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Everything posted by saw

  1. DD majored in comp lit, with certificates (like minors I guess) in chemistry and a language. She took one premed course during the summer.
  2. I found this as well: https://www.testprep-online.com/scat-sample-questions I didn't pay for any of the prep but would have done if DS had not done well on the test. He's not used to standardized tests at all but managed to do okay.
  3. DS14 just took the SCAT a few weeks ago. I had him do the practice test and, on the basis of the result and the fact that I'm tired, decided not to have him prep any more. I figured I'd let him take it and then do a retake (with lots of prep) if he didn't get in. Fortunately he did. He did better on the actual test than the practice. Having said that, I recently received an email from CTY about a testing pilot program they are running now that will permit students to use scores from a wide variety of tests to qualify: https://cty.jhu.edu/talent/docs/Testing-Pilot-Flyer-2021.pdf
  4. Looking for some advice on helping DS (14, ADHD) to prevent/catch silly mistakes in his work, particularly in math and French. I know about the idea of creating checklists to check, but this is proving difficult to implement for a variety of reasons. Getting him to write down all the steps in math is an ongoing battle. He has meds and an EF coach involved. Does anyone have any tips or tricks that have worked? Thanks.
  5. DDs (twins) graduated homeschool high school two years early, because of grade skips from when they were in b&m school. We were using an umbrella school from the country where we had lived when they were in school, which provided accountability for the girls in terms of check-ins with tutors and so on. One of them was/is very interested in music and decided to go to an academic boarding school with a strong music program for sixth form (we are in the UK right now, so she went for the last two years of high school to do A-levels). It was not that far from home, and the school's boarding structure was such that every third week was either a long weekend or a holiday. She took classes that she had not had the opportunity to take in high school. The school itself was not known for being academically rigorous; however, they did provide DD with many opportunities, both academic and otherwise, and supported her in challenging herself. So the flexibility of the school in recognizing DD's needs was key for success. This was down to individual staff but also the general approach of the school in supporting students as individuals. Other DD decided against this school and did two years abroad with an American high school program. This required her to learn another language and live with a host family for a year each time, without prior exposure to the language. This provided plenty of academic challenge; in addition, the program offered multiple AP options. Extracurriculars were dependent on location and luck, and this was one downside to these programs. DD was not able to continue with some of the activities she had enjoyed. In addition, looking back, I think that there was not a great deal of supervision of the students, who were left to roam free, depending on their host family's requirements. DD is sensible and mature and so this was okay for her, but from what I gathered, other students should have had more supervision. I think the supervision varies by country as well. In terms of college, both ended up at their first choice school and have done very well. In terms of SATs, IIRC, both took the SAT a few years early and the extra year or two didn't really improve on their scores. I
  6. I have two who graduated two years early and did not want to go to university that young. One went to boarding school for two years, and the other did two years of study abroad. DC3 was in boarding school from age 9, which was the best possible option for him. DC4 is 14, homeschooling and in no way a boarding school type at the moment. I'd be happy to answer questions, here or by pm.
  7. DD is off to med school in August and is renting an apartment with three other students she does not know from before. Apparently all the parents are being asked to guarantee payment of rent, and I'm okay with guaranteeing DD's portion of the rent but not anyone else's. The landlord also wants a lot of info from me: tax returns, W2s, paystubs, letter from my employer, bank statements, passport, etc. I have not rented in the US in ages. I don't even have a W2 because I'm not in the US. Is this kind of request normal? I really don't want to give all that personal info to a random stranger. Argh. Any tips on how to help DD get an apartment without giving out all of my identifying information? What should I watch out for when co-signing the lease?
  8. We tried MOS for a year, but I got fed up with the lack of homework, lack of constructive feedback, teachers not showing up, etc. We're at another online school, which is better. I spoke with CHS as well but didn't think it would be a good fit.
  9. Petty vent I know, but with other much much bigger bad stuff going on that I can't vent about, I'm going to say how irritating some of the kids in DS's Scout Troop are, and he has to work directly with two of the most annoying! He's SPL and his ASPL is a nightmare -- whiny, sucks up to the adults, tries to boss DS and acts generally like DS is his to order around. I monitor DS's WhatsApp and emails (he's only 13) and have had to step in a couple of times behind the scenes to help DS shut down this kid's rudeness. And it's the beginning of the term. Plus DS has been told to work with a very young junior ASM who is even worse. Spent a few days on a hike with this boy in October and he was, literally (and I mean literally), ordering much older and much more senior adults to stay hydrated (Mrs X, have you drunk water on this rest stop? You need to drink water now) and how to hike (Mr Y, you need to put away your camera or it will bump the side of that descent/Mrs Z, hand down your walking poles to me now). Trying to ignore it but it's soooo annoying. And of course the parents think their kids can do no wrong and are part of the problem. Argh.
  10. If you can get a taxi (should book one in advance (through Addison Lee) to be sure of it) and get to the start point, you can do a London Walk https://www.walks.com/our-walks/walks-by-date/?d=2019-12-25 This seems to be offered only on Christmas Day. Here's a link to transport info for Christmas: https://tfl.gov.uk/status-updates/major-works-and-events/christmas-travel
  11. I'm pretty sure I saw your question 2 posed recently on an email list serv I'm part of but can't locate the exact email. I believe the solution was to have the LOR writer send that particular recommendation directly to the school, and have the other recs from that writer made generic and uploaded through the Common App. As for 1, it's the recommender who uploads the rec, so pretty sure you would not be able to decide not to use the rec once invited. I'd say start very early with recommenders as some of them don't upload until super-late and it's super-stressful! As for 3, I'm not sure but on the basis that the grades/academics are the most significant criteria in admissions, I would say pick people who can speak to your DC's academics. I would avoid having three recommenders who are community leaders/other who can speak only to your DC's extracurriculars, or leadership skills, or music/sport talent. I think the school is trying to avoid situations where the recommenders says, gee DC was in my non-live online class, turned in the papers on time, did a good job on the test, but I've never had a convo with them irl. So if your online class was live, and DC had significant interaction with the teacher, I'd go with the online teacher and be sure the teacher gets the point to emphasize the personal interaction with DC that have allowed them to get insight into DC's abilities, outside of assignments and tests. I hope that makes sense! I think the key point is to ensure that the recs are balanced in terms of the insight the recommenders can give into your DC's talents, personality and ability, and that at least one (preferably two) speak to their academic abilities. But ofc that would be possible with ECs -- a recommenders could say, well DC volunteered many hours for our project and showed a real flair for writing well and persuasively.
  12. I would appreciate an invite. I has two 21 yos and an 18 yo to contribute.
  13. That just seems outrageous to me -- and most of those absences could have been known well in advance! I can see how this would be extremely annoying from the prof's perspective, and I imagine you and other profs have had to deal with many half-baked excuses for absences over the years. DD has a friend who regularly missed class because she just didn't feel up to it and got doctor's notes for that, for example, whereas DD doesn't miss class very much at all. Seems like it would make sense to crack down on those absences, perhaps through making it more difficult to get excused by requiring more paperwork to be filed. One place where my kids were in school for elementary had very clear policies about absences that set out when students could be away (religious holidays, weddings for close relatives only, serious illness/death of close relatives, etc). Anything else when to the truant officer. In terms of fair, one thing DD has said is that it doesn't really make sense to have a required senior seminar in the fall of senior year, when many students will be busy with interviews and so on. There's no option to take the class at any other time, and the timing of the class is such that travel on other days is very difficult. She's going to do an op ed piece for the school paper and will try to work with some student-athletes, and her intent is to start a discussion about establishing a uniform and fair policy, based on actual facts around missing class. Seems to me personally the med schools and grad schools could also work more effectively by spreading out interviews a bit more perhaps, so that students aren't doing half a dozen interviews in one month. In any event, I agree that the problem is bigger than just one prof being a pain and needs addressing to ensure both teaching staff and students are treated fairly. It's also crazy to me that DD has to miss so much class when she really doesn't want to miss class at all!
  14. My 13 yo boy took great offense last night when I sent him back to retake his shower, with soap this time. Because apparently rinsing with water is enough to get off summer grubbiness. And when I told his 18 yo brother, 18 yo said, oh yeah I remember water-only showers; I did that all the time.
  15. I'm not sure how student-athletes who are serious students manage, tbh. Kudos to your daughter! Having spent a bit (a lot) of time talking and thinking about the whole issue of class conflicts with other obligations, I'm starting to think that there has to be a better way to manage this, or at least that there has to be a policy that sets out guidelines. The way this is playing out at DD's school isn't fair to students or professors. DD has contacted the editor of the student paper, and he's asked her to do an op ed piece. I think she'll use that as a platform to advocate for a fair and uniform policy to address absences. She's hoping to get a student-athlete involved in the writing, to present multiple sides of the issue.
  16. A (hopefully) positive update -- DD emailed several other professors in the department, who know her well, and one went and spoke with the recalcitrant prof on her behalf. He has suggested that DD try again to speak with the prof and thinks that the prof will now be more understanding (would love to have overheard his convo with the prof!). It's no guarantee, but it's a step in the right direction. She could in theory still drop the major but that also means not doing her thesis, and she is very attached to her topic and has been looking forward to it. Meanwhile, neither of the deans I emailed has responded, nor have the other two administrators. Grrr.
  17. Thanks all. She's been in touch with the premed advisor, who is abruptly leaving the end of September. No new advisor is in place as of yet; the school is apparently interviewing candidates. She offered to discuss with the professor but the response from the prof was both very clear and very rude. Unfortunately, she has to take the class and it's not offered in the spring. It's a seminar and required for all seniors -- DD tried her best to get out of it earlier because the prof doesn't have a great rep and because the seminar subject is highly political, with a very clear bent on the part of the prof and little room for debate. She may have to drop comp lit, but she loves it and is excited about doing her comp lit thesis, which she wouldn't be able to do if she dropped comp lit. She has more than enough classes for the major; it's just that this one is required. If necessary, she will, though, and we'll get the school to send a letter to the med schools explaining the situation. We've sent multiple emails to various profs and deans, and I think (hope) that action will be taken. It's ridiculous that a student's ability to attend med school interviews should depend on the whims of a professor. Not to mention the fact that athletes get to miss class for games all the time, but my kid is being told not to attend her interview at Harvard Med School?
  18. Please JAWM. I'm ranting here because I need to offload but may regret putting this on FB. DD is a senior at Williams College and is premed, with majors in Chinese, chemistry and comp lit. She is the only senior applying to med school this year. So far she has eight interviews, including Top Ten schools. She doesn't get to pick the dates, usually, and is just told when to show up (or maybe given a choice of a couple of dates). We've already spent a small fortune on arranging flights and so on. I think she'll be getting more interviews. DD also has to take a required comp lit seminar for the major. She emailed the prof, very politely, explained the situation (that she will need to miss class) and offered to do extra work outside of class and so on. Prof emailed back saying she would allow two excused absences and no more. She was pretty rude, imho. Because of the timing of the class, the fact that the nearest airport is Albany and the fact that these interviews are all over the country (hello UCSD), DD is going to have to miss several of these seminar classes, definitely more than two. She's not happy about that but it's not like she's choosing to miss class for fun. DD got in touch with one of the deans and asked the dean to mediate between her and the professor to find a solution. The dean basically said, yeah, nothing I can or will do, you have to choose between med school interviews and class. Essentially, the school's policy on missing class for med school interviews is that it's entirely up to the professor. DD is extremely upset as am I (especially since we've already shelled out for plane tickets). One possible solution is for her to drop the comp lit major, but she really doesn't want to do this, and this would mean sending updates to all the medical schools, which would look bad. I'm getting involved as DD has asked for my help and because we will, if necessary, file legal action against the school. We're now writing to various deans and profs to ask for help. But boy am I furious that a school that lays claim to one of the most successful med school acceptance rates in the country treats one of their outstanding candidates in this way. DD also checked with a couple of athlete friends who said that athletes get to miss a lot of class, which only makes me angrier. Rant over. But premeds applying to Williams, beware.
  19. This is not directly relevant, but my DD (in a university of around 6,000 undergraduates) has said that homeschooling has helped her adjust. She thinks she is more independent than other students because of homeschooling and this has made it easier for her to reach out to professors, different departments and so on. If she wanted to take a grad level class, she just went ahead and sorted it out. If a class she wanted wasn't offered, she found others who were interested and arranged it. She said that being a homeschooler gave her the confidence to do this as well as the attitude of "of course this should be possible". In terms of small schools, other DD is in a tiny school in the middle of nowhere. It does have a good international population, however. Most of her friends are international or TCKs or immigrant kids. DD is a TCK who hadn't lived in the US since she was five. She does get a bit frustrated by American kids who don't get or want to get the international angle, which is why I think she gravitates toward other internationals.
  20. Most Fridays are movie and order-in night. On Sunday mornings I will make a nice breakfast, depending on who's home. I think a board game night would be fun to add to that too. We started a summer "tradition" (at least, I'm determined to make this a tradition lol) a few years ago when I asked (forced) the kids to write down a short list of things they wanted to do in the summer. We write them on a poster or similar (this year it's a paper bunting) and hand it on the inside of the front door. Then we pick and choose the ones we want to do, depending on who is home, who is at camp, who is working etc. This year I asked for four things, in categories -- food/restaurant, indoor game, somewhere in our area that we have never been and other. It doesn't have to be at all fancy. DS12 put down family Mario Kart tournament, someone else put down going for dim sum, I put down a board game I like. Not everything gets done and not everyone does everything, but it's helpful to have an immediate go-to when we find ourselves with unexpected time.
  21. Here's a good version of the Abbey's Adeste Fideles from a few years ago, when DS was in the choir.
  22. You might find some ideas here: https://usagapyearfairs.org/programs/ While a lot of these are pay to play, I am pretty sure scholarships are available for some. A couple of points to consider -- would it make more sense to take a gap and apply to colleges during that year, or to apply now and defer? The advantage to applying during the gap year is applying on the strength of senior year grades and activities as well as the gap year activities. He would also have a lot more time to devote to the applications themselves, which is an advantage. Some schools may also not allow a deferral so you would need to check before applying. The advantage to applying now is certainty about the year after the gap year. He may also be able to tailor some of his gap year experience to dovetail with college requirements or intended extracurriculars. My DS announced in November last year, in the middle of application season, that hey he would actually like to do a gap year and apply to only a handful of schools. Argh. He found a job in February and will be working in a school as a sort of teaching assistant. As it's boarding, he will be living in, with full room and board, and a bit of a salary. In his case, he really wants to have the experience of a job and earning money, and this fits the bill. Other ideas would be for your DS to work for a few months, save up the money and then travel or take an intensive language class. There's quite a few programs for gap years that are a few months long, so he could possibly earn money in the fall/winter and then enroll in a summer program, for example.
  23. Well done Calvin! I don't know where he's looking for work or what field, but if he is looking in London for anything legal/finance, please feel free to pm me if you like. Happy to see whether any of my contacts would be willing to do an informational interview with Calvin or suggest openings.
  24. My 12 yo is reading/has recently read Elizabeth Enright, Helen Cresswell, Chris Bradford (Young Samurai), some Terry Deary, The Peterkins, is listening to The Five Little Peppers (somewhat out of character for him but hey) and just this week discovered Judith Kerr's When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which he liked so much he bought the next two books with his own money.
  25. I like the app Noom and the Lesley Sansone walking videos, largely because it doesn't take that long to walk a mile and she's cheerful (maybe too cheerful). I have an Apple watch and like tracking my miles and steps through the day and I like to set mini goals for the day and make sure I meet those. But it's all about what will work for you, so I would suggest trying a few things to see what helps.
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