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Butler

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About Butler

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  1. I disagree about there not being enough advanced math courses at the grad level to fill the time or that any student would have to repeat at that level. My son started grad school having taken about 15 grad classes already. He will not run out of classes. There is always more math to learn. Also, most math PhD programs in the US on average only entail about 2 years of coursework. The rest of the time is research and dissertation.
  2. My son self teaches a lot, always has. We accelerated him very early on but it was never enough so self learning was a necessity. The classes that he has taken have never been at his level even when he was very young so he augments. For classes that he skipped over to take grad level he either learned the material beforehand on his own (Internet) or learned the pre-req material as he went along in the class. This approach works for him but may not for someone like your son if he wants a classroom situation. Word of advice though - going to an elite school for undergrad would not have allowed my son to learn at his pace with peers at his level. He is at one now for grad school and has told me that the undergrad classes there would not have been sufficient either without accelerating and taking grad level. I don't know your son's ability level so obviously don't know if he would fit better, but I wouldn't automatically assume that just because it's an elite school that it would be a perfect fit.
  3. I would never advocate to avoid a challenge in undergrad in order to keep good grades, etc. That's not what I'm saying (nor 8 if I understand her correctly). On the contrary my son entered college very young because he absolutely needed that challenge. Many people advocate to delay college entrance in order to have a better chance at elite school admission. Never mind the fact that we could not afford an elite school so that was never on the radar, my son would not have been able to dely his math progression. He lives and breathes it. What I am trying to say in my posts is that a very advanced student can find challenge in many schools, even non-elite state schools. It takes a school with enough courses to allow for progression and a school that allows for flexibility in that progression. (Edited out personal info) As long as the courses are available I don't think your son will have problems being allowed to take them in the majority of US colleges. I think this may be a worry that you don't need to have.
  4. Re Lawyer & Mom's list of where math competition winners go: (forgot how to quote) I wouldn't narrow my list by assuming that the only top math students are winners of math competions. Those kinds of competitions don't appeal to everyone. My son has never had any desire to participate in them and was actually wary of attending a school that focused so strongly on them. For Lewelma's son however that might be a pro for his list since it seems to be where his interests lie. Edited to add: I'm not so sure Auckland wouldn't be a good school for this student as long as there are enough upper level/grad classes available. Being a big fish can be a benefit in undergrad. Being a superstar in undergrad can lead to great research opportunities and Letters of Recommendation which factor greatly in grad school admissions. Save the big name school search for the PhD when it really matters (and is funded and therefore free! I think 8 fill the heart and I have a similar perspective on college. There are many schools out there that can get a student to where they want to be).
  5. I understand your worry about finding intellectual equals at a non-elite school. All I can offer is our one person BTDT experience. In every university my son has attended he has been able to find extremely intelligent and capable students. Many people cannot afford (or make too much money) to go to elite schools. There also are not enough seats in those few schools for all the super intelligent kids. So they go elsewhere, and many of them wind up at flagships. My son has always been ahead of the game in math and even though he was given opportunities to steady well above level he often wondered if the grass was greener on the other side. He wondered if it would have been worth the high price tag to go to an elite school. He's now on the other side in grad school at one of these elite schools and he told me that he has realized that it's really no different. There are great profs and great students everywhere. As far as peers, mine is young so he has never had -or wanted - same age peers. He has always been and still is surrounded by older students. For a student that does want that I can see that it might add an extra layer of difficulty in finding the right fit. FWIW, he has managed to find same age girlfriends in the last couple years. One benefit of a big school is a lot of choices for romantic and platonic partners.
  6. My math advanced son has attended four univeristies - 2 for dual enrollment, one for undergrad and one now for grad school (PhD). The one thing that we found is that what the colłege website says and the actual reality of attendance are not the same. None of the schools he attended - ranging from state flagships to a top school - have ever required him to repeat or take classes beneath his ability level. All of them allowed him to take higher level classes. His undergrad school allowed him to take grad level classes starting his first semester and use those classes toward his bachelors degree. His grad school (as is a relatively common practice from what I've read) allowed him to take the qualification exams for several subjects as soon as he started which effectively places him a year or so into the program. (Not too sure how grad school works as I no longer have to be involved in his education anymore.) There are some differences between my son and your son's situation in that my son completed most of the usual math major required classes as a dual enrolled high school student. I'm not sure but I think your son has not taken college classes yet? My son's undergrad (a state flagship) accepted those classes as transfer credits so there was no testing out for those classes. For the rest he just used the grad level courses in place of what is usually required. As for finding schools, my son was super advanced and was able to find challenging courses at a state flagship, and not one of the top ones like Berkeley, etc. He had no problem getting accepted to top level REUs and was accepted into top schools for his PhD, even with the disadvantage of his young age. You don't have to limit your search to just the elite, super selective schools for undergrad. Look for a school that offers a lot of advanced courses and is flexible. Have your son look at the faculty and see if they are doing research in the fields of interest to him. We picked my son's undergrad due to cost (zero!) but it fortunately fit a lot of the requirements listed above. My son ended up choosing his grad school based on the profesor that he wanted as his advisor. He had read a lot of this professor's research and had met the person at conferences and really was interested in working with him/her. Good luck!
  7. I don't think that you should look at college classes taken in high school purely in a transfer light. Most of the time Ive seen them used as a placement tool instead. IMO this is the better use anyway as a student really should make use of the time in undergrad to accomplish other goals, especially so if the student is planning on grad school. A student that places out of many of the requisite undergrad classes has the opportunity to fill their schedules for the next 4 years with graduate level classes, but just as importantly they have opportunities for summer programs/research and making connections with professors (LORs are very important for grad school). This makes for a much stronger graduate application than the student who transferred in a lot of credit from classes taken in high school and then applies to grad schools 2 years later. (To clarify, I'm talking about a student not receiving credit but being allowed to place into advanced levels. What I adamantly don't agree with are schools that require a student to repeat all the undergrad courses at their institution. That's a waste of time and does a disservice to the student. Also, I'm talking more about courses in the prospective student's major. General Ed courses generally should be transferred for credit so they can be done with but the major courses should be used for placement purposes)
  8. I understand what you're saying but I still think that a heavily subsidized tuition discount for a middle income family with more than one child to send to college is probably still not going to be enough for many to make it feasible. And the point I was trying to make is that if a school is unaffordable now with need based aid and it doesn't offer merit aid then there's a good chance it is unaffordable in 4 years so why delay college to build the transcript to get into that school? Now if your child needs the extra time to build up test scores, etc to make him/her competitive for scholarships (at not just top schools) to make a school affordable then of course it makes sense to delay college. As I said, we are very debt averse. Finances were very important to us. My son is probably more of an outlier than many but I don't think he's the only one on this board. The path he took still had him going away to a top, highly selective school at 18. He just went for a PhD instead of an undergraduate degree. I don't see the downside of going to college early if you have a very advanced child with the type of personality that can handle that early college. It's defintley not for everyone, but it is probably a viable path for some here.
  9. Per Regentrude's post (sorry don't remember how to quote), I specified merit-based aid. Edited to add: we're a somewhat debt averse family. The only need based aid that would have been acceptable to us would have had to bring costs down close to zero, which unless a family is extremely low income is not going to happen. Our solution, since our son was a very high stat/achieving student was state flagship with honors scholarship at 14 for Bachelors, then a highly selective top school fully funded for PhD at 18. End result is a doctorate degree from a top school for almost zero cost. Getting his Bachelors from a highly selective school might have made acceptance to a top grad school a more sure thing but it didn't matter in the end. He was able to accomplish what he needed starting from a good low cost public state school. And he didn't have to delay his educational progression which was very important for him. He might be an outlier but since this is the accelerated learner board I think it's valuable to share the different paths that can be taken to success for children like this. Also edited to remove some identifying details.
  10. It really depends on the particular kid, their personality and their level of advancement. Also, on the financial situation of course. If the finances don't allow for a high priced, no merit aid college then delaying college entrance to build a resume to get accepted to one isn't really a factor. If a kid's personality is such that they need same age peers or more parental involvement no matter their level of academic acheivement, then early college isn't really a factor then either. As for level of advancement, sometimes it just doesn't make sense to delay any longer. In my son's case, by the time he was 14 he had finished the courses needed for a math undergrad as a dual enrollment student and needed graduate level classes in order to continue progressing. It made no sense to try to continue dual enrollment for another four years until he was 18. Also, getting approved for graduate classes is much more difficult as a dual enrollment student than an undergraduate student. Officially enrolling as a freshman allowed him all the perks the come with it - graduate classes, advisors, eligibilty to attend and present at conferences, apply for internships, etc. He's a very happy PhD student at a top school now so his path worked out for him. I think it's great to get anecdotal advice but it really is such an individual decision that each family has to make on their own.
  11. I would agree that talking to a professor is the way to go, but it doesn't necesarily have to be the professor teaching that class. Is there any professor there doing research that aligns with your son's interests? Edited personal info If your son stays in this class I think it could be a good " learning to navigate college" kind of class if nothing else. (As far as his younger age, mine never talked about his and it was never an issue with other students or professors. Your son doesn't have to be secretive or anything, but it certainly doesn't have to be a main topic of conversation)
  12. My son has just successfully gone through the math grad school application process. In his experience, the schools were looking for candidates that showed an intense focus on their particular subject - and not just "pure math" but the field of pure math in which they want to research. None of the schools were interested in anything other than the math courses he took and the math research he did as an undergrad. The rest was superfluous. If your son is interested in math then I think a closely related major like physics would probably not be a hindrance but only because of the huge overlap of math courses. But I also think that my son was very successful with his applications because of the many math graduate courses he took. Getting a second major would have meant that he would not have had time for those courses, and they looked far more impressive on his applications than a second major in a field that he was not planning a research career in would have. I agree with the above poster who said that college is the time to narrow the focus. Double majors might be helpful for someone going into the career market and want broader skill set but I don't think they are the best use of time for some one looking to pursue a doctorate in a very specific field. But of course this is just an opinion, I'm sure there are many paths out there that will lead to success. Edited to add: my son debated getting the masters since he completed the course requirements for it but eventually decided against it. He was told that applying with a masters degree was not important, what was important was that he had the greater exposure to higher advanced math, ie. the graduate courses. Math PhD programs are funded, some of those 5 year BS/MS programs aren't funded for the graduate portion. Also, keep in mind that some grants, like National Science Foundation I believe, only grant to first time graduate students. A 5 year bs/ms program would make a student ineligible.
  13. I don't think a double major is the best use of time if a student is planning on pursuing a PhD in thier field. The time spent on classes required for the second major would be better spent on taking graduate level classes in their primary major if permitted.
  14. I think you may be worrying needlessly. There are so many colleges out there that can offer good educations, research opportunities, connections. His undergrad institution does not have to be one of just a handful of schools. Find one that offers the best fit for him in and area that best fits your family and finances. I'm sure there are more than 2! Don't get trapped into the mindset that it's all or nothing - MIT for undergrad or failure at life. Find what works best for him now (and best for your family) and he will be on the right path. I know it's said so often that it's a cliche but an education is what you make of it. A good student can find what he needs just about anywhere.
  15. University of Quebec at Trois Rivieres has some programs: (no personal knowledge of the program) https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/public/gscw031?owa_no_site=1073&owa_no_fiche=82&owa_apercu=N&owa_imprimable=N&owa_bottin=
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