Jump to content
Fantasy Football - Footballguys Forums

College Admissions Questions


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

Well, today was a big day - ACT test score reveal.  After putting in a lot of work, taking every practice exam he could get his hands on, and spending a good deal of his parents' money on tutoring, my kid got the score he was shooting for and is super happy/relieved.  Definitely a whole bunch more doors open to him now, including a really good shot at his school of choice (USC).  Now he just needs to focus on maintaining his grades for this last semester of junior year.  He's already stumbled out of the gate in one class this semester, so he'll really need to focus his efforts on that class.  But there's still a ton of time to right the ship (it was just the first test he screwed up) and thankfully he won't have to expend any more energy on the ACT or SAT.   

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welp, looks like my son is going to Clemson. He got into their Honors College and got a good scholarship (less than South Carolina’s Honors) so it’ll only be 5k more per year than UNC, which was his top choice. I’m still not getting why he didn’t get in there but I liked his thoughts on that after we went to their admitted students day yesterday. He said he’d rather be among the top kids at Clemson and have some really cool opportunities like grants for Honors kids to do research and semesters abroad (a kid in his major has been in Boston, NY and London with grants) than just be a regular kid at UNC even if he got off the waitlist. Still, he mentioned a friend that got into UNC even though her SATs were 300 points less and my son has been involved, but oh well. It made me proud just seeing him light up at the possibilities.

By the way, any thoughts on how to approach financial aid about improving his offers? It’s a good offer, but he got a great offer from SC which would have been a couple thousand less than in state and all scholarship. We were going to use that as a he loves Clemson and wants to go there but it’s a $48k total difference ($28k with non-FAFSA loan).

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/27/2019 at 12:02 AM, scorchy said:

Apparently the interview went really well.  Funny how teenage boys can go from monosyllabic grunters to actual well-spoken human beings when necessary.  We won't know till mid-February, but I'm happy he got this far -- feel like the whole process has been good for him.  Funniest part was when we were walking out and my wife told him that he really seemed at ease.  He lifted his arms and showed me the spreading pit-stains on his dress shirt - "Dad, I kept my arms down the whole last half of the interview hoping they wouldn't notice."

Got great news this week.  The boy not only was accepted, but got the $20k/year scholarship.  The teachers/administrators that he met with all sent very nice personalized notes -- apparently the interview put him over the top.  His answers regarding the first thing he would work on if he became mayor of Baltimore (healing decades of distrust between the police and the community) and what he wants most from a school (a place that develops emotional intelligence as well as academic aptitude, because what good is knowing the facts if you can't relate them to others) really stuck with them.  I can't get a straight answer as to whether he honestly believes this or if he's just a good BSer.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, scorchy said:

Got great news this week.  The boy not only was accepted, but got the $20k/year scholarship.  The teachers/administrators that he met with all sent very nice personalized notes -- apparently the interview put him over the top.  His answers regarding the first thing he would work on if he became mayor of Baltimore (healing decades of distrust between the police and the community) and what he wants most from a school (a place that develops emotional intelligence as well as academic aptitude, because what good is knowing the facts if you can't relate them to others) really stuck with them.  I can't get a straight answer as to whether he honestly believes this or if he's just a good BSer.

Awesome news!  Congrats on a well-deserved accomplishment. 

Edited by bigbottom
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, stbugs said:

Welp, looks like my son is going to Clemson. He got into their Honors College and got a good scholarship (less than South Carolina’s Honors) so it’ll only be 5k more per year than UNC, which was his top choice. I’m still not getting why he didn’t get in there but I liked his thoughts on that after we went to their admitted students day yesterday. He said he’d rather be among the top kids at Clemson and have some really cool opportunities like grants for Honors kids to do research and semesters abroad (a kid in his major has been in Boston, NY and London with grants) than just be a regular kid at UNC even if he got off the waitlist.

Malcolm Gladwell would likely agree with your son’s logic. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/malcolm-gladwells-david-and-goliath-2013-10

Edited by bigbottom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Malcolm Gladwell would likely agree with your son’s logic. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/malcolm-gladwells-david-and-goliath-2013-10

Interesting, I remember seeing similar from him when reading up on the honors colleges versus top schools. My wife went to the SC honors visit and I went to the Clemson one. We were both really impressed with the opportunities the students get and the priorities they receive. I’m glad my son saw that and is really excited to seize them. The student we spent the most time with (the one who’s clearly taken advantage of the chances) was someone my wife contacted from a colleague that met him at a Clemson recruiting event (she recruits at a large tech company). Definitely glad it’s over. Still have some other options but I don’t think there’s anything that can overtake Clemson now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, scorchy said:

Got great news this week.  The boy not only was accepted, but got the $20k/year scholarship.  The teachers/administrators that he met with all sent very nice personalized notes -- apparently the interview put him over the top.  His answers regarding the first thing he would work on if he became mayor of Baltimore (healing decades of distrust between the police and the community) and what he wants most from a school (a place that develops emotional intelligence as well as academic aptitude, because what good is knowing the facts if you can't relate them to others) really stuck with them.  I can't get a straight answer as to whether he honestly believes this or if he's just a good BSer.

This is great - I know what school you're talking about. A family friend's kid went there, and ended up at Stanford - based in large part on his Russian experience. Be sure to check out NSLI-Y in a year or two, after he has some Russian under his belt. It's a State Dept. funded program for high school kids to spend the summer (or a year) overseas learning languages like Russian, Chinese, Hindi, etc. My son did both the summer version for Arabic, then did it again as a full gap year before college.

Just curious, what suburban high school would scorchy jr. have gone to instead?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, The_Man said:

This is great - I know what school you're talking about. A family friend's kid went there, and ended up at Stanford - based in large part on his Russian experience. Be sure to check out NSLI-Y in a year or two, after he has some Russian under his belt. It's a State Dept. funded program for high school kids to spend the summer (or a year) overseas learning languages like Russian, Chinese, Hindi, etc. My son did both the summer version for Arabic, then did it again as a full gap year before college.

Just curious, what suburban high school would scorchy jr. have gone to instead?

He would have gone to Catonsville.   Definitely interested in NSLI-Y, and it's something the school really pushes for, which is a definite plus.  He had actually taught himself enough Russian already to converse in it when we were in Ukraine and Georgia last year.  This must have impressed the Russian teacher, because she seemed to be one of his biggest advocates during the selection process.

That sounds like an amazing experience for your son.  I know NSLI-Y is highly selective, so he must have really excelled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, scorchy said:

He would have gone to Catonsville.   Definitely interested in NSLI-Y, and it's something the school really pushes for, which is a definite plus.  He had actually taught himself enough Russian already to converse in it when we were in Ukraine and Georgia last year.  This must have impressed the Russian teacher, because she seemed to be one of his biggest advocates during the selection process.

That sounds like an amazing experience for your son.  I know NSLI-Y is highly selective, so he must have really excelled.

Hoping that Catonsville commute isn't too bad! Store this away for future reference:

https://aisforms.s3.amazonaws.com/ais/CLS/2017/CLS_Evaluation_Rubric_2017.html#Rubric

It's the scoring rubric for applicants to the CLS Scholarship (which is the college version of NSLIY). I think the biggest thing in my son's selection was that he was able to demonstrate a genuine commitment to learning and sticking with the target language - that's the whole point of NSLIY, so they're trying to weed out kids who just want the free summer trip and will then quit their studies. So if you can come up with 3 or 4 examples/activities (besides taking the class in school) over the next couple of years that you can then point on the application to demonstrate his commitment, it will boost his chances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@The_Man Any thoughts on the question I buried in my post above? I would think you could potentially ask for more aid, but is there a good way to approach it? We live literally 3 miles from SC border so my son was going to approach Clemson about in-state. A friend of his asked USC about it and they were looking into it. Definitely seems like you have to jump through hoops to change from out of state to in state if you start as out of state, so my best hope is to see if they’ll bump up the scholarship. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, stbugs said:

@The_Man Any thoughts on the question I buried in my post above? I would think you could potentially ask for more aid, but is there a good way to approach it? We live literally 3 miles from SC border so my son was going to approach Clemson about in-state. A friend of his asked USC about it and they were looking into it. Definitely seems like you have to jump through hoops to change from out of state to in state if you start as out of state, so my best hope is to see if they’ll bump up the scholarship. 

Don't have any specific thoughts. In particular, getting in-state status might be really hard, as that's a matter of law. Here's what the Clemson website says. Sounds pretty stringent:

https://www.clemson.edu/financial-aid/residency/requirements.html 

Just checked out the Clemson forum on College Confidential and there are a couple of threads on Merit Scholarships that seem pretty informative. Here's one:

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/clemson-university/2125237-oos-merit-scholarships.html#latest

Sounds like merit aid was really tough to come by this year, so your son did well! 

Also, one guy in a different thread got super resourceful, and did the following to compute what the merit aid breakdowns were this year:

Quote

I decided to go ahead and run the numbers for all possible scenarios in the recently updated Net Price Calculator. In all of the below cases, the profile was for an 18 year old, OOS student living on campus.

For a student ranked in the top 10%, with the indicated SAT/ACT, the estimated merit awards are:
SAT 1590-1600/ACT 36 - $20,000
SAT 1540-1580/ACT 35 - $20,000
SAT 1500-1530/ACT 34 - $15,000
SAT 1460-1490/ACT 33 - $10,000
SAT 1430-1450/ACT 32 - $10,000
SAT 1400-1420/ACT 31 - $7,500
SAT 1370-1390/ACT 30 - $7,500
SAT 1340-1360/ACT 29 - $5,000

For a student ranked between 10% and 15%:
SAT 1590-1600/ACT 36 - $7,500
SAT 1540-1580/ACT 35 - $7,500
SAT 1500-1530/ACT 34 - $7,500
SAT 1460-1490/ACT 33 - $7,500
SAT 1430-1450/ACT 32 - $7,500
SAT 1400-1420/ACT 31 - $7,500
SAT 1370-1390/ACT 30 - $7,500
SAT 1340-1360/ACT 29 - $5,000

All other combinations indicated $0 in Merit Aid.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, The_Man said:

Don't have any specific thoughts. In particular, getting in-state status might be really hard, as that's a matter of law. Here's what the Clemson website says. Sounds pretty stringent:

https://www.clemson.edu/financial-aid/residency/requirements.html 

Just checked out the Clemson forum on College Confidential and there are a couple of threads on Merit Scholarships that seem pretty informative. Here's one:

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/clemson-university/2125237-oos-merit-scholarships.html#latest

Sounds like merit aid was really tough to come by this year, so your son did well! 

Also, one guy in a different thread got super resourceful, and did the following to compute what the merit aid breakdowns were this year:

 

It is pretty stringent but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. SC’s first acceptance (pre honors) had in state tuition as a scholarship. They then gave a small merit scholarship as well. Totaled $22,700 per year. He like Clemson better so we’ll make it work but definitely was less than we hoped based on SC. I think Clemson is clearly going for a Duke type reputation down the road. When I went to college Duke was a very good school but definitely not nearly as highly thought of as today. Amazing what basketball success can do for a good school. Looks like Clemson is offering scholarships but SC clearly has to do a little more to bring people there. We really liked their Honors College but Clemson is definitely a nicer campus and going to hook more fish with less bait.

Geez, reading that thread sure doesn’t make me optimistic. Might as well ask, can’t hurt!

Edited by stbugs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it helps, one of the benefits I found from going to a state-school Honors college that was more big fish-small pond than small fish-big pond was that I had plenty of time to rack up good grades, have fun, and still picked up anywhere from 10-30 hours a week of working at various points during my four years.

 

Your son sounds like me profile-wise, so perhaps that's something he'll decide to do as well. I had a few years there where one good semester of intramural basketball officiating got me set up to do 1-8th graders on Saturdays during the daytime, which eventually became an opportunity for HS tournaments, etc...and all of that stuff paid extremely well and often in cash. 8am-2pm Saturday for a couple/few hundred bucks and then still having basically all my Saturday to hang with friends was fantastic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, The_Man said:

Hoping that Catonsville commute isn't too bad! Store this away for future reference:

https://aisforms.s3.amazonaws.com/ais/CLS/2017/CLS_Evaluation_Rubric_2017.html#Rubric

It's the scoring rubric for applicants to the CLS Scholarship (which is the college version of NSLIY). I think the biggest thing in my son's selection was that he was able to demonstrate a genuine commitment to learning and sticking with the target language - that's the whole point of NSLIY, so they're trying to weed out kids who just want the free summer trip and will then quit their studies. So if you can come up with 3 or 4 examples/activities (besides taking the class in school) over the next couple of years that you can then point on the application to demonstrate his commitment, it will boost his chances.

Thanks a ton!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

If it helps, one of the benefits I found from going to a state-school Honors college that was more big fish-small pond than small fish-big pond was that I had plenty of time to rack up good grades, have fun, and still picked up anywhere from 10-30 hours a week of working at various points during my four years.

 

Your son sounds like me profile-wise, so perhaps that's something he'll decide to do as well. I had a few years there where one good semester of intramural basketball officiating got me set up to do 1-8th graders on Saturdays during the daytime, which eventually became an opportunity for HS tournaments, etc...and all of that stuff paid extremely well and often in cash. 8am-2pm Saturday for a couple/few hundred bucks and then still having basically all my Saturday to hang with friends was fantastic.

I’m 99% sure that’s what he’ll decide. Just trying to see if we can get a little more aid, but based on that link/thread that seems out. We’ll just have to tighten the belts a little since I’ve got two more coming down the shute right after him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anybody have a good idea about how admissions offices view AP Calculus vs AP Statistics these days?  My son is choosing classes for his senior year.  Not in love with math in general, and interested in something like public policy in college, so he'd be much more interested in taking stats than calculus.  He figures it will be much more useful to him down the road.  I know in the past Calculus was considered the harder class so any top-tier school would want to see you take that - especially if you were entering a math/science major - but I thought things were shifting a little bit on that front.  But he met with his guidance counselor the other day about his preliminary choices of classes, and she did mention to him that he should check with individual schools he's interested in to see if they recommend calculus, so that has him a little worried.

The stats class at his high school actually has the reputation of being just as hard as calculus AB and actually requires more time commitment for homework and projects.  But he's more concerned about feeling like the class is worthwhile, so he's drawn to the real-world applications of the stats class.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, jhib said:

Anybody have a good idea about how admissions offices view AP Calculus vs AP Statistics these days?  My son is choosing classes for his senior year.  Not in love with math in general, and interested in something like public policy in college, so he'd be much more interested in taking stats than calculus.  He figures it will be much more useful to him down the road.  I know in the past Calculus was considered the harder class so any top-tier school would want to see you take that - especially if you were entering a math/science major - but I thought things were shifting a little bit on that front.  But he met with his guidance counselor the other day about his preliminary choices of classes, and she did mention to him that he should check with individual schools he's interested in to see if they recommend calculus, so that has him a little worried.

The stats class at his high school actually has the reputation of being just as hard as calculus AB and actually requires more time commitment for homework and projects.  But he's more concerned about feeling like the class is worthwhile, so he's drawn to the real-world applications of the stats class.

Just one opinion from one admissions person at one school:

https://admissions.tufts.edu/blogs/inside-admissions/post/juniors-a-guide-to-senior-schedules-colleges-will-love/

And here’s a blog:  https://blog.collegevine.com/what-math-courses-should-i-take/

At least anecdotally, it appears that AP Calc is still viewed as the more rigorous course between the two, so if your son wants to compile the most rigorous schedule for his application, AP Calc may very well be the way to go. However, since he’s not going into a STEM major, that still may not be the right choice for him. 

My son just picked his senior year schedule and is taking both AP Calc BC and AP Stats. But he’s going to be applying for engineering so that makes sense for him. 

EDIT: An interesting exchange regarding math for economics and polo sci majors: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1987318-ap-calc-ab-vs-ap-statistics.html#Comment_20600937

Edited by bigbottom
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Just one opinion from one admissions person at one school:

https://admissions.tufts.edu/blogs/inside-admissions/post/juniors-a-guide-to-senior-schedules-colleges-will-love/

And here’s a blog:  https://blog.collegevine.com/what-math-courses-should-i-take/

At least anecdotally, it appears that AP Calc is still viewed as the more rigorous course between the two, so if your son wants to compile the most rigorous schedule for his application, AP Calc may very well be the way to go. However, since he’s not going into a STEM major, that still may not be the right choice for him. 

My son just picked his senior year schedule and is taking both AP Calc BC and AP Stats. But he’s going to be applying for engineering so that makes sense for him. 

EDIT: An interesting exchange regarding math for economics and polo sci majors: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1987318-ap-calc-ab-vs-ap-statistics.html#Comment_20600937

Thanks.  Yeah, basically sounds the same as things I've read.  I just have a hard time believing that it makes as much difference as it sounds between two AP math classes.  Actually, I believe it but just don't think it makes much sense.  Of course, knowing my kid, this is the part of that Tufts link that he'll focus on when we talk about it some more:

Quote

I’ve saved the best for last.  Doing well in high school is important and getting into college is important, but you should place a premium on your own happiness and well-being.  There are 3,000-4,000 colleges in the US, and a handful of “good fits” for every student.  In the end you’ll be most successful as a person and student if you take the classes that excite you and do the best you can.  The college that is right for you will be happy with what you’ve done with your high school years.

I can totally see him saying something like, "If they don't want me because I took (and did well in) AP Statistics rather than AP Calculus, then it's not the school I want to go to anyway."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are there any good resources on Twitter or the like to get info / news pushed to me?

We're still a few years away (7th grade) but I'd like to get in the loop and keep an eye on it as we're leading up to this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, jhib said:

Thanks.  Yeah, basically sounds the same as things I've read.  I just have a hard time believing that it makes as much difference as it sounds between two AP math classes.  Actually, I believe it but just don't think it makes much sense.  Of course, knowing my kid, this is the part of that Tufts link that he'll focus on when we talk about it some more:

I can totally see him saying something like, "If they don't want me because I took (and did well in) AP Statistics rather than AP Calculus, then it's not the school I want to go to anyway."

 

Yep, at the end of the day, max rigor (or perceived max rigor) is only one of several factors. Your son’s happiness/well-being/engagement should also be a primary factor (unless he has his heart set on a particular school where this could be the difference, which it doesn’t sound like he does).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, jhib said:

I can totally see him saying something like, "If they don't want me because I took (and did well in) AP Statistics rather than AP Calculus, then it's not the school I want to go to anyway."

I don't know if you have followed my daughters story in here but she faced a slightly similar issue.

My daughter was the #1 ranked student at the end of her junior year.  But she wanted to try something different in her senior year.  She loved writing and her creative writing teacher asked her if she wanted to do an independent study and become his teachers aid for his classes.

She really wanted to do this but her adviser was very against it since the independent study was not graded and assured her that she was going to drop in class rank.  The adviser also told her colleges were going to hate it.

But in the end my daughter decided to become the teachers aid and she loved it.  She did drop in rank to #2, but she still got into a good school with a full tuition scholarship so it never really hurt her at all.

You and your son certainly have to make this decision, but the way you describe him, he seems very mature and has a great head on his shoulders.  If he wants to take stats, let him take it.

I can almost 1000% guarentee you that when he looks back 20 years from now on decisions he made that effected his life, this one won't even enter the top 100.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Lehigh98 said:

Are there any good resources on Twitter or the like to get info / news pushed to me?

We're still a few years away (7th grade) but I'd like to get in the loop and keep an eye on it as we're leading up to this.

what type of news are you looking for?

As an aside, this thread has some amazing info in it, if you have the time to read it in the coming years.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

what type of news are you looking for?

As an aside, this thread has some amazing info in it, if you have the time to read it in the coming years.  

What's important in a college's evaluation of an applicant, tips on approaching a student's HS curriculum, standardized testing and tips on prep / approach, financial aid resource news and tips / planning for best approach, but mostly changes and trends to all of the above over the next few years.

I've been somewhat following the thread even though my kids are only 12 and 10 but it seems like a great resource and will definitely reread, continue to follow, ask questions and hopefully contribute as we get closer.

Edited by Lehigh98
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Lehigh98 said:

What's important in a college's evaluation of an applicant, tips on approaching a student's HS curriculum, standardized testing and tips on prep / approach, financial aid resource news and tips / planning for best approach, but mostly changes and trends to all of the above over the next few years.

everyone of those topics have been discussed to death in this thread.  I can't predict how the future will go but you are going to gather some great education on these topics from reading this thread.

I don't know of any specific news source you can follow though on this topic.

I think people have found good success just asking specific questions here and getting answers from parents who have been through the process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Lehigh98 said:

We're still a few years away (7th grade) but I'd like to get in the loop and keep an eye on it as we're leading up to this.

boy or girl?  Not that you would plan differently based on if boy or girl, but there are some realities that are better to understand before the kid gets to high school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, Lehigh98 said:

What's important in a college's evaluation of an applicant, tips on approaching a student's HS curriculum, standardized testing and tips on prep / approach, financial aid resource news and tips / planning for best approach, but mostly changes and trends to all of the above over the next few years.

I've been somewhat following the thread even though my kids are only 12 and 10 but it seems like a great resource and will definitely reread, continue to follow, ask questions and hopefully contribute as we get closer.

At least for the ACT, practice tests.  Lots of practice tests (under testing conditions in terms of time and breaks).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

boy or girl?  Not that you would plan differently based on if boy or girl, but there are some realities that are better to understand before the kid gets to high school.

We have two boys 12 (7th) and 10 (5th).  Both boys in the PA "Gifted" program but so are about 20-40% of the kids in their current (public) schools.

Edited by Lehigh98
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it’s worth, my son doesn’t care for English Lit so he’s decided to take regular English 4* his senior year and take AP Psychology instead. His school maxes students at 4 APs per year so he’s taking that class with three other STEM APs. Max rigor would probably be to take AP English Lit. But he has no interest in that, so he’s chosen to do something different. 

*He’s taking AP English Language and Composition this year so that isn’t an option. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

For what it’s worth, my son doesn’t care for English Lit so he’s decided to take regular English 4* his senior year and take AP Psychology instead. His school maxes students at 4 APs per year so he’s taking that class with three other STEM APs. Max rigor would probably be to take AP English Lit. But he has no interest in that, so he’s chosen to do something different. 

*He’s taking AP English Language and Composition this year so that isn’t an option. 

I'm an engineer and I hated English lit.  My yearbook entry lists "books of literary merit" as one of my dislikes.  Don't get me wrong, I like to read, just not that stuff.  That said, I sucked it up and took AP English in High School anyway.  Wasn't fun but got an A and a 5 on the AP test and at least I placed out and didn't have to deal with it in college (one of the bonuses of an engineering school).

I had a psych class in HS that I liked (there was only one available) and in your situation with a cap of 4 AP classes I think it makes sense and its something you could probably sell if colleges ask about it and he has an interest in psych. 

Edited by Lehigh98
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Lehigh98 said:

I'm an engineer and I hated English lit.  My yearbook entry lists "books of literary merit" as one of my dislikes.  Don't get me wrong, I like to read, just not that stuff.  That said, I sucked it up and took AP English in High School anyway.  Wasn't fun but got an A and a 5 on the AP test and at least I placed out and didn't have to deal with it in college (one of the bonuses of an engineering school).

I had a psych class in HS that I liked (there was only one available) and in your situation with a cap of 4 AP classes I think it makes sense and its something you could probably sell if colleges ask about it and he has an interest in psych.  But if he can use AP English to place out of future lit classes, I'd be looking at how different AP English is from English 4 and if its worth doing.

Well, those are all very good points that we probably should have reviewed with him.  But he was so resolute about it, and we're trying our darndest to defer to his decision-making (which is informed by the admissions consultant he is working with).  It's hard to know what the college general education requirements will be since we have no idea where he'll end up, but perhaps a good score on the AP Test for the AP English Language and Composition class he is taking will help in terms of placing out of English classes (if that ends up being what he wants to do).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, jhib said:

Anybody have a good idea about how admissions offices view AP Calculus vs AP Statistics these days?  My son is choosing classes for his senior year.  Not in love with math in general, and interested in something like public policy in college, so he'd be much more interested in taking stats than calculus.  He figures it will be much more useful to him down the road.  I know in the past Calculus was considered the harder class so any top-tier school would want to see you take that - especially if you were entering a math/science major - but I thought things were shifting a little bit on that front.  But he met with his guidance counselor the other day about his preliminary choices of classes, and she did mention to him that he should check with individual schools he's interested in to see if they recommend calculus, so that has him a little worried.

The stats class at his high school actually has the reputation of being just as hard as calculus AB and actually requires more time commitment for homework and projects.  But he's more concerned about feeling like the class is worthwhile, so he's drawn to the real-world applications of the stats class.

A lot of this depends on what schools you think he'll be looking at. If he wanted to go engineering, calculus would be a necessity. That might be a little of what the counselor is alluding to, about checking with individual schools.

Since it doesn't sound like he's a STEM kid, I'd lean toward letting him take the class he wants and make life a little less taxing during senior year, when there are many things guys want to be doing other than grinding through calculus. UNLESS -- he's shooting for those top 20 or so most highly selective schools, at which point he might still want to lean toward doing calculus. Though the caveat there is to take it only if he thinks he can get an A in it. If not, then I'd advise him toward Stats, even if he is interested in an extremely selective school. For that tier, I'd say:

A in Calculus > A in Stats > non-A in Calculus 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

By the way, Lehigh, on the engineering front, I wasn't sure at all that engineering was the right path for him.  Neither of his parents are engineers and it's hard to know how much he actually understands what it means to be an engineer, or even an engineering student.  We've started the process by doing campus visits and engineering presentations, but I had this lingering doubt that engineering wasn't really a match for him.  But then we had our post-testing consultation for the Johnson O'Connor aptitude testing I discussed upthread, and his highest marks were in areas that lend themselves to a career in engineering.  They were very confident that if he was interested in engineering, that a career in that field would match with his natural abilities.  That gave me a lot of peace of mind (and a few "I told you so's" from the kid). 

So onward towards one of the most competitive fields for college admissions and one of the most grueling curricula for an undergraduate.  Have fun kid!

Edited by bigbottom
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

By the way, Lehigh, on the engineering front, I wasn't sure at all that engineering was the right path for him.  Neither of his parents are engineers and it's hard to know how much he actually understands what it means to be an engineer, or even an engineering student.

we had the exact opposite problem (and yet the feelings we experienced are likely the same)

Most of my daughters entire family are engineers (both parents, both grandfathers, both my brothers, all of her cousins on my side are in engineering programs etc etc).

And of course my daughter wanted nothing to do with engineering :) 

We had so much knowledge to share but she picked a major we know nothing about.  It was and continues to be discomforting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

By the way, Lehigh, on the engineering front, I wasn't sure at all that engineering was the right path for him.  Neither of his parents are engineers and it's hard to know how much he actually understands what it means to be an engineer, or even an engineering student.  We've started the process by doing campus visits and engineering presentations, but I had this lingering doubt that engineering wasn't really a match for him.  But then we had our post-testing consultation for the Johnson O'Connor aptitude testing I discussed upthread, and his highest marks were in areas that lend themselves to a career in engineering.  They were very confident that if he was interested in engineering, that a career in that field would match with his natural abilities.  That gave me a lot of peace of mind (and a few "I told you so's" from the kid). 

So onward towards one of the most competitive fields for college admissions and one of the most grueling curricula for an undergraduate.  Have fun kid!

My dad was a mechanic and my mom was a stay at home mom, neither considered college.  We had no idea what we were in for and I ended up applying to 10 schools because we didn't realize when we should have started the process.  Application deadlines popped up before we had seriously considered (let alone visited) any school so we picked a bunch I may have liked. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living or major in (didn't research any of that either).  On my PSAT and SAT's when it asked for career interest I had responded over the course of a couple years with Teacher, Sports Medicine, Electrical Engineer, etc.  When it finally became time to choose a major, I was a math and science kid, and median salaries looked good so I picked Engineering.  I picked Mechanical Engineering because I liked Physics more than Chem.  As you can see this was all carefully planned out.

When I was in college the curricula was very grueling especially in my Junior year, I was up all night on several occasions.  The other engineers in my fraternity would see the easy route that the business / finance guys had and would just shake our heads at the comparison.  I'd say that those business / finance guys all make more than us engineer guys nowadays so go figure.  That stuff was all greek to me at the time so I didn't even consider it.  Not sure how I'll help my STEM oriented kids with considering all options when its their turn.

What I can say is you can get stuck in a boring "engineering" job pretty easily but there are so many different disciplines and company types that employ "engineers" that there's also a good chance you can find a niche you enjoy.  You just have to know that when you start your career and have another plan for how you're going to approach it to get the most out of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

At least for the ACT, practice tests.  Lots of practice tests (under testing conditions in terms of time and breaks).

Yep. My oldest did well, but kids nowadays are doing way more than what my son did. I definitely want to start doing some of it earlier for my other two boys. It’s kind of sad how competitive it has gotten because I can’t imagine how kids without these resources can compete. I know I had some English sessions to prep for my SATs but I can’t imagine the amount of hours kids put in now. I’m glad my son is going to go where he wants, but we certainly didn’t go all out.

I definitely don’t think kids are kids anymore. Sports are all the time and you have parents asking about college prep for 7th graders. I don’t blame them but damn it’s not surprising to see that post earlier about his daughters doing well in school but having anxiety issues before college. That’s just tough to hear because it certainly doesn’t seem like they are enjoying life. I went to an Ivy League school, but I took one PSAT and one SAT and applied to one school early. It was easy and not stressful and my parents certainly weren’t talking to me about colleges in middle school.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Lehigh98 said:

My dad was a mechanic and my mom was a stay at home mom, neither considered college.  We had no idea what we were in for and I ended up applying to 10 schools because we didn't realize when we should have started the process.  Application deadlines popped up before we had seriously considered (let alone visited) any school so we picked a bunch I may have liked. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living or major in (didn't research any of that either).  On my PSAT and SAT's when it asked for career interest I had responded over the course of a couple years with Teacher, Sports Medicine, Electrical Engineer, etc.  When it finally became time to choose a major, I was a math and science kid, and median salaries looked good so I picked Engineering.  I picked Mechanical Engineering because I liked Physics more than Chem.  As you can see this was all carefully planned out.

When I was in college the curricula was very grueling especially in my Junior year, I was up all night on several occasions.  The other engineers in my fraternity would see the easy route that the business / finance guys had and would just shake our heads at the comparison.  I'd say that those business / finance guys all make more than us engineer guys nowadays so go figure.  That stuff was all greek to me at the time so I didn't even consider it.  Not sure how I'll help my STEM oriented kids with considering all options when its their turn.

What I can say is you can get stuck in a boring "engineering" job pretty easily but there are so many different disciplines and company types that employ "engineers" that there's also a good chance you can find a niche you enjoy.  You just have to know that when you start your career and have another plan for how you're going to approach it to get the most out of it.

Thanks for the insight.  I've raised the business degree topic a number of times and he's pretty consistently indicated a lack of interest.  He does want to have a shot at a decent paying job out of school, though, so engineering does seem to be a sensible approach for him.  But he's also expressed an interest in going to law school after undergrad, so perhaps an IP practice might be in the cards for him.  If that starts becoming a more serious possibility, maybe I'll reach out to our GB @Otis.

  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, stbugs said:

Yep. My oldest did well, but kids nowadays are doing way more than what my son did. I definitely want to start doing some of it earlier for my other two boys. It’s kind of sad how competitive it has gotten because I can’t imagine how kids without these resources can compete. I know I had some English sessions to prep for my SATs but I can’t imagine the amount of hours kids put in now. I’m glad my son is going to go where he wants, but we certainly didn’t go all out.

I definitely don’t think kids are kids anymore. Sports are all the time and you have parents asking about college prep for 7th graders. I don’t blame them but damn it’s not surprising to see that post earlier about his daughters doing well in school but having anxiety issues before college. That’s just tough to hear because it certainly doesn’t seem like they are enjoying life. I went to an Ivy League school, but I took one PSAT and one SAT and applied to one school early. It was easy and not stressful and my parents certainly weren’t talking to me about colleges in middle school.

I think we are lucky in that our son goes to a private school that (1) limits the number of honors/AP classes students can take each year; and (2) highly emphasizes sports, which I think leads to a more sensible homework burden since the majority of students (all boys school) play a sport and do so competitively.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

I think we are lucky in that our son goes to a private school that (1) limits the number of honors/AP classes students can take each year; and (2) highly emphasizes sports, which I think leads to a more sensible homework burden since the majority of students (all boys school) play a sport and do so competitively.

It might be counter-intuitive, but private schools seems to have the edge over their public peers, the (generally) suburban, affluent college prep high schools, when it comes to providing a little balance for these kids. The public schools seem to be caught up in arms races, with kids trying to take 10 or 12 APs to outdo their classmates. As a result, these kids are stressed out, burned out, and working way too hard. Meanwhile, the private schools seems to feel they offer an adequate but not destructive level of rigor, and generally provide kids with the chance to have some breathing room and pursue extracurricular interests. It's a luxury they can afford, since they know they most selective schools will still admit their students based on academic reputation, while public school kids seem compelled to demonstrate their academic readiness through unbelievable workloads.

Don't forget that you want your kid to have a decent time in high school, especially senior year. There's supposed to be a lot of fun and memory making, in addition to relentless stress about grades and college admissions. So if a kid wants to take something he'll actually enjoy - like AP Psych or AP Stats - instead of something that will make him miserable - like AP English or AP Calculus - I'm a fan of letting the kid live his life. I'm so thankful that I lived in a time before college admissions mania, and I try (not always with success) to practice what I'm preaching here with regard to my own kids.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, The_Man said:

It might be counter-intuitive, but private schools seems to have the edge over their public peers, the (generally) suburban, affluent college prep high schools, when it comes to providing a little balance for these kids. The public schools seem to be caught up in arms races, with kids trying to take 10 or 12 APs to outdo their classmates. As a result, these kids are stressed out, burned out, and working way too hard. Meanwhile, the private schools seems to feel they offer an adequate but not destructive level of rigor, and generally provide kids with the chance to have some breathing room and pursue extracurricular interests. It's a luxury they can afford, since they know they most selective schools will still admit their students based on academic reputation, while public school kids seem compelled to demonstrate their academic readiness through unbelievable workloads.

Don't forget that you want your kid to have a decent time in high school, especially senior year. There's supposed to be a lot of fun and memory making, in addition to relentless stress about grades and college admissions. So if a kid wants to take something he'll actually enjoy - like AP Psych or AP Stats - instead of something that will make him miserable - like AP English or AP Calculus - I'm a fan of letting the kid live his life. I'm so thankful that I lived in a time before college admissions mania, and I try (not always with success) to practice what I'm preaching here with regard to my own kids.

Great post. 

And I agree with you about the arms race at certain public high schools. Making things worse here in Texas is that seemingly everyone wants to go to University of Texas and they auto-admit students that graduate in the top 6% of their class. So kids are killing themselves to get into that top 6% range. That’s the top 30 students in a class of 500. 

Edited by bigbottom
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

I think we are lucky in that our son goes to a private school that (1) limits the number of honors/AP classes students can take each year; and (2) highly emphasizes sports, which I think leads to a more sensible homework burden since the majority of students (all boys school) play a sport and do so competitively.

I’m just lucky my son doesn’t get stressed. He’s smart like me but way more organized and we let him have a lot of free reign because he is a good kid and always got As. He got some voted as the kid most likely to brighten your day which was cool for him. I do agree with @The_Man about private schools and balance. The kids that go there usually already have a good base to start with, which is why I feel bad for kids who don’t have the resources. I think they start further behind than they did before. My SAT score eons ago was higher than the average at any university and now it’s an average score at good public universities and 100+ points below average scores at the most select universities. Maybe kids a bit smarter, but damn are they way more prepared and spend way more money getting into colleges and that spread for kids without resources is a canyon now.

I do feel bad also hearing that story about the anxiety levels of kids affecting their lives before they even get to college. I see it in sports as well, kids that certainly aren’t as good as the parents think and they put so much pressure on the kids that you can tell they don’t even enjoy it. None of these kids I see are going pro, but if they don’t even enjoy it, man that’s a lot of time to not be happy as a kid. Anyway, off my soap box. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

I think we are lucky in that our son goes to a private school that (1) limits the number of honors/AP classes students can take each year; and (2) highly emphasizes sports, which I think leads to a more sensible homework burden since the majority of students (all boys school) play a sport and do so competitively.

To stbugs point, four AP classes in a year is still really heavy, and it's nuts that there's obviously pressure for students to take more than that.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, jhib said:

To stbugs point, four AP classes in a year is still really heavy, and it's nuts that there's obviously pressure for students to take more than that.

 

At schools where there are no such limitations, many students are taking all Honors/AP courses and are foregoing electives like choir, or orchestra, or art, because getting an A in those classes actually hurts their GPA and class ranking. As a result, many schools have started giving kids the option of not counting those classes toward their GPA just so they could keep kids participating in those courses. Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

At schools where there are no such limitations, many students are taking all Honors/AP courses and are foregoing electives like choir, or orchestra, or art, because getting an A in those classes actually hurts their GPA and class ranking. As a result, many schools have started giving kids the option of not counting those classes toward their GPA just so they could keep kids participating in those courses. Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. 

My son went to private school for high school, while his best friend stayed in the public school. His friend was an all-county clarinet player, but missed his shot at valedictorian because he stayed in the Jazz Band for senior year, instead of dropping it for another AP which would have given him extra ranking points. It's definitely a messed-up system when top musicians are incentivized to quit playing.

Meanwhile, on the topic of ludicrously selective college admissions - the kid was also an all-county distance runner, and qualified for states. Didn't get into U of Chicago, where his older brother had gone and made straight A's. The good news is he got into Swarthmore, which he loves and where he is still running and doing well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

At schools where there are no such limitations, many students are taking all Honors/AP courses and are foregoing electives like choir, or orchestra, or art, because getting an A in those classes actually hurts their GPA and class ranking. As a result, many schools have started giving kids the option of not counting those classes toward their GPA just so they could keep kids participating in those courses. Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. 

Yep, my son got all As took quite a few AP courses (not quite that many), but he did tell me he wished he knew about some classes before. He didn’t realize when he was a freshman/sophomore that there were easy AP courses he could have taken. It was kind of silly that getting an A in classes could bring his overall GPA down. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, stbugs said:

Yep, my son got all As took quite a few AP courses (not quite that many), but he did tell me he wished he knew about some classes before. He didn’t realize when he was a freshman/sophomore that there were easy AP courses he could have taken. It was kind of silly that getting an A in classes could bring his overall GPA down. 

I know from having been on the school side that college counselors really don't want to start dealing with kids much before junior year - plus they're so burdened already that it mostly isn't even possible for them to add freshmen and sophomores to their workload. But from the parent side, I wish a little more college counseling input went into class selection. It stinks for kids to get halfway through junior year before having their first meeting with a college counselor, only to discover they're going to be hosed on engineering school applications because they haven't already taken AP Chemistry (or whatever). I wish there could be some kind of handbook or something that kids get even as early as pre-9th that lays out the various tracks.

My younger kid (currently a high school soph) goes to a different school from where my college sophomore kid went. So I've already called the college counselor twice - once last spring during the 10th grade course selection process, and again last month after my kid got his report card. He probably thinks I'm a lunatic, but oh well. Each call was only about 10 minutes, but they gave me info I needed and otherwise wouldn't have had. And I'm very aware that getting the college counselor on the line with a sophomore's parent is the kind of privilege that's much harder to come by in public school than private. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

At schools where there are no such limitations, many students are taking all Honors/AP courses and are foregoing electives like choir, or orchestra, or art, because getting an A in those classes actually hurts their GPA and class ranking. As a result, many schools have started giving kids the option of not counting those classes toward their GPA just so they could keep kids participating in those courses. Yes, it’s absolutely crazy. 

My son's public school doesn't have the Honors/AP limitations, but they actually went the other way and just started counting classes like orchestra in the GPA when it didn't used to.  But that also includes levels, so my son's Wind Ensemble is considered an honors course while the Concert Band is not.  They also don't do class rankings - which makes sense to me with such varied schedules - and include both weighted and un-weighted GPAs on the transcript.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...