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Everything posted by dmmetler

  1. At 3x the tuition of VA tech for a VA resident, who are the only kids being asked to wait. I don’t think that taking a year at 3x the amount of tuition is going to be a good choice for most kids. And Sweet Briar, while a beautiful campus, has an acceptance rate currently that pretty much is the same as a community college.
  2. My nieces attended a school that did a big Sea World trip each year (local to them-they also did trips to Legoland and Disney)-and the kids weren’t allowed to ride rides until after 3:00-and a bus went back to the school at 3:00. Only those kids who had permission to stay later and an adult to supervise were allowed to stay later. And, no, they were not fundraising for these trips (although I do think the school probably got discounted rates). This was a STEM magnet, and it was part of their program.
  3. It’s fairly commonly used, along with Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughn Williams
  4. I have one like that for herpetology, who is slowly transitioning and focusing on animal behavior and cognition, as well as education and outreach. The best thing we did was to start attending conferences, which let her connect with herpetologists and ecologists and people working in the field, and she got to hear the good, bad, and ugly of various paths and tracks. She also started to realize that the ecology stuff that really gets her emotionally fired up may not be the best place for her because it DOES get her so emotionally fired up and it's just plain hard on her. Other things we've done that might be of use: DD did a camp at Sea World focused on careers in biology-not just marine bio, but also things like animal nutrition, behavioral training, animal rescue, etc. It was a good experience, although she found it a little frustrating because most of her cabin was a group of girls who already knew each other. Look for state level professional orgs first-those tend to be the ones that will connect you with local fieldwork experiences. The state Wildlife and fisheries department may be an excellent resource. State and National parks often have good classes and opportunities-look for ones aimed for adults, not kids. Jpurnals are good. Go to any interesting talks for colleges nearby. Look for freshwater biology, icthyology, herpetology (there's a decent amount of overlap-to the point that herpetologists and icthyologists do their major US conference together annually), ecology, etc. Social media is also worth following, even if you do it as a parent and filter for your child. Dr. David Shippman @WhySharksMatter is a marine biologist who is very active on Twitter and FB, and does a lot of outreach. Sarah McAnulty @SarahMackAttack is a doctoral candidate working with squid, and is extremely active in science communication. She is the founder/creator of @SkypeAScientist, which connects students and classrooms with working scientists in the field, and is an excellent contact. She is also planning a scicomm tour to talk about squid this coming year, so you may be able to meet her in person. If she hasn't done the Athena's Jr Instructor Marine Bio classes, they'd be a good thing to do. She may well be beyond them, but it would let her get to know Emma, who has been on a similar path since she was your DD's age, and those classes seem to get a pretty good number of knowledgeable, passionate kids who just want people to understand them, so it's a nice, relatively inexpensive chance to talk with others who "Get it".
  5. Ugh... Can I vent? I am doing an online Class on early literacy for my teacher recertification, and honestly, the teaching examples are diving me nuts. Like if you want to teach phonics, teach phonics. Don’t read a relatively complex text and expect kids to internalize that jiggle and wiggle rhyme when you have not yet taught the kids enough skills to segment jig and wig....
  6. It wouldn’t have been on the list to visit if we hadn’t been there anyway, and I have a couple of friends who teach/work there :).
  7. I liked CMU (started in their early college program, but transferred to a school that gave me a free ride-they were pricey even in the 1980’s). I can’t say that I have ever seen anything from them at the conferences or in the journals DD follows, though. I suspect they would be a lot like GA tech-nice vibe, but not the best fit otherwise. They also are very, very picky on age. We visited Rochester for the JMIH last year. Since it took two plane changes to actually fly there (it was faster to drive to Toronto and get a direct flight to Memphis, which is why we spent several days in Toronto and visited UofT and YorkU), I don’t know that it would meet DD’s requirements. It’s definitely a nerdy school, though, and obviously does herp work, since you don’t put in to host the conference without local hosts. Although I think they were mostly focused on phylogenetics.
  8. I wonder if that is an SEC football thing? Most of the schools that have turned off DD are SEC schools, or SEC adjacent that really want to be SEC schools. Maybe farther North it is less an issue?
  9. We haven’t visited yet, but it sounds like one to check out :).
  10. And the right one might be fine. Arkansas State felt OK, and it’s a flagship. But Texas A&M, which definitely has the programs she wants, has managed to turn her off just from their mailings.
  11. It’s not, though. It’s kind of like the difference between a school that has a student organization for LGBQT+ on the website vs a campus where same sex couples feel just as accepted at holding hands and kissing before heading off to class as straight ones are. On a campus with a nerd culture, not everyone is a nerd, but no one is going to be surprised if you skip a football game to play D&D or read in the library (if there is a football team at all). Here’s her list from a couple of months ago.
  12. She wants to see that there are active organizations and groups on campus fairly publicly, just as our front as frats/sororities, sports, etc. At UAH, for example, there are gaming lounges in multiple buildings, both for video gaming and board/table gaming, signs up for Pokémon tournaments and cosplay clubs, and similar events. At UT, certain colleges had a similar feel. At UTK (one she didn’t like), everything revolves around football, and the whole feel is, but social in more of a social climbing sense. The whole school spirit thing kind of annoys her. It’s not just 1-2 electives. It is that some schools have biology departments that are focused on humans, primarily medical biology, or on molecular or cellular level biology, and some are focused on whole organisms. Some psychology departments are focused on turning out therapists or people to work in human relations and similar fields, others focus more on animal behavior and research. Not having specific classes in animal behavior isn’t as important as not having anyone actually working in that field as their research specialization who would be able to work with her and the freedom to shape her program into what is needed to apply to graduate school, not medical school.In general, colleges with agricultural schools or veterinary medicine schools are a better fit-but many of those are also the large, state, sports, school spirit focused schools where she feels like she doesn’t belong. DD’s mentors have strongly advised her to pick an undergraduate school the way you normally pick a grad school-find the lab she wants to be in and the PI she wants to work with and the projects she wants to be on, and work backwards.
  13. DD is working on narrowing down her list, and what it seems to come down to is the “vibe”. The schools she likes best are the ones where it is obvious that there is a thriving nerd culture. So far, the schools she’s felt that at are University of Toronto and UA-Huntsville. She does NOT like schools where sports is a major focus, especially football, and finds too much of the “sea of school color/mascot” effect a turnoff. This rules out most state flagships. My guess is that many of the schools on her list currently to check out may end up not having the “vibe” she wants. I suspect she can find Nerd culture anywhere, but she really wants a school where it is part of the overall culture. As an organismal biologist/psychologist most interested in animal cognition and behavior (especially of reptiles and amphibians), a lot of the more technically focused schools do not necessarily have the classes she wants. Georgia Tech, for example, has the nerd vibe, but not the right classes. Other things she needs is a campus/town where she does not need a car and fairly easy/accessible transportation back to Memphis. Air is fine-but there needs to be a way to get from campus to the airport without a lot of issues. She has pretty high stats, where most schools that are not a reach for everyone are likely to be a reasonable option. She is unlikely to qualify for much need based aid, so we’re looking for schools with good merit. Right now, almost all of the schools on her list are ones that have guaranteed or a significant amount of competitive merit aid available and where most search engines put them in the “safety” or “near Safety” categories, even with her middle school ACT scores. I actually would love to find one or two more “reach” schools other than Toronto, because I think she is aiming a bit low (although many of the schools do have honors programs that might provide the challenge she needs).
  14. My DD’s class used the Wade and Tarvis book with the Revel online access card. The only problem was that apparently if you submit your answer, then go back and edit, you will get flagged for plagarism-with yourself! (DD had that happen and it totally panicked her-fortunately, her instructor actually looked at the report and recognized that DD was matching herself, instead of accepting the grade the computer spit out).
  15. They also usually need people to serve on juries for mock court.
  16. I think it is like a lot of special ed programs-they are great for the kids who need them, but don’t really work well for other populations-it’s either too much or the wrong thing.
  17. Expressive language should be evaluated separately for a SLP eval, and is something that an SLP can work with. Realistically, most kids who qualify for SLP will appear as a sullen disinterested kid because it’s easier to be quiet rhan to try to communicate. That should be a flag for evaluation, etc.
  18. Can she qualify for speech due to communications difficulties in class discussions, oral papers, and so on? Speech is usually able to be covered as an academic service if the child struggles with oral parts of the class, and Speech therapists often work with social language and social skills as well. It can be a backdoor to getting services. The downside is that school speech therapists often don’t work with teens much, and may not be particularly good with them. At minimum, though, it gets her X minutes a week in a quiet place to recharge her emotional batteries (I had a lot of meltdowns in speech in middle and high school. I’m not sure we progressed on my IEP goals at all, but at least I had a place to go). If you can get a “quiet place for testing/assignments without distractions” or the ability to take assignments to the special ed suite, that can serve the same purpose-not to provide acsdmdic support, but a way to give an overloaded kid a “get out of jail free” card so that they can decompress.
  19. I used Keys along with LoF PA for my DD’s first run through PA (she followed it with AoPs-I wanted it very solid), and the two worked well. I agree that Keys is more problem sets than instruction. The workbook format is nice for kids who struggle with copying from a book or just plain find it tedious, and there are relatively few problems per page, which is nice. She also liked being able to finish a “book” so quickly.
  20. We visited JMU as well-separate thread :). It’s on DD’s list, but not currently her 1st choice. She is recovering from a knee injury, so I think she’s finding Harrisonburg a bit rugged-she might like it better if she came out when she wasn’t sore after walking across campus. It’s hard to get a good feel in June when the campus is about as empty as it ever gets. It’s also likely to be one of the more expensive options on her list, since she’s out of state and they do not have a guaranteed out of state waiver/merit scholarship.
  21. EMU is a small, Mennonite school in Harrisonburg, VA, with a second campus in Lancaster, PA. We visited the campus in Harrisonburg. The best way to describe it is religiously conservative and socially liberal, with a major focus on social justice, peace, the environment, and global awareness. Most students spend time outside of the USA, and almost all faculty have done so. The strongest majors are health and education related, as well as an amazing music school, particularly for choral music and church musicians. If you want to sing in addition to doing something else, EMU has choirs for you, as well as hosting the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society. Their best known program is a graduate program in peace and justice. It just plain feels peaceful. They are a liberal arts college structured program with a liberal arts core, and have required religion classes and twice weekly chapel. Having said that, it is also a very diverse school religion-wise for a Christian college, particularly for the graduate program in peace and justice, and a student who’s religious views are not General Conference Mennonite would still find like minds for almost any religious belief system. It’s a beautiful campus. Like JMU, it’s not at all flat-in fact, the entire campus is on the slope of a hill, going down. It is small and self contained. No wheeled vehicles on campus (and I think it would be very hazardous for a wheelchair). Parking is at the edge of campus and is included in student fees. We were not able to see housing or food service due to the college being off session, but according to my friend who works in the science department, the food service is quite good and very responsive to student needs, with a lot of international influence. Housing on campus is not required, and most students live off campus (there are a lot of homeowners who rent rooms to students, and it is often possible to barter housing should that be something a student wants to do), but is available all four years without issue. Total cost of attendance for an on campus student is just under 50k. There is quite a bit of merit and financial aid available, including some automatic merit (up to about half tuition), with additional departmental and competitive scholarships available. The school is eligible for the VA tuition assistance grant for in-State residents. There are also some automatic discount categories, and, in the words of the person we talked to in financial aid “we can always work with individual cases”. There is limited walkable commerce-a few small restaurants, predominantly free trade, locally sourced, and organic, a grocery store, and a really nice thrift store/used bookstore (which is worth visiting if you are in town as a homeschooler. It has an extremely nice education section. I’m bringing back quite a few math materials for my tutoring students, and if I didn’t have to pay for luggage, would have brought back quite a bit more. CLE’s store (and offices) are also across the street, and employ a lot of students. The downtown area is about a mile away, and the main shopping area is about 2 miles. They are very friendly to younger than typical students, in part because they have a high school on campus and have a small number of high school students who live in a dorm on campus (mostly missionary kids). It is common for high school students to take college classes, and they have had a few younger students who live with the high school students, but take an entirely college schedule. It’s not a good fit for DD (nowhere near enough science classes and rigor for her), but it is a lovely little school and might be a good fit for the right student. In some ways, I wish it were a better fit.
  22. Also, if the HBCU awareness foundation does a college fair in East TN, it is worth checking out. Some of those schools have both really good programs and excellent merit aid. The “vibe” may not be right for your DS, but my DD found a couple of contenders that were worth putting on her list to consider, where her scores are good enough for excellent support.
  23. University of Toronto wants AP’s, but said they would accept college credits in lieu of some tests since “it would be difficult to get both”. I suspect that the Canadian “colleges” are close enough to the US Community colleges that they feel comfortable evaluating such transcripts. (Actually, U of T in some ways has been more flexible than similar tier US schools. It’s kind of nice to deal with a system that is so clean cut).
  24. Definitely find your AP site now. I have one lined up for DD and haven’t even decided if she is going to bother to do the AP exam since she has a large number of college credits. And I would also agree with looking at what counts in 8th grade. We ended up doing an on-paper grade skip for DD, because otherwise she would have had college credits in 8th grade that were not allowed to count on a high school transcript.
  25. DD will have a mix of CC, regional U, and Tier 1 Flagship U classes. So far, pretty much all of her schools accept equivalent classes, like General psychology, quite readily-the ones that may be harder are things like Race, Culture, and Gender studies where there is not necessarily a direct equivalent (like at some schools, Gender studies would be a separate class, or it might be a class with the same name, but in psychology vs sociology). And almost all schools accept classes for placement, even if they do not transfer all credits. She has 36 credits already and will get 6 more this summer, and will likely graduate with somewhere around 70 college credit hours, so I am not that concerned about how many transfer-the purpose has been more to keep her busy and give her a good, solid high school foundation (as a prime example, she will have taken 7-8 math classes, but that was to tick high school boxes, and no major wants both college algebra and calculus).
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