Jump to content


Gwen in VA

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Gwen in VA

  1. We had our college graduate ds live with us for 2.5 years after college graduation. His living at home caused us some kerluffle, but we wanted him to stay at home so we chose to live with a bit of kerfluffle. Our younger dd lived at home her freshman year while she attended an almost 100% residential 4-year college down the street. She came home late occasionally, but we figured this was part of living with a young adult. When they are tiny, they wake you up with their cries. When they are in their teens and 20's, they wake you up occasionally late at night. We prefer to tolerate a bit of inconvenience and treasure the fact that they enjoy being home. (I am currently up because my 21yo dd should arrive home soon and I want to spend a few minutes talking with her. If she were away at school, I'd probably be in bed, but I can think of few things I'd rather do than stay up a few minutes later so I can chat with her.) Ultimately, in the long run, if your kids do not find your home a welcoming place they will not spend time there.
  2. If you are seriously concerned about him, make sure he signs the necessary forms so you have access to his records. Note -- every organization seems to want to have its own form signed. In other words, if your son signs a form saying you can see his records at one doctor's office, that may not apply to another doctor's office or to the hospital. Remind him that every time he "registers" at an office as a new patient he should sign the form allowing you to see his records. (Could they have made it more difficult for parents and students to share medical info? Not really!)
  3. Dd1 started college as a history major, switched and received a BA in art history and a BS in chemistry. She now has a PhD in engineering. But yes, she really did start as a history major. Ds1 started college as an economics major. He added philosophy and math and graduated with a triple major. He now works as a software engineer. But wait -- just when you think that my kids are total flakes who go thhrough a DRAMATIC change in the middle of college, then along comes -- Ds2 who decided to go into naval architecture in 9th grade. He is now a naval architect. Dd2 who started making "I'm going to major in music" noises in 8th grade and cemented the decision by the beginning of 10th grade. She is in the middle of her junior year, has had several internships and LOTS of money-making gigs, and has absolutely no regrets. She is starting to talk about grad school. So at least in our family some kids know what they want from the get-go and some are still deciding in the middle of college!
  4. Dd2 was home for a few days and then had to go back to her college town for some performances. However, she had the coolest 21st birthday EVER. Yesterday she did a gig doing Christmas music on a theater organ before a show. (Her second time playing a theater organ ever!) Her playing was a huge hit, and the fellow who introduced her said that it was her 21st birthday -- so 900 people spontaneously sang "Happy Birthday" to her!!!!! (And then her boss from her church job spontaneously asked her out for dinner so dd wouldn't have to have dinner alone on her birthday. This meant that the boss skipped the show that she had bought tickets for in order to celebrate with my daughter. What a gift! That made my mommy heart burst!) And I am still trying to wrap my brain around 900 people singing happy birthday to my daughter!
  5. Dd is driving herself home right now and should be here in about an hour! :hurray: She is an organ performance major and thus has a church job, so she needs to go back to the city where her college is located and stay at her apartment for a few nights in order to accompany a few rehearsals and do the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day stuff. She'll be home late on Christmas Day and will STAY home for nearly two weeks -- hurrah! Ds2 is flying in from across the country and will arrive on Friday. Dd1 is driving here and will arrive on Saturday. And when dd2 arrives on Christmas Day the party will begin -- we will be missing ds2 since he'll be spending it with his in-laws -- but everyone else will be here! It happens so rarely that we really treasure the moments when most of them are here together!
  6. Ds1 majored in math and got a master's in operations research. He had very few classes in computer programming, but he is currently a programmer at a top (name) company. His math background is what allowed him to stand out in the interview process. The attitude of his company is "of course you can learn a new language in a week or two, but the math background takes years to develop", so his extensive math background has allowed him to work on some pretty exciting projects (even when he didn't have any prior knowledge of the programming language involved). Based on ds1's experience, I would encourage your student to get the math minor.
  7. Ds2 stopped attending college for a year (aka dropped out since he never went back) after his freshman year. Dh and were very expicit about what we would contribute to his "year off" -- he could keep the car that was in our name and he could stay on our health insurance, but otherwise we would contribute NOTHING. If he couldn't make ends meet, he would need to go back to college to get our support. He never went back to school, and in his case I am SO glad he didn't. He met with a much older (and very successful) man in his field right after he dropped out, and they developed a ten-year career plan for him. Well, he achieved his ten-year plan in about 18 months and is now a highly successful ( ......) in a field that usually does require a degree. Motivation, the ability to self-teach, and hard work can go a long way towards success! (And no, his ten-year plan wasn't a baby plan -- ds2 really is that successful!) So please remember that college is not the be-all-end-all. But yes, your son should have a plan in place. Taking a year off just to "find yourself" sounds like a recipe for trouble. The realization that he will need to support himself may be enough of a reality check for him to decide that college isn't so bad.
  8. Many Mat Sci graduate programs accept students with a wide variety of undergraduate majors. My dd just earned a Ph.D. in Mat Sci from the #2 Mat Sci graduate program with undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Art History from a LAC. BTW, there was only one other student out of 26 her year that had a degree from a LAC, so that is definitely a riskier route. (My dd started her college career as a history major -- she fell in love with engineering late in her college career!) Many of her fellow grad students had undergrad majors in physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering as well as Mat Sci. Most of the Ph.D. students at her school attended MIT, Cal Tech, or U of Illinois as undergrads, but there was a student who attended St. Mary's in Maryland, so obviously a degree from one of those schools wasn't even close to a requirement! I have an SM and an SB in Mat Sci from a tippy-top program, and many students in my grad program had majored in Mech E as undergrads. Other popular undergrad majors for Mat Sci grad students were chemistry and chemical engineering. (I never met a grad student with a physics undergrad major -- that seems to be a new thing.)
  9. Let your dd run the show. She is the one interested in transferring; she should do all the work. She should contact colleges, admissions people, etc. She should tell you what she needs from you -- basically the high school paperwork -- but otherwise this is on HER shoulders. I transferred at the end of my freshman year. My parents' total involvement was receiving the phone call I made to inform them that their tuition check would need to go to a different school next year. (I transferred up the pecking order, so they didn't mind the change.) My dd transferred last year. We went with her to half of her auditions; the others she handled alone. She dealt with all the paperwork from her old college; she did the application, made phone calls to the new school, and discussed the details of her merit scholarship. Transferring was HER idea, and she ran with it. BTW, maybe arts schools are weird, but as a transfer applicant dd did receive generous merit aid offers from several schools. We were not expecting any merit aid due to her transfer status, so that was a pleasant surprise. Hopefully something similar will happen to your dd.
  10. We have no pics from last Christmas due to the significant-other-in-the-pic thing. We had two significant others for the week. One relationship ended in a marriage, and the other broke up shortly after Christmas..... So we have 19 unbroken years of Christmas Eve pics, but the 20th year has an ex in it so we just discarded it.... Lesson learned. (We really thought there would be a proposal that week, but it goes to show that you never know.....) Have plenty of games on hand. Do some activities (like taking a walk or going for a movie) but don't be offended if no one wants to come! Just go yourself and enjoy the peace if everyone else has a different agenda! Have plenty of food on hand..... Do breakfast buffet-style so late sleepers don't feel bad. Give everyone plenty of space (as much as possible!) Accept help if people volunteer. They want to be included. And ENJOY! (We currently have our son and new wife living with us for a month, so I've been thinking a lot about this!)
  11. Visit colleges. Visit lots of them. Talk with not only the admissions people and the tour guides (almost always students) but any other student you run into. TALK! Ask about why they chose that school. Ask about what other schools they looked at. Ask about what they like least and most about the school. Read the bulletin boards -- they are an interesting window into what is going on on campus. Read the school newspaper. Do you know any students who go to colleges your student is remotely interested in? Talk with them. The more information you get about the wide range of experiences people have, the better. And do be aware of stereotypes of colleges -- often the stereotype exists for a reason! But the best thing you can do is VISIT, VISIT, VISIT. And do visit schools that are on the "unlikely" list -- they will help your student become aware of aspects of college life he likes and dislikes, even if you know from the get-go that he won't really attend that school. Visit rural schools, urban schools, small schools, big schools, specialty schools, high-powered schools, laid-back schools.....
  12. The "no merit aid for transfers" isn't an iron-clad rule. When dd applied to transfer, two of the three schools she applied to offered her merit aid. So YMMV on that "rule".
  13. How committed is your kid to going into fine arts? A B.A. will require more gen eds than a BFA and will require the student to spent much less time really focusing on the art side of things. My performer-daughter spent her freshman at a LAC and she resented all of the time her gen eds took away from her focus on music. She transferred to a conservatory and is much happier. She can focus on music, which is where her heart is!
  14. What is her goal? Does she want to teach music in the public schools, or she does she want to be a musician with teaching credentials who teaches part-time at a conservatory, or.........? I think the answer to your question lies in her interests and goals.
  15. Just to echo Heather, it is possible to be accepted to UVA with less than 8-10 AP's. My ds was accepted to UVA as an Echols Scholar with "only" 5 AP's. He only had two years of Latin and three years of Greek -- he had no fourth year of a foreign language. BTW, much to our surprise my dd was accepted as a Monroe Scholar at W&M with only two years of Latin in high school (Latin 2 and Latin 3). We listed her Latin 1 (alongside her Algebra 1) as 8th grade classes on her transcript. We did not give a grade for those classes but just listed them and the credit given for it. (That's how my high school handled foreign languages and Algebra back in the 80's.) I strongly recommend multiple SAT-2 tests and some college classes (if possible).
  16. One other pro of working -- getting vested in social security.
  17. We listed ALL test scores on the transcript -- AP's, SAT-2's, SAT..... I figured the more information the admissions people had, the better! My kids each only took the SAT once, so we didn't have to deal with the superscore question.
  18. How wonderful for her! And how wonderful for you, though the missing can hurt. Your mommy heart must be glad! :001_smile:
  19. I think homeschoolers actually have an ADVANAGE in competitive college applications. They can participate in or pursue any activity they want, regardless of whether the local high school has a "club" for that activity. Engineering schools like leadership, but this generation is not pursuiing hands-on activities to the same degree that previous generations have (think mucking around with cars or radio-control airplanes as dated examples) so any hands-on activity will be of interest to engineering schools. Wild engineering-related activities pursued by homeschoolers I know: Civil Air Patrol (Many girls participate and it can demonstrate leadership too!) Kite-building (with a national kite-building award and an expenses-paid visit to India to participate in an international event there) Founding a company (involved design and production work and it made a non-trivial amount of money!) Part-time job that is engineering-related (work at a sail loft) Volunteer position (historic boat -- involved maintenance of it) Building multiple kayaks (yes, they were beautiful and they floated!) Crewing on boats at races and regattas And a more "feminine" hands-on engineering-related activity -- dress design and sewing reenactment clothing! With homeschooling, the sky is the limit for activities! (While none of these activities come with the term "captain" or "president", they obviously show motivation, dedication, and leadership!) It is a challenge to figure out how to list / make known unusual activities on a college application, but it can be done. And if specifically approached, some admissions offices will make exceptions to the "don't submit anything extra" rule.
  20. I'm going to play devil's advocate. In dh's and my families, getting a prestigious college degree (not just any degree will do, you know! <sarcasm alert>) is a rite of adulthood. No one born after 1930 has questioned that foundational assumption -- except my ds2. He went to college and left after his freshman year. The ENTIRE world predicted doom and destruction. You wouldn't believe the nasty things people have said to me about his decision. Three years later, we are so glad that he decided to drop out! Seriously, at a time in his life when most people his age are just heading into the work force, he already has an amazing career. And if he ever needs a college degree, he is bright and motivated and capable and he'll get one! So my question to him (and you) is -- what would he do if he didn't attend college? Maybe he doesn't need the degree as much as you think. And maybe not spending the time and energy pursuing what may be a worthless piece of paper will motivate him to really get moving in the direction he wants to go. And if he ever needs a degree -- hey, he can go and get one! Just my two cents!
  21. In the mid-80's MIT made a conscious decision to change the weighting of various factors in admission. The admissions people changed from looking mostly at math-science grades and scores and activities to a more "holistic" view of candidates that took more into account grades in the humanities and non-engineering extracurriculars and other non-engineering attributes of candidates. The result of this change? The class of 1986 was around 20% women. The class of 1989 was nearly 50% women. I was there during that period, and the changes in class makeup were noticeable! Was this change an improvement, or was this merely bowing to political pressure? Good question!
  22. BTW, dd's stipend for her engineering Ph.D. program was large enough that she was putting some money aside in a retirement account! :001_smile: Grad students do not necessarily starve!
  23. And do remember to look at SAT-2's. Even if the colleges your son ends up applying to don't require any SAT-2's, having a few scores will make him a stronger candidate for admission and for merit aid. Do consider classes in computer-aided design. CAD classes help students think in 3-D, which is an awesome engineering skill. Also, while robotics and math team are probably the most common engineering-related extracurriculars, engineering experiences do come in all varieties. My son started designing and building kites in his teen years, got into the high-tech kite market, and ended up running a kite-building company for several years. (This involved CAD work, marketing, designing, and interfacing with suppliers and obviously customers.) The college admissions people LOVED this! Ds also worked at a sail loft, which involved working with all sorts of machines and doing 3-D drawings. Again, the college admissions people were really excited by his experience at that job. Parents I knew kept on telling me that his kite obsession was nice and employment was nice but he really should just get on a robotics team. In his college interviews the ad cons were so enthusiastic that I do want to remind people that there are ways of getting engineering and design experience other than robotics! Many engineers graduate with a bachelor's and work for a few years. Getting a master's will most likely end up in higher pay, but it is not a preqrequisite for the job market. Sometimes an employer will want an employee to further his/her education, so when I was in engineering grad school many of the students were being funded through their employer. An option worth considering!
  24. Webb Institute of Naval Architecture on Long Island. The TINY school is tuition-free. Yup. Really. All you have to pay is room and board. Truly. The school has a 100% placement rate for recent grads. And the school provides an excellent engineering education in addition to the focus on naval architecture and marine engineering, so if your student wants to head to MIT for a S.M. in mechanical engineering once he graduates from Webb, he will be following in the footsteps of other Webbies.
  25. My dd was a Ph.D. student in engineering. She was fully-funded -- her tuition was covered and she received a generous stipend. My ds was a M.S. student in operations research. He was offered a TA position that covered tuition and provided a reasonable stipend. If he hadn't lived at home he would have had to dip a bit into savings, but not much. Like others said, funding depends so much on your desired major and degree.......
  • Create New...