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Transcript questions - "Honors" courses, "P" grades, Weighting honors/AP/"college" or dual enrolled, etc.


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#51 rbk mama

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:26 AM

For those who've done an unweighted & a weighted GPA on your transcript, how did you weight "honors", "AP", and "dual enrolled"/"college class"?

 

Thanks,

yvonne

 

Our transcript-in-progress has a bunch of classes called "_____ with AP exam" (for the ones we did at home), and a few MIT OCW courses.  There is a note on the side that says weighted grades: +1 point for classes using AP or MIT OCW materials.  No extra weight for "honors."  We list both weighted and unweighted GPA.


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#52 Corraleno

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:45 AM

For those who've done an unweighted & a weighted GPA on your transcript, how did you weight "honors", "AP", and "dual enrolled"/"college class"?
 
Thanks,
yvonne


I did +0.5 for honors and +1 for DE. DS didn't have any AP classes, but I would have weighted them the same as DE, which seems to be the most common approach. Some schools don't weight honors at all, some weight them +0.5 and some even weight them the same as AP (that's what my HS did). I chose 0.5 because that is the most common system in the state where DS is applying, so that's what the university will be most familiar with.
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#53 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:02 AM

When you say it's an "AP equivalent" class, does that mean he took the AP exam?  

 

 

I'm in New Zealand, so AP equivalent refers to courses that are generally of the same level.

 

 

Isn't an "AP class" usually said to be equivalent to an introductory level college class in the subject?

Maybe it would work better to just say that ("this class was equivalent to an introductory level college class in X") than to call something an "AP equivalent" class if an AP syllabus wasn't followed and/or an AP exam wasn't taken? 

 

Personally, I think that sounds better anyhow, but it would also solve the potential questions about what exactly made it an "AP equivalent" class.

 

 

Keep in mind that for most people here in the US AP equivalent would mean a course that contains the same content as an AP course, is restricted to the same subject matter as an AP course, meets the educational criteria/learning objectives set forth in the AP Course Description, uses texts that would be approved for an AP course, prepares the student for the exam, and is taught at the same level.  For all intents and purposes an "equivalent" course is an AP course that wasn't designated as such by College Board.  

 

If your courses don't meet these qualifications I would state that they were taught as college level course.  That won't be a downgrade.  Furthermore, a student from another country isn't going to have the same educational structure as a US student.  That is fine, the course descriptions and counselors letter should indicate the level of challenge in each course and explain the differences between the educational systems.  Keep in mind that there is a distinction between Dual Enrollment (DE), a college/university level course, and a course taught at college/university level.  The differences have to do with how the course is taken, who is teaching, and how credit is granted.  


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#54 GoodGrief

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:03 PM

I agree with 8's post. After re-reading the various comments, I would even go so far as to say that it would probably be wise to leave "AP-equivalent" off both the Common App and the transcript, and call the courses "honors" with appropriate descriptions.

 

I did not catch originally that the "university" courses were not necessarily dual enrollment. I would probably call those courses honors as well. Calling them university or dual enrollment sets you up for the expectation that credits were awarded and there will be the expectation of a transcript sent from the institution indicating such. It will just complicate everything.


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#55 lewelma

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:32 PM

 

If your courses don't meet these qualifications I would state that they were taught as college level course.  That won't be a downgrade.  

 

Thanks so much guys for helping me sort this out!  I definitely want to get it right and the first application goes in in 2 weeks!  eeek!

 

First of all, it was my sister that felt very much like I needed to clarify what level "NCEA level 3" actually was.  Is is basically at the equivalent level as the AP, A-levels, or IB, but is just a different nationally-normed exam.  The problem is that only in the USA is this level course considered 'college level' - I suppose do to sliding standards over 50 years.  Just like the A-levels, NCEA level 3 done at an excellence level is a *high school* course.  I simply can't put down that it is at the college level.  But it is at the same level as an AP, A-level, or IB exam.  If they are going to give AP courses a 5 and honors courses a 4.5 when the re-weight grades, then I need to indicated this level in some way.  I know this one school will re-weight the grades and used them for a full ride scholarship which I think ds has a chance to get.

 

As for the university-level courses, he has taken 6 200-level math courses and 1 post-secondary diploma in music.  Only 2 of the university courses were done at the local university.  For those 2 classes, he got 100% when the mean and the median for each class was 60%.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  How many 20% were there to drop the class average so low?  This is a top 200 university in the world. So he decided to self-study the rest because the local university was too easy. These self-studied classes were not high school 'honors' classes, and they weren't AP level, they were university classes and need to be indicated as such for scholarship purposes.  Math seems to be one of those objective subjects where the level is way easier to identify than something like English.  

 

So I'm trying to figure out how to indicate this on the transcript, and then somehow make this align with the stupid categories on the common app.  

 

Open to suggestions.!!!



#56 yvonne

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:02 PM

Have you tried talking this through w an admissions person at one of the US universities to which he wants to apply?

This might be something where the only reliable source is going to be the university itself. Even on these boards, it might be hard to find a large enough sample of successful NZ applicants to US colleges/universities to come to a clear conclusion. Is there any downside to just asking the univ directly? (And reporting back here bec now some of us are wondering, too, just out of curiosity.)
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#57 lewelma

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:24 PM

Ok. I'll call. 😀 Of the scholarship schools, two use the common app and one has a separate app. Do I call and ask for international admissions even though he will be applying with a homeschooled American transcript as a US citizen? Or would a homeschool person be better because some of this is a self study issue? Ug. This is a mess!

#58 Julie of KY

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:33 PM

Ok. I'll call. 😀 Of the scholarship schools, two use the common app and one has a separate app. Do I call and ask for international admissions even though he will be applying with a homeschooled American transcript as a US citizen? Or would a homeschool person be better because some of this is a self study issue? Ug. This is a mess!

 

Ask the university who his admission counselor would be. I suspect it will fall under whomever does the homeschool since that is how he is applying. In reality, I'm not sure it matters who will be his admission counselor as you are really just seeking information and any is likely to be able to give you an answer.


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#59 yvonne

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:39 PM

The advantage of asking for hisad counselor is is that then he'll have one person he can contact for all follow up questions and he won't have to re-explain his story every single time.

Sometimes having one point of contract also makes that point of contact a little more invested in you as a person. That can be priceless.
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#60 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:56 PM

Thanks so much guys for helping me sort this out!  I definitely want to get it right and the first application goes in in 2 weeks!  eeek!

 

First of all, it was my sister that felt very much like I needed to clarify what level "NCEA level 3" actually was.  Is is basically at the equivalent level as the AP, A-levels, or IB, but is just a different nationally-normed exam.  The problem is that only in the USA is this level course considered 'college level' - I suppose do to sliding standards over 50 years.  Just like the A-levels, NCEA level 3 done at an excellence level is a *high school* course.  I simply can't put down that it is at the college level.  But it is at the same level as an AP, A-level, or IB exam.  If they are going to give AP courses a 5 and honors courses a 4.5 when the re-weight grades, then I need to indicated this level in some way.  I know this one school will re-weight the grades and used them for a full ride scholarship which I think ds has a chance to get.

 

As for the university-level courses, he has taken 6 200-level math courses and 1 post-secondary diploma in music.  Only 2 of the university courses were done at the local university.  For those 2 classes, he got 100% when the mean and the median for each class was 60%.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  How many 20% were there to drop the class average so low?  This is a top 200 university in the world. So he decided to self-study the rest because the local university was too easy. These self-studied classes were not high school 'honors' classes, and they weren't AP level, they were university classes and need to be indicated as such for scholarship purposes.  Math seems to be one of those objective subjects where the level is way easier to identify than something like English.  

 

So I'm trying to figure out how to indicate this on the transcript, and then somehow make this align with the stupid categories on the common app.  

 

Open to suggestions.!!!

I think it is important that you put some time in on your course descriptions and counselor's letter explaining the differences in the educational systems and what these courses mean under your education system.  I think this is probably a very unique educational path and one that won't fit into all the typical boxes on an application.  

 

I wouldn't worry so much about the weighting.  Weight your courses in a manner that seems reasonable and put on your transcript how and what was weighted. Don't try to make courses that aren't part of the US system into being part, just explain their equivalencies in your letter.  Most US universities are prepared to evaluate an international student on their own merit.

 

I don't think there is a way on a transcript to explain his level of success in his course (re being so much above the mean/median of the class).  Do keep in mind that you will need the university to send transcripts directly to the schools or common app (I'm not sure how that is dealt with as we haven't done it). However, you can explain why your student chose to pursue self study rather than continue at university in your counselor's letter.  Or the student can explain in one of their essays. Self study at a university level will be difficult to convey-that will probably require a great course description and probably a list of major texts used. I don't know if they will, when recalculating a weighted GPA, use that as a college level without a good description of how work was evaluated.  

 

Limiting yourself to describing all this on the transcript would be nearly impossible.  You do seem to need course descriptions, perhaps a general outline of your educational plan, book lists... Your transcript can be multiple pages.  

 

Don't underestimate calling one or two of your top choices and speaking with an admissions rep or better yet have your kid call.  I don't think you have an American style transcript, international admissions people often handle expats, diplomats and military.  There are also homeschool admissions folks.  I'd explain the situation to them and let them place you (i.e. an American citizen, residing in XXX, partially homeschooled and partially locally/privately/university educated-just be clear that the student is applying as a freshman/first year student not a transfer student.  With the time difference you may end up needing to make an appointment for a phone call with the correct person.

 

Don't panic, most schools and scholarships take the time to read the application materials of unusual students, if not completely then enough to understand the situation.

 

Best of luck!


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#61 Corraleno

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 04:30 PM

Thanks so much guys for helping me sort this out!  I definitely want to get it right and the first application goes in in 2 weeks!  eeek!
 
First of all, it was my sister that felt very much like I needed to clarify what level "NCEA level 3" actually was.  Is is basically at the equivalent level as the AP, A-levels, or IB, but is just a different nationally-normed exam.  The problem is that only in the USA is this level course considered 'college level' - I suppose do to sliding standards over 50 years.  Just like the A-levels, NCEA level 3 done at an excellence level is a *high school* course.  I simply can't put down that it is at the college level.  But it is at the same level as an AP, A-level, or IB exam.  If they are going to give AP courses a 5 and honors courses a 4.5 when the re-weight grades, then I need to indicated this level in some way.  I know this one school will re-weight the grades and used them for a full ride scholarship which I think ds has a chance to get.
 
As for the university-level courses, he has taken 6 200-level math courses and 1 post-secondary diploma in music.  Only 2 of the university courses were done at the local university.  For those 2 classes, he got 100% when the mean and the median for each class was 60%.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  How many 20% were there to drop the class average so low?  This is a top 200 university in the world. So he decided to self-study the rest because the local university was too easy. These self-studied classes were not high school 'honors' classes, and they weren't AP level, they were university classes and need to be indicated as such for scholarship purposes.  Math seems to be one of those objective subjects where the level is way easier to identify than something like English.  
 
So I'm trying to figure out how to indicate this on the transcript, and then somehow make this align with the stupid categories on the common app.  
 
Open to suggestions.!!!


Are you filling in the "Courses & Grades" section of the Common App and having to choose the level from the drop-down menus? If so, are you sure that the colleges you are applying to need that? According to CA, only 6 colleges actually require that those sections be completed. If you don't need to, then I would probably skip it and just use the transcript and school profile to explain things clearly. If you do have to fill out those sections, then, out of the available choices, I would select "Advanced" for the "AP level" courses and the self-studied college level courses. "Advanced" would generally cover courses at AP/IB/A-level. Regarding the self-studied uni classes, unless he took exams at the Uni to validate the work (credit by exam I think could legitimately be listed as DE), then I think you just have to list those as Advanced as well, even though they may have been at a higher level than most AP/IB/A-levels. You can address the differences in level in your school profile, transcript, course descriptions, and counselor letter.

ETA: Even if you're applying to one of the 6 schools that requires it, if you can legitimately answer "no" to the question about whether your school is on a semester, quarter, or block system, then that whole section will gray out and you don't have to answer it. There will be a message saying that you don't have to complete that section and will not be penalized in any way by colleges. So if you feel that using that section will not accurately represent your DS's work, and you can say that as homeschoolers he worked on his own schedule (e.g. year-round, or in intensive bursts, or whatever, rather than discrete semesters or terms) then you can skip that whole section.

Edited by Corraleno, 18 September 2017 - 04:37 PM.

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#62 jdahlquist

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:46 PM

Ask the university who his admission counselor would be. I suspect it will fall under whomever does the homeschool since that is how he is applying. In reality, I'm not sure it matters who will be his admission counselor as you are really just seeking information and any is likely to be able to give you an answer.

 

I would encourage trying to talk to his admissions counselor, given that the situation is unusual.  DS's school no longer has a separate "homeschool" admissions counselor, but the students fall under the counselor they would have if they attended public school.  The advantage of talking to a specific counselor is that he or she is the one who will go to bat for you if there is a close decision regarding admissions.  You want to make sure that this individual understands any unusual or odd application issues.


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#63 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:50 PM

Thanks so much guys for helping me sort this out!  I definitely want to get it right and the first application goes in in 2 weeks!  eeek!

 

First of all, it was my sister that felt very much like I needed to clarify what level "NCEA level 3" actually was.  Is is basically at the equivalent level as the AP, A-levels, or IB, but is just a different nationally-normed exam.  The problem is that only in the USA is this level course considered 'college level' - I suppose do to sliding standards over 50 years.  Just like the A-levels, NCEA level 3 done at an excellence level is a *high school* course.  I simply can't put down that it is at the college level.  But it is at the same level as an AP, A-level, or IB exam.  If they are going to give AP courses a 5 and honors courses a 4.5 when the re-weight grades, then I need to indicated this level in some way.  I know this one school will re-weight the grades and used them for a full ride scholarship which I think ds has a chance to get.

 

As for the university-level courses, he has taken 6 200-level math courses and 1 post-secondary diploma in music.  Only 2 of the university courses were done at the local university.  For those 2 classes, he got 100% when the mean and the median for each class was 60%.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  How many 20% were there to drop the class average so low?  This is a top 200 university in the world. So he decided to self-study the rest because the local university was too easy. These self-studied classes were not high school 'honors' classes, and they weren't AP level, they were university classes and need to be indicated as such for scholarship purposes.  Math seems to be one of those objective subjects where the level is way easier to identify than something like English.  

 

So I'm trying to figure out how to indicate this on the transcript, and then somehow make this align with the stupid categories on the common app.  

 

Open to suggestions.!!!

 

I would call the university, but I wouldn't weight courses nor I would not give labels that are not appropriate to what the courses actually are.

 

I think you are way over thinking the entire weighting process.  Lots of high schools don't weigh courses and the ones that do do not do it in a uniform manner.  So, 1 student's 4.0 might be another student's 5 might be another students 6.  Schools unweigh and reweigh according to their own formulas.  And honestly, it gets to the point where it is ludicrous anyway.  How would you weigh an AP course compared to an upper level college course?

 

For courses he self-studied at home, you have no recourse but to call them honors or self-studied college-equivalency-level.  You cannot call them anything else.  He didn't take them at the university for a graded credit.  He self-studied them at home.  That does not mean that is a detriment to his application.  You just need to emphasize why he took that approach in your counselor letter.  They will probably be thrilled to have a student who took that approach bc they wanted to challenge themselves beyond a classroom pace and expectation.  FWIW, every scholarship interview weekend dd went to they told her how impressed they were with her desire to learn and self-study subjects at a such an advanced level. 

 

If I were you I would spend far less energy trying to make him fit an American public school box and fully embrace the differences and the successes he achieved via his homeschooling path.

 

I know you want to put labels on there, but my gut says it would be the wrong choice.  Give the admissions office the credit of being able to read your counselor letter and course descriptions and let his achievements stand for what they are.

 

FWIW, I agree 100% with Janet.  I would not use the drop down menu for courses unless the university explicitly requires it.  

 

A HUGE ETA: if you do call, I would make the conversation simple and not overwhelm the person on the phone with too many details.  All you really need to know is how to effectively label courses on his transcript that were upper level college courses that were self-studied.

 

ETA2:  Another fwiw, there are lots of kids who self-study using sources like MIT opencourseware, etc.  Top kids self-studying courses is not unheard of, so the admissions officer shouldn't find the question that out of the norm.


Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 18 September 2017 - 06:17 PM.

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#64 lewelma

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:16 PM

Guys, you are awesome. I will go process all this and make some decisions. Just to be clear, I've explained the difference in the educational system in the school profile and written about what a nontraditional education looks like in the counselor letter (which is already two pages). The transcript is simple and one page.

As for explaining the full differences in the systems between the countries, I described the entire complexity to the admissions person after ds's interview and asked him if it would be helpful to have it all explained in the school profile and he said no. Keep it simple. Which is what I have done.

#65 GoodGrief

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:27 PM

And in the end, make sure he can explain his educational path so that it is consistent with what is documented in the application. That may be important in future communications with the schools, because for the most part, he should be the one calling and e mailing.


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#66 lewelma

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:57 PM

Haha. Seriously. I realized this about six months ago when I started putting a layer of structure to describe his learning. He gets it. He helped write some of the course descriptions.
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#67 lewelma

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:58 PM

I think I've hijacked this thread, sorry. :tongue_smilie:


Edited by lewelma, 18 September 2017 - 08:07 PM.


#68 yvonne

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:18 PM

It's all good!  We're kind of in this together--I feel like we've all gone through these high school years together on these boards. We're in the final laps!


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#69 yvonne

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 09:19 PM

Oh--I'm still wondering what the difference is between "honors" and "advanced" for that pull down menu.

 

I think I'm going to list Lukeion's Greek 1-4 as "Honors" classes. Wasn't going to say that about 1 & 2, but Lukeion's course description calls the Athenaze text a "standard textbook used in college level courses." 


Edited by yvonne, 18 September 2017 - 09:22 PM.


#70 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:18 AM

Oh--I'm still wondering what the difference is between "honors" and "advanced" for that pull down menu.


I wouldn't use the self-reporting drop down menu unless required. Even then, I would contact the admissions office and talk to them and explain it does not work well for your child's transcript. (I did that last yr when Dd was considering FSU bc that was the only way to apply. Our approach to education cannot be quantified by that system.)

But, in answer to your question, honors is considered more rigorous than advanced. The typical ps sequences are cp, advanced, honors, AP.
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#71 Corraleno

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:42 PM

But, in answer to your question, honors is considered more rigorous than advanced. The typical ps sequences are cp, advanced, honors, AP.


I have to disagree with this. Many top prep schools now use the Advanced designation in lieu of AP because they don't follow College Board syllabi even though the courses prepare students for the AP tests. For example, Pomfret, a top boarding school in Connecticut, does not offer any AP-labeled courses, but they do offer Advanced courses in Bio, Chem, Physics, Environmental Science, Calculus, Statistics, US History, Psychology, Comparative Gov't, and Advanced English III and IV, all which are clearly intended to prepare students for AP exams if they choose to take them. Groton offers AP Bio and Chem, but labels their AP-equivalent Physics classes as Advanced rather than AP (although the course catalog states that students will take the exams). 
 
At some schools the term may also be applied to courses at or above the level of an AP class, but for which there isn't an AP test. Groton also offers a course in Advanced Math Topics for which Calc II is a prerequisite. Philips Exeter offers Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Biology, and Advanced Physics, all of which explicitly claim to prep students for the AP exams, as well as Advanced Astronomical Methods. At Choate the levels offered in the Chemistry sequence include: Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Advanced Organic Chemistry, and Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry. They also offer courses such as Advanced Astrophysics, Advanced Robotics, and Advanced Application Development. 

Some prep schools do not use the "honors" designation at all, and "advanced" is applied to both AP-equivalent courses and what would be considered honors-level nonAP courses. For example, "regular" and "advanced" are the only two levels offered at Fieldston and Berkeley Carroll, two of the top prep schools in NYC. Advanced Calc I & II are AP-equivalent, while Advanced Precalculus would be honors level. 
 
IMO, the "Advanced" button on the Common App primarily exists for students at schools like these, where the Advanced designation tends to replace AP and/or Honors labels, and may even refer to courses above AP levels (e.g. Advanced Calc IV, Advanced Organic Chemistry).

#72 Julie of KY

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:52 PM

I've had admission counselors tell me that the honors designation is meaningless for a homeschooler. It really just helps them tell if a student is taking the most rigourous courses offered WITHIN their own high school and doesn't tell much about comparing students from different schools.

 

That said, I will designate some of my second son's coursework as honors because I think it hurts some scholarship chances at some schools if you don't.


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#73 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 08:47 PM

I have to disagree with this. Many top prep schools now use the Advanced designation in lieu of AP because they don't follow College Board syllabi even though the courses prepare students for the AP tests. For example, Pomfret, a top boarding school in Connecticut, does not offer any AP-labeled courses, but they do offer Advanced courses in Bio, Chem, Physics, Environmental Science, Calculus, Statistics, US History, Psychology, Comparative Gov't, and Advanced English III and IV, all which are clearly intended to prepare students for AP exams if they choose to take them. Groton offers AP Bio and Chem, but labels their AP-equivalent Physics classes as Advanced rather than AP (although the course catalog states that students will take the exams).

At some schools the term may also be applied to courses at or above the level of an AP class, but for which there isn't an AP test. Groton also offers a course in Advanced Math Topics for which Calc II is a prerequisite. Philips Exeter offers Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Biology, and Advanced Physics, all of which explicitly claim to prep students for the AP exams, as well as Advanced Astronomical Methods. At Choate the levels offered in the Chemistry sequence include: Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Advanced Organic Chemistry, and Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry. They also offer courses such as Advanced Astrophysics, Advanced Robotics, and Advanced Application Development.

Some prep schools do not use the "honors" designation at all, and "advanced" is applied to both AP-equivalent courses and what would be considered honors-level nonAP courses. For example, "regular" and "advanced" are the only two levels offered at Fieldston and Berkeley Carroll, two of the top prep schools in NYC. Advanced Calc I & II are AP-equivalent, while Advanced Precalculus would be honors level.

IMO, the "Advanced" button on the Common App primarily exists for students at schools like these, where the Advanced designation tends to replace AP and/or Honors labels, and may even refer to courses above AP levels (e.g. Advanced Calc IV, Advanced Organic Chemistry).


We'll have to disagree. Here is an example of what I am used to seeing: http://www.haywardhigh.net/ap.h.acc (scroll to the bottom of the page and see the box clarifying the differences. Accelerated is clearly considered less rigorous.

It shows just how difficult it is for adcoms to compare school to school. There is no unified reporting metric. Weighting has just as many discrepancies.

#74 yvonne

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:02 PM

I've had admission counselors tell me that the honors designation is meaningless for a homeschooler. It really just helps them tell if a student is taking the most rigourous courses offered WITHIN their own high school and doesn't tell much about comparing students from different schools.

 

That said, I will designate some of my second son's coursework as honors because I think it hurts some scholarship chances at some schools if you don't.

 

Ack. I wonder if it matters if the course has been labeled by an outside provider who would, presumably, have some basis for making that designation of "honors."

 

And if it doesn't mean anything, then is there any way at all of making it clear on a transcript that a course has used more advanced texts than any other course in that subject?  Yes, I know I can list specific texts in the course description, but 1) will they even read that, and 2) will they know the difference between texts?

 

I know it's not politically correct to say it, but there just doesn't seem to be any other method for determining any given student's level of work/ability than by standardized tests.


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#75 Corraleno

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:39 PM

But, in answer to your question, honors is considered more rigorous than advanced. The typical ps sequences are cp, advanced, honors, AP.

 

We'll have to disagree. Here is an example of what I am used to seeing: http://www.haywardhigh.net/ap.h.acc (scroll to the bottom of the page and see the box clarifying the differences. Accelerated is clearly considered less rigorous.


Your first post said that Advanced courses were less rigorous than Honors. Accelerated is a different category, and often just refers to a regular level course taught on an accelerated schedule.



#76 Corraleno

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:54 PM

Ack. I wonder if it matters if the course has been labeled by an outside provider who would, presumably, have some basis for making that designation of "honors."

 

And if it doesn't mean anything, then is there any way at all of making it clear on a transcript that a course has used more advanced texts than any other course in that subject?  Yes, I know I can list specific texts in the course description, but 1) will they even read that, and 2) will they know the difference between texts?

 

I know it's not politically correct to say it, but there just doesn't seem to be any other method for determining any given student's level of work/ability than by standardized tests.

 

It may be meaningless to some colleges, and at others it may mean the difference between a scholarship and no scholarship. For instance, there was a big conflict in Palo Alto a couple of years ago over the fact that they did not weight GPAs and some students complained that they lost out on scholarships they would have earned if their grades had been weighted like most other students.

 

Also, if you are filling out the part of the Common App where you list courses and grades and have to choose a label anyway, the CA-generated course list looks pretty lame if the "level" column is just a long string of "regular" or "college prep," with no courses distinguished from any other. Public and private schools choose which of their courses deserve to be labeled honors, and you can too.


Edited by Corraleno, 19 September 2017 - 09:58 PM.

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#77 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 07:59 AM

 

Your first post said that Advanced courses were less rigorous than Honors. Accelerated is a different category, and often just refers to a regular level course taught on an accelerated schedule.

 

 

You're right.  I didn't look at that link closely enough.  It still doesn't change the fact that "advanced" is not going to have a clear definition making it more rigorous than honors. I know that a local high school has classes like "Advanced Algebra 3"  when in reality the alg 3 course is a course for kids who were not given permission to move on to pre-cal after alg 2.  I don't think course titles are going to be clear delineators. It is going to come down to course descriptions.

 

When in doubt, contact the admissions office as the guidance counselor and ask for clarity on how to proceed and make sure that your student is being accurately represented.


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#78 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 08:32 AM

Keep in mind that many schools, in particular the more competitive schools, are looking to see if a student took the "most challenging" set of courses available in their school. It isn't about grading honors vs accelerated vs AP vs advanced.  On my kids transcripts I have kept things simple, if an outside provider has designate in either their title or course description a class as honors I label it as such.  If they designate a course as being taught on the college level, I designate it as such. If a course has received College Board approval for the AP designation, I do so (I have had my own syllabi approved as well). If a course is designed to prepare for an AP, I note it as such but do not call it AP.  

 

Keep things simple.  Explain more in your other papers/letters/course descriptions.  I am of the opinion that trying to slap high end labels on courses can result in a response similar to the "mommy grades" issue.  In home grown courses, where my kids used college texts and advanced works or complete major projects, I notate specific accomplishments in the other documents but I haven't gone nuts weighting all the grades or calling everything advanced.  There comes a point where it begins to look like overkill.  It may be true, they may have done very advanced work, but there needs to be something backing it up because I don't want someone to read the transcript and consider it to be unbelievable and never look more deeply at what my kids have done. With a well written admissions package, a smart, accelerated, hard working kid will shine through, there is no need to add too much sparkle and glitter.  I am of the opinion that too much glitter can keep the kid from looking as bright as they really are.

 

But hey, I'm also willing to give my kids grades that aren't an A if their work isn't up to that standard so maybe I'm exceptionally harsh in my outlook.


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#79 GoodGrief

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 02:16 PM

  I am of the opinion that too much glitter can keep the kid from looking as bright as they really are.

 

 

 

Agreed! It's a fine line when it comes to adequately representing the work without looking deceptive and desperate.

 


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#80 lewelma

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 04:09 PM

So how then to indicate course level when scholarships are at stake?  I know one school weights grades based on their own formula, and I assume that they weren't going to read course descriptions and try to figure out what level each class was at before weighting them. So if they don't get the info from the transcript, which document will they look to?  How actually does the process work of weighting grades based on their "own formula."?



#81 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 04:37 PM

So how then to indicate course level when scholarships are at stake?  I know one school weights grades based on their own formula, and I assume that they weren't going to read course descriptions and try to figure out what level each class was at before weighting them. So if they don't get the info from the transcript, which document will they look to?  How actually does the process work of weighting grades based on their "own formula."?

 

For competitive scholarships, I think you are overestimating GPA as a factor.  Competitive scholarships are going to be holistic and adcoms are going to flag the applications they believe should be reviewed.  It is going to be the extras, the essays, the LOR, the awards, honors, leadership, etc that are going to make or break a competitive scholarship application, not whether or not a course is title honors or college level.


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#82 lewelma

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:00 PM

I'm good with that, and it is what I expected.  But I've also read here that kids are at a disadvantage if they don't have a weighted GPA.  Is this false?



#83 Corraleno

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:18 PM

I'm good with that, and it is what I expected.  But I've also read here that kids are at a disadvantage if they don't have a weighted GPA.  Is this false?

 

It really depends on the school. There are schools that have definite GPA cut-offs for their scholarships; some of those use whatever GPA is on the transcript and some of those will recalculate GPA according to their own formula. Some of the schools that recalculate will apply their own weighting system and some will recalculate without any weighting.

 

One of the schools cited in the article about unweighted grades at Palo Alto HS was University of Oregon; they do not recalculate GPA and there is a 3.85 cut-off for their top scholarships (Stamps & Presidential). A student with a 3.80 unweighted GPA, which might have been >4.0 if it were weighted, would not qualify while another student with a weighted GPA of 3.90 (whose unweighted GPA might have only been 3.65) would qualify. UNM has a 3.9 cut-off for their top scholarship (Regents); they recalculate based on core courses only, but they do weight for honors/AP/DE, so a student who did not list any honors/AP/DE courses would be at a disadvantage.

 

I would just call or email the schools your DS is applying to and ask them if their scholarships have a GPA cut-off, if they use weighted or unweighted grades, and what weight they give for various designations.


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#84 GoodGrief

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:19 PM

It's going to be important to demonstrate that his coursework was "most rigorous". Because he is homeschooled, your descriptions will likely be more important in that regard than an applied label. Once that hurdle is achieved, the other factors are more important. Truly, there will be no doubt that your son's high school coursework was rigorous. He is fine there.

#85 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

I'm good with that, and it is what I expected. But I've also read here that kids are at a disadvantage if they don't have a weighted GPA. Is this false?

I think if you are talking about more formulaic scholarships, maybe. If you have a student with B's where a weighted GPA would raise their GPA, maybe. If it is a typical high school transcript with typical high school courses, maybe.

But our experience with advanced kids with non-traditional coursework that their work is recognized for what it is. (But my kids who were awarded competitive scholarships had 4.0s regardless. Weight wouldn't have impacted moved them out of a disqualifying range.)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart, 20 September 2017 - 05:27 PM.


#86 lewelma

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 04:55 PM

Ok, first school said don't bother with any indications at all on the transcript, especially not for homeschooled courses. They are looking for rigor so will look to the course descriptions.  Honestly, I didn't think they would bother to read them because of limited time and all that. I have written stuff up accurately and with care, but would love some feed back as to how it sounds in terms of rigor.  DS does nothing at a low level, however, I'm not sure these descriptions reflect that. Here is a subset of the full document (the ones I'm most concerned about) The US history and comparative government were the easier classes compared to the rest. Impressions? Ideas? suggestions?

 

 

 

 


Edited by lewelma, 23 September 2017 - 11:01 PM.


#87 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:03 PM

Ok, first school said don't bother with any indications at all on the transcript, especially not for homeschooled courses. They are looking for rigor so will look to the course descriptions.  Honestly, I didn't think they would bother to read them because of limited time and all that. I have written stuff up accurately and with care, but would love some feed back as to how it sounds in terms of rigor.  DS does nothing at a low level, however, I'm not sure these descriptions reflect that. The US history and comparative government were the easier classes compared to the rest. Impressions? Ideas? suggestions?

 

 

Texts: 15 nonfiction books and historical novels; numerous primary sources and documentaries

 

I would list out the novels and books for the US history.  I would just list in a series (I wouldn't bother with authors with such a long list, but just list titles) and perhaps list some of the primary sources. That will help indicate the rigor.

 

In terms of the bolded, it doesn't surprise me at all.  If my dd hadn't been invited to as many scholarships weekends or awarded as many top scholarships as she was, I would be more hesitant in my beliefs.  But, my dd didn't have much besides her course descriptions and yet every single contact stated they were impressed by her desire to learn and the subject matter she studied.


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#88 lewelma

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:13 PM

Ok.  I did put in a list at first, but the course is modern history focused, and the titles show this.  Also, some of the titles make no sense without the full secondary title.  Like Shutting out the Sky: Life in the tenements of New York.  So, this would be a long list.  The primary documents are mostly speeches like JFK or MLK, also autobiography of Fredrick Douglas.  We just didn't spend that much time on the founding documents.  Reading is mostly from 1840-1980, but then a ton of documentary series throughout US history. Do I list them like the 12 hour Vietnam documentary series he watched before we went to vietnam for example?   

 

 

 


Edited by lewelma, 23 September 2017 - 11:01 PM.


#89 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:41 PM

That course description is definitely better.  I am not sure I would lump those items under the same credit title of Russian lit, though.  You could separate those out and give a a full credit for the Russian lit and then give a .5 credit for the Shakespeare study and add the Art of Reading in that list of sources.  For example, my dd had a credit for the psychoanalysis of fairy tales, but she also had a credit for the apologetic works of CS Lewis, both taken in the same yr.

 

In terms of US history, I would just alter the course description to say with emphasis on those yrs and still include the titles. And if the documentaries were an intergral part, I would list the key ones (not sure if I would list them all or not.) 


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#90 regentrude

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:47 PM

The Russian Lit course description makes no sense to me. Why does  a study of film adaptation of Shakespeare fall under a "Russian Literature" course?

Either separate the credits, or omit the Shakespeare films. 


Edited by regentrude, 21 September 2017 - 05:48 PM.

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#91 yvonne

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:47 PM

I agree about listing out the texts used, esp if you listed texts for other courses. If you don't, I'd wonder why you didn't.

 

Also, I may have this wrong, but I find it easier to scan down a list of texts if the title is first and the author second, esp for subjects where I'm likely to recognize the title. For my boys' transcripts, I listed texts for all courses with title, author, instead of vv. If I should change that, someone please let me know!

 

Do you want nits, too?


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#92 regentrude

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 05:50 PM

I agree that the US history course should list book titles. That's the first thing people will scan.


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#93 lewelma

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 10:22 PM

That course description is definitely better.


What makes it better? Just the titles listed? What about the wording?  
 

I am not sure I would lump those items under the same credit title of Russian lit, though.

It happened when it was only English 11, not Russian Literature. But then I decided to name the courses, and hated to leave out all the work we did on the Shakespeare. I'll remove it and see if I want to add a course on film. Hadn't really thought about it that way. Or maybe move it into year 12 which is world literature.
 

In terms of US history, I would just alter the course description to say with emphasis on those yrs and still include the titles. And if the documentaries were an intergral part, I would list the key ones (not sure if I would list them all or not.)


Ok, will alter the description to be focused on 1840-1980. Some of the books are kind of 8th grade books I think, which is why I didn't actually list them. We used them in conjunction with critical analysis of things like JFK speeches.  I felt that this work combined with the documentaries made it high school level. However, this was not a high level course, like the others were. For example, the contemporary world problems counted 4 *years* of reading these magazines 52 weeks a year. So about 1000 hours of reading. The Macroeconomics course includes a 700 page book that is hard core, and I was only going to count it for 0.5 credits. The History of Western Thought represents high level reading, discussion, novels, research, essays, and general passion about philosophy. How do I improve my course descriptions to indicate these classes were at a higher level?

 

I will have to say that Music, Mandarin, Science, and Math courses are pretty easy because they are a standard curriculum.  I think I have good English descriptions, it is just the social sciences that need to be written with more clarity as to what he actually accomplished.

 

 

 

title is first and the author second,

I can do this but it is not standard.  Is the consensus here that it is a better approach?  

 

And what about schools that ask for textbook lists. Do I need to make a separate list or is including them in my course descriptions enough?


Edited by lewelma, 21 September 2017 - 10:28 PM.


#94 lewelma

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 10:24 PM

 

Do you want nits, too?

 Um. Is it a bad week at your house? :eek:



#95 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 07:29 AM

What makes it better? Just the titles listed? What about the wording?  
 

It happened when it was only English 11, not Russian Literature. But then I decided to name the courses, and hated to leave out all the work we did on the Shakespeare. I'll remove it and see if I want to add a course on film. Hadn't really thought about it that way. Or maybe move it into year 12 which is world literature.
 


Ok, will alter the description to be focused on 1840-1980. Some of the books are kind of 8th grade books I think, which is why I didn't actually list them. We used them in conjunction with critical analysis of things like JFK speeches.  I felt that this work combined with the documentaries made it high school level. However, this was not a high level course, like the others were. For example, the contemporary world problems counted 4 *years* of reading these magazines 52 weeks a year. So about 1000 hours of reading. The Macroeconomics course includes a 700 page book that is hard core, and I was only going to count it for 0.5 credits. The History of Western Thought represents high level reading, discussion, novels, research, essays, and general passion about philosophy. How do I improve my course descriptions to indicate these classes were at a higher level?

 

I will have to say that Music, Mandarin, Science, and Math courses are pretty easy because they are a standard curriculum.  I think I have good English descriptions, it is just the social sciences that need to be written with more clarity as to what he actually accomplished.

 

 

 

And what about schools that ask for textbook lists. Do I need to make a separate list or is including them in my course descriptions enough?

 

The reason I liked the lit description better was because it included the methodology and the focus on critical thinking.  It wasn't just a synopsis of content but on the type of learning being engaged in.

 

In terms of it not being a high school course, no answer there.  I absolutely would not make it sound like something it isn't.  I would just describe it honestly.  I would include that the books were used in order to engage in the analysis of speeches like JFK's.

 

 

 Um. Is it a bad week at your house? :eek:

 

Honestly, be thankful someone is willing to read them close enough to offer your critical feedback and edits.  Kudos to Yvonne for be willing to offer it. 


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#96 lewelma

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:12 PM

The reason I liked the lit description better was because it included the methodology and the focus on critical thinking.  It wasn't just a synopsis of content but on the type of learning being engaged in.
 
In terms of it not being a high school course, no answer there.  I absolutely would not make it sound like something it isn't.  I would just describe it honestly.  I would include that the books were used in order to engage in the analysis of speeches like JFK's.


 got it. More methodology, less just a synopsis of content. Can do. As for books used to engage in the speeches, we were actually using Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student for English, and used the same techniques for going after historical speeches.  Should I list the book under history?  ETA:  I just found the JFK speech annotated in his handwriting in Rhetoric in the classical tradition by Horner. Letters from Birmingham Jail by MLK was in Classical Rhetoric. So both books under history?
 

Honestly, be thankful someone is willing to read them close enough to offer your critical feedback and edits.  Kudos to Yvonne for be willing to offer it.

Feeling very confused here. I think something was lost in translation. I thought she was saying she had nits at her house and I was joking around that that was horrible!  Nits are no fun.  Are you telling me 'nits' means edits? I have no idea what we are talking about. :blink:


Edited by lewelma, 22 September 2017 - 01:16 PM.


#97 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:20 PM

I think she was referring to nitpicky details, so yes, overlooked mistakes that should be edited.
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#98 lewelma

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:44 PM

I think she was referring to nitpicky details, so yes, overlooked mistakes that should be edited.

 

Ahhhh. I get it. oops.  Sorry Yvonne. :tongue_smilie:  But glad you don't have nits! :thumbup1:   I actually have a retired friend who is an editor who has just gone through all my documents with a fine toothed comb and I'm incorporating his corrections in today.  But I'm now interested in high-level critique, which you guys have given.  I'm off to rewrite some of these descriptions a bit.

 

So, title first then author?  Can I just use last names?



#99 lewelma

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:45 PM

OK, rewrite of the US history course description. Formatting is a bit off.  I also am missing some major documentaries, and need to look them up. 

 

 


Edited by lewelma, 23 September 2017 - 11:02 PM.


#100 yvonne

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 03:49 PM

I'm sure you've already got these, but I just can't help myself. I know I would so appreciate if someone else would help me with things like this.

 

 

The course "also studied how people’s interpretation of historical events can differ, how to critically evaluate them, and why these interpretations can change over time. The power of the language in shaping perception was studied by critically analyzing the writing and speeches of Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy."

 

1) First sentence - What's the antecedent for "them"-- Were you critically evaluating people's interpretations or historical events? I initially assumed you meant actual events, but the third item in the list goes back to interpretations. ("...why these interpretations...")

 

2) "The power of the language...."  Might be more powerful to say "the power of rhetoric in shaping..."

 

3) The names should read:  "....Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy....."

 

 

4) Make sure the list of texts is completely uniform, whether you opt for title, author or author, title.

 

 

5)   "Letter from Birmingham Jail, MLK

       Inaugural Address, JFK"

 

I would not abbreviate MLK and JFK, or anything other than standard abbreviations (Jr., Mr., Dr., Ph.D., M.A., etc.)

 

 

6) It might look cleaner/simpler to just list all the Texts/Resources in a single list like below than to separate out different resources (textbook/texts/novels/films/etc) into separate lists?  But, there might be advantages to multiple lists.

 

Texts:           

  • The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Major Writers 9th Edition
  • Beowulf
  • Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer
  • King Lear, by William Shakespeare
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare
  • Piers Plowman: A New Translation of the B-Text, by William Langland
  • Paradise Lost, by John Milton
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (Norton Critical Edition) by Thomas Hardy
  • Dubliners, by James Joyce
  • MLA Handbook, 8th Edition

 

 

And now everyone knows why I am agonizing over Common App documents. Who is even going to read these things?!   I just hope my tombstone doesn't say, "Gone before she could hit 'Submit.'"

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by yvonne, 22 September 2017 - 03:52 PM.

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