college visit. Amazing how much weather conditions (crap) and student tour guide (crap) can influence a 17 years olds experience. 

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3 hours ago, ex-ghost said:

Took our first college visit. Amazing how much weather conditions (crap) and student tour guide (crap) can influence a 17 years olds experience. 

So, so, so much this.  That's also why I'd suggest doing department tours over general tours whenever possible.  I think you have a better chance of getting a good guide and one whose experience is relevant.

If I was a college admissions director, I would be doing anything in my power to get the best possible guides and train them as well as possible.

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5 hours ago, zoobird said:

So, so, so much this.  That's also why I'd suggest doing department tours over general tours whenever possible.  I think you have a better chance of getting a good guide and one whose experience is relevant.

If I was a college admissions director, I would be doing anything in my power to get the best possible guides and train them as well as possible.

This.  Probably the greatest, untapped ROI a school could take advantage of.  U of Richmond had a really charismatic kid giving the tour (and all the students on campus seemed to know him).  It created an ultra-friendly atmosphere, and my daughter loved the school, even though it did not fit a ton of her needs.

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6 hours ago, zoobird said:

So, so, so much this.  That's also why I'd suggest doing department tours over general tours whenever possible.  I think you have a better chance of getting a good guide and one whose experience is relevant.

If I was a college admissions director, I would be doing anything in my power to get the best possible guides and train them as well as possible.

Our tour guide mentioned she did it for free. Big mistake, pay these kids and expect more. 

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1 hour ago, ex-ghost said:

Our tour guide mentioned she did it for free. Big mistake, pay these kids and expect more. 

Seriously?  I would literally have a program where they are screened for school knowledge and personality and then pay them $20/hr or something to give the tours, so they are incentivized to give as many tours as possible. 

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Our guide at Georgetown told us that she had only started doing tours because her applications to all eight of the business related clubs at the school were rejected.

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Back when I was in college, I didn't regularly give tours but would if they needed someone. I was on work study, so technically I was getting paid. Anyway, on one of the tours I came around the corner and found a naked girl unconscious in a tree 20 feet high next to one of the dorms. Try explaining that one away to a bunch of potential parents of students. It turned into a giant mess.  A bunch of kids took pictures, one of which made it into the main city newspaper and called into question how much partying was actually going on at the campus that a naked girl was comatose at three in the afternoon in a tree. The newspaper mucked things up even more as they printed a picture where you could see the girl's face and in subsequent follow up articles released her name. Then there was an investigation if she was assaulted and how she got into the tree. The girl was so embarrassed that she dropped out of school. The school ended up getting cited for safety violations and had to remove any trees that were within so many feet of residence halls. The newspaper got in trouble for disclosing the name of an assault victim. The entire thing was bizarre.

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Did any of you guys do college tours?

I didn't- didn't even occur to me. Had recruiting trips for sports which were great ways to get a feel for the campus (and the dean of admissions daughter at one of them), but honestly didn't even realize a tour was a thing.

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36 minutes ago, zoobird said:

Our guide at Georgetown told us that she had only started doing tours because her applications to all eight of the business related clubs at the school were rejected.

LOL. That matches with our experience at Georgetown's Admitted Students Day where they showed a video that talked about how stressed and over-committed everyone was, and how competitive it was to get a spot in any of the clubs you might want to do.

My kid was ready to leave right then. We made him stay until lunch, but it was the most catastrophic attempt at yielding admitted students imaginable. 

The growing trend in tours is to create a signature moment where the kid gets to experience something genuinely cool and unique about the school, leading him to imagine himself there as a student. Georgetown actually had a great one of these moments, when they take you up to a terrace outside a dorm that overlooks the Potomac and you can see the entire National Mall, and that's when they talk about all the opportunities going to college in DC makes possible. For a while after that, Georgetown was at the top of my son's list, until he ultimately changed his mind. But here's a funny thing - I took my younger kid on the Georgetown tour this summer, and the guide didn't take us up to that terrace because the other tour group had gotten there first and he didn't want to wait behind them. So because one kid - probably unpaid - wanted to get his tour finished sooner, my group never got the tour's best moment.  

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12 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Did any of you guys do college tours?

I didn't- didn't even occur to me. Had recruiting trips for sports which were great ways to get a feel for the campus (and the dean of admissions daughter at one of them), but honestly didn't even realize a tour was a thing.

I was a walk-on athlete in my sports (cross country and ice hockey), so I would take tours, and then drop by the coach's office to see if he was around.  Usually it was not a big deal at all to meet them and they would give me 5-10 minutes and look at my times and tell me where they thought I could slot in on the team.  But yeah, I even did a couple of sleepovers, and one was an awesome experience and the other was so bad, I knocked the #1 school off my list.  We did tours with my daughter, but they really do not have high schoolers stay over any more (maybe they for sports) due to liability issues.

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52 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Did any of you guys do college tours?

I didn't- didn't even occur to me. Had recruiting trips for sports which were great ways to get a feel for the campus (and the dean of admissions daughter at one of them), but honestly didn't even realize a tour was a thing.

I didn't.  Most of my classmates at an academically competitive high school did, but I always said that their opinions of the visits seemed to just depend on the weather, so it was pointless.  While there was some truth to my reasoning, I think I was actually just lazy and didn't want to think about the future.

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2 hours ago, Sweet Love said:

I was a walk-on athlete in my sports (cross country and ice hockey), so I would take tours, and then drop by the coach's office to see if he was around.  Usually it was not a big deal at all to meet them and they would give me 5-10 minutes and look at my times and tell me where they thought I could slot in on the team.  But yeah, I even did a couple of sleepovers, and one was an awesome experience and the other was so bad, I knocked the #1 school off my list.  We did tours with my daughter, but they really do not have high schoolers stay over any more (maybe they for sports) due to liability issues.

I remember the sleepovers. I did one at Cornell and enjoyed it but I never ended up applying (applied once ED and that’s it). I even did what I’d call a sleepover at the Naval Academy but it was a math/science week there. It was a freaking blast and a week off from school but I was the only one in my group that had no intention of going there.

I almost forgot about those and no, they definitely don’t do them anymore.

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16 minutes ago, stbugs said:

I remember the sleepovers. I did one at Cornell and enjoyed it but I never ended up applying (applied once ED and that’s it). I even did what I’d call a sleepover at the Naval Academy but it was a math/science week there. It was a freaking blast and a week off from school but I was the only one in my group that had no intention of going there.

I almost forgot about those and no, they definitely don’t do them anymore.

Were you staying with a student?

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I did more visits for grad school than undergrad.  Usually crashed with friends of friends, including smoking a bowl in the underground apartment of someone I'll never see again and wouldn't recognize if I did.  I'm not sure if that qualifies as a "signature moment".

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42 minutes ago, stbugs said:

I remember the sleepovers. I did one at Cornell and enjoyed it but I never ended up applying (applied once ED and that’s it). I even did what I’d call a sleepover at the Naval Academy but it was a math/science week there. It was a freaking blast and a week off from school but I was the only one in my group that had no intention of going there.

I almost forgot about those and no, they definitely don’t do them anymore.

I did one of those at Claremont on the weekend of like the biggest Harvey Mudd party of the year and it was nuts. For me, pretty much a goody-two-shoes all of high school who was there for a scholarship interview and to talk with the basketball coach about playing.

 

My first experience of the smell of weed and a bunch of insane engineers on the one day they cut loose and I was suddenly all about a school with a big campus and a good football team and some easier academics. 

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2 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

I did one of those at Claremont on the weekend of like the biggest Harvey Mudd party of the year and it was nuts. 

My daughter is a freshman at Claremont now, loves it. Your story is funny to me though because you’re right, the Mudd kids are not a wild bunch.

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7 hours ago, Anarchy99 said:

Back when I was in college, I didn't regularly give tours but would if they needed someone. I was on work study, so technically I was getting paid. Anyway, on one of the tours I came around the corner and found a naked girl unconscious in a tree 20 feet high next to one of the dorms. Try explaining that one away to a bunch of potential parents of students. It turned into a giant mess.  A bunch of kids took pictures, one of which made it into the main city newspaper and called into question how much partying was actually going on at the campus that a naked girl was comatose at three in the afternoon in a tree. The newspaper mucked things up even more as they printed a picture where you could see the girl's face and in subsequent follow up articles released her name. Then there was an investigation if she was assaulted and how she got into the tree. The girl was so embarrassed that she dropped out of school. The school ended up getting cited for safety violations and had to remove any trees that were within so many feet of residence halls. The newspaper got in trouble for disclosing the name of an assault victim. The entire thing was bizarre.

WTF?

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All this talk of tours... I took a less typical route.   I never toured, nor even visited, the school that I ultimately chose to go to.  The first time I set foot on campus (1200 miles from home) was one week before the start of classes for an orientation session.

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7 minutes ago, Galileo said:

WTF?

The school cut back or removed trees that kids could climb out of their rooms to get into. Don’t ask me why or how. But they no longer had trees up against the buildings in that section of the campus. Apparently they were considered too dangerous and kids could get hurt or fall trying to get into them. 

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5 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Were you staying with a student?

At Cornell, yes, but there were a bunch of students there that weekend. It was organized by the college though, sort of like a recruiting trip. At USNA it was more like a camp, we had a midshipmen as our group leader.

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I guess I was just oblivious to the whole process.

Most of my friends and HS classmates went into the UC system...back when most of them not Cal or UCLA were close to auto-admissions. They visited friends already there and partied. That was the touring process of the people I knew growing up.

But it's funny, about the weather comments...my older brother did a back east trip to look at some schools the summer before his senior year- which involved showing up and walking around campuses, unguided. And for whatever idiotic reason, I took his idiotic reasons for liking/not liking schools (eg...they seemed like snobs) as sacrosanct and didn't bother even looking at some that in retrospect would've been better fits than a few I thought were amazing (and completely wrong fits...in retrospect).

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This is a few steps ahead of the whole college planning thing.  My son is entering High School next year and they have to request their freshman year classes now.  We looked over the whole list and checked what he'd need to cover as prerequisites for future classes.  Any other advice for early class picks?  I've heard its good to not go crazy freshman year but show a build of Honors / AP classes over the four years.  I'd also like to give him a chance to try some electives in new areas to see if he likes them. (Programming / Marketing / Business / Astronomy / etc rather than just focusing on Math / Science / Engineering like his parents). He's so used to Engineering stuff from us I think he's just leaning that way without exploring anything else.

EHS 9th Grade Program of Studies

Right now he's leaning toward honors everything but English and requesting Programming and Astronomy as electives.

Any thoughts on this or am I crazy to be thinking about this so early?  TIA!

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56 minutes ago, Lehigh98 said:

This is a few steps ahead of the whole college planning thing.  My son is entering High School next year and they have to request their freshman year classes now.  We looked over the whole list and checked what he'd need to cover as prerequisites for future classes.  Any other advice for early class picks?  I've heard its good to not go crazy freshman year but show a build of Honors / AP classes over the four years.  I'd also like to give him a chance to try some electives in new areas to see if he likes them. (Programming / Marketing / Business / Astronomy / etc rather than just focusing on Math / Science / Engineering like his parents). He's so used to Engineering stuff from us I think he's just leaning that way without exploring anything else.

EHS 9th Grade Program of Studies

Right now he's leaning toward honors everything but English and requesting Programming and Astronomy as electives.

Any thoughts on this or am I crazy to be thinking about this so early?  TIA!

Sounds like a great approach. If you're thinking about having him apply to highly selective schools, he's going to want Calculus, Physics and 4+ years of a language. And those Math/Science courses are even more important if he's going to apply for Engineering programs. So no need to load up on everything in 9th grade but you definitely want him taking the prerequisites and/or being in the track that's going to lead to the more rigorous courses in 11th and 12th grades. 

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1 hour ago, The_Man said:

Sounds like a great approach. If you're thinking about having him apply to highly selective schools, he's going to want Calculus, Physics and 4+ years of a language. And those Math/Science courses are even more important if he's going to apply for Engineering programs. So no need to load up on everything in 9th grade but you definitely want him taking the prerequisites and/or being in the track that's going to lead to the more rigorous courses in 11th and 12th grades. 

Agree with this. My daughter took one AP freshman, two sophomore, four junior. Also will take language throughout, but is thinking of not taking calculus her senior year. She works very hard in math and will not be an engineer.

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8 hours ago, ex-ghost said:

Agree with this. My daughter took one AP freshman, two sophomore, four junior. Also will take language throughout, but is thinking of not taking calculus her senior year. She works very hard in math and will not be an engineer.

This is all new to me.  My High School only had a handful of AP courses and I took them all senior year (1994).  AP Physics, AP English, AP Calculus... I think that might have been it?  My son's friend who has been ahead a math class is taking AP Physics his freshman year. 

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On 2/4/2020 at 4:10 PM, The_Man said:

Sounds like a great approach. If you're thinking about having him apply to highly selective schools, he's going to want Calculus, Physics and 4+ years of a language. And those Math/Science courses are even more important if he's going to apply for Engineering programs. So no need to load up on everything in 9th grade but you definitely want him taking the prerequisites and/or being in the track that's going to lead to the more rigorous courses in 11th and 12th grades. 

Not sure about the 4+ years of language (you may very well be right) but I definitely agree with everything else. Calc BC is pretty much a must for most good engineering programs. 

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On 2/4/2020 at 5:27 PM, ex-ghost said:

Agree with this. My daughter took one AP freshman, two sophomore, four junior. Also will take language throughout, but is thinking of not taking calculus her senior year. She works very hard in math and will not be an engineer.

Given the arms race in AP courseloads, we are very lucky that our son’s school restricted the number of AP/honors classes you can take each year. One freshman year, three sophomore year and four each during junior and senior years. It has really helped my kid stay mostly sane. 

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28 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Given the arms race in AP courseloads, we are very lucky that our son’s school restricted the number of AP/honors classes you can take each year. One freshman year, three sophomore year and four each during junior and senior years. It has really helped my kid stay mostly sane. 

It is hard to know exactly how "hard" these AP classes are. They teach to the AP test. My daughters favorite time in these classes is after the test, the last four weeks before school gets out - the teachers let loose and they actually learn fun stuff in class.

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39 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Given the arms race in AP courseloads, we are very lucky that our son’s school restricted the number of AP/honors classes you can take each year. One freshman year, three sophomore year and four each during junior and senior years. It has really helped my kid stay mostly sane. 

I think that's a great policy, and hopefully the colleges know that about your son's high school so they don't penalize kids for not crushing themselves in coursework.

What's the next steps for him? I would think UT Austin would be the top choice thus far, right?

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Daughter got notice that her first choice that she applied ED2 to will be releasing early and wife is on a work trip for three days.  We feel pretty confident she will get into the school, but I already got the text not to ask about money in my first ten questions if she gets in 🤣.  If she doesn't get in, oh boy.  It will be harder me to not for me be like, "hey, don't worry about them, let's start to prioritize your other choices..." than to not talk about money.

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Also wanted to add (though don't have much time now), but my daughter is starting to get cold feet about going away.  We toured some schools that were a flight away, and she crossed them off her list.  She screwed something up with her application (long story) and if we did not jump in and save her, she would not have been considered for ED.  What was odd, was that it was her favorite school and she was on point with the ones she did not care about as much.  I kind of had a feeling and asked her why she did not follow up with the school on her application and she said she did not know why.  I probed some more, and yes, she was worried about leaving home.  This is totally strange to my wife and I, since we could not wait to leave (my wife was from Portland, OR and only applied to East Coast schools).  I totally get it is a general thing, but now she is talking about taking a gap year.  I really think it is just nerves, because when I asked what she would do during a gap, she really had no idea.  Have any of you run into this?  I can't think it is anything but nerves, since she enjoys the school part of HS, and it is coming up now when this stuff is finally getting real.

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10 minutes ago, Sweet Love said:

Also wanted to add (though don't have much time now), but my daughter is starting to get cold feet about going away.  We toured some schools that were a flight away, and she crossed them off her list.  She screwed something up with her application (long story) and if we did not jump in and save her, she would not have been considered for ED.  What was odd, was that it was her favorite school and she was on point with the ones she did not care about as much.  I kind of had a feeling and asked her why she did not follow up with the school on her application and she said she did not know why.  I probed some more, and yes, she was worried about leaving home.  This is totally strange to my wife and I, since we could not wait to leave (my wife was from Portland, OR and only applied to East Coast schools).  I totally get it is a general thing, but now she is talking about taking a gap year.  I really think it is just nerves, because when I asked what she would do during a gap, she really had no idea.  Have any of you run into this?  I can't think it is anything but nerves, since she enjoys the school part of HS, and it is coming up now when this stuff is finally getting real.

My son’s freshman roommate (only child if that’s your situation) this past Fall didn't show up on move-in day even though my wife talked to his mom the day before and my son texted him. At first my son was upset because he didn’t have a lot of HS friends going to Clemson, but we rearranged his room and he really enjoyed having a big single as I knew he would. All worked out and he made a lot of good friends, but my son did mention that he saw the kid in a class this semester.

My son was so ready to go to college as was I way back when. Maybe it’s independence as my son did everything himself, wash, food, work, had his own car (FIL gave it to him before passing), etc.

The roommate not showing up happened to two other neighborhood friends of my son at other schools and we live in a small neighborhood.

I don’t want to imply anything about you but based on some of the questions you see on college parent Facebook groups, it doesn’t surprise me. If parents complain about tests and grades and not getting tickets to football games then you can see how dependent some of these kids are on their parents. I check in on my son’s grades because he’s always told me about them (I went to a top school and he likes doing better and I do give him bonus gifts for all As) and we check on how’s he’s doing, but we don’t helicopter at all and I do think that’s helped him become independent. His life may not be perfect along the way but it’s nice to be more of an advisor on life stuff than a manager.

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I’ll add one more thing that @bigbottom mentioned as well. Your daughter may have a favorite and still take a while to decide. My son’s top choice was clearly Clemson once he got into the honors college. There really wasn’t a better choice outside of paying less. My wife and I kept telling him to just make a choice and in the end I just told him that I know where you want to go and he said he did too and we sent in the deposit. As independent as he was, it’s still a big decision. I know I only applied ED to my favorite so I didn’t even have to actually decide, but he still had to make the final call and even though he was 99%, it took a couple months.

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5 minutes ago, stbugs said:

My son’s freshman roommate (only child if that’s your situation) this past Fall didn't show up on move-in day even though my wife talked to his mom the day before and my son texted him. At first my son was upset because he didn’t have a lot of HS friends going to Clemson, but we rearranged his room and he really enjoyed having a big single as I knew he would. All worked out and he made a lot of good friends, but my son did mention that he saw the kid in a class this semester.

My son was so ready to go to college as was I way back when. Maybe it’s independence as my son did everything himself, wash, food, work, had his own car (FIL gave it to him before passing), etc.

The roommate not showing up happened to two other neighborhood friends of my son at other schools and we live in a small neighborhood.

I don’t want to imply anything about you but based on some of the questions you see on college parent Facebook groups, it doesn’t surprise me. If parents complain about tests and grades and not getting tickets to football games then you can see how dependent some of these kids are on their parents. I check in on my son’s grades because he’s always told me about them (I went to a top school and he likes doing better and I do give him bonus gifts for all As) and we check on how’s he’s doing, but we don’t helicopter at all and I do think that’s helped him become independent. His life may not be perfect along the way but it’s nice to be more of an advisor on life stuff than a manager.

The odd part is, she is pretty independent - she was excited to get a car, likes going out to meet up with friends, etc.  We have three and joke that our youngest will be the one to go to school locally so he can check up on mom.  But my older two (my daughter is the oldest), just seem more like the profile of kids ready to leave.  She does her laundry, dishes, etc., so I don't think she doesn't feel she can survive in the real world (she has flown to Europe to meet my MIL by herself, and has flown by herself since she was 6-7).  However, she did have a rough time in HS, and really just made her group of friends last semester of junior year.  All of her friends are going to school out of state (and we reiterated that), so there is an aspect that she is scared she won't make friends (but she won't have them here if she stays).  She periodically sees a psychologist to deal with stress (she is a wicked introvert, but a loud personality so people always think she is fine), and we are doing a group session next week, so maybe something else will come out of it.  After all of this, I noticed something my daughter has done all of the time - constantly talking to my wife.  Not that it is bad for them to have a good relationship, but I am wondering if she views my wife as a best friend versus a mom.

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10 minutes ago, Sweet Love said:

The odd part is, she is pretty independent - she was excited to get a car, likes going out to meet up with friends, etc.  We have three and joke that our youngest will be the one to go to school locally so he can check up on mom.  But my older two (my daughter is the oldest), just seem more like the profile of kids ready to leave.  She does her laundry, dishes, etc., so I don't think she doesn't feel she can survive in the real world (she has flown to Europe to meet my MIL by herself, and has flown by herself since she was 6-7).  However, she did have a rough time in HS, and really just made her group of friends last semester of junior year.  All of her friends are going to school out of state (and we reiterated that), so there is an aspect that she is scared she won't make friends (but she won't have them here if she stays).  She periodically sees a psychologist to deal with stress (she is a wicked introvert, but a loud personality so people always think she is fine), and we are doing a group session next week, so maybe something else will come out of it.  After all of this, I noticed something my daughter has done all of the time - constantly talking to my wife.  Not that it is bad for them to have a good relationship, but I am wondering if she views my wife as a best friend versus a mom.

Understand and it’s not surprising that she would be nervous. My son has a ton of good friends that he had all through high school. He had buddies come to Clemson multiple times for games and he’s about to go to NC State for a second time with the same people to watch one of his good friends in a play. He was still really nervous day 1 because he was alone (all good friends went to NC schools) and the roommate thing freaked him out a little day one. Really worked out and now he’s got a roommate for the spring, which is an adjustment.

No matter what, she will be nervous and will have an adjustment. Good luck and tell her it is 100% normal to be nervous. Just read through the thread. Almost everyone didn’t get into a college they thought they might but most everyone seems to have fit in well where they went. I only know of two of my son’s friends that intend to transfer and I think a lot of it was the colleges they went to are more commuter type schools where you can easily go home and that can really make it hard to meet people and try to find a place. I think they also may have not been their top choices. Seems like everyone else is enjoying college a lot. 

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