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flyingiguana

Admissions person's rant

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Just adding that at this point in his college "career" (almost midway through his junior year), middle son would have done well at ANY college he chose to go to (and got accepted at).

 

Not every college would have given him the same opportunities that he has.  Several could have been comparable had they been "fits" for him, but most would not have been considering the level he is at academically.

 

This in no way means he is better as a person or even that he will be somehow more successful than his two brothers.

 

It just means it's a better fit for him and the life he wants.

 

Oldest was definitely happy with his college and is now out happily working in his field.  He had no desire for research of any kind.

 

Youngest is very happy so far.  Time will tell on how he does.

 

There is no one right college for every student.  That doesn't mean there aren't several not so good options FOR THE STUDENT.  Our job as parents/guidance counselors is to try our darndest to get a good fit that is also affordable.

 

No one ever said it was an easy job.

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Scoutermom I would encourage you to check on the recommended deadlines for each of the colleges your son is interested in.  Somehow I remember some benefit for getting Harvard's application in early, maybe by December 1st?   I'm not sure, but some colleges do offer some benefits to those who apply earlier even though it's still regular admission.  I sincerely hope that he is admitted to his first or second choices, but he would have a better chance if he spread his net a bit wider.   There are so many other schools which would likely give him that same sense of fit, but he has to apply.  Is it at all possible to come up with a list of a few more elite universities and LACs and plan a trip so he can visit?  He may need to see them to get the motivation to apply.   It's not easy as many of them have their own essays and some are very unique to the school.  But it's worth doing.  I would encourage him (push him even) to complete applications and apply to more as it will give him more options should his first two not work out.  It would be great if he could also find a match or two which would offer him some great merit aid.  If he doesn't end up with a school he really wants to attend, then a gap year could be a plan B.  

 

First semester of senior year is definitely challenging with a rigorous course load, like all AP classes, and applications, visits, etc..  Dd had little time to research colleges before applying, so she cast a big net and researched the colleges more as she had time so she could make an informed decision after visits to her acceptances.   Your son isn't interested in Harvard and his top choice because of numerical rankings, he wants to go there because he fits in and feels at home there.  That's a great reason to try for the reaches!   I wouldn't let any article dissuade a student from applying.  Each year some are admitted no matter what the percentage of applicants happens to be.

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Progress today.  Three applications submitted.  He's working on The Big One and admitted some trepidation about a rejection.  His supplemental essay brought tears to my eyes.  He wants to tweak the writing a bit on the essays but thinks he will be ready to hit submit tomorrow.  He did make sure that his updated SAT scores had been sent so that's a plus.

 

We had a great discussion about what he wants to do with his life and what he believes will make him happy.  He was happy and joking around.  He either had a break through or was doped up on Mountain Dew.  :)  I'll take it either way.

 

As a treat, I am taking him to a movie.  :hurray:

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I think there's a big difference between tossing out an app to a "reach" school which may or may not be an Ivy, and filling your high school years with stuff that isn't "you" in order to appeal to colleges.

Yeah, I have no problem with tossing out a couple of apps to reach schools.  Why not?  Expect rejection, but if you get in, great.    Next one coming up is going to do this. 

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To me this is an interesting thread, but hard to think of how to add anything to it.  I thought of some things.  I know a young person who while in high school not only successfully attended and completed college level courses in his field, at a good state flagship school, but also graduate level courses, and he was a star in all of them.  He also competed in an elite college level academic competition and performed well, all while technically in high school.

 

When time came to go to college he attended an elite school, where he found a course designed for apparently people like him, miles above the level of anything available at the good state school he aced while in high school.  He wrote the notes for that courses and gave me a copy, which I find challenging even though I am a senior professional in the area.  I am puzzled as to where they find enough students to handle such a class, even at an elite school. (you can google this class, called something like: the hardest college course in america.)  How many high school students have aced graduate level classes before going to college?  I really feel sorry for a bright college freshman who signs up for this class with only standard AP/IB preparation from high school, as he/she would most likely be completely overwhelmed.  The book used in this course in 1965 is available free here, but I do not recommend it to learn from, just to get an idea of the level of the course 50 years ago:

http://www.math.harvard.edu/~shlomo/docs/Advanced_Calculus.pdf

 

(edit:  Notice for instance that differential calculus is defined there on (possibly) infinite dimensional normed spaces (p.140), and that Stokes' theorem is proved for abstract n dimensional manifolds, not just surfaces in 3 space.  Hence the presentation of these topics from advanced calculus is at the level of graduate courses in functional analysis and differential geometry.)

 

Anyway, this student I knew could not possibly have been adequately challenged at virtually any strong state school.  I.e. the course he took is only available at a top 10 school.  But what does this mean to the rest of us?  We are not him, and we do not need the course he took.  For the vast majority of us, even bright, well prepared and motivated, most good state schools would have more than plenty to meet our needs.

 

I must say in my experience I do believe the famous lecturers at the top elite schools are better, much better, than those at other places, and this benefits even those of us who are not stars.  I attended a friend's class once at such a school, featuring a famous lecturer (Walter Jackson Bate), and heard a lecture the like of which I have never heard again anywhere.  This was by a man whose biography of Keats, and later of Johnson, was described by critics as virtually the best ever, and as one which it was deemed inconceivable to be improved on.  He won Pulitzer prizes for both of them.  His lectures were perfect models of prose that he wrote out carefully and delivered impeccably.  Apparently he received a standing ovation after every class, certainly the one I visited.  There is nothing like this available at most schools to my knowledge, admittedly limited.

 

However if one takes a non honors, routine calculus class, it will be not too different at a state school or an elite school.  If one is unlucky, even at an elite school a non honors class may be taught by an inept, inexperienced grad student.  At a good state school, one may well be taught by one of the students of the famous people at elite schools, and get a very fine experience.

 

There are good and bad classes at all schools.  Elite schools offer much more diverse possibilities, and the courses at the top end are usually not matched at state schools, but routine classes may seem similar, although at an elite school even the routine class may be offered by a star, but one whose abilities are not exercised in the given class.

 

What we want to do is not compare schools in the abstract, but in regard to how the difference matters to us.  I attended an elite school as an undergraduate, which was way over my head at the time, and I did not benefit much except by the vision of what heights of achievement were possible, but not within my own reach at the time.  20 years later I returned to the same school and benefited enormously, so for me that elite school was appropriate mainly as a post graduate experience.  I reached my potential and became qualified for that experience, only by studying hard at a good state school, where I was an above average student, studying under people who were students of the professors at the top school.

 

So please try to relax, hard as it is.  If one works hard wherever he.she finds him/herself, eventually one winds up at an appropriate place, and many times the experience at the preparatory places is highly beneficial.  Once while trying to use time well while out of school and working, I signed up for a language course at a state night school in Tennessee.  My professor seemed excellent.  When I got back to an elite ivy school and told my famous professor the name of my night school teacher he said proudly: "Ah yes, he got his PhD from so and so, and so and so got his from me!"

 

 

edit:  I did a search on the vitae of some of the most brilliant people i know at my uni, and they all got either their BA or PhD at state schools.

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Anyway, this student I knew could not possibly have been adequately challenged at virtually any strong state school.  I.e. the course he took is only available at a top 10 school.  But what does this mean to the rest of us?  We are not him, and we do not need the course he took.  For the vast majority of us, even bright, well prepared and motivated, most good state schools would have more than plenty to meet our needs.

 

I must say in my experience I do believe the famous lecturers at the top elite schools are better, much better, than those at other places, and this benefits even those of us who are not stars.  I attended a friend's class once at such a school, featuring a famous lecturer (Walter Jackson Bate), and heard a lecture the like of which I have never heard again anywhere.  This was by a man whose biography of Keats, and later of Johnson, was described by critics as virtually the best ever, and as one which it was deemed inconceivable to be improved on.  He won Pulitzer prizes for both of them.  His lectures were perfect models of prose that he wrote out carefully and delivered impeccably.  Apparently he received a standing ovation after every class, certainly the one I visited.  There is nothing like this available at most schools to my knowledge, admittedly limited.

 

However if one takes a non honors, routine calculus class, it will be not too different at a state school or an elite school.  If one is unlucky, even at an elite school a non honors class may be taught by an inept, inexperienced grad student.  At a good state school, one may well be taught by one of the students of the famous people at elite schools, and get a very fine experience.

 

There are good and bad classes at all schools.  Elite schools offer much more diverse possibilities, and the courses at the top end are usually not matched at state schools, but routine classes may seem similar, although at an elite school even the routine class may be offered by a star, but one whose abilities are not exercised in the given class.

 

What we want to do is not compare schools in the abstract, but in regard to how the difference matters to us.  I attended an elite school as an undergraduate, which was way over my head at the time, and I did not benefit much except by the vision of what heights of achievement were possible, but not within my own reach at the time.  20 years later I returned to the same school and benefited enormously, so for me that elite school was appropriate mainly as a post graduate experience.  I reached my potential and became qualified for that experience, only by studying hard at a good state school, where I was an above average student, studying under people who were students of the professors at the top school.

 

So please try to relax, hard as it is.  If one works hard wherever he.she finds him/herself, eventually one winds up at an appropriate place, and many times the experience at the preparatory places is highly beneficial.  Once while trying to use time well while out of school and working, I signed up for a language course at a state night school in Tennessee.  My professor seemed excellent.  When I got back to an elite ivy school and told my famous professor the name of my night school teacher he said proudly: "Ah yes, he got his PhD from so and so, and so and so got his from me!"

 

The bolded really resonated with me because it is so insightful!.

 

The immense problem I have had while growing up was to be aware of my strengths and limitations, particularly my limitations so I could have made the most suitable choices. I'm hoping my DD is more self aware by the time she hits college age..

 

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When time came to go to college he attended an elite school, where he found a course designed for apparently people like him, miles above the level of anything available at the good state school he aced while in high school.  He wrote the notes for that courses and gave me a copy, which I find challenging even though I am a senior professional in the area.  I am puzzled as to where they find enough students to handle such a class, even at an elite school. (you can google this class, called something like: the hardest college course in america.)  How many high school students have aced graduate level classes before going to college?  I really feel sorry for a bright college freshman who signs up for this class with only standard AP/IB preparation from high school, as he/she would most likely be completely overwhelmed.  The book used in this course in 1965 is available free here, but I do not recommend it to learn from, just to get an idea of the level of the course 50 years ago:

http://www.math.harvard.edu/~shlomo/docs/Advanced_Calculus.pdf

 

.....

 

I must say in my experience I do believe the famous lecturers at the top elite schools are better, much better, than those at other places, and this benefits even those of us who are not stars.  I attended a friend's class once at such a school, featuring a famous lecturer (Walter Jackson Bate), and heard a lecture the like of which I have never heard again anywhere.  This was by a man whose biography of Keats, and later of Johnson, was described by critics as virtually the best ever, and as one which it was deemed inconceivable to be improved on.  He won Pulitzer prizes for both of them.  His lectures were perfect models of prose that he wrote out carefully and delivered impeccably.  Apparently he received a standing ovation after every class, certainly the one I visited.  There is nothing like this available at most schools to my knowledge, admittedly limited.

 

 

But, um, that's just an advanced calc class, if the book you linked is any indication.  That would come after the first year of calc (or maybe a year and a half).  Most colleges would teach most of those topics if a student continues past the basic calc courses.

 

If a famous lecturer with expertise in a given area is giving great lectures, one usually doesn't have to attend that school (or the lectures) to get the benefit of that.  Often, these people have written books on their particular area.  So you can just go read the book.  Or they got the info from a book that is readily accessible.

 

I think one of the things we need to think about is what a college education is FOR.  In the STEM fields, there is a lot of subject matter which most people can't figure out on their own.  So it makes sense to head to a place where there is excellent teaching that takes the student through the thought processes step by step, while making sure they understand the reasoning and can use that as a basis for figuring out novel problems.  This teaching may look dumbed down to someone who already knows the material, but maybe people in that position just need to advance to the next class.

 

In the humanities, it may be more about presenting new ideas and discussing them.  And for this, I have to admit that I have never completely understood the need for college (other than to get the stamp of approval that you read enough books and discussed them).  It can be done on your own by reading.  Now maybe most people don't have the wherewithal to make themselves do this reading, so maybe they need college for that, and maybe they really enjoy being in the classroom discussions, but it's a different thing from actually needing someone to explain exactly how calculus works.

 

I assume this to be the case based only on my personal experience -- I did need someone to walk me through a lot of physics and math problems to understand how they worked.  But I've spent most of my life reading books (and now listening to lectures since the advent of the internet) on topics in the humanities.  I suspect I'm just as competent in the humanities areas from self study as I am in the sciences.  But I definitely needed someone to get me through the math/science problems to understand.  (Just so nobody thinks it's just because I'm way better at verbal skills than math skills, and only for the sake of reference, I'll state that my SAT scores were equal in the math and verbal tests.  Also, if anyone is going to base any comments about my math skills on my "probably low" SAT scores, let's just say upfront that my score would have beat out anyone -- or at least tied.)

 

And I went to college back when students were able to design their own course of study.  As a result I spent all my time on music, chemistry, and biology and never touched anything in the humanities, so I don't have any base level to work with except the smattering my not so great high school provided.

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I think it is important to realize that some colleges do have classes for advanced freshmen, however it is incorrect to conclude that a student who hasnt been able to take advanced courses while in k to 12 is less intelligent.not every capable student has parents with deep enough pocketbooks plus the right political connections to live in areas where their child can have the opportunity to finish a math course beyond PreCalc by 12th grade. And some are in areas that dont offer proof based math at any level.

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But, um, that's just an advanced calc class, if the book you linked is any indication.  That would come after the first year of calc (or maybe a year and a half).  Most colleges would teach most of those topics if a student continues past the basic calc courses.

 

No, no, no they would not. This textbook is notorious for its level of challenge. It is not "just an advanced calculus textbook". A student who tried to move into this course after a year or two of a standard calculus class would be hopelessly overwhelmed.

 

Even in "the foundational material", which is the unstarred sections of chapters 1-11, it is far beyond most undergraduate advanced calculus classes. I would say that in my entire undergraduate career (not just the advanced calculus class) I only saw about half of the sections, and I wouldn't have seen chapters 9-11 if I hadn't taken an elective in graduate school. Furthermore, even for the sections I *did* see at undergraduate, the problems are far more challenging and I would have struggled with them. Hell, some of the problems are challenging enough that I'd have to really sit down and think about them *now*.

 

ETA: This does NOT mean that everyone needs this kind of course. This would be complete and total overkill for someone who (for example) wants to major in math in order to become a secondary school teacher, an actuary, or some other career which requires a bachelor's in math. This course would only be suitable for really highly mathematically talented students who are either desperate for a challenge or planning on graduate school in mathematics or possibly a related field like theoretical physics. Therefore, you won't find a course like this except in places that have a sufficient population of that kind of students to run it.

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To me this is an interesting thread, but hard to think of how to add anything to it. I thought of some things. I know a young person who while in high school not only successfully attended and completed college level courses in his field, at a good state flagship school, but also graduate level courses, and he was a star in all of them. He also competed in an elite college level academic competition and performed well, all while technically in high school.

 

When time came to go to college he attended an elite school, where he found a course designed for apparently people like him, miles above the level of anything available at the good state school he aced while in high school. He wrote the notes for that courses and gave me a copy, which I find challenging even though I am a senior professional in the area. I am puzzled as to where they find enough students to handle such a class, even at an elite school. (you can google this class, called something like: the hardest college course in america.) How many high school students have aced graduate level classes before going to college?

 

Anyway, this student I knew could not possibly have been adequately challenged at virtually any strong state school.

I disagree (well not as to the student mentioned since I don't know him but as to similarly advanced students). My son is one such student and he has found challenge at a good state school. He did so by taking all graduate level courses as his undergrad curricula. He looked at that course you mentioned, has talked to people he knows from conferences and summer REU's who have taken it, and found that he was able to cover the same material through several other courses available to him at his school. No, it wasn't all in one course, but he was able to learn the same material at a non-elite school.

 

Would he have liked to learn it at that elite school? Yes. But since no one was giving him $200,000 for his tuition that wasn't really an option. Very, very strong students can find challenge in many schools.

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   I did a search on the vitae of some of the most brilliant people i know at my uni, and they all got either their BA or PhD at state schools.

 

That reflects the relative size of state universities vs. elite private schools. UC Berkeley has 26k undergraduate students, UCLA has 29k, Michigan-Ann Arbor has 28k, UNC-Chapel Hill has 17k, UT-Austin has 11k, etc. By contrast, Harvard has 6.7k, Stanford has 7k, Princeton has 5.3k, Yale has 5.4k, MIT has 4.5k, Columbia has 8k, Duke has 6.5k, Chicago has 5.7k, etc.

 

The people we know who did their undergraduate work at a "public Ivy" are generally just as bright as most of the people we know who graduated from an Ivy caliber school. But they aren't in the same league as the most brilliant people we encountered at Stanford and Harvard. However, the typical Stanford and Harvard students aren't in the same league either.

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I think the point is that Harvard's Math 55 is a freshman course, and there are enough freshmen capable of that level in their first year to fill the course.  For a student of that level, there is something to be said for having a course like that available and to be able to work on the problem sets with others.  If that student went to a state university I've no doubt they'd look for other ways to challenge themselves.  Higher level math, graduate classes, independent study, research and internships are available to them, but what Harvard offers is unique.

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I think the point is that Harvard's Math 55 is a freshman course, and there are enough freshmen capable of that level in their first year to fill the course.  For a student of that level, there is something to be said for having a course like that available and to be able to work on the problem sets with others.  If that student went to a state university I've no doubt they'd look for other ways to challenge themselves.  Higher level math, graduate classes, independent study, research and internships are available to them, but what Harvard offers is unique.

 

Yes. Also, quite honestly, if a student who's capable of that but can't really afford it is going to a school which doesn't have a program like that, they need to make sure that the faculty are willing and able to offer them the challenge.

 

Some schools would rather stick to the rules than figure out how to do what is necessary to challenge a bright student.

 

Arie Israel is a prime example of when a school bends the rules for the benefit of a student. Florida Atlantic University admitted him to a master's program without having received a bachelor's degree based on his outstanding mathematical ability. He then went off to Princeton to do his PhD at 18. He's finished, done a good postdoc, and gotten a job, as far as I know. This is a great outcome.

 

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 I think one of the things we need to think about is what a college education is FOR.  

 

College isn't primarily about education. Education is a lifelong process and while hopefully one's 4-5 years in college furthers that process, that's not the reason people pay tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for college. It's for getting that piece of paper and the social connections that will open up doors for the graduate.

 

Employers are forbidden by the Supreme Court from administering IQ tests to applicants, but they can and do use college diplomas and the majors studied as proxies for IQ. As more and more people get bachelor's degrees, there has been a "flight to [perceived] quality" where the prestige of the school matters far more now than back when having a degree at all set the person apart from the crowd.

 

Maybe it shouldn't be this way, but it's the reality of the situation today.

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College isn't primarily about education. Education is a lifelong process and while hopefully one's 4-5 years in college furthers that process, that's not the reason people pay tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for college. It's for getting that piece of paper and the social connections that will open up doors for the graduate.

 

:confused:

Plenty of people choose college precisely because of the education - not for  "piece of paper" or for "social connections".

I do not know anybody in my circle of friends who went to university for the reasons you mentioned, nor are these considerations remotely involved in out family's decisions.

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For what it's worth, the term "good state school" is imprecise enough to allow a wide variation in interpretation as well. A search of the top 10 math departments in the US lists, among the 12 schools ranked or tied for "top 10", three (excellent) state schools, Berkeley, UCLA, and Michigan, of which the last apparently accepts over 30% of its applicants.  Presumably these are "elite" schools for most purposes, if not ivies.

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College isn't primarily about education. Education is a lifelong process and while hopefully one's 4-5 years in college furthers that process, that's not the reason people pay tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for college. It's for getting that piece of paper and the social connections that will open up doors for the graduate.

..........

 

Maybe it shouldn't be this way, but it's the reality of the situation today.

 

Not in our world.  :confused1:   I don't think I have ever even met anyone who thought that way.  (sort of glad about that too. Guess I am more of a boot straps sort of person.)

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I thought this article was also interesting.

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/upshot/for-accomplished-students-reaching-a-top-college-isnt-actually-that-hard.html?referrer=

 

I think some people do get wrapped up in particular name brand schools for shaky reasons. I also definitely think that the realm of top schools is more like 100 schools than 10-12 schools.

 

Some states have a couple really great state schools. Some states just don't. Or have a state school that is so broad that it has some challenging departments and some that just aren't. I don't think think you can make a general rule about state vs private.

 

I do think education is a lifelong process. And I have the book budget to prove it. But that doesn't mean college is just marking time until you get a diploma.

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While Mathwonk's story may be representative of a handful of tippy-top math depts (I have no doubt that those courses are phenomenal and that kids like my ds would love the opportunity to take them, but like Butler, $$ matters), it doesn't take going too far down the heap to have a more generic view.  GT's math dept is listed as 28th (including both public and privates).  They were willing to give ds credit for all of his math courses from regional math depts wayyyyyyyy down the totem pole.   The only thing required was taking a theory of something class (I think it was vectors, but I am not a math person and I don't remember.)  Prior to that process, I was under the impression that they wouldn't accept any of his credits b/c they would consider them too weak.  The dean of the math dept was incredibly helpful and encouraging.  He talked to ds for a long time and the dept was satisfied with his background.

 

Ds's current math professor is encouraging ds to get involved in math research even though ds is not even majoring in math (though ds is now reconsidering it.)  He and ds talk about math theory after class.  For those students who love a subject and are passionate about learning it but have to attend lower ranked schools, opportunities do exist outside of sitting in the classroom.

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those rankings of math depts may be open to various interpretations as well.  

 

E.g. as mentioned, GaTech ranks #28, UGA ranks #52, and there are at least two math professors at GaTech, one of whom received the PhD from UGA, and the other transferred to GaTech from the UGA faculty, (one was my colleague, the other my student in graduate algebra).

 

NYU ranks #73 I think, but has several (to me) more famous math faculty, such as Bogomolov, Cheeger, Gromov, than either of the other two places named.  (oops, correction below.)

 

I am sure many other such possibly unexpected phenomena exist.

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those rankings of math depts may be open to various interpretations as well.  

 

E.g. as mentioned, GaTech ranks #28, UGA ranks #52, and there are at least two math professors at GaTech, one of whom received the PhD from UGA, and the other transferred to GaTech from the UGA faculty, (one was my colleague, the other my student in graduate algebra).

 

NYU ranks #73 I think, but has several (to me) more famous math faculty, such as Bogomolov, Cheeger, Gromov, than either of the other two places named.

 

I am sure many other such possibly unexpected phenomena exist.

 

LOL.....which begs the question of how an outsider (or parental guidance counselor) even uses dept rankings as a tool for selecting undergrad schools.  (I am assuming that when they are applying to grad school, profs and research make it a much clearer picture.  I hope so, anyway.)

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here are some more "it depends who you ask" examples.  Vanderbilt is ranked something like #46 by US news, and UGA and UVA tie at #52,  But the American Math Society ranks UVA in its Group I, and ranks both Vandy and UGA in Group II.

 

Wait a minute, there seem to be 2 schools called NYU, and the more famous one is ranked in the top 10.  That makes more sense.

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IIRC, Michigan's Honors Math starts with around 50 students and, of them, only about one-half make it through. It's a two-year, four-course sequence.Students who've completed the program have gone on to teach at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, etc. or they've gone into other areas. It's a pretty solid program. Not a bad choice for a student, especially one who lives in Michigan.

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DS wants to major in business.  U.S. News ranks UNC's undergraduate business school # 6 (tied with UVa) among U.S. public and private universities and #3 among public universities.  Bloomberg ranks it #10 best undergraduate business school (public and private) and #4 best public university undergrad business school.  More specifically, in U.S. News' specialty rankings for undergrad business schools UNC ranks  #5 in management, #6 in marketing, #6 in operations, #8 in finance and #9 in entrepreneurship.

 

That's plenty elite enough for us.  And all for affordable in-state tuition and an easy 75 minute drive away.

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UNC is an excellent school in many areas I think, an example of an outstanding university in a region (my home region of the south) not known for its educational advantages.  Kudoes should go, I have heard, to a governor some years ago, who set an admirable standard of funding education in NC, including high school level opportunities.

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Anyone who limits a college search to Top 10 or Top 20 or Top 50 even Top 100 is likely not doing themselves any favors without checking those schools out further.

 

But there is a huge difference between #67 (number picked at random) and #1564.  According to the following link, there are 2870 four year colleges in the US and 1729 two year colleges.

 

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84

 

Anything in the Top 100 is in the top 3.5% of four year colleges.  I think many forget that.

 

There's a reason oodles of talented adults come from a myriad of schools.

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I think some people do get wrapped up in particular name brand schools for shaky reasons. I also definitely think that the realm of top schools is more like 100 schools than 10-12 schools.

 

And I think many people underestimate just how snobby recruiters and hiring managers can be. My DH got a call from a recruiter once for a position that wasn't a good "fit" for him but would've been perfect for his friend. The friend had an Ivy MBA and strong work experience but the recruiter wasn't interested because his undergraduate degree was from UT-Austin (which has a great engineering program FTR) rather than Stanford, MIT, or CalTech. This was for a finance rather than an engineering position so the undergraduate degree wasn't even relevant, but because there are so many people all competing for the same position, the hiring managers can afford to be super-picky (stupidly so IMHO because they miss out on a lot of great people like DH's friend).

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Scouter - If I were your son, I would not apply to Harvard early either. I would put it off as long as possible so my dream lasted as long as possible. As long as Harvard hasn't said no, he can dream about going.

Hugs and best of luck from the parent of three THIS IS WHERE I AM GOING students,

Nan

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UNC is an excellent school in many areas I think, an example of an outstanding university in a region (my home region of the south) not known for its educational advantages.  Kudoes should go, I have heard, to a governor some years ago, who set an admirable standard of funding education in NC, including high school level opportunities.

 

It's a shame the current administration (governor and legislature) is doing it's best to gut most educational (and other social) programs. :(

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And I think many people underestimate just how snobby recruiters and hiring managers can be. My DH got a call from a recruiter once for a position that wasn't a good "fit" for him but would've been perfect for his friend. The friend had an Ivy MBA and strong work experience but the recruiter wasn't interested because his undergraduate degree was from UT-Austin (which has a great engineering program FTR) rather than Stanford, MIT, or CalTech. This was for a finance rather than an engineering position so the undergraduate degree wasn't even relevant, but because there are so many people all competing for the same position, the hiring managers can afford to be super-picky (stupidly so IMHO because they miss out on a lot of great people like DH's friend).

 

Just to note, this type of (hiring) experience is extremely rare.  IME, once people have been on the job doing what they are for a living they are judged FAR more on that than any educational experience.

 

In academia, a degree can definitely matter, but it is the final degree that matters the most - rarely the undergrad degree.  When I looked at profs from oodles of colleges of all levels, there were plenty of undergrad schools that surprised me, but rarely a grad school as a surprise.

 

In big city finance (and law) hiring, the degree matters, but again, with a good end degree and terrific work experience, it's very rare that undergrad matters.

 

It can truly matter at times.  One can get alumni who only want to hire graduates, etc, but that goes equally for Penn St as U Penn (or any other schools I had chosen).  Oldest got his job due to connections from his school - an alumni hired him without even considering others for the job.  But most will recognize that degrees from other colleges are also worthy, esp once one has job experience.

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Frankly I think students and parents should take college rankings with a shaker of salt.  Large schools may offer opportunities that benefit some students but may not be the best choice for all. My son attended an LAC known for undergraduate research.  When he was presenting at a professional conference last spring, people assumed that he was a grad student.  They didn't expect to see undergrads there.

 

My favorite school snobbery story concerns a friend of mine who is a tenured prof at Cal Tech, not a shabby position by any stretch of the imagination.  He was at one of those social functions for professionals where he was asked about his educational background.  He attended a not so highly ranked LAC followed by a state U for his PhD.  Rude person asks, "Why didn't you go to an Ivy?" "Because my mentor was at State U."

 

This for me is the bottom line:  find your passions, find your mentor.  My son knew what he wanted to study in undergrad.  He read faculty CVs before he submitted his applications.  He was shopping for a mentor.

 

Not every undergrad knows what he or she wants to do, but grad/professional students usually have some sort of direction. 

 

Back on to the subject of Ivies:  I have several friends who attended Harvard for example, as did their parents and in some cases grandparents.  They don't seem to assume that their kids are going to Harvard. In fact, my friend who is on the faculty at Harvard encouraged his children to attend four year liberal arts schools.  It would not surprise me if one of his kids applies to Harvard for grad school but we'll see.

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I don't discount that that kind of hiring snobbery happens, but frankly any pompous jerk who's willing to completely discount an excellent person because they only want Ivy League is not a company I want to work for, because that kind of snobbery is probably pervasive. 

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Just to note, this type of (hiring) experience is extremely rare.  IME, once people have been on the job doing what they are for a living they are judged FAR more on that than any educational experience.

 

For a young person though, it is helpful to go to a 'good' school, as they may experience layoffs or have to change jobs early in their career. Not all of the prospective employers are going to understand just what they've been doing for a living as they sort thru the applicants, and knowing that the school was 'good' can be helpful to particular applicants. I did get one job based on undergraduate school...turned out the HR mgr's husband was an engineer, so she'd just have him sort thru the engineering resumes, weed out the ones where the school wasn't so good or the job experience was more on the technician level, then hand the rest on to the engineering manager.

 

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For a young person though, it is helpful to go to a 'good' school, as they may experience layoffs or have to change jobs early in their career. Not all of the prospective employers are going to understand just what they've been doing for a living as they sort thru the applicants, and knowing that the school was 'good' can be helpful to particular applicants. I did get one job based on undergraduate school...turned out the HR mgr's husband was an engineer, so she'd just have him sort thru the engineering resumes, weed out the ones where the school wasn't so good or the job experience was more on the technician level, then hand the rest on to the engineering manager.

 

 

I fully agree that one ought to go to a good school for their major.  My first piece of advice to students (or parents) starting their search is to check with those who do the hiring in fields a prospective would like to work in and see what they consider good schools.  

 

Not all schools are equal and biases are out there.  It's just VERY rare that it has to be Ivy or nothing.  It's common that employers want a good school.  The key is what defines a good school.  It's not necessarily Top 20 or Ivy or whatever.

 

In hubby's field locally, a degree from Penn St trumps pretty much anywhere else for new hires.

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Just to note, this type of (hiring) experience is extremely rare.

I agree, based on our experience. We also now know though, that that sort of uber-prestige matters if someone can afford to have his mind set on a very particular employer (how advised this would be is the matter of another post), and they are unlucky enough to graduate in the midst of a crisis. Say for example you want to work for a particular top management consulting company after obtaining your MBA, or a very specific investment bank, and it is 2008 and you only go to a top 10 MBA program, not a top 5 or top-3 one. You will not receive an offer after your summer, and you will not get that job as a third year no matter how excellent you are and how well you interview, because those employers decided, that year, to just categorically skip everyone beneath the top 5 schools.

(your life will be better for having escape such a fate, but that's neither here nor there)

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I think the situation of discounting the undergraduate school when the graduate school is top-notch is quite rare. However, I do not think it is only in IB or law or academia where one's pedigree matters. Not saying one cannot get a job *at all,* but I think getting hired on a certain track or for a certain level may require a graduate degree from a top-notch school. Thinking in particular about MBAs. Of course, not everyone wants to become a corporate executive. While many current execs may be people who worked their way up the corporate ladder and have achieved what they have over the last 25 - 30 years coming out of a state school, I don't think the profiles of executives are going to look like that 25 years from now. Just my $0.02 Certain entrepreneurial start-ups not in that equation, of course! One can always point to exceptions to the general rule.

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I began this post hours ago.  I apologize for the lack of cohesion.  I am not referring to my son but use the generic pronoun 'he' throughout; 'she' could be used just as easily.

 

--

The assumptions associated with this thread are disheartening. 

 

First assumption: A young person (approx age 16 years old) has to know what he wants to do for a career before he begins researching potential colleges, mentors, and majors. 

 

Second assumption: That a young person is going to have access to everything he needs in order to determine said career choice. 

 

Third assumption:  The parents of said young person are going to have adequate resources to provide the young person with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to make these decisions.

 

Speaking from our experience and anecdotally from other high school seniors ~ our area (three towns, three high schools) does not offer many challenging classes.  The expertise isn't there. The resources aren't there.  The majority of the academically gifted students shoulder the burden of independent academic enrichment.  Lest you think I am being dramatic, the Honors College Comp class has the students write one paper over an 18 week term.  The paper is 5-8 pages long. One portion is due every three weeks: topic, resources, notecards, intro, body, conclusion, bibliography, final (complete) paper. One topic, one paper.  Very few students in our area score well on the ACT or SAT writing components.  Those who do score well (above an 8) have parents who supplement the writing (either with tutors, out-of-town writing workshops, or their own skills).

 

Only one of the three schools offers Calculus; two stop at Pre-calc. Math beyond Calculus is not offered.  In our high school, there are about 25 students who completed Calculus as juniors and have no other math course available to them this year.  These students are the ones who participate in WYSE and have no chance of winning because there is no one to teach, or give the most basic guidance, for the higher level math problems.  (Why a math prof from the local LAC doesn't provide assistance is beyond my understanding.)  The top students were given the option of taking a calc class at the local LAC but full tuition for the class was required.  I believe the price tag was over $3000.  I do not believe any one took advantage of the offer.  There are no higher level math classes offered at the local CC.

 

Physics hasn't been available in previous years but is offered at our high school this year due to demand. The class is full; populated by the students who don't have a math class. The good news is it's AP Physics but, since there is no precedent, no one knows what the test scores will look like next Spring.

 

How are these students to know what they want to study in college let alone decide on a career path? Yes, the students from the higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with educated parents have an advantage but the vast majority of our students are from blue collar families. In our town, an engineer is someone who drives a train.  A student who does well in Chemistry may say "I want to be a chemical engineer." without really knowing what that entails.

 

How is a student to know to figure out his future career path when he must work to help with family finances?  When his parents are blue collar workers who are struggling paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford college sponsored summer programs (most people in our area aren't aware of these opportunities) or out-of-state (or out-of-town) internships? When he lives in a region where FFA, 4H and baseball are the most popular non-school activities?  Where high school assemblies are about STDs, teen pregnancy rates and bullying?  Where college info nights are mentioned in an online newsletter, center around regional LACs and Unis, and are poorly attended?

 

It's a wonderful thing when a student is doing well and will be the first in his family to attend college.  When this student is excelling and receives mail from the top level schools, who am I to disabuse him of the notion that he actually has a chance at matriculation?  That his dreams are for naught?  What do you say to the student who scores in the top 5% on the ACT and SAT who has hopes for a top 10, 20 or even 50 school knowing his chances are slim when every week another mediocre student has a signing party in the high school foyer and accepts a full ride to play golf/basketball/swim at U of Wherever?

 

 

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Since the topic of whether the name of the school (undergrad or grad) matters in hiring, I thought I'd throw this anecdote into the mix, just to confuse everyone.  My dh's company recently hired someone for a technical VP level position.  This person has no college at all.  Just amazing work experience.  

 

I suggest you follow your path.  Do good work.  Hope for the best.  

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I don't think any of those expectations are true for most students. I don't know an actual statistic, but I suspect a high percentage of students change majors. I don't think that a top 50 school is necessary for a successful career. My kids have access to all the things you lament about the local kids not having and not one of them has even gone to a top 75 school. The reality is a lot of families have no choice but to attend where they can afford. A kid with good grades and good test scores can get automatic free tuition at several universities. The don't have to have any "community service, activism, sports, or have built a nuclear reactor in their basement." Just grades and test scores.

 

The idea that only a a few universities in this country produce qualified, educated graduates is untrue. There are great job opportunities for students which are far more dependent on their field than anything to do with the school name on their diploma.

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in regard to dumb hiring decisions, as a personnel person i can remark that it is extremely difficult for us to discern the quality of a potential hire.  we just don't know enough to recognize the best person, so we fall back on stuff like, where did they go to school, and where did they publish, and how many pages did they publish in how many years.  otherwise we have to spend hundreds of hours actually reading their works, and even then we don't know enough to assess it.  so most such stupid decisions are made because we couldn't tell the difference between the better person from the small school and the weaker person from the famous school.  but eventually the difference becomes evident.  in an attempt to do justice to the hundreds of applications we received for one job, i once spent over 30 hours reading applications one weekend, without food or sleep, but after a while you get tired, and your children need their father.  i hope we hired the right person, but many fine applicants probably went un detected.

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Since the topic of whether the name of the school (undergrad or grad) matters in hiring, I thought I'd throw this anecdote into the mix, just to confuse everyone.  My dh's company recently hired someone for a technical VP level position.  This person has no college at all.  Just amazing work experience.  

 

I suggest you follow your path.  Do good work.  Hope for the best.  

 

My brother is a very high up engineer in a Fortune 500 company, with over 30 years of experience.  They have engineering employees from top schools all over the country.  And he says the most brilliant person he has working for him only has a community college degree.  He's open minded about such things, though.  Even though he's extremely well credentialed himself, he's never bought into the idea that a piece of paper tells you much about a person's ability.  One of his favorite sayings is that lots of things are graduated by degrees.  Like thermometers. ;)

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I began this post hours ago.  I apologize for the lack of cohesion.  I am not referring to my son but use the generic pronoun 'he' throughout; 'she' could be used just as easily.

 

--

The assumptions associated with this thread are disheartening. 

 

First assumption: A young person (approx age 16 years old) has to know what he wants to do for a career before he begins researching potential colleges, mentors, and majors. 

 

Second assumption: That a young person is going to have access to everything he needs in order to determine said career choice. 

 

Third assumption:  The parents of said young person are going to have adequate resources to provide the young person with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to make these decisions.

 

...

How is a student to know to figure out his future career path when he must work to help with family finances?  When his parents are blue collar workers who are struggling paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford college sponsored summer programs (most people in our area aren't aware of these opportunities) or out-of-state (or out-of-town) internships? When he lives in a region where FFA, 4H and baseball are the most popular non-school activities?  Where high school assemblies are about STDs, teen pregnancy rates and bullying?  Where college info nights are mentioned in an online newsletter, center around regional LACs and Unis, and are poorly attended?

 

Your description of your area sounds remarkably like mine.  I work in a statistically average public high school, so I assume there are oodles of schools/students in similar areas.  You aren't alone.

 

Regarding what you wrote:

 

First (+ second) assumption:  Most kids don't know specifically what they want to do.  A few do.  My suggestion to ALL is to merely figure out what they like and head that direction, then keep their minds open when they get to college to see what they might like better.  There's only so much that any one student can see about life.  College opens up FAR more opportunities and options.

 

My oldest didn't have a clue what he wanted into senior year.  He went into college thinking of an International Development major and found he loved the business classes.  He graduated with a business degree and is happily working in that field.

 

My middle is one who has known since 3rd grade that he wanted to be a doctor and he's still on that path.  Doctors in our country need an undergrad degree, but it doesn't matter what it's in.  He chose brain studies merely because they interest him.  He was undecided between neuro (the physical part) or cognitive (the thought part) so chose a school that offers both.  He's now happily a Brain and Cognitive Science major - AND added a Bio major + ASL (American Sign Language) minor.  I had no clue he was even interested in ASL.  He discovered that in college.  Good for him!

 

Youngest is the type who felt he had to know what he wanted even though we told him he only needed a direction.  He was set on Tropical Marine Biology.  Before he even hit his first Marine Bio class he had switched to Environmental Studies.  After taking that first class he's switched to Bio (too much politics in ES for him).  What he is likely headed for (my thoughts) is some sort of park ranger or teacher, so I made sure the college he chose as a Marine Bio wannabe was also good in the other things I pictured him doing based upon his loves.

 

Kids DON'T know - and those who do often change their minds. Head into fields they like at schools that are good for those fields, but also offer other options.

 

Third assumption:  This is where it's tough.  Many parents don't know and guidance staff around here are only well versed in local colleges.  It does take hours of work/research for parents to overcome this and many either don't have the time or desire to do this - probably don't even know they should.  I had the advantage of having come from a great high school, so easily took on the guidance counselor hat for my guys (even my ps guy).

 

Boards like this one are good for gleaning info.  You just have to sift through what applies to your situation and what doesn't.

 

The good news is success can come from MANY colleges.  There are only a small, small percentage of jobs where prestige in degree matters.  My oldest went to a small Christian LAC.  His business peers all have jobs.  Those jobs aren't on Wall St, but absolutely none of them wanted Wall St.  He enjoyed his college years and is now happily employed at a job he likes.  To me, that's success.

 

The Top 5% ACT/SAT student can often get decent offers at schools where their scores are in the Top 10% of students.  Nova Southeastern is one to check out.  There are others.  If money is an issue, it takes work to find affordable schools, but it usually can be done.  It definitely helps to be willing to travel.  Private schools try to build a class and one of those hooks can be geographical diversity.  The PA student heading to a PA school has none.  The PA student heading to a school in FL has some.  My guys went to GA, NY, and FL respectively.  I doubt the NY school brought much from geographical diversity, but that son had superb scores, etc.  The other two were just higher than average and higher than their chosen schools.

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The assumptions associated with this thread are disheartening. 

 

First assumption: A young person (approx age 16 years old) has to know what he wants to do for a career before he begins researching potential colleges, mentors, and majors. 

 

Second assumption: That a young person is going to have access to everything he needs in order to determine said career choice. 

 

Third assumption:  The parents of said young person are going to have adequate resources to provide the young person with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to make these decisions.

 

<snipping for brevity>

 

You raise valid issues.  The part of your post that I snipped resonates with me.  Our high schools here are mediocre at best with limited opportunities.  That said, 4-H in our area is one way that many kids launch themselves into college and careers. 

 

Suggestions on shopping for a college often begin "Large or small?  Urban or small town?" For many of the kids I know, thinking about college begins "Tarheels or Wolfpack?" i.e. sports teams.

 

I fear that some idea of future major is needed for a student to land in the right place. A student in NC who wants to be an engineer should ideally start at NCSU or UNC-Charlotte (ETA:  assuming in state tuition as opposed to going the private or out of state route), otherwise he may be transferring after a year or two.  Not every university has every program. Additionally, transfer students often cannot complete programs in four years.  For many families, four years of college is an impossible expense, let alone five.

 

Counselors at our high schools are overwhelmed with students who need help with issues other than college.  As homeschoolers we never took advantage of their services, but my son's friends often described the counselors as useless.  It is clear that the kids who left the area to attend college (i.e. did not just enroll in the local CC or the regional uni) are often children of college educated parents.  My parents did not attend college.  They valued education to a point. My self educated father who had his bookcase of Great Books that he read regularly did not understand that there are differences between types of colleges or availability of programs. He took the very pragmatic "cheapest is best" approach and was thus unhappy with my decision not to attend the local CC.

 

As one who has danced to the beat of a different drum (why else would I have homeschooled??), I applaud those who try to find non-standard paths for their kids.  One of my very well educated friends has a kid pursuing a two year outdoor leadership degree.  This is the perfect degree for her kid, one that she helped her daughter find knowing that the girl would probably be miserable in a large university environment surrounded by textbooks. Kids I know have become an artisan baker, farmers, a pet groomer.  They are doing interesting things and are happy. 

 

I am not suggesting that college is the answer for everyone, but it was the answer for my son who completed his degree in four years and is now working in his field.  He knew what he wanted to do not only in college but afterwards.  Some of those kids we know with degrees who are still working as grocery cashiers really don't know what they want to do.  I don't think this dismisses the validity of their degrees--it does present a problem though if the degree required debt.

 

Where I live, kids who do not have direction from home or school are often the kids who are in trouble.  Unfortunately my rural area has a drug culture that sucks in those who lack passions and interests outside of themselves.  Again, 4-H to the rescue. My only child is now a college grad but I continue to work with 4-H kids in part to let them know that there are adults who listen and who give a hoot. I also plant a few bugs in their ears about college or career opportunities including local entrepreneurship. 

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It's a wonderful thing when a student is doing well and will be the first in his family to attend college.  When this student is excelling and receives mail from the top level schools, who am I to disabuse him of the notion that he actually has a chance at matriculation?  That his dreams are for naught?  What do you say to the student who scores in the top 5% on the ACT and SAT who has hopes for a top 10, 20 or even 50 school knowing his chances are slim when every week another mediocre student has a signing party in the high school foyer and accepts a full ride to play golf/basketball/swim at U of Wherever?

 

You should tell him that his dreams should not be dependent on where he attends college - college is simply a tool he is going to utilize to realize his dream.

 

Also, athletic full-rides are extremely rare.  If your son's classmates are leading him to believe that they are getting full-rides for golf and swimming, let him know that those kids are exaggerating.  There is no way that every week another athlete at your son's school is accepting a full ride.

 

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You should tell him that his dreams should not be dependent on where he attends college - college is simply a tool he is going to utilize to realize his dream.

 

Also, athletic full-rides are extremely rare.  If your son's classmates are leading him to believe that they are getting full-rides for golf and swimming, let him know that those kids are exaggerating.  There is no way that every week another athlete at your son's school is accepting a full ride.

 

 

Isn't that the truth?  Most of the kids who sign here are attending Division II or III schools which offer limited or no athletic scholarship funding. 

 

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Isn't that the truth?  Most of the kids who sign here are attending Division II or III schools which offer limited or no athletic scholarship funding. 

 

The top three schools on my son's list offer no athletic scholarship money. It is extremely rare to get a full-ride even if an athlete signs with a Div I school. 

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Physics hasn't been available in previous years but is offered at our high school this year due to demand. The class is full; populated by the students who don't have a math class. The good news is it's AP Physics but, since there is no precedent, no one knows what the test scores will look like next Spring.

 

How are these students to know what they want to study in college let alone decide on a career path? Yes, the students from the higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those with educated parents have an advantage but the vast majority of our students are from blue collar families. In our town, an engineer is someone who drives a train.  A student who does well in Chemistry may say "I want to be a chemical engineer." without really knowing what that entails.

 

How is a student to know to figure out his future career path when he must work to help with family finances?  When his parents are blue collar workers who are struggling paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford college sponsored summer programs (most people in our area aren't aware of these opportunities) or out-of-state (or out-of-town) internships? When he lives in a region where FFA, 4H and baseball are the most popular non-school activities?  Where high school assemblies are about STDs, teen pregnancy rates and bullying?  Where college info nights are mentioned in an online newsletter, center around regional LACs and Unis, and are poorly attended?

 

It's a wonderful thing when a student is doing well and will be the first in his family to attend college.  When this student is excelling and receives mail from the top level schools, who am I to disabuse him of the notion that he actually has a chance at matriculation?  That his dreams are for naught?  What do you say to the student who scores in the top 5% on the ACT and SAT who has hopes for a top 10, 20 or even 50 school knowing his chances are slim when every week another mediocre student has a signing party in the high school foyer and accepts a full ride to play golf/basketball/swim at U of Wherever?

You are in a much better district than I. We have no AP Science classes except Bio...students are supposed to go to the CC and pay for the others themselves if they want to work at that level.  We don't participate in any science fair or math league, so students can't even go that route to learn as activities like this aren't open to students whose school isn't participating..4H is where they go. Our jrs taking calc are doing so because there are no academic electives available and they fill an open spot frosh year by doubling in math.   Most seniors are attending half day, due to lack of desire to take nutrition and child development courses.

 

What you say when you know the chances are slim is that the school is a reach.  You can also start earlier and point the student to a website that has the criteria so that he can improve his chances. He can choose to get there or not. I hear this from the sons' friends frequently. One friends' parent thinks Julliard is within reach... friend does not know major scales, nor does he play at NYSMMA 5 or show up for lessons consistently (lessons are free here).   Another applied Early Decision to Cornell...in engineering with a 500 Math SAT.  All you can say is good luck and know that they will develop their talent some place else if they are truly interested.

 

You have to decide for yourself what the ethics of being 'in-the-know' demand of you.  For me, I beleive in the 'rising tide lifts all boats' idea.  Since the district won't provide academics appropriate for the top 25%, I've pointed fellow parents to the resources they need to get their child a real K-8 math education, so they can go the CC as seniors (high school seniors cannot take remedial courses at the CC) and move on.

 

As far as the athlete full ride, you might point out that full rides are available for students who score in the top 5% academically, if they too want to consider a weaker school, just as the athlete has gained from a weaker team than he might have joined had he not wanted a full ride. There will never be a signing party for an academically minded student here; that's considered elitist.  Even the students earning appointments to the military academies are ignored. Our best athletes are getting tuition free deals from the state schools for academics, but the free ride..haven't seen that in years. Athletic signing parties are typically for football players going to a military prep school....the rest are not even mentioned, one finds out by reading the local newspaper..and that press release does not come from the high school.

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Please remember I was not specifically  referring to my son but to the generic student in our area.

 

I will concede the athletic full ride as that is statistically improbable and poor wording on my part.  I'm not sure how to reword it at the moment.  There is a lot of tension in our area regarding this issue.  Every week the local newspaper, which covers the county not just our town, publishes articles with pictures of the signing parties.  Commitment signings are big deals here.  Table cloths, balloons, college coach, current coach,  a flourish of the pen, big smiles and hand shakes.   Is it like that anywhere else?

 

 

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Please remember I was not specifically referring to my son but to the generic student in our area.

 

I will concede the athletic full ride as that is statistically improbable and poor wording on my part. I'm not sure how to reword it at the moment. There is a lot of tension in our area regarding this issue. Every week the local newspaper, which covers the county not just our town, publishes articles with pictures of the signing parties. Commitment signings are big deals here. Table cloths, balloons, college coach, current coach, a flourish of the pen, big smiles and hand shakes. Is it like that anywhere else?

I'm not sure that that is any different even at the collegiate level. Who is celebrated on the college campus with greater pomp, the football players taking the school to the championship game or the student who won the Goldwater? Most people don't even know what the Rhodes or Mitchell or other academic awards are. It is what it is. Academic-oriented kids are usually bright enough to look behind the curtain to see the reality that matters.

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