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Sebastian (a lady)

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Sebastian (a lady) last won the day on March 1 2013

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    Longtime homeschooler. Putting experience to use guiding others through college applications.
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    Surrounded by books
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    Independent Educational Consultant (IEC)

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    Surrounded by fathoms of books

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  1. Yes, I'm hearing from test prep specialists that familiarity with Desmos is very helpful. But also, students should not rely on the calculator, since some questions can be answered intuitively and plugging them into the calculator will slow them down.
  2. Double check that you are filling out the 2024-25 FAFSA. That is the form for students getting aid in Fall 2024. It's the new form. There is also a 2023-24 FAFSA that is still available, because students getting aid for spring or summer 2024 would need to fill that version out (which was released in October 2022).
  3. Last year, registration for fall SAT exams (August - December) opened in May. In past years, it's been in June/July. If your student has a College Board account, they might get an email letting them know that registration is available. But CB sends a lot of emails out, so it might get missed.
  4. Yes, to the bolded. An essay shouldn't need to put someone else down to be effective in describing the applicant. And there could be a reason to portray someone's negative actions or traits, like if a student is describing speaking up in a difficult situation. But I'm seeing students take swipes at others, sometimes unwittingly and sometimes to make themselves seem better. It's not endearing.
  5. I don't think most colleges would be particularly shocked that student debt and ROI is a big concern. Many in admissions are pretty recent graduates themselves who may feel this keenly. There could be lots of ways to write about man's search for meaning and some might include a discussion of the student's faith. I don't think that is necessarily a red flag unless the essay suggests that their faith is the only one that could offer someone purpose and meaning. Essays that suggest higher education is useless or beset with extremists probably isn't an effective way of persuading a school to select that student for admission.
  6. It was a huge labor of love by the IECs involved. If you notice any places it's misaligned with the application, let me know so I can let them know. Please share it on. While no student data is collected, Oregon State is noting how many people use the site. Their continued support will be based on evidence that it's being used.
  7. For the student side of the application, I highly recommend the AXS Companion to Common App. It's a set of explanations and free walk-through videos for each section of the application. https://open.oregonstate.education/axscompanion/ It was a joint project of professional Independent Educational Consultants and Oregon State University. No charge, no registration, and no student tracking. Please share widely.
  8. Look at how the college introduces the option of adding a resume. Does is seem like they use this in addition to the Activities section or instead of it? I usually recommend a fairly standard resume format (ie, bullet points with action verb statements about what the student did) Try to include the outcome, impact or effect of participating. Probably most useful for students who want to list things like performances or publications that don't fit in the Activities section.
  9. Have they reached out to the units at the college to ask about schedules? This varies greatly based on the unit, service, and major. My two kids were in radically different settings. One at a senior military college with a Corps of Cadets and the other at a highly selective university with a dozen cadets across all 3 services who all had to travel to other colleges for ROTC classes and training. One found that the Army-centric Corps experience was laid on top of the Navy ROTC requirements and a technical major. He didn't have time for other clubs. The other was in several clubs, like the large space club and a religious org. He was a TA for a summer course, did a lobbying trip to DC, and did a summer abroad. But he also couldn't do one senior honors program, because the required meetings were scheduled on the same day of the week as his ROTC classes. He had a long commute once a week (90 min each way). One did an additional term beyond 4 years, which ROTC paid for. Both had ROTC leadership experiences senior year, which had an additional time requirement. I think in both cases, the Naval Science classes were on top of major/graduation requirements. Both had to take a year of calculus and a year of physics. For the engineer, this met major requirements, but it was extra for the humanities major. Both are successfully commissioned and generally enjoying their service community. We only paid for food and housing for 8.5 years of school between the two of them. But I'd say neither of these are exactly typical ROTC experiences. The senior military colleges with a Corps are large, but most ROTC units are stand alone without this additional layer of military responsibility and organization. Most ROTC students don't drive as far as my middle one did. The ROTC units available to the student are going to give a much better explanation of what the student should expect, including if they would have to double up on any classes or summer training to catch up. Also, ROTC is really a 2+2 program. All programs require that midshipmen and cadets be recommended and approved for the upper level of participation the last two years (Advanced Standing in Navy ROTC and Professional Officer Course in Air Force ROTC). Without approval, neither participation nor scholarship continues. This is another reason the student should be discussing options with those who know exactly what they'd have to do to be successful.
  10. Two of my kids went through ROTC. Is ROTC available at the college where the student attends? Might be hosted on campus or at another college through a crosstown agreement. Their best starting point is to reach out to the ROTC units associated with their college. Usually the unit has a staff member designated as a "recruiting officer" who might be a military member or a civilian staff. It is possible for students to start as sophomores, but they would want to act as soon as possible, so they can add the appropriate ROTC courses and start doing military training with the unit.
  11. One of my kids wasn't very good at APs. Took three and got credit for one. But he will hard work a course to death. He has a 3.7 in Mechanical Engineering. So don't despair.
  12. Will this be a one on one meeting or a scheduled information session with admissions? What I typically see on visits is a 30-45 minute briefing on the college that includes background info on programs and admissions. Financial information is usually broad strokes, not a personalized aid estimate. So it might mention automatic merit aid or deadlines for competitive scholarships. Admissions topics usually include deadlines, what they consider, and what they are looking for in applicants. Tours are usually led by student guides. It's better if the student can lead in asking questions. That might mean creating a list of questions ahead of time. You can each have a copy and note if they are addressed during the presentation or if you need to ask about them. I recommend students ask, because it helps them invest and engage in the process. Student guides and admissions reps may respond more enthusiastically to student questions. Areas where it typically is appropriate for parents to ask the questions include financial aid and questions about homeschool documentation. Ask who in the admissions office reads homeschool apps before asking detailed questions about documentation and requirements. I like to ask if any programs only admit incoming freshmen (direct admission), if different majors or programs have different admissions criteria or averages, and ease of changing majors. If courses have big lecture sections, I want to know how they serve students who need small group support (like smaller recitations with a TA). I like to ask about mental health services, if sessions are capped, and how available providers in the community are. I like to hear about housing, specifically if it's required, guaranteed, and available or if many students commute. I like to hear about experiential learning, and how students found those opportunities. About study abroad, including costs and if time abroad earned credit applicable towards the major. Ask students about their experience. This may mean stopping strangers and asking if they mind answering a few questions. The graduation rate by major question might or might not give you what you want. At some schools majors aren't declared until a few semesters in or students are encouraged to sample widely before declaring. In other programs, courses are tightly sequenced and not getting a class or not meeting the requirements to take the next course might set a student back a semester or more. Maybe you want to know how long the degree is programmed for, how many declared major graduate according to that schedule, and how hard it is to schedule classes in the major. (There can also be many reasons for lower graduation rates, including family incomes, academic background of incoming students, college going culture in the area, and taking time off for various reasons to include competition teams, research, religious missions, military service, working on family farms, financial shortfalls, etc. It doesn't always reflect school quality and can be a broad general average. )
  13. In the states we lived in, credit was rarely granted for homeschool courses, so we would have struggled to get credits for core courses, let alone PE or health. There were several courses I didn't do as a specific course, though the related content was incorporated into our lives.
  14. I found it helpful to print out sample 4 year plans for majors my kids were considering from several different colleges. This helped us see what a typical progression might be, where AP or DE courses might fill a requirement, and also how similar programs differed. The requirements at a liberal arts college, where students take a broad curriculum and don't declare a major until sophomore year would differ from an engineering curriculum at a large university, which would differ from a BFA in a technical theater program. Each of these programs might be housed in something called a college.
  15. As others have pointed out, there is a difference between a course transfering from one college to another and the course meeting a requirement for a major or for graduation. For example, my son has a couple Intro to Aerospace courses he earned from a CC by doing a Spacegrant course. Those credits were accepted by his 4 year college and appear on his transcript. But they don't fill a major or graduation requirement. He learned a lot in the Spacegrant course, and earned more money at coop based on his overall credit based academic standing. But he won't graduate earlier based on those credits. On the other hand, some of his other DE credits allowed him to meet requirements earlier in his 4 year plan and create room for a minor.
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