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Mad at the Top Tier Schools


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I just discovered that if my daughter wants to go to an Ivy League, her dual enrollment credits from CC basically act like high school credit.

 

I find it odd that if she had an associates degree from a community college after high school, she could transfer with ease (relatively speaking with the few spots available for cc transfers), but applying to an Ivy League right from high school, requires a complete restart of college credit.

 

I understand this on one hand- let's be honest, it is community college, not Harvard, but why in the heck don't some of the credits count?

 

Yep, a little rant and rave here- Now we are knocking off about a dozen schools from the future list.

 

In today's economy, it would be stupid to retake everything for the sake of retaking everything- comprehendo?

 

There are plenty of colleges that take the complete degree and she would transfer in as junior right out of high school. But why not the top tier schools?

 

Mad at the top tier schools-:glare:

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Do you have to count those two years as part of her high school? In other words, could you just re-work her high school transcript and graduate her before she began the cc classes? Then she'd just be a younger cc transfer? Or does the cc not give the AA if the classes are dual enrollment? That must be so frustrating! Do these colleges give credit for AP? Could she take AP tests this year to get credits? I think we'd do the same as you and just cross those schools off the list too.

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The trend is for less schools to accept cc credits. I've been told the main reason is because they can't trust the content of the classes. Some cc classes are good, but many just aren't up to the same level that top colleges offer. Professors have told me they lobby for this change. They see students coming in having cc classes who just aren't prepared (some are, but many aren't). I've heard that at EVERY school we've visited where we've talked to professors (and none were Ivy yet).

 

They still allow a few transfers in - most colleges do anyway - but even then, they don't always count credits. A kid from my ps spent his first two years at Penn State and an Ivy wouldn't even count those credits for courses taken in his major. They felt the caliber wasn't the same.

 

My middle son is taking cc classes, but I'm not counting on them to transfer since he wants higher level schools. Nonetheless, he needs them to get accepted (or at least they are very helpful since we don't have easy to find AP options - finding schools that offer the test that is - finding coursework is easy enough).

 

Everyone needs to make the decision that fits them and their situation. We've already decided my boys are going the 4 year route, so loss of credits is no big deal. If it matters to people, state schools almost always accept their cc credits. It could be wise to aim toward them.

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Alot of colleges don't accept them. Usually you can count on the state schools that are in the same state as the comm. college. But you should never count on them transfering any where else. Its not just the ivy legue schools.

Barb

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In today's economy, it would be stupid to retake everything for the sake of retaking everything- comprehendo?

 

 

 

I guess there's a reason they're considered "Ivy League." :)

 

On the one hand, it might sound stupid to retake the classes, on the other hand, depending on her field of study, it could be well worth it in the long run.

 

It is frustrating, though.

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It is one reason that "dual enrollment" can sometimes be problematic.

 

In California, it is possible for students under 18 to take classes at the c.c. for college credit--not as dual-enrolled high school students, but as college students. They pay tuition and everything. None of the homeschooled c.c. students I know ever had trouble as far as their c.c. credits not be accepted as college credits.

 

Which doesn't help your situation, I know. :tongue_smilie: Have you actually talked to someone who has authority? Because maybe you could challenge that if you talk to the right people, kwim?

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Well, private schools have always been known to be "snobby" regarding what credits they'll accept. The Ivies even more so. The more selective a school, the snobbier they can be. King's College (NYC) told us that dd#1's cc credits would be considered Honors.

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I think it is more about money. If those credits transfer, then those are fewer credits the student will take at the 4 year institution.

 

I don't agree. From the 2 CCs we have used in 2 different states, the classes have been subpar. I don't blame top schools from expecting students to retake the material. The classes that our 18 yos is taking at a supposedly very good CC are so subpar that I don't even believe they are the equivalent to high school level work. His English papers have been nothing more than journal entries; his business course consists of responding to 2 questions on a discussion forum (a couple of sentences each!!! :confused:)

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I just discovered that if my daughter wants to go to an Ivy League, her dual enrollment credits from CC basically act like high school credit.

 

I find it odd that if she had an associates degree from a community college after high school, she could transfer with ease (relatively speaking with the few spots available for cc transfers), but applying to an Ivy League right from high school, requires a complete restart of college credit.

 

I understand this on one hand- let's be honest, it is community college, not Harvard, but why in the heck don't some of the credits count?

 

Yep, a little rant and rave here- Now we are knocking off about a dozen schools from the future list.

 

In today's economy, it would be stupid to retake everything for the sake of retaking everything- comprehendo?

 

There are plenty of colleges that take the complete degree and she would transfer in as junior right out of high school. But why not the top tier schools?

 

Mad at the top tier schools-:glare:

 

I understand it. We've spoken to several private schools who take this approach - and they weren't even Ivy schools. As the public schools criteria for success declines, those students who want to have a more rigorous academic course load are able to do concurrent courses. However, I'm finding that the concurrent courses my sons have taken at the CC are really not as rigorous as the courses they take at the university.

 

Many colleges use a standard core curriculum for their freshman and sophomore students. This allows all the students to receive the college's emphasis on those courses. At the University of Dallas, core courses are taught using primary sources rather than textbooks. So one could not say that a US History course at the CC would be anything like US History at UD.

 

My ds#2 is taking concurrent US History at the CC. He is getting the high grade in the course because he is doing the work. He is spending very little time on the class, but in comparison to the other students, he must be doing more. Or maybe it's because he actually typed his paper?!? I cannot see any Ivy school considering his US History course to be equivalent to what they offer. The material will be vastly different, and the expectations of the teachers will be different as well.

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Well, private schools have always been known to be "snobby" regarding what credits they'll accept. The Ivies even more so. The more selective a school, the snobbier they can be. King's College (NYC) told us that dd#1's cc credits would be considered Honors.

 

With the profs we've talked with in person, snobby is not an adjective I'd use. They were very clearly concerned with the level of education received via the classes and whether the student would know enough from those classes. Every single prof had the same concern - from higher level schools to even more mid-level schools (we didn't visit lower level schools). To a person, they all said some classes prepare students well, but most don't and they would rather err on the not accepting credit than accepting it - especially if it's a class within the major. Actually, all profs we talked with only cared if it was a class within their major. The college policy might go beyond that though.

 

Having the little bit of experience I have with a so-so cc, I personally agree with the profs. I know everyone WANTS to think their cc prepares a student well, but... many don't. Those profs teaching the upper level classes have seen it.

 

Parents with students in our high school think it prepares students well too, but the proof lies in how well (or not) the students do afterward. Sadly, most have difficulties.

 

Some schools offer testing (esp for Calc and languages) to determine level, credits, and/or placement, but I haven't seen the same for other types of classes yet. It would be nice if they had something like that to determine the value of each student's education and award credit accordingly. APs (or Clep) come closest I suppose, but even those have their limits.

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I don't want to start a war. :001_smile:

 

I will share my experience though; I hope it helps. I spent three years at a NY State SUNY school. It was a great experience. I started out as a dual major: classical piano and Tonmeister studies. I wandered around a little; I spent some time in the Physics department and the 3/2 engineering department as a mechanical engineering major. I transferred to Columbia U and finished up; I graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering.

 

My senior year in high school, I took Freshman Comp through a dual enrollment with our local community college. The credit didn't transfer back then to an in-state SUNY school. I took it again my freshman year; I thought it would be an easy A. It wasn't. It was harder and more demanding than the CC class. Then I transferred to Columbia. They require two semesters of The Great Books - back then it was part of the Freshman core. I was furious. I was transferring in as a junior with a TON of credits; I was REALLY indignant that I was essentially going to be taking Freshman "English" for a third time. This was ridiculous.

 

The class was NOTHING like what I had experienced. I was better prepared than some, but DEFINITELY not better prepared than all of the kids in small discussion-heavy class. A LOT of these kids had attended small private prep schools and they already had some idea how to approach the great books. I HATED that class. I never got to the point where I felt like I could breathe. EVER.

 

In hind-sight I am VERY grateful for the experience. When I discovered TWTM, I knew what I wanted to do with my kids; that experience at Columbia sealed my resolve to give my kids a great books education - on SOME level - what ever I could handle.

 

I was a good student. I earned good grades. But I found out for myself that all "English" courses are not the same. I never had the opportunity to take any upper level humanities courses at Columbia. I dipped my toe in the water (enough to know that it was really too hot for me; IT JUST WAS - there is no way around it; I was NOT prepared to swim with those kids) and then I spent the rest of my days in the math, science, and engineering building earning my degree. But if I had to make an educated guess? I would say with quite a bit of confidence that there is probably no way *I* could have skipped those core English courses at CU and managed in an upper level course. My two experiences with CC and public university Freshman English were NOT equivalents. I would have been at a SEVERE disadvantage. I am not sure that I would have ever felt like I was standing on solid ground as a student. I just didn't have the same background as those kids. I didn't have the same tools.

 

I'm not saying that your daughter's situation would be the same as mine. But I can say that I can see why the profs have pushed for the kids to take the foundational courses at the ivy. You can't take a group of 300 level students where you need them to go if they don't all have access to the same tool box. AND I'm not saying that every kid who starts out at every ivy is going to HAVE all of those tools in their box by the time they get to that 300 level course. Absolutely NOT! But some of the kids will. And they will set the bar for the rest of the class. The prof will teach to their level. And the rest of the class will feel the waters flooding in around their nostrils. That feeling of NEVER being able to solidly get your head above the water line is a horrible experience. Very discouraging. The stats claim that it must occur. But I've done EVERYTHING I can to make sure that it doesn't happen to my kid.

 

Self-efficacy is important. I would sincerely try to see their motives behind their "rule." It might not be as self-serving as it first seems.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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When a college grants a student a degree, the college is basically putting a stamp on them saying, "We certify that this person is educated." Put another way, the college is putting their name and reputation behind the student.

 

The only means the college has of actually knowing that the student is educated up to the standard of the college is to have the student take his classes there! Many colleges do grant credit for classes taken elsewhere, but they are under no obligation to do so.

 

My kids have taken CC classes, but quite frankly I am surprised at the lack of rigor in the classes -- and our local CC is supposedly a "good" one. I know that some CC's provide an excellent education, but the colleges have no way to really track which professors at which CC's have high standards. It's easier to say that no credit will be given for CC classes.

 

I have regarded my kids' CC classes as part of my providing the best high school education I can for my kids. Honestly, I have found the AP classes to be in general much more rigorous than the CC classes. If they get credit for the classes, fine. If not, that's fine too.

 

In my experience, there is a HUGE difference between the classes at our local CC and the ones my kids are taking at a "most selective" LAC. The LAC classes require much more writing and analysis, much more preparation, and just a higher level of thinking. (Don't throw any tomatoes please!)

 

One last thought -- by not allowing much transfer credit, the college is preventing an underprepared student from landing in a rigorous 200- or 300-level class and sinking.

 

My story -- I spent my freshman year (mid-80's) at a "prestigious" LAC (USNWR top-20). I took honors chemistry, calculus 1 and calculus 2 as well as a bunch of humanities classes. I then transferred to a "prestigious' (one of the top handful in the country) engineering school The engineering school gave me NO CREDIT for my chemistry or math classes! That hurt, but I will say that the math and science classes at the engineering school really were much more rigorous than those at the LAC. In the long run, I am glad I had to retake the classes.

Edited by Gwen in VA
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I think it is more about money. If those credits transfer, then those are fewer credits the student will take at the 4 year institution.

 

I disagree. It is about the quality of the education.

Many CC classes are less rigorous than the corresponding classes at a good four year university. Many transfer students struggle because of the different expectations.

(For that matter, AP classes, too are less rigorous- I see students in my classes who have taken AP and do not know the material at the level it is expected. So using AP to get college credit and waive the requirements for certain intro courses can be a very bad strategy)

 

A selective school can be selective because it offers a better quality of education. So naturally the content of their classes will not be comparable to the content of a CC class- and hence they will not accept the credit.

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The trend is for less schools to accept cc credits. I've been told the main reason is because they can't trust the content of the classes. Some cc classes are good, but many just aren't up to the same level that top colleges offer. Professors have told me they lobby for this change. They see students coming in having cc classes who just aren't prepared (some are, but many aren't). I've heard that at EVERY school we've visited where we've talked to professors (and none were Ivy yet).

 

.

 

 

This makes sense. I've just learned that at the local HS the applied level of courses are for teens who want to go to a vocational college or a 2 year college. Those wanting to go to a 4 year college have to take at least the lower academic level (in some subject there are 4 levels, and later on when there is an AP course, 5).

 

It's tough, of course, since my dc may need to start at a CC if they don't get scholarships, etc, so after hearing all of this we'll have to do lots of homework first.

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I just wanted to chime in that I was also surprised at the lack of rigor offered in my dd's Eng 101 class. However, her Biology 101 class offered the level of rigor I expected for a college class. OTOH, other Eng 101 classes at the same CC seemed much more rigorous.

 

lisaj

Edited by 74Heaven
Est humanum errare.
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I don't have first hand experience, but the concensus around my area, MA, is that CC classes are BELOW the level of private high school and the better public high school classes.

 

 

While top tier colleges have higher standards than most CC's, they aren't always the best colleges. There are a number of criteria used to rank colleges that have little to do with how well they teach undergrads. This is why schools like Harvard work hard to invite many top students to apply. They make about 1.5 million (it's been a while since I read the figure) dollars per year on applications so that they can accept only a few. I haven't done the research to compare the CC's around this part of MA to see how they compare to the local ps AP & honours courses, so I can't comment. I do know that they don't get enough interested students in our ps to offer AP Physics and don't always have enough to offer AP Chem. However, they have an excellent honours & AP math program.

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While I very much appreciate the services that CCs provide, the PPs are right that they do not provide anywhere near the same academic rigor as four-year universities, Ivy or not. There's a mix of reasons but it comes down to this: the purpose of CCs is to serve the needs of the community -- the entire community, not the smartest parts of the community. The courses must be designed to be approachable by every adult in the community because they are open enrollment. When I taught at a CC, I was told in orientation that I must design my courses for a mid-high school level, but I should be prepared to offer remedial help to those who weren't there yet. I was glad to do it and felt like I was offering a real service. On the other hand, Ivy Leagues accept only the most qualified students, and their courses are taught at a much higher level. We know that all educational experiences are not created equal (hence the need for homeschooling). This is also true for higher education. I think we could debate on the relative merits of the Ivy Leagues vs. the best private and public unis, but there's a clear disparity between CCs and Ivies.

 

Our well-regarded state system does accept transfer credit from our state CCs, but the private schools do not. For DS14, since he's not very academically inclined, I'll probably recommend to him that he do CC for his first two years, then transfer to the local branch of the state school if he wants to continue for his BA. If he decides he does actually enjoy academics, I'll encourage him to try for the anchor state school for undergrad and then, if he wants to go further and has the necessary record, try for the Ivys for graduate school.

 

Having said all that, I know it's frustrating to think about retaking a bunch of classes. I had to do it myself when I was in school and was irritated by having to do so, but it was worth it in the end! :)

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The other side to this is how unfortunate it is to have to take freshman classes and never to get to the upper division ones that are better. I took the AP English exam and got a 5 on it, and so was able to skip freshman English at the university. If I had had to take that class, I would not have been able to take ANY advanced literature classes there, because my chemical engineering curriculum did not allow time for more than 4-5 'choice' classes during the entire BS program. I'm so glad that I could skip those huge, TA classes and instead take upper division history, Near Eastern Studies, and literature classes.

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While top tier colleges have higher standards than most CC's, they aren't always the best colleges.

 

My university fired one of the best teachers in my dept because she didn't bring in research grants. Last I heard, she was teaching at a state school.

 

Not to say that there aren't excellent teachers at top tier schools but the focus is a bit different.

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I'm not saying that your daughter's situation would be the same as mine. But I can say that I can see why the profs have pushed for the kids to take the foundational courses at the ivy. You can't take a group of 300 level students where you need them to go if they don't all have access to the same tool box. AND I'm not saying that every kid who starts out at every ivy is going to HAVE all of those tools in their box by the time they get to that 300 level course. Absolutely NOT! But some of the kids will. And they will set the bar for the rest of the class. The prof will teach to their level. And the rest of the class will feel the waters flooding in around their nostrils. That feeling of NEVER being able to solidly get your head above the water line is a horrible experience. Very discouraging. The stats claim that it must occur. But I've done EVERYTHING I can to make sure that it doesn't happen to my kid.

 

Self-efficacy is important. I would sincerely try to see their motives behind their "rule." It might not be as self-serving as it first seems.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

:iagree:

 

My son is taking Eng 101 at CC and *breezing* through it. Um, no, not good. This is stuff he covered as a homeschooler in 9th and 10th grade. And I lived in a town that ahd a prestigious east coast prep school. We couldn't afford it, but I was friends with a lot of the kids and let me tell you, there is a difference in how the private school prep school are taught. The level those kids are at--there's no comparison and it's not just the academics, it's the lifestyle. That is why I homeschool. I didn't want my kids to have the same education that I had--I wanted then to have what the college prep had and I'm doing my best to make that happen for them.

Edited by justamouse
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The other side to this is how unfortunate it is to have to take freshman classes and never to get to the upper division ones that are better. I took the AP English exam and got a 5 on it, and so was able to skip freshman English at the university. If I had had to take that class, I would not have been able to take ANY advanced literature classes there, because my chemical engineering curriculum did not allow time for more than 4-5 'choice' classes during the entire BS program. I'm so glad that I could skip those huge, TA classes and instead take upper division history, Near Eastern Studies, and literature classes.

 

 

Another good reason to do AP courses. My dd's judo sensai's eldest dd is a college math major. She scored a 5 on her AP Calc exam and was able to skip 3 Calc courses. She is a classic Type A person (I realize those types aren't all that accurate for everyone) and took a number of AP courses. She hasn't taken any English at college as a result, and so has taken music classes for her arts courses (she plays the trombone in the college orchestra), etc.

 

This thread is having me rethink dual enrollment, and what it would mean to any of my dc who might do it. Not that we wouldn't even if we couldn't get credit later, but we'd have to figure out the best scenario. Although legally we should be able to go to ps part time here, they seem to make it difficult at this ps high school, at least when you come in from homeschooling.

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This makes sense. I've just learned that at the local HS the applied level of courses are for teens who want to go to a vocational college or a 2 year college. Those wanting to go to a 4 year college have to take at least the lower academic level (in some subject there are 4 levels, and later on when there is an AP course, 5).

 

It's tough, of course, since my dc may need to start at a CC if they don't get scholarships, etc, so after hearing all of this we'll have to do lots of homework first.

 

I fully understand about the high school. The majority of kids that graduate from our high school test into remedial classes when they go to a higher level 4 year school (IF they get accepted, which isn't that often). My kids have always been more academically inclined, so when we went to talk with the middle school principal about academic matters, he told us that the school was there to teach to the average student. The average student around here works in trades or goes to cc... so the school teaches toward that. My school, and every school in both counties around us test below average on SAT scores for our state. Their intent is not to get kids to highly selective schools.

 

I'm secretly all in favor of most aspects of NCLB because it is forcing our school to make some changes that ought to be for the better. Required testing is helping our school try to reach better levels - levels I considered routine at my good high school (when I was in school). We're in a cycle here that needs to be broken IMO.

 

My youngest is back in high school by his choice. I really wish he wouldn't feel the way he does, but it is what it is and we'll be supplementing his education to try to get him up where he belongs. It's not Ivy, but it's not as low as is expected around here either.

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Another good reason to do AP courses. My dd's judo sensai's eldest dd is a college math major. She scored a 5 on her AP Calc exam and was able to skip 3 Calc courses. She is a classic Type A person (I realize those types aren't all that accurate for everyone) and took a number of AP courses. She hasn't taken any English at college as a result, and so has taken music classes for her arts courses (she plays the trombone in the college orchestra), etc.

 

This thread is having me rethink dual enrollment, and what it would mean to any of my dc who might do it. Not that we wouldn't even if we couldn't get credit later, but we'd have to figure out the best scenario. Although legally we should be able to go to ps part time here, they seem to make it difficult at this ps high school, at least when you come in from homeschooling.

 

Some schools are moving away from accepting AP courses for credit in the major as well. Calculus is one that many schools are looking at requiring the student to take a placement test at university as well, due to (what the professors consider) the inappropriate overemphasis on use of the graphing calculator to solve problems. Recently we (at the university) have seen students coming in who place into Calc 2-3 by AP credit, but lack the algebraic ability to keep up with the course once enrolled.

 

Moral: Look at the universities you're going to attend -- don't assume that one or the other will be better. Also consider that sometimes, even if retaking a course will be very frustrating, it is not solely intended to drag money out of you but rather intended to ensure success in the upper-level courses. If we start requiring a non-calculator placement test in order to skip calculus, it will not be because we want to torture students or steal their money, but because students who take calc 3 and upper-division courses without what *we* consider the minimum standard of knowledge in algebra and calculus almost invariably flounder.

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I have regarded my kids' CC classes as part of my providing the best high school education I can for my kids.

 

This is how we view them too - for more in depth high school than I can offer (like Microbio with a better lab and Public Speaking with a "public") and to have access for Letter of Recommendation letters for applications.

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Some schools are moving away from accepting AP courses for credit in the major as well. Calculus is one that many schools are looking at requiring the student to take a placement test at university as well, due to (what the professors consider) the inappropriate overemphasis on use of the graphing calculator to solve problems. Recently we (at the university) have seen students coming in who place into Calc 2-3 by AP credit, but lack the algebraic ability to keep up with the course once enrolled.

 

Moral: Look at the universities you're going to attend -- don't assume that one or the other will be better. Also consider that sometimes, even if retaking a course will be very frustrating, it is not solely intended to drag money out of you but rather intended to ensure success in the upper-level courses. If we start requiring a non-calculator placement test in order to skip calculus, it will not be because we want to torture students or steal their money, but because students who take calc 3 and upper-division courses without what *we* consider the minimum standard of knowledge in algebra and calculus almost invariably flounder.

 

I am SO GLAD to hear this is happening. In our school district we have kids start learning to use a calculator in 1st grade. They are told they don't need to memorize any facts because they will always be able to use a calculator. In high school (where I mainly see them as I sub for math/science courses) they are 100% resistant to doing any math without a calculator. Very few can handle fractions, exponents or roots, or "see" a graph from an equation. I've had students need to do 2x4 with a calculator - in an Alg 2 class. All stats and calc are done with calculators. When I try to show them how to do things without one, they don't even care to pay attention. They know they don't have to.

 

True math is being so lost. I'm glad they need to learn it at some point.

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Having been to a community college, I have to say that the classes are subpar. Algebra, English, etc were all basically remedial for the many students that never learned it in highschool (due to subpar teaching in the highschools). Psych and sociology were very basic with discussion. Biology was no different than biology I took my freshman year of highschool and the books weren't much different. The rest was technical training for getting a job. Basically, CC wasn't much different than the business school I also attended, other than it offered more options. I can see why a college or university on a higher tier wouldn't accept them as more than highschool credit or highschool honors (and even honors would be pushing it).

Edited by mommaduck
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While I very much appreciate the services that CCs provide, the PPs are right that they do not provide anywhere near the same academic rigor as four-year universities, Ivy or not. There's a mix of reasons but it comes down to this: the purpose of CCs is to serve the needs of the community -- the entire community, not the smartest parts of the community. The courses must be designed to be approachable by every adult in the community because they are open enrollment. When I taught at a CC, I was told in orientation that I must design my courses for a mid-high school level, but I should be prepared to offer remedial help to those who weren't there yet. I was glad to do it and felt like I was offering a real service. On the other hand, Ivy Leagues accept only the most qualified students, and their courses are taught at a much higher level. We know that all educational experiences are not created equal (hence the need for homeschooling). This is also true for higher education. I think we could debate on the relative merits of the Ivy Leagues vs. the best private and public unis, but there's a clear disparity between CCs and Ivies.

 

 

 

:iagree: You sum it up well, though I would put "top tier 4 year schools" in instead of "Ivies" for your last word in my quote.

 

AND, each person has to decide what the best education is for them. Not everyone needs to be at a top college. But, it is a myth to assume cc class A = 4 year class A. Sometimes they might be. Usually they aren't.

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First, I'd like to say I think it's a shame that CC classes are not up to par in many places. College ought to be college level, imho.

 

Now that my opinion is out of the way :tongue_smilie:, my "adopted daughter" is taking remedial college courses and they are pathetically easy. I understand they are remedial, but they are for one sememster, then she is supposed to be ready for college level classes. Honestly, and I do not exaggerate, she is doing the same level of work my dc are doing in Phonics Road level 2, just in double time. I do not see how on earth she will be ready, in any way, for rigorous college classes if this is the preparation given.

 

In addition to lackluster rigor, most of her coursework is via computer, i.e. very little instructor time, and carry the allowance of 3 tries to turn in work, which we understand is the college's policy. Really? In college. I'm so disappointed that college costs so much and yet, I haven't noticed the depth of education I had hoped. I pray it gets better than this.

 

FWIW, this is a well regarded school in the state of FL.

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If you want to get even madder, go watch some of the videos of lectures at places like Harvard that are online. They're virtually the same course you'd get at any other college in the US, most community colleges included (yeah,some ccs are awful, but most really are giving a decent education). And keep in mind that the courses they're putting up on the web are probably the ones they're most proud of.

So why does Harvard think they're so special?

 

I can understand the idea of having all students studying the same material together as it builds more of an academic community. For that reason alone, I can understand where they're coming from. But it isn't about the quality of their courses. The Ivy Leagues really aren't any better than most other colleges.

 

I've been at a number of colleges, big and small, private and public, including a couple ccs. The only difference I could ever see was in the motivation of the students -- and that wasn't always lower at the ccs. Sometimes it was higher. The big name schools like Harvard and Berkeley and such have themselves believing that a) they're attracting better students, and b) they're providing a better education, but it just isn't true. They aren't necessarily attracting the best students. Lots of really sharp kids that look like Harvard material are ending up at small liberal arts colleges, large state universities and ccs. And the kids I know who are going to Harvard and Yale are no brighter than them. In fact, they might be LESS bright, if only because they think they must be special because they're attending Harvard or wherever.

 

As far as undergrad research goes, I have a running discussion with my neighbor who keeps telling me the quality of undergrad research in his fancy chem lab at the local U is SO much better than what kids are getting at the local private colleges. He's just misinformed. My job is working with undergrad research students at a small college, so I know. His fancy lab at the U isn't doing any better job with their undergrad (they only have one). The great thing about the undergrad research going on at the local private colleges is that every student who wants to do research is getting to do it. At that fancy chem lab at the U, they have ONE undergrad doing any research. Out of how many chem majors? And is that one undergrad publishing papers and presenting at meetings like our students are doing? I haven't heard that he is.

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Another good reason to do AP courses. My dd's judo sensai's eldest dd is a college math major. She scored a 5 on her AP Calc exam and was able to skip 3 Calc courses.

 

As a college physics instructor, I would like to offer a word of caution (I believe I have written this here before).

The AP content is not necessarily equivalent to the content of the introductory courses the student can opt out of. I would not recommend using AP tests to skip introductory science courses if that is what your student wants to major in - even though the university may accept the AP credit, the university class may go beyond what is covered in AP. It is particularly important if the class is something that is built on (such as a first class in a sequence).

Skipping ALL of calc would have eliminated any issues for Karin's DD - OTOH, skipping calc 1 and being required to take calc 2 and 3 at the university could have backfired.

 

AP is an excellent preparation for university classes, but not in all cases a direct substitute.

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As far as undergrad research goes, I have a running discussion with my neighbor who keeps telling me the quality of undergrad research in his fancy chem lab at the local U is SO much better than what kids are getting at the local private colleges. He's just misinformed. My job is working with undergrad research students at a small college, so I know. His fancy lab at the U isn't doing any better job with their undergrad (they only have one). The great thing about the undergrad research going on at the local private colleges is that every student who wants to do research is getting to do it. At that fancy chem lab at the U, they have ONE undergrad doing any research. Out of how many chem majors? And is that one undergrad publishing papers and presenting at meetings like our students are doing? I haven't heard that he is.

 

I think small schools with research are great IF the student knows what they want to research and can find a small school with a prof doing that sort of thing. The problem with my son is he's not certain what he wants to research... so going to a larger school with more research options will likely be better for him. Note... this is different than a large school that doesn't generally let undergrads do research (many don't).

 

That said, he's taking Advanced Chem, Advanced Bio, and Microbio this year to see if he can sort out his likes and dislikes to better look for his top choice schools.

 

Otherwise... I agree that Ivies aren't always the best choice pending ones major and fit. I disagree that there isn't a difference in educational levels among colleges (based on my experiences) and even within colleges based on majors or profs. Small schools can indeed be good. My oldest is going to a small school he loves AND it appears to be the best in his major for what he wants to do.

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It is common and it is not just about concerns with the quality of community college classes. Our state schools will not accept any college classes for credit if they were used to fill any high school requirements. So, my son will need 4 years of science in high school to be considered for a bio major, but 2 years of those classes (13 credi hours) will be at the local college. So, he may be able to skip classes, but they will not give him college credit. Also, many of the colleges we are looking at (small LACs) will only accept one college class per discipline (one biology, one english, one latin, etc.) So, since my son will have 2 English classes and 3 biology classes, he will only be able to transfer credit for one of each.

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First, I'd like to say I think it's a shame that CC classes are not up to par in many places. College ought to be college level, imho.

 

the purpose of CCs is to serve the needs of the community -- the entire community, not the smartest parts of the community. The courses must be designed to be approachable by every adult in the community because they are open enrollment. When I taught at a CC, I was told in orientation that I must design my courses for a mid-high school level, but I should be prepared to offer remedial help to those who weren't there yet.

 

The joke around here is that the entrance requirements for our CC are that you have to be "18 and breathing." California's 112 CCs serve an amazingly diverse population. Until fairly recently they were free (now they're still cheap - $26/credit full price). With such a huge range of abilities in the classes, the level of instruction has to be compromised.

 

I don't have first hand experience, but the concensus around my area, MA, is that CC classes are BELOW the level of private high school and the better public high school classes.

 

The director of admissions at Caltech told me they don't consider CC classes to be the level of a good honors or AP high-school class -- specifically, that the oft-quoted formula of a semester of CC being equal to a year of high school was NOT true, in his opinion. He definitely recommended AP physics over a CC class. (Also, Caltech allows NO credit from any source; all freshmen start with zero credits. It may be possible to test into higher levels, however.)

 

Interesting thread! I think it all comes down to what works for your kid and what philosophy you agree with ... we have so much choice in this country (unlike in countries that have taxpayer-funded tertiary education for those who make the cut -- sometimes decided in 5th grade ... but that's another story ...). There are so many different ways to get a quality education in the USA. If you don't like a college's policy, vote with your feet!

 

This came up recently in a yahoo group I'm in -- the poster's daughter had something like 9 APs by junior year and USC still wanted SAT IIs, just because she's homeschooled. The mother politely but pointedly informed USC that her daughter would not be applying there.

 

~Laura

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Some schools are moving away from accepting AP courses for credit in the major as well. Calculus is one that many schools are looking at requiring the student to take a placement test at university as well, due to (what the professors consider) the inappropriate overemphasis on use of the graphing calculator to solve problems. Recently we (at the university) have seen students coming in who place into Calc 2-3 by AP credit, but lack the algebraic ability to keep up with the course once enrolled.

 

Moral: Look at the universities you're going to attend -- don't assume that one or the other will be better. Also consider that sometimes, even if retaking a course will be very frustrating, it is not solely intended to drag money out of you but rather intended to ensure success in the upper-level courses. If we start requiring a non-calculator placement test in order to skip calculus, it will not be because we want to torture students or steal their money, but because students who take calc 3 and upper-division courses without what *we* consider the minimum standard of knowledge in algebra and calculus almost invariably flounder.

 

 

Hmm, I thought it was based on the score you obtained on the AP exam, not on taking the course. The girl I mentioned got a 5 on her AP Calc exam and did very well on her other AP exams. However, if overuse of the graphing calculator doesn't affect your score on the exam, I can see why some colleges are requiring a test. Do you NEED a graphing calculator for Calculus?

 

Thanks for the heads up!

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As a college physics instructor, I would like to offer a word of caution (I believe I have written this here before).

The AP content is not necessarily equivalent to the content of the introductory courses the student can opt out of. I would not recommend using AP tests to skip introductory science courses if that is what your student wants to major in - even though the university may accept the AP credit, the university class may go beyond what is covered in AP. It is particularly important if the class is something that is built on (such as a first class in a sequence).

Skipping ALL of calc would have eliminated any issues for Karin's DD - OTOH, skipping calc 1 and being required to take calc 2 and 3 at the university could have backfired.

 

AP is an excellent preparation for university classes, but not in all cases a direct substitute.

 

Thanks. My dd isn't the one who did this, it's my middle dd's judo sensai's dd (try saying that 10 times in a row quickly ;).) My eldest is only 15. My db also teaches university Physics, and I'm sure he'd agree with you if I were to ask him. As for this other girl, she did do some college Calculus, but then a lot of whatever math is need to be a actuary.

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I am SO GLAD to hear this is happening. In our school district we have kids start learning to use a calculator in 1st grade. They are told they don't need to memorize any facts because they will always be able to use a calculator. In high school (where I mainly see them as I sub for math/science courses) they are 100% resistant to doing any math without a calculator. Very few can handle fractions, exponents or roots, or "see" a graph from an equation. I've had students need to do 2x4 with a calculator - in an Alg 2 class. All stats and calc are done with calculators. When I try to show them how to do things without one, they don't even care to pay attention. They know they don't have to.

 

True math is being so lost. I'm glad they need to learn it at some point.

 

This reminds me of a science fiction story I read once where machines did all of the math & were used to fight in wars. One day someone started to see patterns & figured out the math facts...

 

True math will never be lost as long as there are those of us who teach our dc to do math without calculators :). Not every school district allows caclulator use that young, btw, but they allow it too soon around here. I've heard a number of teens complain that they can't understand Algebra because they're told to do it on a calculator. I don't know much about it having never done Algebra on a calculator.

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In our school district we have kids start learning to use a calculator in 1st grade. They are told they don't need to memorize any facts because they will always be able to use a calculator. In high school (where I mainly see them as I sub for math/science courses) they are 100% resistant to doing any math without a calculator. Very few can handle fractions, exponents or roots, or "see" a graph from an equation. I've had students need to do 2x4 with a calculator - in an Alg 2 class. All stats and calc are done with calculators. When I try to show them how to do things without one, they don't even care to pay attention. They know they don't have to.

 

And then they will go to college and be robbed of their calculator for many of their math and science classes... ouch.

Many student's basic arithmetic and algebra skills are sorely lacking. I hate to sound like an old geezer, but honestly: we did not use calculators when I went to college and HAD to figure things out without, and that meant we were developing a much better understanding of functions etc.

The students in my algebra and trig based college physics class can not tell me what a sine function looks like, or what the largest value for a sine is. Sad.

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The students in my algebra and trig based college physics class can not tell me what a sine function looks like, or what the largest value for a sine is. Sad.

I can no longer tell you that, either, although I could have in high school. Sad! Calculators were not allowed in high school back then; they were new and very expensive.

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It isn't necessarily a bad idea to start over. After the first term, she could probably take a heavier course load til she catches up with herself. But that shouldn't take long. Like you said, it's not like she has 60 credits. Additionally, she may well benefit from taking these courses again (many people do benefit from additional and/or different exposure). Also, having recent experience with these courses will make them nice stepping stones at a top school.

 

The other consideration is that financial aid at some of these schools can be really sweet. So it may not cost much, if any, more.

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And then they will go to college and be robbed of their calculator for many of their math and science classes... ouch.

Many student's basic arithmetic and algebra skills are sorely lacking. I hate to sound like an old geezer, but honestly: we did not use calculators when I went to college and HAD to figure things out without, and that meant we were developing a much better understanding of functions etc.

The students in my algebra and trig based college physics class can not tell me what a sine function looks like, or what the largest value for a sine is. Sad.

 

When we do trig functions all they want to know is what button to push. Then they try to memorize it all. They don't particularly care what it looks like or even what it is. They briefly need to know what they look like to do shifts, but since they don't truly know what it is, it is soon forgotten.

 

We did math without a calculator when I was in high school too. Graphing calculators came out AFTER I graduated from college (at least on an individual basis). I had to learn how to use them for Calc to sub for the math classes. I never have learned how to use them for Stats, but will need to so my son can do the AP if we can find a place it's offered nearby. When I sub in Stats I show kids how to find things the "old fashioned" way. Not that they care... I'm just a Luddite.

 

Actually, while they don't particularly care to learn the math without calculators, most appreciate that I teach the concepts to them. They definitely learn better when they understand the concepts. That said, I had one youngun (senior, in Calc) flat out tell me, "Just give me the formula, I don't want to know the concept." At least he was honest, but he definitely didn't belong in that class.

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When we do trig functions all they want to know is what button to push. Then they try to memorize it all. They don't particularly care what it looks like or even what it is. They briefly need to know what they look like to do shifts, but since they don't truly know what it is, it is soon forgotten.

 

We did math without a calculator when I was in high school too. Graphing calculators came out AFTER I graduated from college (at least on an individual basis). I had to learn how to use them for Calc to sub for the math classes. I never have learned how to use them for Stats, but will need to so my son can do the AP if we can find a place it's offered nearby. When I sub in Stats I show kids how to find things the "old fashioned" way. Not that they care... I'm just a Luddite.

 

Actually, while they don't particularly care to learn the math without calculators, most appreciate that I teach the concepts to them. They definitely learn better when they understand the concepts. That said, I had one youngun (senior, in Calc) flat out tell me, "Just give me the formula, I don't want to know the concept." At least he was honest, but he definitely didn't belong in that class.

 

My ds#1 has not been allowed to use graphing calculators in any of his calculus courses. He has been allowed to use a basic function calculator only, but he says it makes things go to slowly. He prefers to do it without the calculator help.

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Hmm, I thought it was based on the score you obtained on the AP exam, not on taking the course. The girl I mentioned got a 5 on her AP Calc exam and did very well on her other AP exams. However, if overuse of the graphing calculator doesn't affect your score on the exam, I can see why some colleges are requiring a test. Do you NEED a graphing calculator for Calculus?

 

Thanks for the heads up!

 

The placement *is* based on the AP score, but the calculator is required on the AP exam and some problems cannot be solved without a calculator.

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My ds#1 has not been allowed to use graphing calculators in any of his calculus courses. He has been allowed to use a basic function calculator only, but he says it makes things go to slowly. He prefers to do it without the calculator help.

 

If I tried insisting on that in school I think I'd be lynched. Since our school only teaches to the "average" kid and the "average" [college bound] kid around here goes to cc or a low level 4 year school, they see no reason to insist on more difficult things in class (even when I suggest things to the teachers).

 

I was in a College Alg class this past week and decided to do math SAT Qu's of the Day for warm-ups. One of the questions asked about possible side lengths of a triangle with sides of 2 and 12. Choices were 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14. Absolutely NONE of my students in this college level class got it right. Some will be getting cc credit for this course... In my Alg 2 classes a few got it right, but for the wrong reasons. None at all in the three classes got it right for the right reason. It was sad.

 

My two boys got it right... easily.

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Really, its not just cc credit. Even it you transfer from one university to the next - you are not assured any credits will transfer.

 

Another thing to consider - alot of the big money scholarships offered at a university are offered to incoming freshmen - not transfers. So, if a school did accept your credits, dc aren't considered freshman and there goes the chance of some good scholarship money. Ds got a 29 on ACT -this enabled him to already recieve a $14,000 scholarship over 4 years. He is in good contention for another worth 18,000 over 4 years. And that's with a 29; 2 more points up and he would have had lots more, but only as a freshman. It he had enough credits transfering, they wouldn't have been available. I know some that dc will transfer as juniors; they will pay for 2 years what we will pay for all 4.

Barb

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Really, its not just cc credit. Even it you transfer from one university to the next - you are not assured any credits will transfer.

 

Another thing to consider - alot of the big money scholarships offered at a university are offered to incoming freshmen - not transfers. So, if a school did accept your credits, dc aren't considered freshman and there goes the chance of some good scholarship money. Ds got a 29 on ACT -this enabled him to already recieve a $14,000 scholarship over 4 years. He is in good contention for another worth 18,000 over 4 years. And that's with a 29; 2 more points up and he would have had lots more, but only as a freshman. It he had enough credits transfering, they wouldn't have been available. I know some that dc will transfer as juniors; they will pay for 2 years what we will pay for all 4.

Barb

 

Congratulations on your ds's scholarship offers. We haven't applied yet, but judging from the maximums listed on websites of schools we are concentrating on I am not expecting this level of merit aid. Can you say if this is from a state pool of money for any college a student wants to attend, or is this from individual public schools or private school(s)?

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It is from the university of Oklahoma. We are in Texas and this is ACT range for the 14,000 I think was 29-30. There is of course more for higher scores .. .The 14,000 was one scholarship worth. Also, there were certain GPA's associated with each. OU seemed to me to have an impressive list of academic scholarships. They are rolling though, which is why ds applied early(don't know how much money they have for scholarships, but we didn't want to apply too late!).

 

Barb

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Congratulations on your ds's scholarship offers. We haven't applied yet, but judging from the maximums listed on websites of schools we are concentrating on I am not expecting this level of merit aid. Can you say if this is from a state pool of money for any college a student wants to attend, or is this from individual public schools or private school(s)?

 

My oldest had a 31 on the ACT and a 4.0 which included one cc class - the rest were mommy grades. He got offered more (merit aid) than what was listed on the school's web sites, BUT he also had nice Extra-Curriculars and really good letters of recommendation from outside sources. Due to his desired major, he stuck with Christian colleges when applying. However, before that, when he thought he wanted to be an Accounting major, we also visited a variety of state and private schools, but none were Ivy or that tippy top. All told us he would do well with aid.

 

After he made his decision both his #2 and #3 colleges offered more than their original offers, but he was happy with #1 - and it is the best fit for him, so we stuck with it.

 

Colleges can decide to offer merit type aid for more than merit. What is listed on their web sites is the minimum they will guarantee based on x score. They also offer aid on an individual basis based on diversity of all sorts (including geographical), desired major, and any other little thing that "strikes" them about an applicant. Some have a minimum level, then competition for higher levels.

 

My advice is to apply and see what happens. You never know until you receive the notice in the mail. Decide once all the options are out in the open.

 

Ivies and tippy top colleges often don't have official merit aid or offer less... they don't need to attract top students. They do tend to offer need-based aid - often generously. You'll only find out about that (from any school) well after applying.

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