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Sebastian (a lady)

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Everything posted by Sebastian (a lady)

  1. It can be a great benefit if the pieces all match. My son who was National Merit was looking for particular majors at colleges with Navy ROTC. That didn't match up with big NMS award amounts. I have seen some kids express huge disappointment when the cut off scores are announced. They haven't always sat down to compare their college list with the details of potential award amounts. And some of them go on to get strong aid without being NMS awardees.
  2. DS didn't answer every math question, so that probably takes him out of the running for NMS. Even so I think it was a good incentive for him to do some additional prep. He will take the SAT in the spring and probably a set of SAT Subject Tests and that might be all the testing for him. I'm trying to not have anything scheduled past June. The biggest money for National Merit is from college-based awards from specific schools. But some colleges have very low awards. $500-1,000 isn't worth agonizing over in my opinion. Not because that isn't helpful money in come circumstances, but because I think you can get just as much in an institutional award from some schools without meeting the National Merit cutoff. Now if you do meet the cut-off AND a school you are interested in has a generous award, it can be very helpful. I just don't think that students should beat themselves up over missing the cut-off score.
  3. Also, while my home-brewed courses often had detailed booklists, I didn't put much effort into the booklist for a DE course. I usually just listed the main textbook and moved on. Some courses didn't even have that (like English 100 - Intro to Composition). Here are a couple samples of what I wrote for DE courses. (The Chinese course lists several texts because that was a core interest for that student.) I used the catalog and syllabus course descriptions for these and may have also pulled from chapter titles for the chemistry course. Elementary Mandarin 1 (University of XYZ, Chinese 101, 4 credits): One semester college level introductory course taken on campus during summer session. Student was dual enrolled via the Outreach College. Student goals included listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in standard (Mandarin) Chinese, and attaining approximately the Novice High level on the ACTFL proficiency scale. Student learned simplified characters, but instruction included both simplified and traditional writing systems. Student earned four college credits and one high school credit. Textbooks: Liu, Yuehua and Tao-chung Yao. Integrated Chinese (Level 1, Part 1) Textbook, Simplified Character Edition, 3e. Liu, Yuehua and Tao-chung Yao. Integrated Chinese (Level 1, Part 1) Workbook, Simplified Character Edition, 3e. Liu, Yuehua and Tao-chung Yao. Integrated Chinese (Level 1, Part 1) Character Workbook, Simplified Character Edition, 3e. Audio CDs for Integrated Chinese (Level 1, Part 1). General Chemistry I (ABC Community College Chem 161, 3 Credits) and General Chemistry I Laboratory (ABC Community College Chem 161L, 1 Credit): Chem 161 is one semester college course that covers basic principles of chemistry including stoichiometry; introduction to solution phase chemistry; gas phase chemistry; introduction to thermodynamics, including enthalpies of formation and reaction; introduction to atomic structure, periodic trends, chemical bonding, and molecular structure. Chem 161L is a 3 hr lab session that provides laboratory experiments illustrating concepts of chemistry discussed in CHEM 161. This course is being taken on campus at ABC Community College as an Early Admission student (dual enrollment) in Fall 2016. By taking both lecture and lab together the student will earn 4 college credits and 1 high school credit. Textbooks: Burns, Ralph. Fundamentals of Chemistry in the Laboratory, 4e, Prentice Hall 2002. Tro, Nivaldo. Chemistry: A Molecular Approach, 3e, Prentice Hall, 2013.
  4. I'm pretty sure this site records college graduation requirements, not admission requirements.
  5. My course descriptions include all outside classes including dual enrollment and online courses. Each description is about a paragraph long. DE descriptions are briefer than home grown courses. I used the space to give full course names, explain that courses were taken on the college campus, clarify that the course on my transcript was composed of the college's separate lecture and lab courses, etc.
  6. I would not go in person. I would have your dd send a clear but concise email AND follow up with a phone call on Monday. Coach her through what needs to happen in the phone call so that she has thought through how to ask for the right person, how to explain what she is seeing and how she has tried to address it, and how to ask for what she wants to have happen. Being a bit uncomfortable with this type of call is totally normal, but I really think that a call is necessary given what you've said about having sent multiple emails. You could even roll play this a couple times. (I've sometimes made up brief "talking points" when I had an important call to make.) It is likely that it's a matter of paperwork not getting downloaded or not getting synced up with her application. This can take several days. The email is a dated record that she tried to meet the requirements. The phone call shows her grit in ensuring that it gets taken care of. It's also an important adult skill that will get easier with practice; so she might as well start now.
  7. Have you toured some of the schools that would be in this category for your student? I recently visited James Madison University (average SAT 1210) and Johns Hopkins University (average SAT 1520). Tour guides at both were very positive about their experience (not surprising), but I came away with a favorable impression of JMU that surprised me a bit. For a really high flyer it might not be a great fit. But for a student with say a 1450, I think there would be no problem with finding peers at the JMU. Not only is there an honors college, but also the school is quite large (20k undergraduates), so there are many opportunities to find peers. I'll add that I don't think the only marker of smarts and academic potential is found in test scores. And I've been around students with plenty of exposure to museums, reading, travel, etc who were burned out or bores.
  8. TL;DR - I don't like the term "safety" because it suggests settling for an undesirable option. But I recommend students apply to several schools that represent a high chance of admission, that the family is able to pay for (out of savings, current income, and loans), and that the student would be interested in attending (ie, it has the right programs and has an acceptable setting/social fit). I am working on a certificate in educational consulting. My terminology around schools has changed in the year I've been in the program. I would now use phrases like "schools with a high chance of admission," "Schools with a medium chance of admission," and "schools with a low chance of admission." I have not liked the term "safety" or "reach" for a number of years, because it suggests that admission to and attendance at certain schools suggest winning or losing some kind of admissions contest. I think that good matches can occur at colleges with a range of admissions chances. (I also try to use "admissions rate" not "acceptance rate" for similar reasons. I think that students should apply to a range of schools. When I help a student make up a college list, I try to have at least half the list be schools with a high or medium chance of admission that are also financial fits. In fact, I don't think there is much point to applying to any college that would require winning the lottery to attend. If a school is not a financial fit, move along to one that is. That doesn't mean that a student shouldn't apply in hopes of getting need or merit aid - as long as a likely pathway for that aid exists. If it's a case where the family has a high EFC they can't pay and the school doesn't offer much non-need based aid, then I think the student and family should be looking elsewhere. When I make a list of college suggestions, I tend to use the following ranges. If the student is well above or below the median admissions profile for the school, then the school might shift up or down a category - for that student. High chance of admission - School has an admissions rate >50% Medium chance of admission - School has an admissions rate 26-50% Low chance of admission - School has an admissions rate 16-25% Wild card - Any school with an admissions rate 15% or lower. I think this is a wild card for any student, no matter how qualified.
  9. My answer would depend on factors that can't be answered in a general sense, but would rely on specifics for each school. I would: Run the Net Price Calculator for each school to see the estimate based on family income. If the NPC asks for student test scores and gpa that is even better. Look at the last couple years of the Common Data Set for each school. In particular I would look at section B to see how the student stands in relation to typically accepted students (this is an indication of how much the student might be wanted by the school) and also look closely at section H to see how many students who did not qualify for financial aid were granted non-need based awards and what the average award was. If the numbers in these two investigations aren't favorable, I wouldn't spend a lot of money to visit the school. I do think families need to look beyond sticker price, because that often doesn't reflect the actual end cost of attendance. But on the other hand, I don't think it makes sense to apply to colleges if attendance can't be supported. I'm not personally in the no college loans ever camp, but I'm also not in the camp that says you pay whatever it takes no matter the down range consequences. If you can't physically go to a school, there is a lot to glean from YouVisit, Unigo (student reviews of their school), and You Tube (I'm a fan of both student and departmental videos).
  10. I think there isn't a mechanism for cancelling the score, because AP scores are always self-reported. If you are concerned that a particular college has an application that doesn't offer a way to self-report, you could always include the scores on the transcript (ex. in a separate box). Or you could include a discussion of Advanced Placement and how it fit into your student's experience in your counselor letter or school profile and slip the scores in there. I don't think there is a need for you to send an official score report to a college at application time. I'm not sure they would know what to do with it if they received it. In other words, I'm not sure that getting an official report would be any more compelling than the self-reported scores.
  11. A friend has both of her daughters at Boise State. They really like the school and she is a huge fan of the school and the area. Best of luck to your daughter.
  12. That's fantastic. Congratulations to your daughter. It sounds like she has a great next step planned. That is always reason to be excited. I hope she finds a nice group of classmates and enjoys her classes.
  13. I went back and looked at the transcripts for my current college students. They were accepted widely and colleges were pretty complimentary about the documentation I sent in. Neither has a generic World History on the transcript. I did deviate somewhat from the WTM rotation as they got to high school and dabbled in some of the Advanced Placement history courses. One has: Modern World & US History, AP US Government, AP Comparative Government, AP European History, AP US History. This one didn't take any Economics. The second one has a lot of history and social studies credit, because that is his area of joy. But they included courses like Japan Studies, Korea Studies, Chinese History along with European History, US History, Economics, and Government. There wasn't a survey course in World History that spanned ancient to modern world history.
  14. When I see requirements like the Home School Application Supplement for Columbus State, it makes me wonder if they have had problems with homeschoolers not submitting a transcript or sending in transcripts that are difficult to understand. Maybe the Supplement is their attempt to guide applicants to giving them information that they are able to follow. I noticed that in several subject areas, there are more blocks than the number of credits required. That suggests to me that they are looking for enough to support an application, not to come up with reasons to turn down an application. My hunch is that a student with good SAT scores (600s) who has 3-4 credits in history would likely be accepted, even if those credits were Ancient History, Middle Ages & Renaissance, and Modern History 1 & 2. In other words, I think the courses are prompt suggestions, not requirements. (Similarly, I don't think they are requiring Grammar and Usage, but list that as one possible credit. Did you by chance ask them about the form? I was also intrigued by the fact that their Source Legend didn't include "college" as one of the options.
  15. Could you share the name of the college? It's always good to see the variety of admissions requirements.
  16. Reinforce the idea that high quality writing involves multiple iterations of revision. Offers a specific revision guide or checklist. This might be similar to a rubric, or it might be more detailed. Doesn't put a grade on rough draft efforts but reflects on what does and doesn't work while encouraging further revision. Recognizes the difference between creative, persuasive, and analytical writing and that student proficiency in each may be at different levels. Models the writer's process with her own writing. (It can be humbling to sit down to write an essay. The block many people have with supporting documentation for college applications is often a form of writer's block.)
  17. I didn't attempt to do all of the labs. I did egg osmosis (including trying a liquid that wasn't listed, a cola); both dragon genetics, and a couple others including Is Yeast Alive. We also did the Handwashing and Microorganisms kits from Home Science Tools and built a few Winogradsky Columns. My son also grew a lot of plants during biology, so he had hands on experience with that aspect of biology.
  18. I did labs I picked from what was on this list. I substituted an egg osmosis experiment for the ones that use dialysis tubing (because the materials were less expensive). I really like the Dragon Genetics exercises.
  19. The tutoring center will be somewhat in the dark, since they don't have a copy of the test to know how to assist your daughter. I would suggest that she make an appointment to meet with the professor to review the test and ask questions about it.
  20. I think it's really tough to anticipate how college practices will change in light of the removal of these parts of the NACAC code of ethics. New practices will depend a lot on where a college is on the selectivity (what percentage they accept) and yield (what percentage of accepted students attend) spectrum. I expect the most change with schools who have lower yields. They are trying to fill a class and may make late offers to do so. This might mean holding some financial aid in reserve, or offering honors college to students who were on the fence, or reaching out to students who didn't complete an application. A student who isn't interested can say Thanks, but no thanks. But it might be good news for students in some situations. Take the Virginia Tech scenario of higher than expected yield and a historic large freshman class. If other colleges in the area reached out with a pot sweetener, some number of students might decide that George Mason or NC State actually was a better fit than an overfilled VT.
  21. I think the above is a major takeaway. The documents we can provide offer a chance for the reader to better understand our students' experience. It can be challenging to put it into words. I used to come up with things about my kid that I categorized as "what admissions will never understand." Just little things about them that are hard to capture, like one kid's penchant for elaborate Halloween displays like the big Night Circus themed carnival with card tricks. It's also a tremendous open door to reveal aspects of your kid that don't come through in a plain transcript and activities list.
  22. @lewelma Was this counselor letter in addition to a school profile, or did you not do a school profile for MIT?
  23. First off, how wonderful that he is writing thank you notes! I think hand written for both would be perfectly fine and would be appreciated. If he is self conscious about his handwriting, then a typed thank you note to the league would be ok. I might still do a hand written letter for the GM, since that is someone he knows personally. Hand-written isn't too informal. One thing that I sometimes see is people who have smaller sized stationary (about half sheet size, but oriented with the longest edge running top to bottom) that they use in a printer to create a note for thanks or congratulations. They are hand signed, with sometimes a one line additional note at the bottom. It can feel awkward to have a full sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper with only a couple sentences. The smaller stationary or a notecard is a good size for these basic thank you's.
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