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Nan in Mass

To parents of freshman (sophomores next year)...

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You probably already know this, but just in case...

 

There are generally four ways of applying for college as a freshman (or freshman with some community college classes):

 

Rolling admissions - Some colleges have rolling admissions.  These colleges take applications into summer (after senior year) or until they are full.  They collect up a batch of applications (three weeks worth for one college I know) and then assess them and write rejection or acceptance letters.  There is a start date and an end date for the application process, but the period is long.  The tricky bit with this sort of college is that popular programs can fill fast, making it important to apply early (like fall of senior year).  The other tricky bit is that the financial aid may be handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis.  On the other hand, some colleges are still accepting students until a month or two before the semester starts.  If your original plans don't work out, then you can look at lists of colleges that have rolling admissions.  (Another late-in-the-year application option is to look at the lists of schools who for some reason have not filled all their seats and are searching for students and willing to give financial aid in order to fill those seats.)

 

Early decision/Early action - Many colleges have this option.  With early decision, you apply to one college in the FALL of senior year and promise that you will come if you are accepted.  For obvious reason, colleges give these students preference.  It makes their statistical guessing game easier.  With early action, you apply early and are accepted early, but you usually don't have to tell them that you are coming until the regular May 1st deadline and you may apply to more than one college.  The application period runs something like Oct. 1 - Dec. 15.  (In our case, we received the financial aid information very shortly after the acceptance letter.)

 

Regular decision - With this option, you apply in the WINTER of senior year.  You generally hear whether you are accepted or rejected in early spring.  Financial aid information comes out after that.

 

Community College - Ours is rolling admissions and although it is an application process, if you have met the requirements (in state, etc.) and they have room, they accept you.  At ours, it is possible to take classes without being matriculated (accepted into a certain degree or major program).  You can take one or two classes and then apply later for a certain program.  Ours has both certificate programs and associate degree programs.  With a certificate program, you receive a certificate at the end and only have to take the courses necessary for that certificate.  With a degree program, you have to take general education courses and the courses required for a certain major.

 

Other situations - If you are applying for a theatre or music or dance program, you need to schedule auditions.  If you are applying for art or architecture, you will need to submit a portfolio.  Both of these require some extra time and thought.  Places like West Point or Anapolis require that the application process be started very early in high school.  You probably aren't going to be able to suddenly decide to apply in the fall of senior year.  There are health and sports requirements, recommendations from people like senators, and other complications.  Start early.

 

A typical college application may require the application itself (which might include a homeschool suppliment), teacher recommendations, guidance counselor recommendation, school profile, transcript, a list of extra curricular activities, a list of awards and honours, test scores, financial aid forms, essay, scholarship essays and applications, portfolio or work samples, any paperwork from your school department, and reading list.  As you can see, it is important to keep track of everything you do for high school.  Throwing everything in a box, one for each year, is better than nothing.  Listing it all out in a notebook is better.  Even better is keeping track of time involved and assessments and work samples.

 

The reason I addressed this post to the parents of freshman -

It is important to realize that many colleges require extra outside verification from homeschoolers.  Even if they don't require it, one's chances of being accepted are greater if one has this.  Verification can be in the form of AP tests, SAT or ACT, SAT2 (subject SAT tests), outside classes, community college classes, university classes.  These take advanced planning.  IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO TAKE A FEW COMMUNITY COLLEGE CLASSES OR AP TESTS SPRING OF SENIOR YEAR.  Colleges want to see the test results or grades along with the application.  That means that if you are applying early action, you will need to take those classes or tests JUNIOR year.  Colleges like to see academic core classes (history, math, science, English, foreign language).  Some will want to see more than one class or test.  If you want your student to have time to get used to learning in a classroom, this may require that they take those easy, less academically demanding classes (like drawing) SOPHOMORE year.  It is advisable to take any SAT2 tests immediately after the class.

 

I hope this doesn't panic anyone.  If you are feeling panicky, go find that post I wrote awhile back that is called something like To All You Parents of Eighth Graders where I remind everyone of how flexible homeschooling can be. : )

 

 

HTH

Nan

 

ETA - If you are applying to tippy top schools, you will probably need recommendations, SAT or ACT, SAT2s, AND AP tests (or possibly community college classes), and you have to be an interesting person - someone who has had a novel published, won a national science competition, invented a solar powered well pump that can be built out of easily available recycled materials, etc..  Or you have to be super desirable and interesting.  And it is still a lottery because those universities have something like enough great applicants to fill a class three times over.  If you are NOT applying to the tippy top schools, then it is probably sufficient to pick a strategy which maximizes interesting education and minimizes hoops.  You probably will need SAT or ACT (even for schools with that don't require them of non-homeschoolers) and one of the following in some academic areas - AP, SAT2, community college classes, other known and respected outside classes, university classes, public high school classes, CLEP test scores, ...  Some colleges want both AP and SAT2 classes and won't let you substitute AP for SAT2s (because some high schools have no APs and they want to compare apples to apples), so beware that problem.  My advice is to keep in mind these requirements but not let them ruin the lovely unique educational opportunities we have as homeschoolers. : )

 

2ndETA - Keep at least work samples, writing writing, a reading list, and all lab notebooks.  Throw everything in a box as you finish with it, if nothing else works for you.  There are colleges who want to see portfolios or writing samples or lab notebooks before accepting homeschoolers.  There are even colleges that want to know hom many hours were spent on each course.  Not many, but they do exist.  It also may help when you try to write course descriptions and a transcript at the end of high school or for college applications.  If you are organized enough to update course descriptions and a transcript as you go along, it will help senior year.  It is a good idea to copy and save the table of contents and title page for any books, also.  This can help later when you write course descriptions.  Don't forget that children grow and change well past their teen years.  You may not think your student is college-bound now but that does not necessarily mean that your student will never be college bound.

 

3rdETA - Margaret in CO brought up a good point - if you take community college classes or university classes and want those classes to transfer, KEEP ALL WORK AND HANDOUTS.  Your four-year colleges tend to want to see the syllabi, exams, essays, excersizes, and lab notebooks - in other words, all work, in order to establish whether they have an equivalent class.

 

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I wish I could forward this to all of my friends who think we are crazy for taking two AP courses in 10th grade.  They think I am too serious about it all  :confused1:

 

 

I have a question about early decision...what about the financial needs.  Isn't it a bit nerve wracking to commit to a school without knowing the bottom line price?  One of the colleges on our list is Davidson and though they aren't the most HS friendly in the world, I have heard the process is easier with early decision.  But committing to a school before  you know the cost  :crying:

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Nan - THANKS a bunch for this. Dd is just finishing up 9th grade. Really appreciate you sharing here. :)

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:wub: Hey Nan!

 

Thanks once again for pulling a few of us off the top of the "Crazy Tree."  Better yet, you may have kept some posters from climbing it in the first place. :D

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As a mom of two freshman I appreciate this post. I feel overwhelmed by the whole process quite often, but I believe the kids and I are on the right track. They are taking their first two SAT subject tests in June and are enrolled in two AP classes next year. The one area that I am weak on is in keeping detailed notes on everything they have done for the year. I am going to spend some time this weekend working on this.  :)

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:wub: Hey Nan!

 

Thanks once again for pulling a few of us off the top of the "Crazy Tree."  Better yet, you may have kept some posters from climbing it in the first place. :D

 

I may not be at the tippy top of that tree, but I am feeling some vertigo as I am buried in the middle of trying to write course descriptions and battling the flu at the same time.

 

We are very late deciding whether ds (a current junior) should take a couple of SAT 2 tests just to have on the record.  With the AP tests looming near and of immediate concern, it looks as if his only shot to take a couple of SAT 2s by early decision date would be to take them on June 7th.  That is one week before the ACT.  He absolutely NEEDS to do well on his ACT.  He needs to pull that test up by 4 points - at least.

 

What should I do?  Just have him focus on the ACT or try to cram for a couple of SAT 2s along with it?  If we wait until senior year - it defeats the purpose.

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About ED and finances.... yes. Definitely. :)

 

It *is* nervewracking to apply and accept an offer from somewhere without knowing what your financial situation might be at other schools. With the Ivies ... (and maybe others?) there is no merit aid. It is strictly financial aid.... so what they offer you is the best you will get from that school. (you can use a finaid calculator ahead of time to see approximately what the offer will be.) For us, that turned out to be reasonable. It was a good enough deal, and dd was sufficiently in love with the school (it was her #1) that it made sense. She had heard from one other school (an EA school), and that offer was almost identical to her #1. Should we have waited to hear from the other schools to see if she would have gotten an amazing offer from somewhere else and perhaps gone for free or close to free? Maybe... but it was the cliff we had to jump off of at the time. We jumped. Things would have been fine if we hadn't jumped... and she could have put her name in for RD ... but the situation was right for us.

 

It ends up being such a personal family decision... but yeah... it definitely feels a little like making a terribly important life altering decision with only half of the requisite information.

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Leslie, have you looked into whether or not the schools in which your son is interested require SAT II's? Many don't....

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Leslie, have you looked into whether or not the schools in which your son is interested require SAT II's? Many don't....

 

I really had not put that much thought into doing them since ds is taking several AP classes (not 11 of them like some ps school kids, but a few).  But Nan's post made me look more closely at them and their timing.

 

I found this good list of colleges that either require SAT 2s or recommend it.

 

I would really be bummed if he decided he wanted to apply to any of these colleges and was sidelined just because I had skimmed over the whole SAT 2 idea.  I guess I really did not realize it was such an important part of applying to these types of schools.

 

If we waited until October to take them, would that be too late??

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Yeah... it's interesting that some schools will not accept AP scores as a substitute for SATII scores.

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Also check local state schools if you're considering that or CC. My university (a regional state school) has a 100% acceptance rate, good transfer agreements with other more prestigious state schools, and is as affordable as CC if you factor in drive time. Also, if you are checking out a school, look specifically for homeschooled information on their site. In our state at least, most college websites have homeschool information.

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I really had not put that much thought into doing them since ds is taking several AP classes (not 11 of them like some ps school kids, but a few).  But Nan's post made me look more closely at them and their timing.

 

I found this good list of colleges that either require SAT 2s or recommend it.

 

I would really be bummed if he decided he wanted to apply to any of these colleges and was sidelined just because I had skimmed over the whole SAT 2 idea.  I guess I really did not realize it was such an important part of applying to these types of schools.

 

If we waited until October to take them, would that be too late??

 

Decisions like this are tricky.  Colleges differ and colleges change their policy.  Take your best guess and then try to be fatalistic about it.  : )  For all the colleges we investigated, testing in Oct. would have been just fine.  In some cases, colleges only expected the application itself to be filled out by the early decision/action deadline.  They would accept the other pieces of the application later, although they did point out that they could not process the application until they had received all the bits.

 

Nan

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You might add in a description of Early Action Single Choice--just to further muddy the waters! It's early, you only can do one, but it's not binding.

 

When I read it on the website, it sounded quite binding.  It said you couldn't apply to other colleges?  If accepted, you pretty much were in a binding agreement to attend?  Maybe I misread.  Is it so early that you still have time to apply to other schools if turned down?  I am a little confused by it all :confused1:

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When I read it on the website, it sounded quite binding.  It said you couldn't apply to other colleges?  If accepted, you pretty much were in a binding agreement to attend?  Maybe I misread.  Is it so early that you still have time to apply to other schools if turned down?  I am a little confused by it all :confused1:

 

With early action single choice, you can't apply early action or early decision to any other private university.  You can apply to public universities.  Single choice early action is not binding, and if you are rejected, you have time to apply regular decision to other schools.

 

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With early action single choice, you can't apply early action or early decision to any other private university.  You can apply to public universities.  Single choice early action is not binding, and if you are rejected, you have time to apply regular decision to other schools.

 

 

 

 

 

Aha, I rechecked the site and you are correct, you cannot apply early decision anywhere else, but you can apply elsewhere.  It does go on to say this though

  • If accepted to Davidson, you agree to enroll

 

That sounds a bit binding, or am I misinterpreting? 

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Aha, I rechecked the site and you are correct, you cannot apply early decision anywhere else, but you can apply elsewhere.  It does go on to say this though

  • If accepted to Davidson, you agree to enroll

 

That sounds a bit binding, or am I misinterpreting? 

 

That sounds like Early Decision, not single choice early action.

ETA:  I just checked Davidson's website.  Davidson uses Early Decision.  With Early Decision, you can apply to any other colleges that you want, but you can't apply Early Decision to any other college since Early Decision is binding if accepted. 

 

Single Choice Early Action is non-binding, but it does restrict where else you can apply in the early round.  So if a student had Harvard as a top choice, he could apply Single Choice Early Action to Harvard, but he would not be able to apply in the early round to any other private school that also offered an early action option.  If the student was accepted at Harvard, he would not be obligated to accept the offer.

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Thanks for clarifying!  So, if she was to apply early decision to Davidson she would have to enroll, even if it was a financial burden?  Seems a bit scary?  I have heard that Davidson has amazing financial aid, but still.  She wants to apply to Duke too. She doesn't think she will get in because she hasn't started her own million dollar charity :glare:  DD really wants to stay within 3-4 hours of home. That is important to her.  Duke, Chapel Hill, Davidson, and Furman are some of her favs so far. Chapel Hil being her least fav simply because she really doesn't prefer a large school.  Furman is beautiful and appealing to her and she hit their ACT score in 8th grade, so if her tests continue to climb then there might be good scholarship opporunities for her.  I am just stressed about it all :crying:   I am so afraid of ruining her chances somehow.

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This list isn't entirely accurate. Duke does not require any SAT II's and the number of AP's that they give credit for is very limited. It is always best to check with the individual college to see if they require SAT II's from homeschooled students. 

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  I am so afraid of ruining her chances somehow.

 

Hopefully this will give you a bit of encouragement. As homeschool parents, it's our job to provide the buffet of classes that we think is best for our students. It's our students job to make wise choices at the buffet. All the planning in the world won't make up for a student who isn't willing to work hard, earn good grades and relate well to people in order to get recommendation letters. Our students bear the ultimate responsibility for their college admissions and subsequent performance in college. 

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On 4/26/2014 at 10:17 AM, Chrysalis Academy said:

Linky to the post to parents of eighth graders, pretty please?  My search didn't work. 


If you mean Nan's great post that gets resurrected annually -- "To all you people with eighth graders (or there abouts)" -- I have it linked in the pinned threads at the top of the high school board 🙂 :

High School Motherlode #1
Highschool Motherlode #2

Edited by Lori D.
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You probably already know this, but just in case...

 

 

A typical college application may require the application itself (which might include a homeschool suppliment), teacher recommendations, guidance counselor recommendation, school profile, transcript, a list of extra curricular activities, a list of awards and honours, test scores, financial aid forms, essay, scholarship essays and applications, portfolio or work samples, any paperwork from your school department, and reading list.  As you can see, it is important to keep track of everything you do for high school.  Throwing everything in a box, one for each year, is better than nothing.  Listing it all out in a notebook is better.  Even better is keeping track of time involved and assessments and work samples.

 

 

I hope this doesn't panic anyone.  If you are feeling panicky, go find that post I wrote awhile back that is called something like To All You Parents of Eighth Graders where I remind everyone of how flexible homeschooling can be. : )

 

 

HTH

Nan

 

Can anyone clarify for me what 'portfolio or work samples' means exactly?  I am having trouble deciding just what should be saved or set aside if we should need this.  I completely understand having a wiring sample ready, but what else?  I cannot imagine needing to include a bunch of math tests.  Maybe some science labs?  Powerpoint presentations?  I've asked this question before b/c I've seen this requirement listed in a couple of places, but I've never had anyone clarify with btdt experience.

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I kept everything, out of fear.  It is all in a big box.  My children didn't have a lot of worksheets.  Most assignments were either excersizes or essays or reports or notebooks like nature journal, lab notebook, sketchbook, etc.  This made it seem less stupid to hang onto the work.  It would have seemed less sensible if it had been a lot of handouts or worksheets.  But that probably isn't very helpful.

 

The things we've shown people are:

 

Work samples for each year go to the school department.  I pulled one typical-but-good item from each subject - a math test, a lab report, a Latin excersize, a lit paper, a drawing, etc., and bundled it together with the output for each project he'd done during the year, some photos, and a progress report in which I discussed what we had done and the son's strength and weaknesses.  This made a nice record of my sons' high school education.

 

Writing sample for a college application

 

Pages from a travel journal along with a short written explanation for a college application (the college requested something that was a representation of your abilites, like a unique project or experiment or research)

 

Course descriptions for college applications

 

Reading list for college applications

 

For college, I have heard of people needing to show lab notebooks to prove the student had done lab work, writing samples, art portfolios, and performance pieces for music auditions.

 

Personally, I would keep all major essays, projects, math notebooks, lab notebooks, sketchbooks, and exams, just in case.  Maybe some could be scanned if you are short on space?

 

Nan

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I kept everything, out of fear.  It is all in a big box.  My children didn't have a lot of worksheets.  Most assignments were either excersizes or essays or reports or notebooks like nature journal, lab notebook, sketchbook, etc.  This made it seem less stupid to hang onto the work.  It would have seemed less sensible if it had been a lot of handouts or worksheets.  But that probably isn't very helpful.

 

The things we've shown people are:

 

Work samples for each year go to the school department.  I pulled one typical-but-good item from each subject - a math test, a lab report, a Latin excersize, a lit paper, a drawing, etc., and bundled it together with the output for each project he'd done during the year, some photos, and a progress report in which I discussed what we had done and the son's strength and weaknesses.  This made a nice record of my sons' high school education.

 

Writing sample for a college application

 

Pages from a travel journal along with a short written explanation for a college application (the college requested something that was a representation of your abilites, like a unique project or experiment or research)

 

Course descriptions for college applications

 

Reading list for college applications

 

For college, I have heard of people needing to show lab notebooks to prove the student had done lab work, writing samples, art portfolios, and performance pieces for music auditions.

 

Personally, I would keep all major essays, projects, math notebooks, lab notebooks, sketchbooks, and exams, just in case.  Maybe some could be scanned if you are short on space?

 

Nan

Okay.  Thanks.  Looks like I've got a lot of sifting to do.  I'm sure I'll live.  I've been overwhelmed before and I will be again.  Maybe I'll be better at all this by the time Dd reaches high school.  But then, she would have to be so much different from Ds, wouldn't she?  

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Mine were different, too.  I tended to stick everything in a box and then at the end of the year, sift through for what I needed to make the yearly report.  Sort it now... sort it later... I don't think it matters too much which you do, as long as you can lay hands on what you need later.  It is more of a problem when when it isn't gathered and more than half has been thrown away and you suddenly have to write course descriptions and figure out whether your child did enough American Lit for a semester's worth of credit or not in order to write a transcript. : )  If you have some sort of method for hanging on to each year's work and keep some sort of record of what was done and how much time was spent on it, you can reconstruct enough to make a transcript at the end.  I didn't log hours every year.  I knew how much time we spent each week on each subject and we more or less followed the public school calendar, so it was fairly easy for me to reconstruct hours if I needed to.  I tended to assign credits by amount of work completed rather than hours spent. I needed to keep track of how many papers had been written, projects done, books read, experiments carried out, textbook chapters completed, or whatever.  I did that by listing them out in a spiral bound notebook by subject, one notebook for each child for all of high school.  At the end of high school, I looked at what was accomplished and broke it up into courses.  As we went along, I kept an eye on the lists and would say things like, "If you read two more books and write one more paper, you'll have a semester of credit in blank."  I made undated, ungraded transcripts, arranged by subject with a section for independent projects, but my children had a number of community college grades and SAT scores at the end.  All told, they sent applications to seven colleges, a mix of private and public, and everyone accepted the transcript.  We weren't trying for tippy top schools, though.  The state flagship was very specific about wanting some sort of assessment from homeschoolers, and dates for the courses on the transcript.  I ignored that and got away with it, but as I said, mine had a dated, graded transcript from our community college, one son with eight and the other with twelve courses on it. (Courses, not credits.)  I think that was enough that the state schools just ignored the homeschool transcript and just used the SAT score and community college transcript.  I think one private school did the same.  Another private school really wanted him and I suspect they were going by his travel experiences and projects on top of the SATs and cc transcript.  I have no idea what the third private school did.  The fourth was very used to assessing homeschoolers and very interested in his projects.  They also would not accept him until they saw his calc and physics grades from the community college, despite having his pre-calc and chemistry grades.  (This was for engineering. Not surprising.)  Not sure if any of that helps at all but I remember being starved for details of how it all might work when I was planning high school, so I threw it in, just in case.  Everyone's experience is different.  Colleges differ widely.  My advice is to make some sort of educated guess as to what sort of schools you might need to prepare for, and prepare for that.  Otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy.  In youngest's case, I planned for "interesting engineering school" - in other words, a private tech-type school.  We planned for engineering school for oldest.  For middle one, we had a more general plan.  We guessed that middle one would not need SAT2s or APs, that cc classes would be sufficient, and youngest would probably need SAT2s.  We turned out to be wrong about youngest and he never took those SAT2s, but he could have if he had needed them.  If I had been planning for a highly selective small liberal arts college, I probably would have found some way to do AP classes, probably through our local high school.  I was very happy we didn't have to take that route. : )

 

Nan

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I had a quick question.  My son is young, but he is setting his college sights very high (like scare the snot out of Mommy high :crying: ).  He could get in.  He is honestly an Ivy candidate, so I feel a bit obligated to begin studying up.  No pressure, Mom.

 

Many of the colleges from the link list above, state they want 2 SATII subject tests.  My question is, if he takes like 12 (not that he will, just some number larger than two) does that mean we only send in the scores for 2 of them or that only 2 scores will be considered?  It seems like they would/should consider all test scores, but that doesn't mean they do.

 

Anyone know?

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I had a quick question.  My son is young, but he is setting his college sights very high (like scare the snot out of Mommy high :crying: ).  He could get in.  He is honestly an Ivy candidate, so I feel a bit obligated to begin studying up.  No pressure, Mom.

 

Many of the colleges from the link list above, state they want 2 SATII subject tests.  My question is, if he takes like 12 (not that he will, just some number larger than two) does that mean we only send in the scores for 2 of them or that only 2 scores will be considered?  It seems like they would/should consider all test scores, but that doesn't mean they do.

 

Anyone know?

 

You may find what you need here:

https://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/sat-score-use-practices-list.pdf

 

 

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My kids have lots of SAT IIs.  They will all be on the report you send to colleges.  They use the top two or three in their formula (or--if they ask for specific tests, they'll use those.)  At least one book I read say they count as much as the regular SAT, so take them seriously.  The remaining tests provide outside verification of your child's grades and show that he's learned each subject well.

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My kids have lots of SAT IIs.  They will all be on the report you send to colleges.  They use the top two or three in their formula (or--if they ask for specific tests, they'll use those.)  At least one book I read say they count as much as the regular SAT, so take them seriously.  The remaining tests provide outside verification of your child's grades and show that he's learned each subject well.

 

Same here, & I think the colleges did consider everything. Ds had six SAT2 scores and dd had five, and we sent them all in. Now, they were kids who did almost all of their learning at home. They only had some online outsourcing (no brick & mortar classes), so we figured that we needed to do a little extra in the testing department because of the universities that they were interested in attending. Other homeschoolers got into the same schools they did w/o the abundance of SAT 2s and APs, but with more dual enrollment credits instead.

 

Just take the tests seriously & do some basic prep. There are released exams that will give you a good idea of his score ahead of time, so there's no need to test unless ready. Some colleges will want to see all his test scores.

 

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I had a quick question.  My son is young, but he is setting his college sights very high (like scare the snot out of Mommy high :crying: ).  He could get in.  He is honestly an Ivy candidate, so I feel a bit obligated to begin studying up.  No pressure, Mom.

 

Many of the colleges from the link list above, state they want 2 SATII subject tests.  My question is, if he takes like 12 (not that he will, just some number larger than two) does that mean we only send in the scores for 2 of them or that only 2 scores will be considered?  It seems like they would/should consider all test scores, but that doesn't mean they do.

 

Anyone know?

 

If your student is aiming very high, DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY. LOL.  I try to keep saying that but I'm not sure how well people are hearing it.

 

Mine were aiming at something much more interesting (and if you want to judge by average SAT scores, which isn't necessarily a good way to judge, not more than somewhat higher) than the Mass. state flagship, so I didn't have to worry about much except making sure that we had enough academic validation that colleges were able to see that they could handle the academics.  They weren't aiming at something that was academically tip-top.  Interesting is the key word here.  The same applies to their high school education.  We were aiming at "very interesting" but not necessarily very academically high.  And we aimed at giving them tiptop study skills so they would survive college.  Not sure how well we succeeded there because I figured that part out rather late in the game, especially for middle one.  It all comes back to TWTM grin - If you teach them to teach themselves then you don't really have to worry too much about what you teach them.  Unless you are aiming at a tippy-top college, in which case I suspect that not only do you need super study skills and an interesting education, but also a good solid knowledge base.  My husband, myself, and my children are all sieve-brained.  I discovered early on that I had VERY limited control over the knowledge base my children were aquiring.  I tried.  I really tried.  They aquired quite a large knowledge base.  It just wasn't the one I (or TWTM or the public school system or probably colleges) thought they should aquire.  I had a lot more control over skills.  But I'm meandering...  If you are aiming tippy-top, listen to the people like Muttichen, Kathy in Richmond, Regentrude, Gwen in VA, Corralleno (know I mangled her spelling), Jen in NY, and the others like them.  (As I said, I am sieve-brained : ) I'm sure that is a far from complete list.)  My only advice is not to get so lost in the hoops that you forget about the interesting part.  But if you have that sort of child, then you probably don't have to worry much about that part. : )

 

Nan

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Something to add to those piles of stuff to keep--ALL work done in DE classes. We've had several schools now want to see syllabi, notes, exams, etc. before giving transfer credit.

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If your student is aiming very high, DON'T LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY. LOL. I try to keep saying that but I'm not sure how well people are hearing it.

 

Mine were aiming at something much more interesting (and if you want to judge by average SAT scores, which isn't necessarily a good way to judge, not more than somewhat higher) than the Mass. state flagship, so I didn't have to worry about much except making sure that we had enough academic validation that colleges were able to see that they could handle the academics. They weren't aiming at something that was academically tip-top. Interesting is the key word here. The same applies to their high school education. We were aiming at "very interesting" but not necessarily very academically high. And we aimed at giving them tiptop study skills so they would survive college. Not sure how well we succeeded there because I figured that part out rather late in the game, especially for middle one. It all comes back to TWTM grin - If you teach them to teach themselves then you don't really have to worry too much about what you teach them. Unless you are aiming at a tippy-top college, in which case I suspect that not only do you need super study skills and an interesting education, but also a good solid knowledge base. My husband, myself, and my children are all sieve-brained. I discovered early on that I had VERY limited control over the knowledge base my children were aquiring. I tried. I really tried. They aquired quite a large knowledge base. It just wasn't the one I (or TWTM or the public school system or probably colleges) thought they should aquire. I had a lot more control over skills. But I'm meandering... If you are aiming tippy-top, listen to the people like Muttichen, Kathy in Richmond, Regentrude, Gwen in VA, Corralleno (know I mangled her spelling), Jen in NY, and the others like them. (As I said, I am sieve-brained : ) I'm sure that is a far from complete list.) My only advice is not to get so lost in the hoops that you forget about the interesting part. But if you have that sort of child, then you probably don't have to worry much about that part. : )

 

Nan

I won't hold you accountable, Nan! I am the one who is still on the fence about Ivy or tippy-top 20 schools. We have progressed from "interesting" track to extremely academic this last school year. Previously he knew of no difference in colleges. I blame the Teaching Company!

 

He has "interesting" nailed. I feel comfortable with interesting. Everything about our life fits there. It is the fancy society stuff that throws me! At this point, it is all helpful.

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I won't hold you accountable, Nan! I am the one who is still on the fence about Ivy or tippy-top 20 schools. We have progressed from "interesting" track to extremely academic this last school year. Previously he knew of no difference in colleges. I blame the Teaching Company!

 

He has "interesting" nailed. I feel comfortable with interesting. Everything about our life fits there. It is the fancy society stuff that throws me! At this point, it is all helpful.

 

As I said, if you have THAT sort of child, the interesting part is not likely to be the problem LOL.  I've been towed along on some interesting journeys that I never would have made left to my own devices.  And mine are NOT that sort, just sort of... odd... or something.  I hope you can relax enough enjoy the ride, at least occasionally.  "Tiger by the tail" came to mind rather a lot, during the high school years. : )

 

Nan

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Can anyone clarify for me what 'portfolio or work samples' means exactly?  I am having trouble deciding just what should be saved or set aside if we should need this.  I completely understand having a wiring sample ready, but what else?  I cannot imagine needing to include a bunch of math tests.  Maybe some science labs?  Powerpoint presentations?  I've asked this question before b/c I've seen this requirement listed in a couple of places, but I've never had anyone clarify with btdt experience.

 

Two of the colleges to which my child applied (out of ten) asked to see a portfolio of high school work which she submitted in addition to other documentation. Some of the things she included:

 

graded papers from outside classes

a quiz and lab report from a community college science class

Latin translation assignment from her AP Latin class

a picture of a page from a Latin picture book that she wrote and illustrated

photos of a couple of art pieces with the ribbons they won in the County fair

 

I'd recommend keeping ALL papers (I refer to essays, research papers, etc.) as well as lab notebooks and a sprinkling of your child's best work from a variety of subjects; one of my daughter's 11th grade essays became fodder for her college application essay.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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This board is a wealth of information!!!!

I have an 8th grader and when I think I've decided one thing, another pops up!

 

I've looked into NCAA requirements ✔ï¸

Planned coursework, feel good about materials✔ï¸

 

Our umbrella school does a great job with transcripts, etc so no worries there.

 

Universities where we live like to see Sat subject tests.

 

What about AP, CLEP.... I was considering using College Prep, for dual credit, but I'm so confused on what path to take. I have no idea what is best! I'm not certain I can adequately prepare him for testing.

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As a Mom who just graduated a son who is now a freshman in college and went through applying for tippy top schools and scholarships, Nan's advice is right on. I still have twin high freshman at home, and I have started much earlier with outside classes (WTM Academy and Homeschool Spanish Academy) for some outside recommendations and experience. We also found a top notch robotics program for First Robotics and encouraged them to get into leadership opportunities early. We are pushing service opportunities especially those that require them to be in leadership or are teaching younger kids new skills.

 

We also have a better plan for AP's. More humanities and science AP's as the ones in my oldest field may have helped him be prepared for college courses but the top notch Engineering schools basically patted him on the head and said, "Good job, but you are still taking all of OUR courses in your field." More science and humanities AP courses would have gotten those off his plate in college.

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As a Mom who just graduated a son who is now a freshman in college and went through applying for tippy top schools and scholarships, Nan's advice us right on. I still have twin high freshman at home, and I have started much earlier with outside classes (WTM Academy and Homeschool Spanish Academy) for some recommendations and experience. We also found a top notch robotics program for First Robotics and encouraged them to get into leadership opportunities early. Oh and are pushing service opportunities especially those that require them to be in leadership or are teaching younger kids new skills.

 

We also have a better plan for AP's. More humanities and science AP's as the ones in my oldest field may have helped him be prepared for college courses but the top notch Engineering schools basically patted him on the head and said, "Good job, but you are still taking all of OUR courses in your field." More science and humanities AP courses would have gotten those off his plate in college.

I am interested in learning more about your AP plan, if you'd like to share... tidbits such as which subjects, which vendors, and which years... Here, a different thread, PM, wherever! ;)

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We focused on math and comp Sci AP's in which our oldest got very high scores and had him take but didn't really focus on the Science and English AP's and he did really fine but not great. In hindsight focusing on AP Chem, AP Biology, AP English Lit., AP Psychology, AP English would have been better. Like I mentioned, AP Calc BC, AP Comp Sci and AP Physics got him a pat on the head but didn't really take things off his plate as the college wanted those to be taken anyway. It's his humanities, electives and extra science courses that would have been handy to have off his plate.

 

To Nan's point about interesting, I think being interesting is what got our oldest in the Engineering Honors Residential Academic Program, as well as being a Finalist for a very prestigious state scholarship. Even being a finalist basically paid for his tuition from the school. He was unique in that he had a passion for Comp Sci, specifically Scratch and Snap and got involved in the Scratch community which brought him to the attention of Mitch Resnick from MIT, Brian Harvey from Berkley, and they had him speak in Barcelona, at MIT and last summer in Amsterdam. He is also credited as being a developer for Snap and was the first to develop Scratch extensions for MIT. Someone on here encouraged us to read, "How to be a High School Superstar" and we redesigned his high school experience to follow his passions and interests while still being academic and it worked very well for him. He is not a cookie cutter kid and it has made him stand out even now in college. Don't be afraid for your kids to not look the PS kids. He gets a lot of opportunities because he is different and interesting.

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We focused on math and comp Sci AP's in which our oldest got very high scores and had him take but didn't really focus on the Science and English AP's and he did really fine but not great. In hindsight focusing on AP Chem, AP Biology, AP English Lit., AP Psychology, AP English would have been better. Like I mentioned, AP Calc BC, AP Comp Sci and AP Physics got him a pat on the head but didn't really take things off his plate as the college wanted those to be taken anyway. It's his humanities, electives and extra science courses that would have been handy to have off his plate.

 

To Nan's point about interesting, I think being interesting is what got our oldest in the Engineering Honors Residential Academic Program, as well as being a Finalist for a very prestigious state scholarship. Even being a finalist basically paid for his tuition from the school. He was unique in that he had a passion for Comp Sci, specifically Scratch and Snap and got involved in the Scratch community which brought him to the attention of Mitch Resnick from MIT, Brian Harvey from Berkley, and they had him speak in Barcelona, at MIT and last summer in Amsterdam. He is also credited as being a developer for Snap and was the first to develop Scratch extensions for MIT. Someone on here encouraged us to read, "How to be a High School Superstar" and we redesigned his high school experience to follow his passions and interests while still being academic and it worked very well for him. He is not a cookie cutter kid and it has made him stand out even now in college. Don't be afraid for your kids to not look the PS kids. He gets a lot of opportunities because he is different and interesting.

 

Thank you so much! 

 

We've made several changes over the past few weeks. How to be a High School Superstar was part of what gave me courage. Your post is a double dose of courage. Thank you!

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Thank you so much! 

 

We've made several changes over the past few weeks. How to be a High School Superstar was part of what gave me courage. Your post is a double dose of courage. Thank you!

Do share what changes you've made, if you feel comfortable. I think it is so beneficial to hear from people who have made their passions count as unique HS experiences. 

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I,m interested in knowing how other people do this, too. I liked How to Be a High School Superstar but I think you have to be a bit careful with it. It is too easy to read the lovely college websites that talk about how much they want students who have done interesting things and not realize that those websites are rather deceptive. The people in admissions will tell you the full story. Colleges want students who BOTH have a strong academic record and have done interesting things. They seldom are interested in students who ONLY have done interesting things. You may not have to have 20 AP classes and perfect SAT scores, but you do have to demonstrate to colleges that you are academically capable enough and well enough grounded that you will be able to do well in their college classrooms.

 

What we did was decide which subjects to skimp (history) or skip (logic) so our children would have time for travel and projects. Given free time, they entertained themselves by experimenting, going off on adventures, investigating things, or trying to build or invent things. They chose the projects. It was only after they had worked on something for a bit that I became involved, usually. If we decided something was going to count for credit, I got them to help me come up with a suitable title (which defined the scope they had in mind) and then we negotiated about documentation and if necessary, some reading. Half the time, by the time I realized they were working on the project, they had already done a bunch of reading. I wrote up "course descriptions" for the projects, looked at the time involved and decided how much credit it should be worth, and put the title in the "Independent Projects" section of their transcripts. I organized the transcripts by subject. Independent Projects was a subject heading, just like math or language arts. I counted quarter credits. This kept them from having to pursue a project past the point where their curiosity ended. Anything shorter than a quarter credit (1 cr =1 yr) either was glommed together with something else or just not counted. They had plenty of credits so it wasn,t a problem. Their cousins manage to do lots of projects AND have a heavy academic schedule AND play a few sports and musical instruments AND contribute to their communities. Mine aren,t like that. : )

 

Interestingly, I think they became more interested in doing projects after their academic skills firmed up. When their reading, notetaking, and writing sped up and they developed the ability to skim and pick the bits they wanted out of a book without reading every word cover to cover, they began using those skills to satisfy their curiosity. Their observational skills, research skills, ability to think critically, and ability to design an experiment all made them more curious about the world. I think if I had made up more projects for them to do, they might not have been as interested in using the skills for their own purposes, but I mostly couldn,t get them to do my projects, no matter how interesting I tried to make them, so I gave up trying very early on in our homeschooling. Fortunately.

 

Nan

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I agree with Nan that you have to be strong in academics and be interesting. We chose to lighten History and some Enhlish Lit. We chose to spend more time on Math and Science but mine still scored a really high ACT, took SAT and SAT Subject tests and several APs. We spent time in Logic and Philosophy but I didn't require papers as we did more discussion based courses in things that were not our top priority.

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Do share what changes you've made, if you feel comfortable. I think it is so beneficial to hear from people who have made their passions count as unique HS experiences. 

 

Well, she's not really made her passions count as anything yet. We're only 3 months into the high school gig...   She may well end up living in a van down by the river...  ;)

 

I'll share what the changes were, although none are earth-shattering or dramatic...(well, they were to us, but probably not to anyone else...)

 

Basically we became intentional slackers.  :blushing:    (At least for around here, where students are up at 5 or 6 am and going strong in lots of classes, sports, music lessons, etc until the wee hours of the night...)

 

As Nan and Dawn rightly stress, we didn't drop academics completely, but we reworked the landscape to allow for both ornately structured gardens and fields of wildflowers.

 

First, we dropped her 8 classes with 2 APs down to 6 classes with 1 AP. Planning for summer school gives us a safety net for more credits.

 

We then looked at her extra-curriculars.

We closed our eyes, held our breath, and passed on some really nice looking opportunities because they didn't make her heart sing. That.was.tough.   I could almost hear the college admissions officers tsk tsking.... 

 

We then went out on a limb and added a couple activities in which she doesn't really have much innate ability, but she does have a lot of interest. The activities offer loads of potential for personal growth, but not much in the way of awards and accolades.  (On some days I question the time and money spent on these activities she will never excel in, but somehow they just seem right. At least for now.)

 

For whatever reason, these changes and this particular mix of gearing toward her strengths and weaknesses has allowed her to regain her equilibrium, which in turn has given her the mental fortitude to take on more responsibility with the science that is her passion.

 

She has interesting classes and meaningful work outside of school. She's well-rested and engaged with life.  She seems happy and balanced. 

 

She's happy and balanced. She's happy and balanced. It's a mantra I chant to myself when I mingle with the parents of brick and mortar high-achieving high school students and the doubts start to seep in... ;)

 

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