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Halcyon

Can someone link me to a nice 4 year overview for high school?

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I am just looking for a nice, tweakable, 4 year overview of what needs to be taken in high school for a competitive application to college.

 

For example, for each year, what would need to be taken in math, science, la, writing, history, languages,etc. I have no idea where to begin and I know there must be a million threads on this. 

 

I am happy to tweak, but I am missing a "frame". 

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It is really going to depend on which competitive school you are talking about.   For example, GA Tech's avg accepted student had 9 AP/dual enrolled/IB classes.  I am familiar with theirs b/c ds applied and was accepted there.   Based on what I have read on College Confidential (where you could go read the acceptance threads to read stats), I would say the avg really competitive applicant looked something like

 

Math:  alg, geo, alg 2, pre-cal, AP cal

English:  9, 10, AP comp, AP lit

history:  history, history, APUSH or AP world, AP gov't, AP econ

foreign lang:  lang, lang, lang, (and a possible 4th AP lang)

science: chem, bio, physics, at least 1 AP

electives: AP comp sci, AP psy

 

That is generic.   My ds's transcript didn't look anything like that at all.  

 

In addition to APs, students should have 2-3 subject test scores that are high (starting with a 7)

 

I would suggest (if you aren't faint of heart b/c it is an intimidating place) going on CC and reading.  https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/alphabetic-list-colleges/   BUT.....keep in mind that the application process is way more than course lists.   For every kid accepted with a really impressive transcript, many equally impressive, sometimes more impressive, were rejected.   Letters of Recommendation, student essays, outside activities, etc are all part of it.  

 

FWIW, I would NEVER go this route for a child.   I would only go this route following a child.   B/c there are no guarantees and, reality, for my ds being accepted is meaningless b/c we can't afford for him to attend.    He is most likely going to end up at a flagship state university with scholarship.   (it does have the added advantage of all of his classes transferring in whereas most of the other schools he would end up with no, little, or partial credit.)   Many of the big scholarships at the more competitive universities go to the seriously impacting their community kids.

 

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I think you should have a look at the admissions requirements of the kind of colleges your student may be interested in and work backwards from there.

To cover all bases, we have decided to go with 5x4: 4 years each of math, English, science, social sciences and foreign language (some schools only require 2 years, but more and more schools want 3+).

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Rough sketch based on my state's requirements

 

4 years math

4 years English

4 years social studies (government, American History, World History, geography, etc.)

4 years science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.)

3-4 years same foreign language (2 years is the minimum)

1 year fine arts (fine art history, art classes, music lessons, etc.)

+ electives

 

I second looking at possible schools and basing your courses on their requirements. :001_smile: 

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I agree with the 4 years of the 4 core subjects: math, English, History (or social studies), and science. We use college classes for Foreign language and start junior year so they have time to get in 4 semesters, but I will allow them to stop after two if they choose. This is highly dependent on where they want to go to college, but the colleges both of my kids will go to that will be not only the admissions requirement, but their graduation requirement. They will never be required to take more. 

 

From there, it gets pretty subjective. Ds will have loads of writing classes and a few other electives. Dd will have loads of science classes and a few other electives. 

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Hello, I have a printable four year list of homeschool high school requirements on my site that you might find to be a useful starting place. I have divided the requirements into three levels - college ready, competitive and most competitive.  I hope that helps!

Barbara-

thank you-your website is very interesting. you might be hearing from me in a couple of years :)

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Hmm, okay, a lot of the links on that thread don't work--the ones that give advice about books, in particular. 

 

 

Halcyon, I don't know WHAT is going on with those links, but as I run across broken links and "page not found" messages, I'm trying to reconnect them in my posts. This is the SECOND time this has happened since the new Board ! ! !

 

I think I have all of the links fixed in the two pinned threads at the top of the high school board -- the Outsourcing pinned thread starts with all of those same threads about books that you were trying to look at from in the thread you linked above.

 

Hope that helps! Warmest regards, Lori

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I am just looking for a nice, tweakable, 4 year overview of what needs to be taken in high school for a competitive application to college.

 

For example, for each year, what would need to be taken in math, science, la, writing, history, languages,etc. I have no idea where to begin and I know there must be a million threads on this. 

 

I am happy to tweak, but I am missing a "frame". 

 

 

Barbara H of this board has a great chart of homeschool high school requirements depending on if your goal is:

- college ready

- competitive college

- most competitive college

 

ETA: oops! I see Barbara already linked you to that, and you've already seen it... ;)

 

Many homeschoolers find it helpful to "blend" the two lists of required classes to come up with a framework for what to plan as classes for your homeschool high school:

 

1. required credits for high school graduation

(if your state does not require you as a homeschooler to complete specific requirements, it is still useful to know what the high schools in your area require, as you may find yourself in the position partway through of needing to enroll your student)

 

2. required credits for college admission

(if planning for a selective school, competitive college, or an Ivy League school, you will also need more credits, a good amount of advanced credits, and AP test scores, and possible SAT II (also called SAT Subject) test scores.

 

Here's what a "blended" list typically looks like:

- 4 credits (years) = English (usually about 1/2 Literature, 1/2 Writing, with a little Grammar thrown in)

- 4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2, and a higher math with Alg. 2 as a pre-requisite)

- 3-4 credits = Science with labs (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Science preferred)

- 2-3 credits = Social Studies (1 credit = Amer. Hist. / 0.5 credit = Government / 0.5 = Economics; sometimes 1 year World Geography required)

- 2-4 credits = Foreign Language (of the same language)

- 1 credit = Fine Arts

 

- 1 credit = Computer/Tech (typically a high school graduation requirement)

- 1-2 credits = PE, Health (typically a high school graduation requirement)

- 2-4 credits = Electives

 

The top section are what the average/typical college admission requires; high school graduation requirements include the top and bottom sections.

 

 

Other helpful resources for getting started:

Time table of what to do/when in high school

Could you point me to a list (specifically, what kinds of classes count as what credits)

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Thank you SO MUCH. I am going to sit down this afternoon and try and decide if homeschooling high school is doable for me. Not if I am going to do it, but if it's doable, for ME. These links will all be sooo helpful.

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Lori, what would the sequence be if my child finishes Alg 1, Alg2, and Geometry 1 before high school? I know there are various routes, but your thoughts are appreciated. 

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And how many APs are generally recommended for top colleges? And how many is it possible to take in a year, for a good student who doesnt want to be a crazed study freak? (that's my son's terminology!) I am thinking about 5 or so. He could never do the 10 i see listed on College Confidential.

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It is really going to depend on which competitive school you are talking about.   For example, GA Tech's avg accepted student had 9 AP/dual enrolled/IB classes.  I am familiar with theirs b/c ds applied and was accepted there.   Based on what I have read on College Confidential (where you could go read the acceptance threads to read stats), I would say the avg really competitive applicant looked something like

 

Math:  alg, geo, alg 2, pre-cal, AP cal

English:  9, 10, AP comp, AP lit

history:  history, history, APUSH or AP world, AP gov't, AP econ

foreign lang:  lang, lang, lang, (and a possible 4th AP lang)

science: chem, bio, physics, at least 1 AP

electives: AP comp sci, AP psy

 

 

 

 

 

I am also planning for my first high school student and I have to admit this kept me up in a panic last night.....

 

My dd is in a preprofessional ballet program 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is bright enough and I'd like to keep her options open for college but there is no way she could do this.

 

I'm not sure what AP is supposed to signify anymore???

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Lori, what would the sequence be if my child finishes Alg 1, Alg2, and Geometry 1 before high school? I know there are various routes, but your thoughts are appreciated.

Not Lori, obviously...

 

This is dd's very tentative plan (for those reading who don't know, she is a very strong math student interested in studying math as an undergrad, not engineering):

 

9---AoPS precalculus, book only

10----AoPS calculus, online class, followed by AP Calculus BC exam

11---AoPS Intermediate Number Theory class OR Intermediate Counting & Probability, book or class (one semester), Calc 3 at the university (one semester)

12---the other AoPS Intermediate class (one semester), Discrete Math OR Intro to Proof OR Diff Eq at the university (one semester)

 

However, I fully expect dd will take more maths than those listed, as she will take additional classes as electives. She likes to take the shorter AoPS classes in the summer. She will also try for Math Camp next summer :)

 

She will begin the AoPs calculus text as soon as she finishes the precalculus text (probably in early spring) and continue through the summer so that she will be prepared for the killer online class when it begins the October of her sophomore year.

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Lori, what would the sequence be if my child finishes Alg 1, Alg2, and Geometry 1 before high school? I know there are various routes, but your thoughts are appreciated.

 

 

My ds finished through AoPS alg 3 before high school. He took pre- cal, cal BC (at home using AoPS, but PAH also offers cal AB and BC). He dual enrolled for multivariable cal, diffEQ, and linear alg. He was planning on diffEQ 2 or linear alg 2 this semester but one wasn't offered and the other conflicted with his other classes.

 

The issue with attending a school is whether or not there is this type of flexibility.

 

And how many APs are generally recommended for top colleges? And how many is it possible to take in a year, for a good student who doesnt want to be a crazed study freak? (that's my son's terminology!) I am thinking about 5 or so. He could never do the 10 i see listed on College Confidential.

I am also planning for my first high school student and I have to admit this kept me up in a panic last night.....

 

My dd is in a preprofessional ballet program 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is bright enough and I'd like to keep her options open for college but there is no way she could do this.

 

I'm not sure what AP is supposed to signify anymore???

My ds only had 2 APs. The rest of his upper level coursework was dual enrolled coursework. He is also very lopsided. He had a plethora of humanities courses, even ones that were not typical for high school courses like philosophy, but all of his advanced college level work is in math and science.

 

That said, I would not follow any of the high number of advanced coursework paths unless a child is simply naturally there. My ds didn't work harder or feel more pressure than his older siblings that had zero APs and just a few dual enrolled courses. It is simply where he naturally falls in his level of ability.

 

It is why I say read CC with caution. My ds never felt any of the intensity of pressure that that place exudes. Ironically, he probably wouldn't have applied to SSP last summer if we had been reading CC bc of the level of stats of the kids applying. But, he was accepted. It is why I pointed out in my post that stats are only part of the picture. Intense dance is definitely something schools would factor in the holistic process.

 

Also, top competitive schools represent a very small fraction of the colleges out there. Students are quite readily accepted with normal high school workloads at most schools. At the top competitive ones, not w/o some major hook, bu at most normal schools, yes.

 

My next child in line will have a transcript like my ds's with a lang focus. But my next 2 will be more like my oldest 3.....pretty much avg applicants.

 

Btw, this application cycle was nothing like with my older 2college bound kids. It was full of essay after essay bc of different application essays, honors program essays, scholarship essays, etc. All in all, I am not sure it was worth it. Ask in April. He has been accepted into some great schools, but even with scholarships, the cost is more than we can afford. In many ways, we set him up for unrealistic opportunities.

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Btw, this application cycle was nothing like with my older 2college bound kids. It was full of essay after essay bc of different application essays, honors program essays, scholarship essays, etc. All in all, I am not sure it was worth it. Ask in April. He has been accepted into some great schools, but even with scholarships, the cost is more than we can afford. In many ways, we set him up for unrealistic opportunities.

 

Wow, this really hits me between the eyes.  I think this describes exactly our situation, too:  there is no way we will be able to afford to pay very much toward our dd's college.  And given that we are still paying off dh's student loans, we aren't going to be willing or able to take on much in the way of loans.  Realistically, based on finances, my kids options are either cc/state schools, or fat scholarships if they want to go anywhere else.

 

I'm planning a strong, college-prep high school sequence for my kids.  But unless the drive comes strongly from them, I can't see jumping through a bunch of hoops to get them competitive for a college we have no hope of paying for.  I"m not sure how realistic it is to think that scholarships will take care of costs.

 

My own experience was that my parents paid zero for my college, although they supported me in other ways - I lived at home and commuted to a state school, they covered my car insurance and let me eat out of their refrigerator, but I got zero $$ from them.  I had jobs, I got scholarships, and I graduated with a middling education but zero debt.  I went to grad school in science, so it was all paid for, so I got my PhD for free.  The fact that I got through school with no loans had a huge impact on my life - I was able to do a lot of things, like travel and cool vocational training stuff, that would have been really hard if I had had loans hanging over my head.  Like I said, we're still paying for dh's loans.  I'd rather have my kids not have that burden.

 

Food for thought, anyway.  I really appreciate what you've shared about your son's experience, 8. 

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Rose, it isn't all bad. :). We just hit that mark where dh makes too much money for our kids to qualify for any subsidized aid, but our reality is that we live off of almost all that money. ;) We won't take on debt for our kids' college education. He applied to schools hoping to win some of their elite scholarships and he didn't. Acceptance w/o them means they are no longer real options.

 

But, ds's educational background and his strengths has gained him enough scholarship $$ to attend at least one school at no cost to us (actually 2, but I really don't want him to consider one of them.) He is headed to that school right now for their interview weekend (today and tomorrow) for their select research based honors program. He wouldn't have been invited to the finalist round and he wouldn't have won the multiple scholarships w/o being the student that he is. Is it a top competitive school. Definitely not. But with the research honors program hopefully it will be a good option.

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To be clear, I have no idea what sort of temperament my child will have come 11-12th grade. Will he be the kind of student who wants to aim very high in terms of college admission, Ivy League and other top competitive colleges? Or will he prefer something more low key but still a great educational experience? I don't know. My guess is the latter, given the person he seems to be becoming. And that is a-ok with us. But I want to make sure to keep his options open, and not inadvertently close the door on a great opportunity because I didn't do my homework. 

 

Hope this makes sense.

 

Oh, and we're not willingn to take on much debt either. We do have a 529 which we set up at birth for both boys, but right now, it would barely cover a year at a top college. 

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But I want to make sure to keep his options open, and not inadvertently close the door on a great opportunity because I didn't do my homework. 

 

That absolutely makes sense. My goal has always been to keep as many doors open as possible, for as long as possible.

 

I didn't want my kids to get to the end of their high school career and find that they can't do something they really want to do, because I'd dropped the ball.

 

Our original four year plan flexed quite a bit as my oldest went through high school, but the basic structure served us well. Obviously, we can't cover every possibility, but we do the best we can to build a four year plan that gives them lots of options and hope it all works out.

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Just to finish up with some thoughts to help you think through your statement in post #13: "... if homeschooling high school is doable for me. Not if I am going to do it, but if it's doable, for ME." Other than math, things you'll want to think through to make them college-prep:

 

SCIENCE

You didn't mention science, but that subject is often a stumbling block for homeschool parents, esp. if they have a STEM-oriented student. If you have an advanced math-student, likely he's heading towards a STEM field, so you will definitely want FOUR solid science credits, all with labs, on the transcript. And, if he IS going into a specific science field, possibly FIVE science credits, with several in the area of special interest, and several of the science courses as Advanced science.

 

If you don't feel up to handling science yourself at home, then look into outsourcing resources:

- rigorous course with DVD lesson component

- hire/bring in a tutor

- co-op for the labs

- take one class at the local high school (single courses not at option at all schools)

- online course

- dual enrollment

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Most colleges require 2 years of the same language, some require 3 or even 4 years of high school foreign language (same language). This would be a good area for an AP test if your student is doing well with the foreign language. Be aware that Latin is NOT accepted by all colleges to fulfill their foreign language requirement for admission, so if you're doing Latin, you MAY need to also do a second, modern language.

 

This is a great type of course to outsource to dual enrollment -- the student gets to hear/speak the language with a qualified instructor several times a week, AND, depending on what college the student attends, may get to count the credit as not only high school but also as college credit, which might complete in advance of college any foreign language requirement the college has as part of the general ed. coursework for the freshman/sophomore years.

 

WRITING

College requires a lot of solid, effortless writing, so high school English credits are the time to get solid with writing, keyboarding/typing skills (to speed up paper-writing and because all high school and college papers must be typed), and papers of various types:

 

- reader response papers (typical college Writing & Lit assignments)

- personal essays (for college admissions and scholarships)

- timed persuasive essays (for SAT/ACT tests; also timed essays as the tests for college Humanities, Social Studies, and Writing/Lit courses)

- research papers with citations in format (MLA and APA formats are pretty common in college)

 

COMPUTER

With so many online classes, and with so many college classes now having an online element (upload papers, access syllabus, discussion section, the student's "my page" with all of their personal info/grades/class schedule/etc.), high school is a good time to get comfortable with an online class or other opportunities of doing all of these computer-based activities.

 


...what would the sequence be if my child finishes Alg 1, Alg2, and Geometry 1 before high school? I know there are various routes, but your thoughts are appreciated. 

 

Probably too many variables to give you a "do it this way" progression. ;) But both 8FilltheHeart and Lucky Mama have given you great progressions and the ways THEY have accomplished the math (at home, online courses, dual enrollment).

 

What you do for your DS's math progression in high school will depend on what field he's planning on going into (which allows you to tailor the choice of math classes to meet his needs), AND what resources are available to YOU.

 

Finishing up through Alg. 2 before 9th certainly sounds like a STEM field; has DS expressed a specific interest? What math courses he does in high school would be a little different based on if he's planning on going into Engineering vs. going into Medical Research vs. going into a Computer Science occupation.

 

Also, you may be limited by what resources are available to you (i.e., if DS "clicks" or doesn't "click" with AoPS and their online classes; or, what is offered locally in the way of dual enrollment, (as 8FilltheHeart mentioned was the case with her DS).

 

Also, how "mathy" is your DS -- in other words, does he really WANT to keep going with more advanced math through high school? Or is he just a real "early developer" with ability to DO high school maths with in middle school, but really DOESN'T want to do the high octane college level maths during high school?

 

Also, what programs have you been using for math? For example, if DS is NOT interested in going deeper with math, and if you've used "lighter" math programs that don't develop the problem solving or complex concepts, or the Geometry didn't do much with proofs, then you could consider the programs done in middle school as "Intro to ..." and then do the Geometry and Alg. 2 again in high school with more rigorous programs, and then go on to Pre-Calc/Trig and Calculus for the high school progression... Just a though, and disregard if DS has been using rigorous math programs all along. :)

 

 

And how many APs are generally recommended for top colleges? And how many is it possible to take in a year, for a good student who doesnt want to be a crazed study freak? (that's my son's terminology!) I am thinking about 5 or so. He could never do the 10 i see listed on College Confidential.

 

Well, what top college are you thinking of? An Ivy League? Then 3 to 5 APs would be a good idea -- and they had better all have scores of 4s and 5s. If you're thinking a step below Ivy League, then, as 8FilltheHeart says, you can probably do 2-4 APs. Again, score high. Also, make sure the APs are in a variety of subject areas -- one in math, one in science, one in English, etc.

 

You will also want to check into what the admission requirements are for the top colleges you are considering, as some require a number of SAT Subject Test scores, too (often 2 to 5 tests). Some colleges require them only from homeschoolers, but a number of colleges require them from ANY student applying. And it's best to take the SAT Subject (also called SAT II) tests close to the time of finishing the material for that subject, even if it means taking both the AP AND the SAT II test close together for the same subject.

 

Another thing you will want to prepare for / schedule for is extracurriculars and activities / volunteering & community service / special opportunities throughout high school to help your DS "stand out" and "be an interesting student" to catch the eye of admissions for top schools. Check out: What extracurricular activities for the high school years?

 


To be clear, I have no idea what sort of temperament my child will have come 11-12th grade. Will he be the kind of student who wants to aim very high in terms of college admission, Ivy League and other top competitive colleges? Or will he prefer something more low key but still a great educational experience? I don't know. My guess is the latter, given the person he seems to be becoming. And that is a-ok with us. But I want to make sure to keep his options open, and not inadvertently close the door on a great opportunity because I didn't do my homework. 

 

Hope this makes sense.

 

Oh, and we're not willingn to take on much debt either. We do have a 529 which we set up at birth for both boys, but right now, it would barely cover a year at a top college. 

 

 

Okay, I was in the midst of responding to your other posts, when I see you added this one as well. So, money also is a big consideration in your plans for college.

 

Not trying to suggest you set your sights lower, BUT, one option is to: instead of putting all your eggs in one basket and aggressively trying for the few spots at an Ivy League that offers free tuition for families making under $100K, do go for the high quality academics, some APs, and test well on the SAT/ACT -- and then start looking at good schools with the type of program your DS is really interested in and would be a good match for him, that would also place his SAT/ACT score in the top 25% (or even better, the top 5%) of incoming freshmen for that school -- that will get your DS MUCH more scholarship offers, then trying for MIT, for example, where ALL the students have a 32 or higher score (out of a possible 36) on the ACT, and the top 25% scored a 35 or 36. In order to score scholarships there, DS would have to score a 36, and even then, the competition will be so fierce, that it would likely not be a full scholarship. In contrast, Bucknell has a good undergraduate enginneering program, and a score of 31 puts you in the top 25% of incoming freshmen. Having a high ACT score here boosts the school's number, so they want to attract high-scoring freshmen with scholarship $$.

 

So, some of the same things that get you into a top college -- APs, high ACT/SAT score, and an "interesting" student (extracurriculars, leadership, internship/summer academic program, community service & volunteering, etc) -- also get you scholarship $$.

 

 

So, bottom line: it's a good idea to be looking around now, in the early years of high school, at what DS wants to study at college, and what college he wants to go (or fits your budget and philosophy). That will help you gear the course of math studies, and help you figure out how many tests and of what kind to be planning into the high school years. BUT, don't plan JUST on that one college -- look around at what would offer the best fit for your student:

 

- what would give him opportunities to do research, internships, work with older students or professors, and do real work

- what schools are known for having good hire rates for their graduates

- what schools will be the best size-fit for DS and give him the best challenge for him

- what other opportunities and options (outside of the specific academic program) do the schools offer that might be just what DS needs

 

 

And, if DS doesn't know what he wants to do, or where he wants to go to college, then, again:

- plan solid academics (you can't go wrong with using quality resources and completing the 4x5 plan: 4 English, 4 math, 4 science, 4 social studies, 4 foreign language -- plus a few electives)

- prep well to score high on SAT/ACT tests to maximize admission opportunities AND scholarship $$

- get involved in a variety of activities, community service, and extracurriculars to broaden your student's interests, give him leadership opportunities, and make him an "interesting" candidate

 

 

Hope that isn't too overwhelming, Halcyon! Just to encourage you, there are 4 years of high school to accomplish all that is needed -- you and your student don't go INTO high school already knowing all of it or having done all of it. :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I'm not sure what AP is supposed to signify anymore???

 

AP = Advanced Placement

 

In post #2 from this past thread, "AP? CLEP??" , I explain what AP, CLEP and SATII tests are, and list some pros and cons. You can read a lot more about pros and cons and past experiences with AP in the many linked threads in post #2 of the pinned thread at the top of the High School Board: "Outsourcing... AP, SATII -- links to past threads here!"

 

 

 I would say the avg really competitive applicant looked something like

 

Math:  alg, geo, alg 2, pre-cal, AP cal

English:  9, 10, AP comp, AP lit

history:  history, history, APUSH or AP world, AP gov't, AP econ

foreign lang:  lang, lang, lang, (and a possible 4th AP lang)

science: chem, bio, physics, at least 1 AP

electives: AP comp sci, AP psy

 

This list is for a student going to a highly competitive school and probably wanting to get into a STEM field.

 

Dance is competitive in a completely different way. Your DD would want to be competitive by:

- performing in starring roles in her ballet school productions

- participating in special, intensive summer ballet programs

- traveling and participating in a special summer program with a national/internationally renowned company or dance master

- trying out for a "chorus" role in the local or state professional ballet company productions

- etc.

 

If your student it planning on going to college for dance, then start checking out the specific dance programs at different colleges, and then by extension, what the admission requirements are for those colleges, and what kinds of academics and test scores would earn scholarships. Be aware that dance is a very specialized program and will require auditions in order to be accepted for admission -- not just usual credits or test scores.

 

In this past thread, "I really need to talk to some ballet moms", I linked several sites that list colleges known for their dance programs. You might also look for posts by Jenny in Florida, or post questions for her, as her DS is a senior and in the thick of auditions and looking at dance programs at colleges, so she can give you a feel for what the schools are looking for, and how to help your DD prepare.

 

Admission to the majority of colleges does NOT require high-powered academics, AP tests and off-the-chart ACT/SAT scores. If your student accomplishes the following list of credits with a B average (3.0 GPA) -- and has a MINIMUM score of 21 (ACT) or 530/540 (SAT Critical Reading/Math scores) -- she will not have a problem with admission. (Of course, the higher the level of academics and test scores, the more options she will have, plus possibility of scholarships.)

 

Credit List for Admission to the Majority of Non-Selective/Non Competitive Colleges

- 4 credits (years) = English (usually about 1/2 Literature, 1/2 Writing, with a little Grammar thrown in)

- 4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2, and a higher math with Alg. 2 as a pre-requisite)

- 3-4 credits = Science with labs (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Science preferred)

- 2-3 credits = Social Studies (1 credit = Amer. Hist. / 0.5 credit = Government / 0.5 = Economics; sometimes 1 year World Geography required)

- 2-4 credits = Foreign Language (of the same language)

- 1 credit = Fine Arts

- some schools: 1-2 credits = Electives

 

That's only about 20 credits as a minimum, which comes out to about 5 classes per year of high school. That is VERY do-able. My guess is that your dancer could squeeze in a few more academic classes, plus you can count some of all that dance towards extra Fine Arts credits, so that she'll have 22-24 credits upon graduation.

 

AND, that is a very solid admission to a majority of schools, even if DD changes her mind and wants to go to college for something completely OTHER than dance -- she'll still not have trouble getting in to most regular colleges.

 

The only thing to watch for is if any of the schools she would be interested in require a few SAT Subject tests (also called SAT II), and you can have DD take those upon finishing that specific subject. SAT Subject tests can also be a nice way of "verifying mommy grades and GPA", although, most likely a good score on the SAT or ACT will take care of that, plus help with college admissions/scholarships...

 

Don't panic! It's not so difficult to get it all done, as you have FOUR years, not just overnight. ;) Welcome to high school planning! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

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I agree with both of Lori's last 2 posts except that MIT (and all Ivies) do not offer merit scholarships, only need based aid. (It is confusing with MIT bc they refer to them as scholarships, but "We refer to the grant money offered directly by the Institute as an MIT scholarship even though we award it based solely on financial need. "). So, knowing your EFC is a good place to start in determining whether or not it is affordable.

 

What we learned this yr is that many of the schools that do have institutional scholarships place a lot of emphasis on community involvement. Our impression is do not think in terms of extracurriculars, but what significant contribution was made to your local community. Did your student really change the lives of people in the community. Things that we have heard about are endeavors like organizing readers to go to the hospital and read to terminally ill children and spending hours there each week or starting up active service organizations similar to Make a Wish Foundation that garners resources from local businesses to change lives. Things that make you go, wow, that kid really did something amazing for their community.

 

Pure merit scholarships are different from school to school, but many are test score based. Some are GPA, test score, and rigor of coursework.

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I agree with both of Lori's last 2 posts except that MIT (and all Ivies) do not offer merit scholarships, only need based aid...

 

Oops! Thanks for correcting that. :)

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Wow Lori! Thank you so much. Lots of food for thought here. Both DH and I graduated from Ivies so he (not me) wants our kids to consider them, but I think things have changed so dramatically since we attended that he will surely see the light about aiming for excellent schools that are NOT Ivy Leagues. Having read Colleges that Change Lives I am very clear and open-minded about the many, many choices out there for DS. And I really think he is not a child who would excel in an extremely high pressure school. He is just more laid back than that. He likes to work hard, but not....TOO hard... ;)

 

 

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Thanks Lori ! 

 

I was being a bit sarcastic about what "AP" means anymore. My DH is the chair of the math dept at a elite boarding school, and here everyone takes tons of APs. They have their easy APs and their hard APs, and it seems like it's all just a racket. There is no way these kids are really taking 9-10 college level courses. 

 

I think the problem is going to be me scaling back my expectations. My dd is smart, but in a very asynchronous way. She is a very young 8th grader (Dec. birthday). She will have completed algebra and some geometry by the end of this year, so she is quite competent in math. But, she is dyslexic, so other things take longer. She is taking Latin with Lukeion and is making fantastic grades, but she spends about 10-12 hours a week on it. Foreign languages are a bear for her, so we definitely not going the AP route here. The reality is that she will need to fit high school into about 4 1/2 hours per day (plus some time on weekends). I need to figure out how best to streamline her education, and focus on her strengths so that she does not end up a doing a mediocre job in too many things. I would rather have her do fewer things but of higher quality, than to try and check all the boxes, but I don't know if that is a massive mistake. I need the 4-year plan for high school in 4 hours a day.

 

At this point she doesn't want to go to college, but on to a professional dance career. I find that hard to swallow, and given how competitive it is I feel like she really needs to have a good enough high school record to give her options. But we also don't have money to pay for expensive private colleges and I don't want her taking on tons of debt. I guess, if she does decide to go to college, we will just have to justify her choices through the application process. It's hard not to worry.

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I was being a bit sarcastic about what "AP" means anymore. My DH is the chair of the math dept at a elite boarding school, and here everyone takes tons of APs. They have their easy APs and their hard APs, and it seems like it's all just a racket. There is no way these kids are really taking 9-10 college level courses. 

 

Yes, I thought I detected a whiff of snark!   ;)

 

... My dd is smart, but in a very asynchronous way. She is a very young 8th grader (Dec. birthday). She will have completed algebra and some geometry by the end of this year, so she is quite competent in math. But, she is dyslexic, so other things take longer. She is taking Latin with Lukeion and is making fantastic grades, but she spends about 10-12 hours a week on it. Foreign languages are a bear for her, so we definitely not going the AP route here. The reality is that she will need to fit high school into about 4 1/2 hours per day (plus some time on weekends). I need to figure out how best to streamline her education, and focus on her strengths so that she does not end up a doing a mediocre job in too many things. I would rather have her do fewer things but of higher quality, than to try and check all the boxes, but I don't know if that is a massive mistake. I need the 4-year plan for high school in 4 hours a day.

 

 

To be honest, I'm not sure that working 4 - 4.5 hours a day will yield enough total credits for high school graduation. That comes out to about 4 to 4.5 credits per year of school, which would result in a total of 16-18 credits. Adding DD's 2 credits of Algebra and Geometry from middle school, and a credit of Latin from Lukeion MIGHT just bump that up enough to meet high school graduation and college admission requirements... Typically you need a minimum of 22 credits for "college prep", and to meet high school graduation/diploma requirements.

 

One suggestion would be to school year-round, which reduces the hours on each day but spreads them out over a longer time frame.

 

Esp. since she's on the young side, and because of the dyslexia, you might consider taking 5 years for high school, which would give her the extra time to mature AND complete all the credits she'd need for possible future college admission.

 

Five years of high school -- how to write on the transcript?

How would I state an extra year of high school on the transcript?

Transcripts and taking an extra year

4 or 5 years of high school? Need pros and cons of each

Extra year of high school? Anyone know how this would work?

Should I consider doing an extra year of high school?

How old can you be when you finish high school?

"Gap year" BEFORE high school?

Graduating high school late?

 

(Note: I list threads by title in case links break, so they can be found by again by searching the title.)

 

 

And, you will also likely find that around age 14-16, DD will begin to "click" with some of the struggle areas, and it may not take as long to accomplish the work. With the dyslexia, you might also want to look into audio books for some of the textbooks and literature to reduce the heavy load of reading. And, since DD works slowly, make every lesson and assignment really "count" -- no fillers or unnecessary extras; nail the foundational skills and key content material.

 

 

Quick side note: Totally agree that AP would NOT be the best route for your DD -- but mostly because with dance as her passion, I don't think AP scores would help at ALL in getting into a college dance program. From what Jenny in Florida has been posting about her son's journey to get into a dance program in college, it's all about dance ability, auditions, and having done lots of dance programs all through high school... So, I'd spend the time THERE to make DD more dance-competitive, rather than spend the time on APs which aren't really going to do much for your DD. JMO!

 

At this point she doesn't want to go to college, but on to a professional dance career. I find that hard to swallow, and given how competitive it is I feel like she really needs to have a good enough high school record to give her options. But we also don't have money to pay for expensive private colleges and I don't want her taking on tons of debt. I guess, if she does decide to go to college, we will just have to justify her choices through the application process. It's hard not to worry.

 

Getting into a company straight out of high school is very hard. Going through a college dance program would increase her odds and help her network. Two ideas for reducing college costs that DD could do during high school: test for credit, or transfer community college classes (usually cheaper tuition). Check out that link above on colleges with dance programs and start looking into which schools accept CLEP tests for credit, or dual enrollment classes from your local community college.

 

CLEP tests are about $125/test; DD could do your homeschool course, study the CLEP booklet at the end of the year of taking the class, then take the test for college credit. She might be able to CLEP enough courses in her junior/senior year to knock off an entire year of college...

 

Dual enrollment would give her simultaneous high school AND college credit (if the credits are accepted as transfer credits by the 4-year college), and she could even be working towards an AAS degree while still in high school. A LOT of decent-paying jobs from just an AAS, which might fill the gap for DD if she doesn't get into a dance company right away...

 

Also check out all of those many threads on scholarships that are linked in post #5 of the pinned thread at the top of the high school board: Transcripts... Scholarships/Financial Aid... past threads linked here!

 

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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Esp. since she's on the young side, and because of the dyslexia, you might consider taking 5 years for high school, which would give her the extra time to mature AND complete all the credits she'd need for possible future college admission.

 

Five years of high school -- how to write on the transcript?

How would I state an extra year of high school on the transcript?

Transcripts and taking an extra year

4 or 5 years of high school? Need pros and cons of each

Extra year of high school? Anyone know how this would work?

Should I consider doing an extra year of high school?

How old can you be when you finish high school?

"Gap year" BEFORE high school?

Graduating high school late?

 

(Note: I list threads by title in case links break, so they can be found by again by searching the title.)

 

 

 

Wow! Thank you for all these links! 

 

I think the 5 year route may indeed be what we have to do. In all but a couple states she would be an 8th grader next year, but I want to start thinking of this as high school in case it does take more than 4 years. Many of the resident students at her ballet school take five years to complete the online academic program. I  didn't realize there were so many threads about this topic. I can see I have lots of reading to do on the high school board.

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Thanks Lori ! 

 

I was being a bit sarcastic about what "AP" means anymore. My DH is the chair of the math dept at a elite boarding school, and here everyone takes tons of APs. They have their easy APs and their hard APs, and it seems like it's all just a racket. There is no way these kids are really taking 9-10 college level courses. 

 

I think Lori's suggestion for 5 yrs is a great one. 

 

I did want to point out that it really is feasible that kids are taking the 9-10 college level classes.   What I posted was just a generic possibility.   GA Tech's admission page says 9 AP/IB/dual enrollment credits.   Dual enrollment is pretty much the norm these days amg large groups of high school students.   It is impossible to draw conclusions based on a small sample.  12500 students applied to GA Tech early admissions and the avg posted was amg the 5000 accepted.  (FWIW, my small sample of 1 will be receiving credit for 12 college level classes.  And 8 of them were taken dual enrollment as 200-300 level classes, so, yes, he really did take them.   The other 2 are AP credits yielding 2 semesters credit each  in cal and chem)

 

BUT......that is not at all representative of colleges in general.   I doubt that the majority applicants have any APs. 

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I think Lori's suggestion for 5 yrs is a great one. 

 

I did want to point out that it really is feasible that kids are taking the 9-10 college level classes.   What I posted was just a generic possibility.   GA Tech's admission page says 9 AP/IB/dual enrollment credits.   Dual enrollment is pretty much the norm these days amg large groups of high school students.   It is impossible to draw conclusions based on a small sample.  12500 students applied to GA Tech early admissions and the avg posted was amg the 5000 accepted.  (FWIW, my small sample of 1 will be receiving credit for 12 college level classes.  And 8 of them were taken dual enrollment as 200-300 level classes, so, yes, he really did take them.   The other 2 are AP credits yielding 2 semesters credit each  in cal and chem)

 

BUT......that is not at all representative of colleges in general.   I doubt that the majority applicants have any APs. 

 

I am certainly not doubting that they are taking them, but it just makes me wonder. I was an assistant professor for 10 years before I had children and students were typically taking a 4 course load. The amount of reading and writing required was pretty significant even in the intro level classes. High school students are taking 5 or 6 (?) classes at a time and 3-4 AP classes in their junior and senior years. So it seems like the AP falls somewhere between a high school and a college course, but not what they were originally intended to be (college level courses). So many schools are not even awarding credit for these course anymore. When I attended college I had a full semester of credit from my 4 (total) AP courses. Now students can place out of college courses but they don't receive credit. So the college board is making money and the colleges are making money (no graduating in 3 years as I did). It's great that yours are getting credit for their AP courses (perhaps that make CC a better investment). I just know so many students that are not getting credit, even for 4s and 5s. But, that may be more a function of the colleges they are mostly applying to. I don't know? So many questions….

 

Your experience is heartening though...

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I am certainly not doubting that they are taking them, but it just makes me wonder. I was an assistant professor for 10 years before I had children and students were typically taking a 4 course load. The amount of reading and writing required was pretty significant even in the intro level classes. High school students are taking 5 or 6 (?) classes at a time and 3-4 AP classes in their junior and senior years. So it seems like the AP falls somewhere between a high school and a college course, but not what they were originally intended to be (college level courses). So many schools are not even awarding credit for these course anymore. When I attended college I had a full semester of credit from my 4 (total) AP courses. Now students can place out of college courses but they don't receive credit. So the college board is making money and the colleges are making money (no graduating in 3 years as I did). It's great that yours are getting credit for their AP courses (perhaps that make CC a better investment). I just know so many students that are not getting credit, even for 4s and 5s. But, that may be more a function of the colleges they are mostly applying to. I don't know? So many questions….

 

Your experience is heartening though...

 

It does depend on the school.   GA Tech would only give 1 semester credit for each of the APs vs. 2. 

 

Also, dual enrolled credit in and of itself has all sorts of wonky outcomes.   Our ds took his in person on a 4 yr university campus which eliminates a lot of the issues for transfer credit.  But some schools only allow a limited number of credits to be transferred in.   It is really important to investigate individual schools.   At this pt for our ds, he is going to use the extra time he has to double (possibly triple) major instead of trying to graduate early.

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My eldest graduated from a high school that regularly places its top students into top schools.

 

Typical load is 7 credits per year.

 

Core academic courses are offered at 3 levels: College Prep, Honors, and AP. To take AP, you have to have a certain % in your previous course and take a placement test. You also have to maintain a certain average to stay in the class. Same thing with Honors, but obviously less stringent entrance requirements.

 

As I remember it, the required credits were:

 

Theology/Philosophy 4

English 4

Math 4

Science 4

History 3

Foreign Language 2

Fine Arts 1

P.E. 1

(ETA: That leaves 5 elective credits)

 

As you can see, the minimum graduation requirements are not really anything special. Plenty of kids with no AP courses were accepted at decent schools.

 

8 is right about College Confidential. Don't let it scare you!

 

(My middle started at the above-mentioned school but finished up in IB overseas. That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish...)

 

But if you really want to keep all doors open, take a look at some of the European universities admissions requirements :) University of Edinburgh actually does quite a bit of recruiting in the USA. Not surprisingly, AP scores and other test scores weigh heavily in the admissions process.

 

 

And I have no idea what this third kid is going to do yet :huh: , so I share your concerns 100%.

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Okay, so please throw out some ideas for English-what have/do you all cover? In my high school, we studied a lot of the Great Books. 

 

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Also posting the Talented and Gifted curriculum from Dallas (top high school in country)

Ninth Grade

 

  • AP Human Geography
  • Pre-AP English I
  • Pre-AP Algebra II or Pre-AP Geometry
  • Pre-AP Biology
  • Pre-AP Computer Science I
  • Foreign Language (3 years of same)
  • Physical Education
  • Elective
  • Tenth Grade
  • AP World History
  • Pre-AP English II
  • Pre-AP Algebra II or Pre-Calculus Pre-AP or Fast Track Math
  • Pre-AP Chemistry
  • Theater Arts
  • Phys. Ed. (Sem) / Health (Sem)
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Eleventh Grade
  • AP English Lang. & Comp.
  • AP Calculus AB or Pre-Calculus Pre-AP
  • AP US History
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Physics B or Pre-AP Physics
  • Speech
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Twelfth Grade
  • AP English Lit. & Comp.
  • AP Calculus AB or BC
  • AP US Government (Fall) / AP Economics (Spring)
  • Pre-AP Psychology/AP Psychology
  • AP Science (Physics C, E&M, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science)
  • Independent Studies (Senior Thesis)
  • Elective
  • Elective

 

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This is from a local private school that I wish I could afford to send them to. I've used them as a guide for my plans. 


 


9th Grade


• English – Introduction to Literature and Composition (Honors)


• History – Ancient World History (Honors)


• Mathematics – Geometry (Honors) -or- Adv. courses


• Science – Biology I (Honors)


• Foreign Language – French/Latin/Spanish (Honors)


• Elective


• Elective


• Health Education – satisfied in Middle School or taken through an outside source


 


10th Grade


• English – American Literature and Composition (Honors)


• History – U.S. History (Honors/AP)


• Mathematics – AlgII/Trig (Honors) -or- AlgII (Honors) -or- Adv. Courses


• Science – Chemistry I (Honors)


• Foreign Language – French/Latin/Spanish (Honors)


• Elective


• Elective


 


11th Grade


• English – English Literature and Composition (Honors/AP)


• History – European History (Honors/AP)


• Mathematics – Precalculus AB (Honors) -or- Precalculus BC (Honors) - or- Trig (Honors) -or- AlgII (Honors) -or- Adv. Courses


• Science – Physics I (Honors) or Blended -or- Physics B (AP)


• Foreign Language – French/Latin/Spanish (Honors/AP)


• Elective


• Elective


 


12th Grade


• English – English Language and Composition (AP) -or- Literature Seminars (Honors) (2)


• History – U.S. Government (Honors/AP) -or- History/Social Science (Honors/AP) Elective


• Mathematics – Calc AB (AP) -or- Precalculus AB (Honors) -or- Statistics (Honors) -or- Calc BC (AP) -or- Statistics (AP)– -or- Calc (Honors) -or- Adv. Courses


• Science – Elective


• Foreign Language – Elective


• Elective


• Elective


 


edited to fix spacing


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They've got to be kidding me. Kids can't take all those APs without imploding!

Unfortunately it is true. That looks very similar to the schedule my nieces are following plus they are given assignments that they have to complete during the summer.

 

But remember, for some kids APs are just the right level and are not intense pressure cooker courses. There are numerous posters on the homeschool college loop I am on that have had kids take up to 14 APs.

 

Then you have the poor kids feeling like they are drowning.

 

There is no simple answer. But the really competitive the school, the more out of whack the stats toward high level coursework is going to be.

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They've got to be kidding me. Kids can't take all those APs without imploding!

Look at 11th grade. AP Calc, AP stats, and AP physics all in one year, in addition to two other AP courses and three electives. That is absurd. Makes you wonder what is going on in those courses. 

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Unfortunately it is true. That looks very similar to the schedule my nieces are following plus they are given assignments that they have to complete during the summer. There are numerous posters on the homeschool college loop I am on that have had kids take up to 14 APs.

 

But remember, for some kids APs are just the right level and are not intense pressure cooker courses. Then you have the poor kids feeling like they are drowning.

 

There is no simple answer. But the really competitive the school, the more out of whack the stats toward high level coursework is going to be.

I agree. I know teachers at the private school I posted earlier. They tried adding some AP and elective courses to their catalog through Laurel Springs. Many of the kids thought the courses were too easy and either coasted through them or just dropped them altogether. They were used to being required to do so much more. That many APs is common there.

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Look at 11th grade. AP Calc, AP stats, and AP physics all in one year, in addition to two other AP courses and three electives. That is absurd. Makes you wonder what is going on in those courses. 

 

As 8 mentioned, this is the right level for some students. If this level of coursework was offered in each county of each state, you'd see more acheiving at this level.

 

AP Stats is so slow I won't even consider it for my kid as a two semester course. 

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They've got to be kidding me. Kids can't take all those APs without imploding!

I didn't look at that school's entrance requirements, but I'd guess that they are crafted with at least an attempt to bring in the kids who would not implode with that schedule.

 

That is the reason that my son's school doesn't just let you take APs just because you (or your parents) think it is a good idea. You have to test in and have the previous grades behind it. For example, the students at my eldest son's school are simply not allowed to to take AP Biology in 9th grade. No matter who-says-what. They have to take Honors Biology in 9th. If they do well and make the entrance test score, they are then eligible for AP Biology.

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Unfortunately it is true. That looks very similar to the schedule my nieces are following plus they are given assignments that they have to complete during the summer.

 

But remember, for some kids APs are just the right level and are not intense pressure cooker courses. There are numerous posters on the homeschool college loop I am on that have had kids take up to 14 APs.

 

Then you have the poor kids feeling like they are drowning.

 

There is no simple answer. But the really competitive the school, the more out of whack the stats toward high level coursework is going to be.

 

I am all for rigor, but come on! I am an acupuncturist, and a number of my patients are teens in the IB program at the local high school. THey are so stressed out, insomnia, stomach issues and migraines. Poor things. I would be burned out by the time I got to college. 

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Okay, so this basically means that top top top schools are out for my kid. I really don't think that AP type schedule will be suitable for him. I mean, who knows? He may surprise me a be a study freak come high school...but I doubt it. He enjoys challenge, but both he and I want him to have time to explore interests, exercise, eat well and enjoy life. I LOVED high school, and I want him to, too.

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Dd and I were looking over the course catalog for her likely high school yesterday.  She was asking me if she should sign up for all honors courses available in the early years - I don't know how to guide her here.  On the one hand, she's capable intellectually, but on the other hand, naturally I worry about her overburdening herself.  It's a good thing she has another year to decide - freshman year course selection occurs during April of 8th grade.

 

It's funny; I was more freaked out after reading at College Confidential than I am when I look over the course organization for my dd's likely high school.  Then again, I'm not the one taking the courses...  maybe I need to re-skim How to Be a High School Superstar.

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Okay, so this basically means that top top top schools are out for my kid. I really don't think that AP type schedule will be suitable for him. I mean, who knows? He may surprise me a be a study freak come high school...but I doubt it. He enjoys challenge, but both he and I want him to have time to explore interests, exercise, eat well and enjoy life. I LOVED high school, and I want him to, too.

 

 

Top schools are definitely not out for your son! Keep in mind that for most PS (and even private school) students, APs are really the only means they have of demonstrating "rigor." So it becomes a bit of an arms race — if most of the kids in your school are taking 4 APs, then you need to take 6 to stand out. If most are taking 6, maybe you need to take 8... etc.  Those kids have to choose their courses from a pretty limited selection, so the only means they have of standing out are topping the # of APs and the test scores of other applicants and/or having some pretty amazing ECs and community service projects. 

 

Colleges really do want a certain amount of diversity, though — no one wants an incoming class composed ONLY of kids with the same 12 APs and 2400 SAT scores. Homeschoolers have so many more ways to show off their interests and passions and commitment to excellence, besides just maxing out on APs. This is where having the time and resources to "explore his interests" can really work in your favor.

If you were an adcom at a highly selective school, who'd just waded through a stack of nearly-identical applications with the same APs and ECs (president of the French Club; editor of the school paper, etc.), and you picked up an application from a kid whose transcript included Mongolian and Old Norse instead of AP Spanish, or European Philosophy from Descartes to Derrida instead of AP Euro, or Metafiction and the Postmodern Narrative instead of AP Language, wouldn't you perk up a bit? 

 

I read a great quote on another homeschooling list — the woman said that an interviewer from Yale told her that people mistakenly think they're looking for a class of well-rounded kids, when actually they're looking for a well-rounded class of jagged kids. Instead of trying to replicate an over-the-top AP PS schedule, maximize the opportunities you have as a homeschooler to help your son stand out by highlighting his unique interests and abilities.

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Okay, so this basically means that top top top schools are out for my kid. I really don't think that AP type schedule will be suitable for him. I mean, who knows? He may surprise me a be a study freak come high school...but I doubt it. He enjoys challenge, but both he and I want him to have time to explore interests, exercise, eat well and enjoy life. I LOVED high school, and I want him to, too.

 

Very freeing, isn't it! :) Now your DS can really BE and DO through middle school and high school, without the stress of trying to somehow fit a perceived mold. And as Corraleno says, that really doesn't necessarily mean all top schools are out. Lots of interesting students get in to those schools without a single AP.

 

So, do some AP courses IF it fits for your DS, and is what best challenges him. If something else does that better, then drop the idea of APs and spend the time and energy on what IS helping DS develop the best. He will be PLENTY competitive for MANY schools. :)

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If I may add some perspective on why you see some kids taking so many AP courses.  The admissions folk at the competitive liberal arts colleges we visited simply said they want to see that students took the most advanced courses available in high school.  They didn't say those courses had to be APs, but they wanted to see that a student challenged him or herself by choosing the more advanced offerings.  At most high schools APs are the most challenging courses, with "honors" being considered a step lower and a standard subject course the lowest. Nothing was said about the AP exams -- not all schools grant credit even with top AP exam scores, although I know the University of California schools do.  I know several motivated teens who cut their college time by having a slew of good AP scores.

 

Some of the good tech schools such as Cal Tech, or MIT or Georgia Tech want to see SAT II subject exams.

 

My youngest was accepted at some excellent liberal arts colleges, and is attending one of the "Colleges that Change Lives" schools.  He never took a single AP, never took an SAT II subject test.  He only took the ACT once.  His high school was a mix of mommy courses, community college courses and some interesting internships he found here in the community.   Most importantly he enjoyed those high school years and is thriving personally and academically at his small college.  

 

I think that once you have a general game plan for high school it is healthier to put the college admissions rat race out of your mind and focus instead on enjoying your maturing teen.  They move away and if you are lucky you get to talk on the weekends and see them a few weeks a year.  Yes certain decisions about how you do high school can limit college options, but you can talk about it as those decisions come up, as you see what kind student your teen becomes.  Motivated, ambitious teens know what they want and will do the work necessary to make those Ivy league admissions happen.  Excellent students who don't have that competitive streak will still find that top schools welcome them. Some kids, no matter how bright and motivated they are, are happiest at large state schools.  It will become more obvious what to aim for as your teen's junior year approaches.

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