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About JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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  1. I have two nieces who are JMU grads, for one of them it was her first choice school. They both loved it and have profited from the education. I learned that there is not enough housing to have students live on campus all four years. Also, their parents observed that JMU is sinking lots of money into campus improvements, building projects, renovations, better food and living spaces, new classrooms, increased student services, etc. This is different from many campuses that are downsizing, cutting programs, slow to renovate, etc. Do look at some of the Virginia private schools if they appeal to your students. I think a few have attempted to bring their prices more in line with state tuition levels. Also, from what I hear from my college kids (both in VA schools), UVA isn't a pressure cooker-it's a party school, at least that is their reputation. If you are considering what is a pressure cooker at a large university, I think you have to dig deeper into the individual departments. A place can be challenging and competitive in one department but not in another.
  2. I had 6 columns across the back: course titles (in order they appeared on the front), letter grade for that class, number of credits awarded for that class, the course grade unweighted (ie 4.0), course grade weighted (ie 5.0), reason for weighting the grade (honors, AP, college level course). At the bottom I gave the total credits possible, the total points weighted and unweighted (ie add up the columns), at the very bottom were the total credits earned and each GPA based on the credits. For a mid-year transcript some courses were designated "IP or In Progress" and not included in the GPA or in the credits used to calculate GPA. I hope that makes sense and I hope it helps!
  3. FWIW--My transcripts had a two or three letter code that I included as a superscript after the course title to indicate any outside course provider. At the bottom of the transcript I had a key that explained the codes (ie WTM for Well-Trained Mind Academy). I also added a + or * to indicate a weighted course or AP course with exam. I went into much more detail in the course descriptions. I viewed the transcript like a first resume, it should have all the relevant information on one single page. Student name, the phrase "official transcript", contact information, student date of birth, unweighted GPA, weighted GPA, credits earned, credits expected, expected graduation date (be sure to change once they have graduated for the final transcript), class names, grades (I listed as letter grades), credits per class, significant test scores and academic honors. I also included a grading scale, ie A=4.0 or 97-100 B-= 2.7 or 80-82. On the back side of the transcript was a detailed breakdown of credits, weighted and unweighted grades, and how I calculated both GPAs.
  4. My college kids both had three years of a foreign language with no validating test. They also didn't have the option of studying this language at college (it's not commonly taught). However, they both benefited from the course work personally and academically. They also appear to have been given full "credit" by admissions departments for having studied the language. They also both had 4 years of Latin, culminating with the AP exam. They both chose to take a third language in college to fulfill their foreign language requirements. For admissions purposes I don't think it will matter, write solid course descriptions of what your student(s) studied each year, texts used, books read in the original language, etc. If they desire higher level placement then the college they ultimately attend should be offering placement exams over the summer or during orientation.
  5. If you take the college course route be sure that they are taking courses that will actually transfer to the future school of choice. Aside from a few community college/state university agreements around the country, there is no guarantee that the gaining school will accept the credits. Even in the case of those agreements, the transferability only applies to some courses not all courses offered.
  6. It took me a while to dig up... (Its been a few years since I had a kid in Latin 3.) It was the tag line on the course evaluation/course description they were given at the end of the semester (for 3b). "Latin 3 may be counted as an Honors Course of study, and ample preparation for AP Latin (year 4)" I do not recall this appearing prior to Latin 3. Hope that helps. I weighted courses designated honors by the curriculum provider/instructor, AP courses that had received College Board approval (either my own or an outside provider's), and the few courses that were designated as college level by the course provider. I would have weighted a DE class as well but my kids didn't use dual enrollment.
  7. If you choose not to include a weighted GPA beside to mark it as unweighted. Do not assume that an admissions committee will know that automatically. FWIW I included both. For weighted courses I chose to use those indicated by the curriculum provider as honors, college level, or AP courses. In the case of Lukeion, I believe that beginning with Latin 3 they were considered honors courses.
  8. I highly recommend course descriptions. Validating exams aside, you might be shocked at what homeschoolers routinely submit (or fail to submit) as part of the application process. We had more than one admissions office thank us for the detailed course descriptions we provided. It gave them a basis for judging our student's work and defending why they were good candidates for admissions and scholarships. To be brutal, I think the view of an admissions office is that they often have more great applicants than they can accept. If you give them a reason not to choose your student then they will take it, that could include lack of documentation or evidence of challenging work. Therefore, I would give them every reason to say yes. I also recommend including course descriptions over stating they are available on request. Admissions officers are very busy and don't want to have to find time to contact you to ask for more paperwork. Do homeschooled kids get into college with out all this paperwork, yes. Does it potentially give a kid a boost or level the playing field when they are in a competitive environment such as selective schools or scholarships? I am a firm believer that it does.
  9. I wasn't trying to discourage you, I'd just be sure that the affected students had their study habits and expectations in the right place. This is not an unachievable goal.
  10. As others have mentioned above, most of the senior military colleges have this option. Students in these leadership programs often go through the same overall program as the other student cadets but without any assumption they will enter military service upon graduation. I believe at VMI you end up taking ROTC courses for two years and can then drop ROTC and focus on pursuing your degree. VMI also has a training program for EMTs and volunteer firefighting with opportunities to practice these skills as a student.
  11. When you look at the National Mythology exam check the award levels. If I recall correctly, starting around 10th grade the "prizes" are for perfect exams or nothing. For a child new to this program that might be discouraging. That said, my kids have greatly enjoyed the preparation work for these exams over the years.
  12. Ok-take a deep breath. This is all do-able. My kids did 2 and 3 years of high school each while overseas. Neither had dual-enrollment courses, outside sports options were limited, etc. William and Mary, my kiddo with 3 years overseas, totally home schooled, no dual enrollment, no SAT II scores, was admitted and even given a scholarship. My advice: don't panic about the recommendations for the most part. The big questions are did she complete a typical program ie 4 years of math, science, english, social studies (or close to 4 years), and foreign language. If a student a W&M has not completed 4 years of language they might be required to take language while a student there. Make sure you have a clear transcript that shows what courses your child has taken in high school and grades for those courses. Be sure to include relevant test scores (ACT, SAT, AP) and designate any AP or honors level courses. Write course descriptions that explain what was studied in each class and include a brief list of major works studied (ie text used, primary books read, etc.). Write a counselor letter that explains your child's unique situation. Whenever possible go to a tour and schedule an on-campus interview. If she plans on athletics and ROTC try to meet with coaches and staff to discuss these options, they can be great advocates with admissions. This should apply to all selective school she is interested in attending. Service Academies-Start the application now if she is a senior. It is a long multi-step process. She'll also want to be in contact with the members of congress she will seek nominations from to get on their lists for nomination panels/interviews/etc. The potential nomination source will need the same transcript/course description/test score information the colleges want. Visits, speaking with admissions, interviews, meetings with coaches are all important. There are a few people on the boards who have worked with service academy admissions both as parent and representing the academy, if you search threads you'll probably gain from their insight. ROTC-start the NROTC scholarship process now as well. There are a few boards throughout the year and she will want to make herself eligible for as many of them as possible. There will be physicals, fitness tests, eye exams, etc. that they will arrange and you need to give yourself time for all of this. Be sure to look at the requirements for declared college majors etc. You will also need 5 schools, I believe, that you are applying to that have the ROTC service program of your choice. Not all schools have all the services represented. There is a preference for having at least one school you are eligible for in-state tuition at. VMI-Kiddo #2 is at VMI so I promise it can be done. First, try to get there for a fall admissions open house. This will give your child a clear view of what being a cadet, especially during the first year, is like. There are also many hours of presentation for you and your applicant on admissions, student life, ROTC, academics, etc. More information than any other school attempted to give us. I highly recommend you also schedule interviews with admissions, someone in the NROTC program (or service of your choice) to discuss the ROTC program, admissions, and scholarship options at VMI, and the relevant athletic coaches. All can be advocates with admissions. VMI is challenging, especially the first year, they try very hard to be upfront about it, don't presume that as a military family your child is already prepared and therefore be dismissive of what they are saying, that is a mistake some families make. I'm happy to go on at length about VMI if you would like to contact me directly. Letters of Recommendation-obviously one from you. After that I would encourage your student to discuss their situation with each relevant admissions office. Find out what alternatives they might suggest. You can get letters from employers, coaches, scout leaders, volunteer supervisors, etc. But clear communication by the student about the problem with the relevant schools is important. ASVAB-If your child is considering college why are you worried about this exam? I do not believe it is a requirement for any of the options you've discussed. Finally, you have a very academically proficient, hard working, involved kiddo with a unique story. Be sure you tell that story in the application materials, the counselors letter, and possibly the student's essay. That story not only explains who your student is but why they don't fit the norms of what an admissions office expects of a homeschooled student. Best of luck!
  13. As another family who is now going through the ROTC experience I'd like to place some emphasis on previous comments and add a few thoughts. First, neither ROTC or military service is without risk. Risk is inherent in both the ROTC program and in military service. Second, ROTC programs come in a variety of flavors, some provide scholarship opportunities, some allow a commitment between the student and the individual service to commission as an officer upon graduation (with no scholarship having been granted), some are simply courses and exercises that students participate in but there is no guarantee of future military service/employment. While there are program standards, different schools and different services participate in different training activities. ROTC can have a different flavor at different colleges. The program typically includes coursework, physical training, and other activities/military exercises outside of class. For those on scholarship there will be approximately 30 days of service during the summer. Third, there are several military programs around the country who offer their students the ability to go through a ROTC program as a leadership program student rather than as a future military officer. They may live and study in a military environment, participate in military style exercises/activities, take leadership courses and have the opportunity to be part of their organizations student leadership, but there is no expectation that they will serve in the military upon graduation. Fourth, if your plan includes limited participation in ROTC as sort of a test to see if your student enjoys the lifestyle/work/activities/etc., then do your research carefully. The greatest benefits to those participating in ROTC are offered upfront, during the high school, as part of the application process. While some benefits can be obtained later there are more choices early in the process. Furthermore, a student considering commissioning or gaining a scholarship later in college needs to look at the requirements for college courses/majors. It can be very difficult to play catch-up in later years. Some services have both course and major requirements; sometimes these can be waived or changed but not always. Fifth, do not believe any recruiter that tries to sell your student on enlisting rather than attending college as a path to college or service academy admissions if that is what they desire. They seemed to universally attempt to discourage my child from becoming an officer, attending college, etc. Research the services your student is interested in and then the colleges and specifically their ROTC programs, try to meet with them if possible. If your student is interested in a scholarship or academy plan on beginning the application process before the start of senior year. The earlier the application the greater the chance of success. Finally, do not underestimate the need for physical fitness in order to successfully participate in these programs. Start training in high school. Also, having been homeschooled is not a bar to participation in ROTC or college admissions. In conclusion-I have a kid who is very happy being a part of ROTC, regrets nothing. Somedays it is hard for me to watch what these kids do, I know it is hard for their classmates parents as well. But I am also a very proud mom. Happy to discuss the specifics of my kiddo's program were it to be relevant.
  14. I don't think any of the schools my kids applied to made a fuss about subject tests in the end. A solid SAT or ACT score gave them all the info they wanted. I think providing a clear transcript and course descriptions (with assigned major works/texts listed) went much further in helping them gain admission and scholarships. However, be sure to time when you take subject tests carefully and research this up front. The tests are given the same day as the SAT, you are limited in the number you can take on one date, and for some subjects limited to specific dates. I think the most challenging request I saw as we look at colleges was from Washington and Lee who wanted 5 subject tests in specific areas.
  15. Here is the list of what my kids used for Brit Lit (there was also poetry mixed in but we pieced that together rather than using a set anthology). I should also add that this is for two kids, there was some overlap between them but also adjustments based on what they had each previously read. I'm not suggesting that reading the entire list is appropriate for every student. FWIW-they both enjoy Shakespeare, my daughter love Once and Future King, my son quite enjoyed Heart of Darkness and Shelly's Frankenstein. (He had read Frankenstein for a class earlier in high school but it could easily be read here as well.) Another selection would be some Conan Doyle stories, both had read those earlier as well. I should add that I did feel strongly that poetry study should be included as well as reading at least one Shakespeare and one more modern drama. Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral. Heaney, Seamus (Trans.).Beowulf. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Tolkien, J.R.R. (Trans.). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day. Orwell, George. 1984. Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Shaw, George Bernard. Pygmalion. Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest. Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time.
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