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Everything posted by UmmIbrahim

  1. Interesting about the course descriptions. I created that massive document last year and always wondered whether anyone was reading it when we submitted it! I'm not surprised about their testing hierarchy, though. I made my son take AP exams for all DE classes that had corresponding AP exams. Early in the process, I had thought that AP and DE would be viewed similarly and was just planning on going the DE route. The more I read the more I realized that plenty of places really do give more status/value to AP classes and exams over DE. Maybe some admissions officers think that there is wide variability in the quality/content of different community college systems (probably somewhat true)? They definitely know how to consider AP, so we made sure to cover all of our bases since my son applied to competitive schools.
  2. I'm glad you found someone you like so well! My younger two boys are actually starting Spanish this coming year and I'm trying something different with each of them (both online). I'll have to see what works. Our local community college (nova) always offers online class options for foreign languages, and we had a friend take online DE foreign language who was happy with it. This year, and for the foreseeable future I assume, there are faaar more online options than usual, of course! The nice thing for you is that Spanish is pretty much the easiest foreign language to find anywhere 😄 Even if you end up switching providers, you will have tons of online options!
  3. At some schools, yes, definitely. We just went through the college admissions process with my oldest. We moved mountains to make sure that he got 4 years of high school German (he did some of it DE, but then that didn't work in his schedule for Junior and Senior year, so we were fortunate to find both German 3 and 4 at WTMA.). One of our state schools, William and Mary, was very picky about having 4 years of the same foreign language for homeschoolers ("We like to see students taking 4 high school years of a single foreign language (4 college semesters). So taking upper intermediate level courses (201 and 202 level) at a community college would be helpful as well." from their website regarding things they like to see in homeschool applicants). They were one of a handful that really wanted to see four years of the same language and stated that explicitly. The vast majority of the other schools where my son applied had a minimum requirement of three years of the same foreign language (i.e. 2 and 2 or 2 and 1 of different languages wouldn't fulfill the requirement) I think lots of students like the idea of switching or starting something new after a year or two, especially if languages aren't an area of particular interest. As a homeschooler it can sometimes just be difficult to find the third and fourth year of your chosen language! (I feel your pain! We got saved when WTMA was willing to run German 4 for a teeny tiny class size!) The explanation that I heard from admissions officers and college representatives was that they want to see proof that a student can "stick with" one language and achieve a high level of competence in a particular foreign language. Good luck finding classes that can work for you. Maybe dual enrollment would be an option if you can't find a class for homeschoolers?
  4. This was me last year with my oldest! Hang in there, it will all be just fine. I honestly wonder how many of the universities even looked at my 22 page course description document 😂 Just get everything that you did on there the best that you can, and I'm sure things will go great. Good luck and feel free to pop off questions as they occur. Lots of older threads on these forums about common app issues were very helpful for me as well as I went through the process.
  5. I can't speak to all of the other factors that you are considering, but I just wanted to say that I wouldn't make any attendance decisions based on an SAT average range for a university. As an example particular to computer science: the University of Illinois Urbana as a whole has an SAT range of 1290 - 1490. Looking at those numbers, one might feel that a student with a high 1500 is somehow "above the range," despite the fact that missing only 3 to 4 more questions, depending on the scoring curve, would be the only difference between those higher-end scores (which is of course a fairly ridiculous metric). Put that aside, and you can look at the score ranges for students accepted to study computer science at UIUC. Almost all of them score a perfect 800 on the math section of the SAT. Looking at university-wide numbers doesn't tell you much about CS students at any given university. In general, based on the current admissions climate and demand for CS, I would imagine that students in most CS programs would skew towards the higher end of the range, which, to be clear, I really don't think tells you much of anything about what studying at that university would be like.
  6. My son had both of these classes, so I'll mention what we did (there is surely variability in awarding credits among different families/students). Last year he did exactly what you are describing, took AP Physics C - Mechanics during the first semester (he took it with Kernion from PA Homeschoolers) and then took AP Physics C - Electricity and Magnetism during the second semester (from the same provider). I gave him 0.5 credits per class, even though I knew that AP Physics C - Mechanics had the option to be taken over an entire year. I guess I felt like there are a lot of kids in public schools who take it in the same way (Mech then E&M) in one year and get 1.0 credit for the entire year. I didn't want to give him more credit than a traditional student on a college-prep type track. When we did certain subjects as dual enrollment (university-level chemistry, for example), I did award 1.0 credit per semester. I felt that the time spent on those classes (3 hours per week for lab, 3 hours per week for lecture, then problem sets/homework on top of that) really made them more deserving of 1.0 credit per semester. AP Physics C is certainly very rigorous, don't get me wrong, but didn't seem to have quite the amount of "in-class" time as some of his DE classes. With regard to the two econ classes, I gave 0.5 credit for each. High schools in my area teach those subjects as one semester electives, and, even though my son took them at the community college (and the general consensus is that 1 semester of community college credit = 1 year of high school credit), I didn't feel like those lecture-only, 3 credit-hour classes took up the kind of time that his DE lab science classes or his DE foreign language classes did. Again, all of this was just my judgment call based on the kind of work that he put into the various courses. He did end up taking the AP exams after both of those econ classes as well, and felt prepared having done only the one semester DE classes. Good luck working on your transcript!
  7. My son took dual enrollment courses then took the AP exam, so I can't speak to a specific online AP Chemistry program. That said "less demanding" and AP Chem don't usually go together in the same sentence 🙂 It's known as one of the more challenging AP exams. I would think you could find some sort of a MOOC (edX or coursera maybe have something?) or online university-level chemistry course to cover the material and then do self-study for the AP exam specific topics. Or perhaps you could look into an online dual-enrollment course sequence for university chemistry and follow along with an AP exam prep book on the side. My son found the exam pretty easy (but he is a big chem nerd) when he just did a little bit of practice with the Princeton Review AP prep book to firm up any topics that didn't perfectly match with his community college chemistry. He also made use of the numerous FRQ sections from previous exams that are floating around on the internet. Good luck to your daughter.
  8. Thanks for the confirmation. I am definitely looking for easy to build confidence, and it looks like the content isn't overtly religious. The owner was very responsive to my questions, and I think we're going to try the Grammar I and Paragraph class together to start.
  9. Congratulations! This was absolutely me last year. When we got our first acceptance it felt so exhilarating. "You mean it actually worked? Homeschooling all the way actually worked?" I somehow didn't believe it until I saw it for myself 🙂
  10. I just discovered this site and am looking for some remediation for grammar/writing for my younger sons. I'm at the point where I'm ready to put them waaaay below grade level and just see what they can do and to try to build a better foundation (we are a big STEM/tech family, myself included, and our writing skills are lacking 😟) In looking at the instructor bios, most are written with Christian language (instructors are affiliated with Christian colleges or mention honoring the Lord). I don't care what religion the instructors are (provided that they are tolerant of other religions), but was wanting to find out if the content is secular or religious. Anyone know? I really like the idea of starting way back with the basics of Grammar and the absolute beginning of writing. I need to build confidence with easy, beginning level materials and the 8-week quarter classes look great.
  11. Interesting that lots of homeschoolers in your area are going specifically for the A.A. Most students in my area use it exactly as you describe, as a supplement. My son ended up with 53 credits of dual enrollment and we purposely AVOIDED having him get an A.A. degree. I had heard that we may have difficulty if he ended up with an A.A. at some universities with regards to admission (and that having that degree might have put him in the "transfer" category instead of the normal first-year student category). We were very careful to not be classified as a transfer anywhere that he applied! He started taking classes in 10th grade because we wanted an in-person, secular chemistry class and couldn't find one for homeschoolers locally. We definitely used DE classes to supplement our homeschool work but not as the primary method of instruction. Lab sciences and foreign languages were great uses of the DE system because he got to have amazing labs that I couldn't have provided at home. Having access to DE also meant that he could dive deep in subjects that he liked and go beyond traditional high school level classes in those areas. We never considered transferability of credits or trying to cover some kind of "core" subjects, because he applied to so many different universities around the country. We really just used as a tool to help us in our goal of pursuing a rigorous high school experience.
  12. I don't know what specific items you are unable to find, but for at least a month has had large packages of toilet paper, sanitizer, soap, masks, etc. in stock in various brands and formats. Maybe take a look there for whatever you are missing? (it's kind of an online Costco)
  13. We are friends with a homeschool family who just graduated a senior who applied as a theatre major this last year. They described it as almost a double application process. One part of it was competitive college admissions, and another whole part of it was managing the auditions (scheduling challenge!)/artistic portfolios/etc. I did not envy all of the work that they had to juggle! At the end of the process, my friend told me that she wished that they had taken the SAT another time to try to bump up the score a tiny bit more for scholarship purposes. I think they were just very slightly out of range for some nice scholarships that would have really helped on the financial side. So, sadly, no rest for the artistic!
  14. When we did our college application process this last year, we had several admissions sessions claim that SAT subject tests were "optional." When we actually spoke one-on-one with the admissions officers after the session, they universally said that what they meant was "students for whom the registration fees for the subject tests were a burden should consider them optional." The "optional" aspect only applied for lower-income applicants, but they never stated that clearly. The language was often very cagey, because the name of the game for lots of those admissions sessions was to bring up the application numbers and make anyone feel like they had a chance to get in! For homeschoolers, we found that pretty much no testing was optional. They really want all of the standardized data that you can give them to evaluate homeschool applications. Even interviews, which are almost always sold as an optional component of the application, were definitely NOT optional for us as homeschoolers (two of our schools told us this in person, but we never found it written anywhere on the website). This year, because of covid19, getting the tests in is a whole new challenge. If your student tests well and you can squeeze in the test, it is really worth it to do so. Essential for homeschoolers looking at competitive universities/programs, I would guess. Even if admissions isn't a concern, scholarships look hard at SAT/ACT scores. My son really hated test prep too because he scored well on his first taking, but even small bumps at the upper score levels (i.e. something like a 1540 to a 1560 on the SAT or a 33 to a 34 on the ACT) can move you into consideration for scholarships that have fixed fenceposts and automatically consider students based on an arbitrary score boundary. Good luck with college admissions!
  15. Yep. Completely agree with this. When my ds changed his mind about desired major during his junior year (from chem to CS), my main concern was that our math wasn't quite up to par with others applying for CS. He had started out ahead, and did calc with thinkwell his junior year (he was using the cc for advanced chemistry classes instead of math). However, the community college wouldn't let him test to place out of Calc 1 his senior year(it was a co-req for his CS classes), so he redid it there at the cc again 🙄 It was a "first kid learning moment" for us, because I didn't realize that they would be picky about calc being their own class (with no option to test out), and we ended up "wasting" a year. In the end, he knows calc really well now, lol, and I learned from this mistake for my next two!
  16. Many students take calculus during their senior year, so they don't have "proof" of calc until their final grades come in. As long as you are showing the calculus class on the transcript, you are fine. During the college admissions process, you submit first semester grades when they are available. You also have a list of spring semester courses on the transcript, so admissions officers know what classes are taken during the whole senior year.
  17. My oldest son just graduated from high school and was accepted to lots of competitive colleges this last spring. We had two different lab sciences that we used "homeschool providers" for. His AP Physics C class was done with an online provider similar to WTMA, and none of the universities had any interest in details beyond what I provided in my course descriptions. His Biology was just a local, in-person homeschool class with labs, and, again, no one asked for more details. All of his chemistry coursework was done through dual enrollment at the community college, so I can't comment on WTMA specifically, but based on our just completed admissions experiences, no one is going to bat an eye as long as you describe what is covered and mention that labs were performed (a list of labs would probably also be a good idea) with the class in your course descriptions. If you feel the need for more outside validation of the coursework, you can have your child take the SAT subject test in Chemistry after completing the class. If you work through a prep book (Barron's or Princeton Review) throughout the year and cover the topics in the same order as the WTMA class, you should be ready to go for the exam at the end of the year. Good luck!
  18. I just saw this. I don't know how many schools are nearby that you are considering, but having a narrowed down list will definitely make it easier for you to see what admissions for CS at those specific schools looks like. If his overall stats look good in comparison to the average for these schools and you feel that those are also a good financial safety, then you can probably disregard my calculus advice (lol) and just take whatever math he wants. My advice was more based on the overall competitive admissions process assuming big state schools or more competitive private schools. We didn't have a narrowed down list (we were all over the map!), so we tried to check lots of different boxes for different schools. This year really was a shock for our family about how state schools (we always kind of thought these were "safe") have become so competitive with regards to admission. I guess I'm getting old! 🤣
  19. My oldest son just graduated (woo hoo!) and applied as a CS major this last year. CS is INSANELY competitive nowadays. My dh and I were both CS majors years ago, and we were really surprised at just how many people apply for CS now. It's had large popularity spike which results in a lot more competition for space in the various programs. My ds did dual enrollment Calculus I and Calculus II and then took the Calculus BC AP exam. (We were big on covering all the bases we could through both DE coursework and AP/standardized testing where possible to "validate" his homeschool grades because he applied to very competitive programs). In looking at the stats of kids accepted to various programs (private schools as well as state schools), I think calculus was taken almost universally. Lots of kids, in fact, went on to take linear algebra and multivariable calculus and other advanced math courses beyond calculus I and II. I used to think that taking calculus was more just to "check a box" and "show rigor," but my son has actually used his calculus A LOT in his CS coursework. Machine Learning classes and AI applications rely HEAVILY on calculus. That wasn't the case back in my day, so I kind of "pooh poohed" the utility of calculus for CS, but in modern applications it can be pretty essential, depending on what you want to study. ML and AI are hot subfields at the moment. I would think, based on the extreme competitiveness of the major, that not having calculus at all when it could have been taken (kids at schools where it isn't offered would be exempt from this expectation to some degree) might be a red flag for admissions. The course you are looking at may indeed be more rigorous and awesome, but I wonder how many admissions officers would look into your course descriptions enough to figure it out. Even if they do, they really probably want to see calculus because it's what they are familiar with to check the "math rigor" box in their heads. It's tough when they are sorting thousands of apps!
  20. I will also add that my son was not the most consistent throughout the year with getting the reading done. He had some other heavy workload classes and psychology sometimes happened in bits and spurts (and weekends!). In spite of his limited bandwidth for it, he really enjoyed learning the material and that AP is considered one of the "lighter" ones, so perfect for self-study! I'm pretty sure that I got the text used on amazon for a reasonable price, so hopefully you can rustle one up. We are a hardcore stem family and did no English APs of any sort (doesn't look like kid #2 will be doing any either, lol!), so I'm no help with that one.
  21. My senior did self-study for the AP Psychology exam this year. He read through Myers' Psychology for the AP® Course, Third Edition as his primary text and liked it pretty well. He then supplemented with various YouTube videos (Crash Course has a psychology series, and there were other assorted videos on the topic). This year, for the online exams, CollegeBoard released lots of YouTube videos covering the content of the courses. My son found these to be really helpful for all of his AP subjects (he absolutely loved one of the AP Physics C Mechanics teachers and also really liked the Calc BC teachers as well. Lots of good content out there!), so I recommend checking out those YT videos as a content review since they are very specific to the CB exams. Good luck!
  22. Just throwing it out there that the difference between a BA and a BS (if both are offered, which is not always the case, lots of places just have a BS) is usually just a few classes. I would also say that a BA when a BS is offered doesn't make a lot of sense if he intends on doing anything with a CS degree. I actually went to Rice (back in the day, lol!) and double majored in CS and Spanish Literature. Most places have plenty of space in the schedule for a CS major and some kind of a minor or second major or even just a lot of coursework in a secondary subject. Obviously, double majoring is easier when subjects have some overlap, but it's completely doable in disparate subjects as well. My son is going to be a freshman in CS next year (just decided against a gap year for various reasons), and very few universities required admission directly into the CS major at the time of application (UIUC was the only super-strict one where you have to get in to CS initially or you can't major in it). He should be able to take the classes he needs and apply for a CS major at most (all?) of the schools you are looking at. Regarding a gap year and re-applying next year, folks are speculating that admissions are going to be worse than usual for the rising seniors. There are a larger than average number of kids taking a gap year in addition to the expectation that international students unable to come this year (travel/visa restrictions) will be competing for spots next year. No one knows what will happen, of course, but if you are considering somewhere like Rice, the admissions numbers are brutally low in a regular year and may be worse next year. Good luck with your decision. My son did a junior year switch from a chem major interest to a CS major, so we had to do a frantic change in direction as well!
  23. My kids have loved the WTMA live German classes. My oldest son just finished German IV this year with Frau Edwards (he did DE for German I and II, then started at WTMA with German III) and my middle son took German I (also with Frau Edwards). The books and materials used were great, and there were lots of opportunities to practice all of the various language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). All of my kids prefer live classes and getting to "know" their classmates, so WTMA worked out great from that perspective as well. Feel free to ask if you have more specific questions.
  24. My son is seriously considering applying for a gap year. He would only do it if the university accepts his application to do so (we are definitely NOT redoing college applications, no way no how!). He had a hard time completing his DE coursework at the end of his senior year this spring. Working in the basement of a small home with sibling and family distractions all around him and trying to focus in spite of his worries about what was going on in the world (he's my serious, worrying firstborn) was not easy for him. He's an introvert but really needs an element of "in person" to succeed. He sees the writing on the wall of how a freshman year "online" might go for him, and it's not looking good. He can't conceive of managing a full schedule of classes, worrying about grades/exams, and staying motivated all in the absence of in-person support. No significant opportunities to make friends, no visiting advisors or help centers in-person... it's not looking good. And he's still never even visited the campus of his university! I think the deadline to apply for a gap year is mid-June, so we'll see what happens before then, but he might be leaning that way. If he does do a gap year, he'd probably do some kind of a full-time (40 hr./wk) coding/development bootcamp-type program. Getting a really practical base would help him with his more theoretical CS coursework once he matriculates.
  25. Yep, this is what happened for my DS. He submitted his first images for the first problem early (he had emailed the images to himself from his phone and freaked out while the email took a little bit to arrive in his inbox). Once the images were uploaded, he said the timer just showed him how much time remained before starting the second problem. Some kids online were saying that the process took them a while after clicking submit for the first problem, but apparently your upload continues in the background in the case of a slower connection. You only have an issue (I think?) if it gives you a message about a missing response at the time of your final submission (i.e. not the Congratulations! message at the end). For question 2, my DS just texted the pictures from his phone to himself (he had iMessage logged in on the mac that he was working from) and that transfer was MUCH faster. Not an option for everyone on all devices, but texting was the fastest/least stressful way to transfer in his experience today. Overall he thought the test went well (despite apparently panicking for time when he saw sections a - i to complete on the first problem!) and his submission went smoothly.
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