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Kathy in Richmond

I hate being the guidance counselor!!

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Preparing the paperwork and dealing with college applications is my least favorite part of homeschooling!! I'd much, much rather spend my child's last year at home just learning and playing together...(I just needed to get that off my chest!)

 

A request - anybody here interested in forming an informal support group for moms of college applicants? I'm getting a bit of a late start here...

 

A whine - (feel free to skip this part)

 

It's been a seriously icky summer.

 

I lost one of my best friends to ovarian cancer. I just want to talk to her on the phone, or meet her for lunch and shopping (and I hate shopping). Heck, I'd even like to take her to chemo again.

 

My dh learned he'll be laid off in Dec after 20 years with the company, due to production shut downs. Worries...

 

My dd gained a boyfriend. He sounds really nice & I'd like to meet him, but she met him at summer camp in Seattle. She will probably need serious hand-holding and a listening ear from me when she returns home next week... new bf lives 1000 miles away from us.

 

My ds is spending the summer working in San Francisco and will have to fly back to campus in MA immediately afterwards. I won't see him till October.

 

My dh spent his available time off moving his newly-divorced crazy sister back to Louisiana, so no vacation for us. Well, i could have joined him for a 1000 mile trip in a dirty U-haul and then spent a week with my mil :-p

 

Now I've got to get my act together prepping college application stuff. At least dd's 12th grade is mostly good to go. We're going the cheapo route and doing it mostly at home; I don't have much desire to spend a lot outsourcing, etc until/if dh finds a new job. The good part is that we can use a lot of my ds's old textbooks for dd, and we like to work together at home.

 

Whew, it feels better just writing that out -thanks for letting me vent.

Now give me a kick somebody - i need to get things done!

 

~Kathy

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Kathy - I thought you were an old pro at this guidance counselor stuff :)

 

You posted recently about how you worded APs on your transcript - I liked it so much I went searching for exactly how you did it.

 

What colleges are on your dd's list?

 

Sorry about your friend. :sad: FWIW I think you were wise to not join your dh on his "vacation":lol:

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Wow -- you have a LOT going on! :grouphug:

 

And I totally agree -- being the guidance counselor is my LEAST favorite part of homeschooling!

 

My oldest at home is just entering tenth grade, and I sometimes practically sing for joy that I still have two more college-applicaton-free years before I need to deal with that yicky process again.

 

Best wishes to all who are going through that process this year!

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:grouphug:. You sure do have a lot going on. Yes, that trup ot LA doesn't sound like a vacation.

 

 

ONe reason that I am doing so much right now about my dd's college plan is what I have had to endured in our Jobean year of 2008. My middle is a junior this year and I am going to try to get her to do applications next summer if we are not moving then.

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My sympathies at the recent hard times. I hope that life will take a more positive turn soon.

 

I'd be happy to share copies of my daughter's transcript and other application documentation if you're interested and you think it might prove helpful.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I am so sorry you have to deal with so much emotional stuff at once! I agree that being the guidance counselor sucks.

 

I have a ds in his senior year this fall (we're in Richmond also:)) This is my first and I feel overwhelmed about some aspect of this college thing every day. Please feel free to vent on this board or Pm me anytime.

 

So sorry about your friend, and husbands job.

 

What colleges are on your dd list? (dd, right??)

 

Sign me up for the support group! That reminds me of something that really irked me yesterday....

I read about a homeschool mom who is charging for her time to provide advice on planning for college, making transcripts....she called it educational counseling. That is what I come to this board for!! It seems to me that as home educators, we ought to support each other and willingly help those with something we may have alraedy gone through. Am I not thinking about this correctly?? This mom charges $175 to be "on call" if you have any questions throughout the year! i really don't know what I would do if I didn't have the ladies on this board to answer my questions and offer encouragement. Homeschooling has not been a cheap adventure and most who school at home are pretty careful with funds. why not help someone for free if they just have a simple question?? Why charge per hour?? Maybe you all should start charging;)

 

That felt good to get that off my chest.

Kathy in Rich...PM me anytime to commisterate!

God's blessings on the rest of your summer.

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:grouphug: I'm sorry that you lost one of your best friends, and you have been through so much this summer.

 

I would be thrilled to join that support group. My oldest is entering his senior year and I feel that this summer has been spent writing up all those documents the college will need from this guidance-counselor-mom and planning out the school year. Let me know how to join --- I'll be there!

 

Carole

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Thank you to all my virtual friends here for your kind words of support. You're the best and it means a lot :grouphug:.

 

Today went a little bit better. Turned the internet off for a while and got down to work. I'm in the piles of papers-filled-with-ideas stage, and I need to move on to the organizing stage:tongue_smilie:. Slightly de-railed when I found a sweet thank-you note from my friend's husband in the mail. Good news later on: EPGY gave my dd a generous scholarship, so she will be able to take an online advanced math class that she needs. And dh & I took a nice long walk after dinner - exercise helps!

 

Yes, I've done the college app stuff before with my ds, but I still find it difficult the second time around. Dd is a different kid, with different talents and ideas about where to apply.

 

Gwen - was it any easier going through the process with your second child? What you wrote about the financial aid at U Chicago scares me; that's one of dd's top picks:001_huh:.

 

Readwithem & dkholland -She hasn't nailed down a final college list yet. Dd anticipates applying to 5 to 8 schools. Her strategy is to apply to three non-binding early action schools, then, depending on the results, she will adjust the rest of her list accordingly. She is looking for schools with excellent math departments (she needs access to grad-level courses), an intellectual atmosphere, and great need-based financial aid. Her tentative list includes William & Mary, Va Tech, RPI, Williams, U chicago, Harvey Mudd, MIT, Caltech, & Princeton. There will likely be some changes after she gets home from mathcamp - she's been learning a lot about different programs/colleges from the counselors there.

 

Kareni - thanks for your kind offer:); I have dd's transcript and course descriptions started. What really scares me is how much the Common App has changed since four years ago - I don't care for all the online submissions of guidance counselor paperwork, nor do I care for the new homeschool supplement. I liked the stuff I put together and snail-mailed for ds four years ago. Do you know if we can by-pass the online method and just package our stuff the old-fashioned way?

 

BlueHen & dkholland - I'd be glad to start a support group. Let me think about how - we could do a thread here, or I could do a google group. Any preference?

 

Thanks again everybody,

~Kathy

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It was much easier going through the college app process the second time --

 

1) The transcript was already formatted and just needed minor adjustments

2) The counselor letter ended up being totally different, but I started off with the same letter and just tweaked and tweaked and tweaked.....Starting off with a few ideas helped enormously

3) Many of the course descriptions were the same

4) Ds had watched dd go through the process and seemed a lot more determined to just "do it" and be done with the college app process.

5) I "knew" that ds would get accepted somewhere. I didn't know that with dd and was genuinely terrified that no place would accept her! Having the confidence that ds would get into a good college helped me enormously.

 

Financial aid, as you doubt know, is peculiar. Somewhere on the web there is a list of the average amount of debt held by graduates of each college, and U Chicago doesn't have a spectacular place on that list -- for a school that says that it meets demonstrated need, the students graduated with more debt than I would have expected. But hopefully all of your colleges will provide the aid you need. Some are surprisingly generous!

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Dear Kathy,

 

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. If only I were closer, I would love taking you to lunch!

 

Fortunately a friend (retired high school guidance counselor) worked with my son this summer on his Common App and has volunteered to read essays throughout the fall. She even supplied him with a proposed college list beyond the three schools he has had on his. Obviously I'll have to go shopping (which I too despise) for a nice gift--what a blessing this has been!

 

I fear that I have been living on another planet this summer, avoiding thoughts of homeschooling 12th grade, college apps, and my dear son's last year at home. (Yikes!) Reports on the CC situation in NC have moved me a bit out of my stupor, but not much since there is not much I can do at the moment but wait.

 

So I'm reading some good books, painting the shutters (when it is not raining), enjoying my friends, and hoping that my son will make good choices as he navigates his way through life.

 

That college counselor hat needs to be dusted off, I suppose. Maybe next week...

 

Hugs,

Jane

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Kareni - thanks for your kind offer:); I have dd's transcript and course descriptions started. What really scares me is how much the Common App has changed since four years ago - I don't care for all the online submissions of guidance counselor paperwork, nor do I care for the new homeschool supplement. I liked the stuff I put together and snail-mailed for ds four years ago. Do you know if we can by-pass the online method and just package our stuff the old-fashioned way?

 

 

Kathy,

 

I'm glad to hear that today was a better day.

 

I was fortunate that of the ten colleges to which my daughter applied that only one recommended the homeschool supplement to the Common Application. Consequently, I skipped it and only filled out the regular supplement (which admittedly had many of the same questions). While my daughter applied online to all of the schools, I as the counselor chose to mail the rest of the documentation. (One of her instructors chose to submit her letters of recommendation via mail while the other submitted electronically.)

 

Best wishes for positive days to come and regards,

Kareni

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What really scares me is how much the Common App has changed since four years ago - I don't care for all the online submissions of guidance counselor paperwork, nor do I care for the new homeschool supplement. I liked the stuff I put together and snail-mailed for ds four years ago. Do you know if we can by-pass the online method and just package our stuff the old-fashioned way?

 

Thanks again everybody,

~Kathy

 

Hi Kathy,

 

So sorry about the loss of your friend. Good friends are so hard to come by....

 

My ds was a senior last year and leaves for college in a few weeks. Who would have thunk it?

 

Anyway, regarding the common app's hs supplement, I just answered the few questions on the first page, and then on the "transcript" form, I put on each line "see transcript attached with secondary school report". That allowed me to format the transcript the way I wanted to and just upload it. Just make sure you use a standard font (like Times New Roman) when you do the transcript or the upload might not work correctly.

 

Getting over the hurdles with the Common App last fall was definitely a headache, but the good news is that once you get the information in there in the way you want, it just goes to all the schools automatically when the application is submitted. No photocopying and no trips to the Post Office for that.

 

My son did have a couple of people do letters of recommendation electronically through the Common App, but he also had several others to certain schools that were done via snail mail, and that was fine with all the schools.

 

Regarding the early action applications -- I would research those schools and what kind of financial aid they give to early action applicants. College confidential might be a good place to ask about this. I say this because my son applied to two schools EA, our state U & Case Western. Case has a reputation for being generous with merit aid, but although they accepted my son, they gave him absolutely nothing, even though his stats were high for them and the other 6 privates he applied to gave him merit scholarships. I still wonder whether he would have had a better chance at a scholarship if he'd applied RD there.

 

I agree that this guidance counselor stuff kind of stinks, but I do really like the fact that we as hs parents have much more control over this aspect of the application process than we would have if our children were in school.

 

Hope your day continues to be better,

Brenda

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Gwen -

It's good to know that the process was easier the second time through. I also felt more scared the first time - truly I didn't know how ds's acceptances would come out! And my dd also has the benefit of having seen her older brother go through all this stuff; she's aware of the pitfalls of procrastination:glare:.

 

About financial aid, yep, we had surprisingly variable results with my son. One EFC and five wildly different finaid offers...I remember that the difference between the best and worst offers was about 20K per year! Fortunately for ds, his best offer was also his number one choice. I'm not sure if we can get that lucky again with dd. We're just going with the "cast a wide net" approach.

 

Jane -

I'd love to do lunch with you, too:). If you're ever traveling up I-95, let me know! Your friend sounds like a real gem; how nice of her to work with your ds this summer. Sorry about the CC situation in NC; I've been following LoriM's posts about that.

 

Sounds like you've had a terrific summer; relaxation can be the best way to enter this next season. And we'll need a support group next fall for moms who've sent their babies off to college - not sure how I'll react to the empty nest.

 

Kareni-

How great to hear that you were able to avoid the hs supplement to the Common App,and especially that you snail-mailed your paperwork w/o consequences. I'll probably choose that route, too! I'm expecting that dd's outside recommenders will choose to submit electronically - that I'm grateful for, because I felt bad about all the busywork my ds's recommenders had to go through mailing each package out separately.

 

Brenda-

Thanks for all the Common App tips! I'll at least try to do my transcript that way; we'll see if I can be successful at it though - I lost my tech support staff when ds went to college three years ago!

 

As far as dd's Early Action schools go, i'm pretty sure that financial aid will not be different (one of the schools is her brother's; he was accepted EA there and it turned out to be his best finaid offer). I do know that Early decision is a poor choice when your kids needs aid. We're not doing ED, though.

 

That stinks about Case Western. I too have heard about their legendary financial aid. Has any homeschooler ever had luck getting it? My brother went there for engineering and loved it -great school!

 

Good luck to your ds as he starts his freshman year - what an exciting time for you!

 

~Kathy

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Case Western -- they do give some merit aid occasionally to homeschoolers. I know because CWRU offered dd1 7/8 tuition (or thereabouts -- I forget the details. It was a round number of dollars but made a very odd fraction of the tuition!) She applied EA and this was the first college we heard from. I just sat and cried when she received the offer.

 

My 10th grader is going to be our engineer, but unfortunately CWRU doesn't have a strong program in his desired major. :glare: I fell in love with CWRU when dd1 was looking at schools and am a bit disappointed that none of our kids will attend there!

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Why did you cry? You mean they offered her to pay only 1/8 tuition? Or did they only offer 1/8 tuition scholarship? I think I will be extremely happy if my last dd gets 7/8 tuition scholarship.

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I cried because of both surprise and joy. Shock might be a better word. I couldn't believe that any child who had been the guinea pig in my highly experimental "school" could possibly be accepted anywhere.

 

We had had lots of conversations about how if she didn't get in anywhere she could always go the the local community college, and the idea that some college not only would accept her but also give her with generous merit aid to attend surprised me beyond belief.

 

Did anyone else react that way when the first acceptance came?

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Did anyone else react that way when the first acceptance came?

 

Yes -- I was quite thrilled when ds was accepted at Case, but then very upset a few days later when I figured out that any scholarship offer would have come with the acceptance letter, and there was no way he was going to be able to attend Case without a scholarship.

 

We had to wait several more months after that to hear from the RD schools, and that was a very stressful period indeed.

 

Glad to hear, BTW, that Case gave your dd a generous scholarship offer. I'm glad to hear that they don't appear biased against all homeschoolers!

 

Brenda

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I cried because of both surprise and joy. Shock might be a better word. I couldn't believe that any child who had been the guinea pig in my highly experimental "school" could possibly be accepted anywhere.

 

Did anyone else react that way when the first acceptance came?

 

Well, I wouldn't say that I cried; however, it was a happy day indeed when the first offer came in! It was HIGHLY reassuring to have an acceptance in hand.

 

I agree with Brenda in MA that the wait between the early acceptances and Regular Decision responses was very LONG. So, if your child is interested in a school with a non-binding early application option, I'd recommend that he or she apply. Having an offer of acceptance early in the year is a great weight off the mind.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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