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Chrysalis Academy

High School Planning Angst - time, credits, depth, Oh My!

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I think it is more an obsession with the illusion of an education.  Do we really have the results to show for all this insanity? 

 

Sometimes I think less is more. 

 

Amen, sister!

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Well and then I have to wonder how grueling that all actually is.  One of mine sings in a choir.  The age range is 9 to 18.  There are many high school students in the choir and these kids often talk bout their school stuff.  Many of them are cream of the crop students taking lots of AP.  Many go onto top notch colleges.  They also do tons and tons of extracurricular stuff.  I don't know how they could do all of that if these classes were taking a zillion hours per week each.  So either they are insanely brilliant, or it's not as crazy as it sounds.  Of course they are in school all day and that might be in part the bulk of the time spent working on it.  With a classroom filled with students though I imagine this takes longer than a home situation with one student.  So you should be able to get through much of the material much more quickly. 

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Well and then I have to wonder how grueling that all actually is.  One of mine sings in a choir.  The age range is 9 to 18.  There are many high school students in the choir and these kids often talk bout their school stuff.  Many of them are cream of the crop students taking lots of AP.  Many go onto top notch colleges.  They also do tons and tons of extracurricular stuff.  I don't know how they could do all of that if these classes were taking a zillion hours per week each.  So either they are insanely brilliant, or it's not as crazy as it sounds.  Of course they are in school all day and that might be in part the bulk of the time spent working on it.  With a classroom filled with students though I imagine this takes longer than a home situation with one student.  So you should be able to get through much of the material much more quickly. 

 

I'm not sure what the reality is either. My dd hears so many complaints from brick and mortar high school students about how they are deprived of social lives and sleep, yet they all have considerable online social media presence, are up on all the current movies and TV shows, find time to date, etc....

 

I see kids from all levels being accepted into various colleges, graduating, getting jobs, and moving on with their lives. Sometimes I wonder what drives all the drama...   Is it mainly just surrounding the most elite schools? Are the rest of us safe to just tune out the apocalyptic warnings?  :zombiechase:

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I see kids from all levels being accepted into various colleges, graduating, getting jobs, and moving on with their lives. Sometimes I wonder what drives all the drama... Is it mainly just surrounding the most elite schools? Are the rest of us safe to just tune out the apocalyptic warnings? :zombiechase:

Oh, I hope so! I do think that as homeschoolers, we need to show "more" at most colleges than the ps kids, to prove what we say about our kids though. (Be that through DE, AP, CLEP, SAT2s, etc). We're not trying for Ivy League.

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I'm not sure what the reality is either. My dd hears so many complaints from brick and mortar high school students about how they are deprived of social lives and sleep, yet they all have considerable online social media presence, are up on all the current movies and TV shows, find time to date, etc....

 

I see kids from all levels being accepted into various colleges, graduating, getting jobs, and moving on with their lives. Sometimes I wonder what drives all the drama...   Is it mainly just surrounding the most elite schools? Are the rest of us safe to just tune out the apocalyptic warnings?  :zombiechase:

I tune out the apocalyptic warnings because none of my kids are headed to ivies.  

 

I do think that the AP high school crowd has pressure that I probably didn't have back in the early/mid '80's when I went to public high school.  I did not take a heavy load of academic classes my senior year (no math or science). I held a part-time job from 16 on, was involved in drama, choir,yearbook,  church and all the activities there, and dated a LOT.  It was the busiest I've ever been in my life!  College was easy compared to that schedule.  But I was young and had energy.  I chose that schedule, partly to escape family problems.  I was never home except to eat, shower and sleep.  However, I did not have pressure to do a ton of AP classes or to make a certain score on the SAT or ACT.  I slid and skated my way through high school, focusing on social activities while taking a college-prep load of courses but still not all of the advanced language, math or science that I could have taken.

 

I absolutely refuse to believe that the only way to any sort of success is to run teens into the ground in order to get into a top tier college.  Nope.  Not happening here.  We may be taking the slower path, and my kids are really in charge of their eventual destinations, but we will be having a life along the way.

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Oh, I hope so! I do think that as homeschoolers, we need to show "more" at most colleges than the ps kids, to prove what we say about our kids though. (Be that through DE, AP, CLEP, SAT2s, etc). We're not trying for Ivy League.

I think it depends on the path chosen.  My kids will start at CC with DE courses, which will allow them to transfer to a four year college at some point.  If I wanted them to go directly from high school into a four year college on a scholarship, I would plan differently.  I spoke with a lady whose two kids both went to public school.  She paid someone to tutor them for the SAT (several thousand dollars, as I recall), and they both got full scholarships to state schools based on their scores.

 

Now, I don't know dip about anything because I have not actually gotten a homeschooled kid to college so everyone should feel free to ignore me. :lol:  But that is what homeschoolers do around here, even the smartest, college-bound ones.  

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I'm not sure what the reality is either. My dd hears so many complaints from brick and mortar high school students about how they are deprived of social lives and sleep, yet they all have considerable online social media presence, are up on all the current movies and TV shows, find time to date, etc....

 

I see kids from all levels being accepted into various colleges, graduating, getting jobs, and moving on with their lives. Sometimes I wonder what drives all the drama...   Is it mainly just surrounding the most elite schools? Are the rest of us safe to just tune out the apocalyptic warnings?  :zombiechase:

 

I also wonder.  Our local high school is a pressure cooker.  All of mine tried it, only one stuck with it (she'll be graduating in June).  She did not, however, do a ton of extracurriculars (just Robotics club almost every day for an hour or so after school, and an a capella group that met one day a week in the spring).  She was in all honors classes, and made good grades. She was invited to National Honors Society, but had no interest in doing the extra work associated with it.  She has taken four AP classes, and one AP test with no class (homeschooling remnant).  No sports.  Not a lot of volunteering.  She still feels like that is more than enough.  She has friends who do way more.  My other two kids didn't want to keep up with what they felt was a relentless pace.  Don't know how the other kids are doing even more APs, plus sports, plus theater (that's huge at this school, and takes hours and hours after school), plus volunteering, plus a lot of the orchestra kids are in elite orchestras in addition to school and practice hours a day.  Maybe homeschooling conditioned my kids to too much downtime?  Although if you ask them I was an evil slave-driver compared to all of their other homeschooling friends... :001_rolleyes:

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I tune out the apocalyptic warnings because none of my kids are headed to ivies.  

 

I do think that the AP high school crowd has pressure that I probably didn't have back in the early/mid '80's when I went to public high school.  I did not take a heavy load of academic classes my senior year (no math or science). I held a part-time job from 16 on, was involved in drama, choir,yearbook,  church and all the activities there, and dated a LOT.  It was the busiest I've ever been in my life!  College was easy compared to that schedule.  But I was young and had energy.  I chose that schedule, partly to escape family problems.  I was never home except to eat, shower and sleep.  However, I did not have pressure to do a ton of AP classes or to make a certain score on the SAT or ACT.  I slid and skated my way through high school, focusing on social activities while taking a college-prep load of courses but still not all of the advanced language, math or science that I could have taken.

 

I absolutely refuse to believe that the only way to any sort of success is to run teens into the ground in order to get into a top tier college.  Nope.  Not happening here.  We may be taking the slower path, and my kids are really in charge of their eventual destinations, but we will be having a life along the way.

 

I totally agree and my situation sounds very similar. 

 

I went to a state university.  No clue how much of a difference that makes, but I found it less grueling than high school.  Probably because at least with college you aren't sitting in a classroom for 7 hours a day and then having to go home and spend several hours more studying. 

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I think it depends on the path chosen.  My kids will start at CC with DE courses, which will allow them to transfer to a four year college at some point.  If I wanted them to go directly from high school into a four year college on a scholarship, I would plan differently.

 

My dd who left ps and mostly did DE found the CC to be a much better pace for her.  She'll have almost 40 credits to transfer if she sticks to a state school.  I'm also thinking a state school is a good idea because if she found the pace at the ps relentless, why go to a college with all those shark kids (and most of the credits wouldn't transfer, and she'd have to go into debt).  Something to be said for slow and steady...

 

 

 

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Sometimes I wonder what drives all the drama... Is it mainly just surrounding the most elite schools? Are the rest of us safe to just tune out the apocalyptic warnings? :zombiechase:

I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

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I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

 

Oh gawd. 

 

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I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

 

I'm not doing this for a school that accepts only 5 in every 100 applicants. :lol: You gotta give me much more hope than that to get me to write that much. :lol:

 

Seriously, though, I would be truthful because otherwise my conscience will kill me after sending in the apps.

 

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I'm not doing this for a school that accepts only 5 in every 100 applicants. :lol: You gotta give me much more hope than that to get me to write that much. :lol:

 

Seriously, though, I would be truthful because otherwise my conscience will kill me after sending in the apps.

 

 

 

:smilielol5:  :smilielol5:  :smilielol5:

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I'm not doing this for a school that accepts only 5 in every 100 applicants. :lol: You gotta give me much more hope than that to get me to write that much. :lol:

 

Seriously, though, I would be truthful because otherwise my conscience will kill me after sending in the apps.

 

 

I'd be truthful because the truth would be highly amusing.

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I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

Good grief.  An entire book could be written based on these questions, and I'm thinking that Stanford admissions doesn't want to read my novel. :lol:

 

Fortunately, Stanford is not our goal.  A terrible loss to Stanford.   :hat:

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Good grief.  An entire book could be written based on these questions, and I'm thinking that Stanford admissions doesn't want to read my novel. :lol:

 

Fortunately, Stanford is not our goal.  A terrible loss to Stanford.   :hat:

 

:laugh:  You gals are a riot!

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Oh, I hope so! I do think that as homeschoolers, we need to show "more" at most colleges than the ps kids, to prove what we say about our kids though. (Be that through DE, AP, CLEP, SAT2s, etc). We're not trying for Ivy League.

 

I don't know if it's that we have to show more in the sense of being better than the average B&M student.  I do think that schools want to have enough information to justify saying yes.  

 

I don't think there is a lock step right way to do homeschooled high school.  I do think that admissions officers want to pick good students to come to their schools.  If you give them enough to gauge that a student has done quality work in high school and is ready for the level that college expects, it gives them a basis for offering admissions.  

 

I look at it from the point of view that just by being homeschooled, my kids will be exceptions to the normal profile.  They won't have a class rank and they won't have a gpa that compares them to hundreds and thousands of seniors in their year or students in previous years. Their school doesn't have a reputation for sending a certain percentage of graduates to 4 year colleges.  They can't compare to graduates of our high school that have attended their college and succeeded.

 

So it is up to me to make sure I give them something they can measure and consider.  SAT/ACT scores, dual enrollment grades, Subject test scores, AP exam scores, outside course grades, recommendations from people who are not related to the applicant.  Clear descriptions of what our goals and process in high school were.  I figure that there should be a congruity between what I've put on a transcript and what outside documentation I have indicates.  If I say that my student earned an A in math through Pre-Calculus, but he only scored a 500 on the math section of the SAT, then there is an inconsistency.  If I say that he earned an A through Algebra 2 and then he got an A when he took Pre-Calculus as a dual enrolled student, then the home based grades seem easier to accept.

 

I think we also need to consider the sort of things that admissions counselors hear during an admissions cycle.  There are students who will create elaborate fictions during college admissions.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/genius-girl-a-harvard-stanford-admissions-hoax-and-elite-college-mania/2015/06/22/e955be78-1907-11e5-bd7f-4611a60dd8e5_story.html There are parents who will try to use their connections to influence admissions offices.  Not in the "I bought a new library for the school" sense, but in the sense of "I golf with someone whose uncle graduated from there and he is a bigwig" sense.  I think that they must have to develop a healthy skepticism with regards to admissions packages.  So I think that it helps a homeschool applicant to have something that goes beyond just the grade assigned by the family.  That outside something can take many forms.  

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Good grief. An entire book could be written based on these questions, and I'm thinking that Stanford admissions doesn't want to read my novel. :lol:

 

Fortunately, Stanford is not our goal. A terrible loss to Stanford. :hat:

I think I can come up with variations in answers to those questions while at our annual dental checkup later. My whole family takes two hours at the dentist :P

 

Stanford is within commuter distance for us and my favorite Trader Joes and Apple store is just across the street. Besides the Stanford math circle host the AMC8/10/12 exams saving us the trouble of finding a site.

 

My kids knows the odds of getting in are slim so they aren't going to be disappointed. They won't get lost on campus though and would probably hibernate at the college bookstore. Free campus wide wifi and free shuttle :lol:

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I'd be truthful because the truth would be highly amusing.

 

My worry/ angst is that to my kid, learning = extra curriculars. But we are so gung ho and fun about learning that it's hard to express what we do in very serious essay-quality terms. He does some but not as many ECs as families here do. So, just for fun, if kiddo had to answer the questions, it will probably look like...

 

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

a teacher bullied me every day that I was in kindy and I was traumatized and stopped eating and speaking when spoken to. Mom and dad suggested homeschooling and it helped me heal. I didn't ever go back to school again because homeschooling gave me so much free time to read (and because he is a very truthful kid he will add "read mostly graphic novels and story books").

 

how your learning process was organized

Mom said that as long as I wrote the date on every notebook page, I could do whatever I wanted to do. And I did. And oh, when I was younger, I learned science from TV. David Attenborough rocks!

what benefits accrued

I got to learn lots of math and read lots of books. And watch TV.

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

Whether to use AoPS, a tutor or community college. And if I really HAVE to do PE. And if I could stop having to write the date on every page.

 

 

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I'm not doing this for a school that accepts only 5 in every 100 applicants. :lol: You gotta give me much more hope than that to get me to write that much. :lol:

 

Seriously, though, I would be truthful because otherwise my conscience will kill me after sending in the apps.

 

I'm bored and I just need to modify my answers slightly for UC and others. Besides I was in marketing and my style of blunt truth would be a bit too blunt. So I am going for tempered truth.

 

ETA:

My oldest honest answer would be that he could sleep until noon, eat ice cream while doing maths, and not be bored in class most of the time to the point of day dreaming.

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My worry/ angst is that to my kid, learning = extra curriculars. But we are so gung ho and fun about learning that it's hard to express what we do in very serious essay-quality terms. He does some but not as many ECs as families here do. So, just for fun, if kiddo had to answer the questions, it will probably look like...

 

 

Whoa..well those reasons are interesting enough to put in an essay I think.

 

My kids didn't choose homeschooling.  I chose it long before I had much of a reason at all. 

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I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

I was happy to see that colleges were interested in the answer to this question. As we are all well aware, there are a lot of inaccurate stereotypes out there about homeschoolers. I viewed this "writing assignment" as an opportunity to shatter those stereotypes.

 

Fwiw, my local schools gifted coordinator told me the public schools would not be able to meet my kiddo's needs. I definitely mentioned this tidbit when answering this question.

 

ETA: I did have some difficulty being diplomatic at times. For example, my husband suggested I eliminate the adjective "horrid" when I was describing the public school's math program.

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I think I can come up with variations in answers to those questions while at our annual dental checkup later. My whole family takes two hours at the dentist :p

 

Stanford is within commuter distance for us and my favorite Trader Joes and Apple store is just across the street. Besides the Stanford math circle host the AMC8/10/12 exams saving us the trouble of finding a site.

 

My kids knows the odds of getting in are slim so they aren't going to be disappointed. They won't get lost on campus though and would probably hibernate at the college bookstore. Free campus wide wifi and free shuttle :lol:

If Stanford was a possible commuter school for us, my reaction may be different.  I would love to see your answers!

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I do not look forward to writing those "why & how we chose to homeschool" essays for admissions. You're right- it's an essay question for the parents, yikes! I mean, I know why, but putting it eloquently into words for admissions officers is another issue.

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I do not look forward to writing those "why & how we chose to homeschool" essays for admissions. You're right- it's an essay question for the parents, yikes! I mean, I know why, but putting it eloquently into words for admissions officers is another issue.

Dd15 applied to a very competitive summer program this fall. No lie, it took me two freaking months to answer their essay questions for homeschooling parents.

 

I looked at it as practice for next year's application cycle.

 

I ate much chocolate. Some adult beverages may have been consumed ;)

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Good grief.  An entire book could be written based on these questions, and I'm thinking that Stanford admissions doesn't want to read my novel. :lol:

 

Fortunately, Stanford is not our goal.  A terrible loss to Stanford.   :hat:

 

I think that I covered this pretty well within a 2 page school profile.  I discussed our goals for homeschooling, environmental influence (in particular moving 6+ times and living overseas twice), outside educational partners, grading philosophy and a little more.  My course descriptions covered things like length of course, textbooks, field trips (for history and government courses mainly), related outside tests like National Latin Exam and AP exams, and details on outside providers.  I fit 2-5 courses per page.

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I do not look forward to writing those "why & how we chose to homeschool" essays for admissions. You're right- it's an essay question for the parents, yikes! I mean, I know why, but putting it eloquently into words for admissions officers is another issue.

 

I ended up going for a tone of clarity and specific detail rather than one of emotional persuasion.  I didn't need to convince them that they should homeschool or that homeschooling was the best of all possible choices.  I did need to explain how it enabled and restricted the educational choices we had (for example, sports access was very limited once my kids hit high school).  

 

I decided that they needed to be able to understand WHAT my son had done and made a decision if it prepared him for their schools.  That let me get a little emotional distance.

 

I am also a huge advocate of getting things like course descriptions down on paper earlier rather than later.  Not only will you have a lot of demands on your time when the kids are older and actually applying, but also you may benefit from having the emotion of the course details more in the past.  It makes revision a little easier.

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I know quite a few lovely elite school kids who are too busy tinkering to be dramatic :)

 

What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

If one chooses to view it in that light, the entire counselor section of an application could be an essay for parents.  

 

Between conversations with admissions officers and reading between the lines of some of the published statements/requirements/questions for homeschoolers I have come to the conclusion that many admissions departments have had negative interactions with homeschoolers and are trying to prevent them in the future.  There were many times that I was begged for a transcript or at the very least a list of classes and something resembling a grade (even a mommy grade).  They suggested taking the ACT or SAT and submitting scores. Several more competitive schools suggested course descriptions as a way of helping them understand exactly how my child proceeded through high school.  (I'm not talking about Ivy League schools here but rather top state schools and LACs.)  They want a basis for comparing your child to their more traditionally educated applicants, a way of understanding if your child will be successful at their school.  They don't want to admit any kids who will clearly not make it past the first semester or first year.

 

As far as the Stanford question above goes-yes, many schools have a similar question.  This is your chance to describe your child's home education experience as you wish to present it.  You could choose the brutal truth line or you could choose a gentle but honest line. Families choose homeschooling for many reasons: religious, quality of potential public schools, education goals, meeting special needs, meeting gifted needs, family lifestyle, health concerns, support of artistic/athletic endeavors, the list goes on and on.  They want to know why your kid/your family.  That begins to tell the story of the applicant they are looking at.  How is your learning organized: do you contract everything out to a provider from day 1 and do correspondence school, do you pick and choose different curricula, do you write your own curricula, do you follow a particular philosophy, use outside providers/DE, etc.  This, in conjunction with course descriptions tells them much about how and what your kid studied.  Benefits accrued: more family time, time to concentrate on a sport, ability to participate in science competitions, able to finish school on time while completing medical therapies, pursued an academic or extra-curricular interest fully, able to complete school on time in a difficult situation, the list could go on forever as each family and each child are unique and their benefit will each differ.  What choices did you make: did you give up a second income while one parent stayed home, committed finances otherwise tagged for college, made learning the center of your home, had a family member assist with education while the parents worked, kids worked alongside in a family business while studying, and so on.  

 

In answering questions like this you have a choice, be offended, upset and defensive (Which isn't entirely unjustified; no one asked parents to defend why they chose a public school.) or take it as an opportunity to make your kid shine.  To help the school understand your kid.  

 

Sadly, admissions is a game.  The higher the stakes (competitive schools, high dollar scholarships, honors college, etc) the more you might need to play the game.  For some people the way they can play will be by taking lots of AP or DE courses to show their academic competitiveness and success. For some it will be to have published a novel, sold works of art, be a competitive athlete, a musician or dancer.  For some it will be math and science competitions, for others it will be scouts or 4-H, for some it might be working part or full-time for several years of high school.  Some might be heavily involved in volunteer work.  For some the admissions game and higher education may not be a good fit; they may enlist in the military or pursue training or apprenticeships in other fields.  Can learning still be a delight in any of these situations?  Of course, how delightful it is depends on attitude.  

 

Does pursing high academic goals in high school pay off?  Yes, one need only look at the college acceptance and scholarship lists posted every year.  The kids represented on these boards (and their parents) are amazing.  They have accomplished much and in a wide variety of ways.  Every family needs to find their path and their voice but don't discount all that those speaking from experience have done.  High school is a difficult time.  Homeschooling through high school is hard and time consuming for students and parents.  It is different and difficult compared to earlier years.  It bring lots of new challenges and difficulties along with many joys.  I don't think it is a road folks choose because it is easy.  But being one semester from the end of the road with my oldest I'm not sure I'd choose differently.  Seeing who she has become as a result and having the relationship that we have created means the world to me.

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I do not look forward to writing those "why & how we chose to homeschool" essays for admissions. You're right- it's an essay question for the parents, yikes! I mean, I know why, but putting it eloquently into words for admissions officers is another issue.

 

Yeah, my first couple reasons are a rejection of institutionalized learning.  Which doesn't sound so great when you're applying to an institution of learning, lol.  :lol:

 

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I think it depends on the path chosen.  My kids will start at CC with DE courses, which will allow them to transfer to a four year college at some point.

 

 

That's exactly what we did.

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What I do have problem with is answering the first question quoted below diplomatically. Copied from Stanford's webpage but most colleges have similar questions. I guess saying that the public school teachers tell us to homeschool while truthful won't be acceptable. Talk about essay writing for parents :lol:

 

"In particular, we would like to understand:

 

how and why your family chose home schooling

 

how your learning process was organized

 

what benefits accrued

 

what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education"

 

Does the Common App still have the homeschool supplement? It had the same basic question when we were going through the application process 4 years ago, though it was broken down into separate questions. I did write a very long essay about it, then had to edit and pare it down to fit the character limitations.

 

My ds also was asked about homeschooling in his admissions interviews, so it is something worth talking about with your student as you get further along in high school. Don't panic -- not all schools require admissions interviews of homeschoolers. For my ds it was a chance to shine and impress, and to explain his unusual transcript.

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My ds also was asked about homeschooling in his admissions interviews, so it is something worth talking about with your student as you get further along in high school. Don't panic -- not all schools require admissions interviews of homeschoolers. For my ds it was a chance to shine and impress, and to explain his unusual transcript.

 

Thanks. We had hit that issue with selective programs which has an interview round. I'm working on getting my boys to advocate for themselves and also market themselves.

 

ETA:

I copied the questions off Stanford website which were similar to what the UC asked.  Stanford is local to me so I use it as a convenient checkpoint.

 

http://admission.stanford.edu/application/freshman/home_school.html

 

 

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.

 

My ds also was asked about homeschooling in his admissions interviews, so it is something worth talking about with your student as you get further along in high school.

Can't emphasize this enough. You may be asked about homeschooling by an interviewer who knows NOTHING about homeschooling. DD got asked point blank, "So... tell me all about your unique homeschool experience."

 

She was absolutely bewildered as to where to start!

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I really like Sebastian's point about going for a tone of clarity and detail. It's easy to become defensive under the questioning, but I actually enjoy the opportunity to explain (our version, which is not intended to be representative of all homeschoolers :-) ) the education my daughter has received. There are weird questions sometimes (and odd "compliments"...like "She doesn't seem homeschooled." Whatever, ha!)

 

But people generally mean well, and have a job of figuring out how this particular educational path compares to that of the other applicants, so they can make it as "apples to apples" as possible.

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I took those schools that required interviews of homeschoolers specifically to mean that the school wanted an opportunity to ask any questions about the homeschool program they couldn't understand from the submitted paperwork.  (After speaking with admissions counselors in the tour process it seems enough homeschoolers don't submit much information and they are looking for a basis of comparison.) I think, for all the interviews dd has had in the process, most asked about homeschooling and I had shown her what I put in the counselor's report so that she had that as a basis for her answer.  Most didn't dwell on the homeschooling aspect and a notable couple even asked her about her experiences as a student at our local school. Needless to say those interviewers (who asked that question while holding her application packet) did not make themselves or their school look particularly good. One item to keep in mind-an interviewer will often ask about homeschooling in the same way they will ask about a hobby, team sport, or the high school attended.  They have a "school" question or pick something interesting, unique, or defining about you to inquire about.  I don't think all those questions are necessarily hostile in intent.  To the outside world, homeschooling just happens to be something that defines our kids as much as playing a sport or instrument; this automatically creates an opportunity for a question, a question our kids can use to let their best qualities shine.

 

As a Gr8lander said they are trying get as close to "apples to apples" as they can in the admissions process.

 

FWIW-there are lots of interview types: required, optional, homeschooler (required and optional), scholarship, formal and informal. Interviews might be conducted by an admissions counselor, a student working for admissions, faculty, alumni, and interview panels.  I think dd has hit all of them between the schools she has chosen.  

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In answering questions like this you have a choice, be offended, upset and defensive (Which isn't entirely unjustified; no one asked parents to defend why they chose a public school.) or take it as an opportunity to make your kid shine.  To help the school understand your kid.  

 

Sadly, admissions is a game.  The higher the stakes (competitive schools, high dollar scholarships, honors college, etc) the more you might need to play the game.  For some people the way they can play will be by taking lots of AP or DE courses to show their academic competitiveness and success. For some it will be to have published a novel, sold works of art, be a competitive athlete, a musician or dancer.  For some it will be math and science competitions, for others it will be scouts or 4-H, for some it might be working part or full-time for several years of high school.  Some might be heavily involved in volunteer work.  For some the admissions game and higher education may not be a good fit; they may enlist in the military or pursue training or apprenticeships in other fields.  Can learning still be a delight in any of these situations?  Of course, how delightful it is depends on attitude.  

 

Does pursing high academic goals in high school pay off?  Yes, one need only look at the college acceptance and scholarship lists posted every year.  The kids represented on these boards (and their parents) are amazing.  They have accomplished much and in a wide variety of ways.  Every family needs to find their path and their voice but don't discount all that those speaking from experience have done.  High school is a difficult time.  Homeschooling through high school is hard and time consuming for students and parents.  It is different and difficult compared to earlier years.  It bring lots of new challenges and difficulties along with many joys.  I don't think it is a road folks choose because it is easy.  But being one semester from the end of the road with my oldest I'm not sure I'd choose differently.  Seeing who she has become as a result and having the relationship that we have created means the world to me.

 

I tried not to take things personally with admissions.  I did end up doing a number of tasks that either would have been automated or cookie cutter (transcripts and school profile) or that would have been done by school staff (counselor recommendations).  On the other hand, I had the opportunity to write a packet that described the school experience to that my son could focus his essay space on topics that related more to him as an individual. The parents of traditionally schooled students get what they get with respect to counselor recommendations and support.

 

I agree that admissions is a game.  To a certain extent the schools pick the playing field and set many of the rules.  But as one guide for the Common App pointed out, each question is an opportunity to give the answers you want to give.  I tried not to bypass the places I had to explain how my son was ready for college and would be an asset to the college he attended.  I also bear in mind the fact that some schools have many, many applicants and decline a lot of good students for reasons that may be unfathomable.

 

I don't think that high school should be about designing a four year (or longer) experience to craft the best application to colleges with lottery level acceptance rates.  I think sometimes students and parents want to hear that there is some path that would make those schools a sure thing.  There isn't.  There are many paths that make such schools possibilities.  There are also paths that make such schools less likely or unlikely.  

 

Like a lot of things, you keep one eye to possible future goals and another eye to the present and improving what the student is capable of right now.

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Thanks to everyone who helped explained about the homeschool questions and about the interviews.

 

Hubby and I went through a system whereby you get directly into the faculty/discipline you want in university based only on the results of our Cambrige 'A' levels exams. Only law faculty and medicine faculty have an interview round on top of stellar grades. Architecture has an aptitude test but no interview.

 

Looks like we would need to find chances for our boys to practice their interview/marketing skills before it matters. A private high school principal wanted to interview my oldest when we did a tour. My boy wasn't sure how to answer the principal's questions. We didn't prep for that since we thought the interview would be after the application.

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FWIW-as we went through the college tour process we discovered that many impromptu/de facto interviews occurred.  At the end of tours when DD would ask a question about a specific part of the application process for homeschoolers or about the department she was interested in many of the student tour guides would have to call one of the admissions counselors for back-up.  Once she was face to face with an add-con this would often become an interview style discussion.  One even went as far as to take her into a conference room, answer all her questions and then interviewed her for about 15 -20 minutes, they then came out and spoke with us (parents) and answered all of our questions.  That was not an event we had anticipated.  Other interviews had been scheduled alongside tours, some via phone and Skype, and others popped up on an impromptu basis when dd would call the admissions office to ask a question about an application or verify that one had been completed.

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I tried not to take things personally with admissions.  I did end up doing a number of tasks that either would have been automated or cookie cutter (transcripts and school profile) or that would have been done by school staff (counselor recommendations).  On the other hand, I had the opportunity to write a packet that described the school experience to that my son could focus his essay space on topics that related more to him as an individual. The parents of traditionally schooled students get what they get with respect to counselor recommendations and support.

 

I agree that admissions is a game.  To a certain extent the schools pick the playing field and set many of the rules.  But as one guide for the Common App pointed out, each question is an opportunity to give the answers you want to give.  I tried not to bypass the places I had to explain how my son was ready for college and would be an asset to the college he attended.  I also bear in mind the fact that some schools have many, many applicants and decline a lot of good students for reasons that may be unfathomable.

 

I don't think that high school should be about designing a four year (or longer) experience to craft the best application to colleges with lottery level acceptance rates.  I think sometimes students and parents want to hear that there is some path that would make those schools a sure thing.  There isn't.  There are many paths that make such schools possibilities.  There are also paths that make such schools less likely or unlikely.  

 

Like a lot of things, you keep one eye to possible future goals and another eye to the present and improving what the student is capable of right now.

Exactly.

 

Dd and I had a long talk as we began the process about rejection and what it meant.  That some schools turned away fully qualified candidates because they had so many, other schools turned down qualified candidates that they thought might not attend to accept others who they thought would, they turn down candidates they perceive as unqualified and so on.  She needed to accept that rejection was as much a part of the process as acceptance and that much of either was beyond her control.  

 

We tried to craft a high school plan that gave her time for what she enjoys and time to keep as many doors open in the college application process as possible.  Some were certainly closed as she progressed and others opened wider.  Over those four years where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do began to come together and hopefully at the end she will have the best possible place for her.

 

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We are yet another independent homeschooling family in California who opted to forgo a through g.
 

It just didn't make sense.  To get the classes accredited as we went along would mean we would have to switch to a charter at the very age most of my charter homeschooling friends where switching away because of the crazy oversight.  We would have to give up curriculum and methods I knew worked and worked well.To certify by exam would mean an awful lot of time and money to College Board, and we were not wiling to do that either.  Basically going the a through g route would mean giving up many of our best reasons to homeschool in the first place!

 

The clincher though, is that there was no immediate benefit to sending our kids directly in the UC system.  The state university system really is designed for a high percentage of students to filter through community colleges first.  I have taught at the university level in other parts of the country as well as CA, and my opinion is that California community college system, at least in our area, does a good job. Not a perfect job, but a good one.  The community college to UC route is open to homeschoolers with relatively minimal stress and low tuition.

As it has turned out, my oldest son ended up applying to 2 universities:  one private (selective but not name brand) and the other an out of state tech school through the WUE exchange.  He was accepted into both and still receiving news on merit aid, but it is looking very promising.  He had decent SAT and ACT scores and one "soft" AP exam.  That was it as far as outside grades.  (He did take 2 SAT2 subject tests AFTER he was accepted to one of the schools because it was requested by a scholarship.)  He had pretty good letters of recommendation, but because we did not outsource math or English, the teacher who wrote it did not know him very well.  Again, it didn't seem to matter.  So when people talk about the need to have outside confirmation...IDK.  My experience is that if ACT or SAT scores are solid, outside confirmation seems to be a moot point.  Unless you are talking highly selective.  Even then, I'm not so sure.  Because the more you work towards outside confirmation, the more you follow a "typical" path and it seems to me the big advantage of homeschooling is not to be so typical.

 

WUE tuition is often less than the UC's and more than the Cal States.  However, many WUE schools are in areas where COLA is significantly lower than California.  I'm tossing this out there because WUE can have some overlooked gems.
 

I have enjoyed homeschooling the high school years more than elementary or middle school.  The kids get more personality and more opinionated and it's just a lot of fun to see them come into their own.  Mine have gotten super independent, and honestly I am not sure how motivated I could have kept them with a standard curriculum.  They have quirky interests, but that is a good thing. 

Let your geek flag fly.

 

I say all this to encourage you to worry less and go with what you know works.  Yes, those essay prompts for the homeschool counselor letters such as the one posted above are a PITA, but they are also a chance for you to explain your philosophy of how you educate and why you made the decisions you did.  Even the dreaded course descriptions--and yes, I did complain about that too--is a nice opportunity to summarize the high school years.  Admissions wants a chance to peek inside your "school."  It is nice of them to want to peek, at least.  Because we all know the UC's don't even want to step in the neighborhood. 

 

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The community college to UC route is open to homeschoolers with relatively minimal stress and low tuition.

 

 

This seems to be what everybody is saying around me. Are there downsides? I have heard that kids who might one day want to attend medical schools might not be best served with CC first approach. I have also heard that having a ton of CC credits might not qualify you any more to apply as a freshman to a private college. What if my kid goes CC route and wakes up one day to want to attend Harvey Mudd. Will they force him to apply as transfer? I hope I don't sound too stupid, but I am wondering if there is a catch somewhere I am just not seeing. 

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Yeah, my first couple reasons are a rejection of institutionalized learning.  Which doesn't sound so great when you're applying to an institution of learning, lol.  :lol:

 

 

See, if this is your philosophy as a parent, I would state it and make sure your child addresses it from his or her perspective. If I were waiting through a pile of admissions essay, one written by a student saying "My mother rejected institutional learning..."  would get MY attention.

 

And I mean that in a good way.

 

For students whose ultimate goal is grad school, the undergraduate degree may be a bit of an anomaly.  By that I mean he or she might have to do traditional lectures, papers, tests.

 

But grad school?  That IME was less about institutional learning and a lot more about being self motivated and creative and thinking outside the box.

 

So a student telling me that he or she has developed GRAD school skills as a teenager---I would be inclined to accept.  Why not.

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This seems to be what everybody is saying around me. Are there downsides? I have heard that kids who might one day want to attend medical schools might not be best served with CC first approach. I have also heard that having a ton of CC credits might not qualify you any more to apply as a freshman to a private college. What if my kid goes CC route and wakes up one day to want to attend Harvey Mudd. Will they force him to apply as transfer? I hope I don't sound too stupid, but I am wondering if there is a catch somewhere I am just not seeing. 

 

The main drawback I see is that after 2 years they have to switch to a new school.  This disruption or change, depending on your perspective, may or may not be a good thing.

 

Harvey Mudd doesn't like transfers, I don't think.  Someone correct me on this.  But they are private and your kid can apply as a freshman as a homeschooler.  :-)    It really is ONLY the UC's and Cal States who are picky, and then only about the first 2 years.

 

The risk for waking up 2 years in and wishing for a different route is one ALL students face.  Students have to make the best decision at the time and live with it.

 

I have heard the medical school admissions lore, but again I don't really buy it because I know of 2 physicians who went the CC route and it didn't seem to matter.  I am guessing a potential physician could write a strong personal essay about his or her CC to UC route and it would turn heads in way a standard admissions essay would not.

 

That is just my guess though.

 

Kaiser is supposed to be opening a medical school here in CA and I am pretty sure they will not care about CC on the transcript because their big push is to develop physicians willing to work in underserved areas.

 

 

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This seems to be what everybody is saying around me. Are there downsides? I have heard that kids who might one day want to attend medical schools might not be best served with CC first approach. I have also heard that having a ton of CC credits might not qualify you any more to apply as a freshman to a private college. What if my kid goes CC route and wakes up one day to want to attend Harvey Mudd. Will they force him to apply as transfer? I hope I don't sound too stupid, but I am wondering if there is a catch somewhere I am just not seeing. 

 

 

Every family's needs are different. We used dual enrollment courses judiciously, because I didn't care to have us tied to the university's schedule any more than I wanted to be tied to the high school's schedule. I also didn't think the academic expectations of our local university were terribly high, in general. We did use it for courses where we really didn't have another acceptable (and flexible!) option. :-)

 

The other thing to consider with the community college is that those grades are going to stick. If a course isn't working out for whatever reason (bad prof, etc), the GPA may take a hit that could be avoided if you were in a situation where the student could slow down and work on mastery of a given topic. There's a no "score choice" with college classes; all grades will have to be sent to future schools.

 

As far as the transfer issue, those rules will vary according to school, but it is something to keep in mind. It may also impact scholarships that are only available to first time freshmen.

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I have also heard that having a ton of CC credits might not qualify you any more to apply as a freshman to a private college. What if my kid goes CC route and wakes up one day to want to attend Harvey Mudd. Will they force him to apply as transfer? I hope I don't sound too stupid, but I am wondering if there is a catch somewhere I am just not seeing.

The main catch seems to be that private colleges often don't accept many CC credits earned while in high school. Some private colleges DD looked at accepted none, some a semester max, some only those credits that were above and beyond those needed for high school graduation. If you want to use your dual enrollment classes to finish undergrad more quickly, you may need to stay in your state system. Whether adcoms see CC courses as better or worse than other high school class options is a matter of regular debate in homeschool high school lists.

 

If you enroll in CC as a regular student as opposed to dual-enrolling, that might affect your freshman status at your next school. Usually there is a way to tweak the paperwork or maximum credits earned to keep freshman status.

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Exactly.

 

Dd and I had a long talk as we began the process about rejection and what it meant.  That some schools turned away fully qualified candidates because they had so many, other schools turned down qualified candidates that they thought might not attend to accept others who they thought would, they turn down candidates they perceive as unqualified and so on.  She needed to accept that rejection was as much a part of the process as acceptance and that much of either was beyond her control.  

 

We tried to craft a high school plan that gave her time for what she enjoys and time to keep as many doors open in the college application process as possible.  Some were certainly closed as she progressed and others opened wider.  Over those four years where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do began to come together and hopefully at the end she will have the best possible place for her.

 

My MIL reminded me recently that when my BIL was applying to MS/PhD programs, he had a wall of his apartment papered over with the rejection letters he received.  That wasn't the end of his story as he also had acceptances, earned his PhD and has worked on some really awesome projects.

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We are yet another independent homeschooling family in California who opted to forgo a through g.

 

It just didn't make sense.  To get the classes accredited as we went along would mean we would have to switch to a charter at the very age most of my charter homeschooling friends where switching away because of the crazy oversight.  We would have to give up curriculum and methods I knew worked and worked well.To certify by exam would mean an awful lot of time and money to College Board, and we were not wiling to do that either.  Basically going the a through g route would mean giving up many of our best reasons to homeschool in the first place!

 

The clincher though, is that there was no immediate benefit to sending our kids directly in the UC system.  The state university system really is designed for a high percentage of students to filter through community colleges first.  I have taught at the university level in other parts of the country as well as CA, and my opinion is that California community college system, at least in our area, does a good job. Not a perfect job, but a good one.  The community college to UC route is open to homeschoolers with relatively minimal stress and low tuition.

 

As it has turned out, my oldest son ended up applying to 2 universities:  one private (selective but not name brand) and the other an out of state tech school through the WUE exchange.  He was accepted into both and still receiving news on merit aid, but it is looking very promising.  He had decent SAT and ACT scores and one "soft" AP exam.  That was it as far as outside grades.  (He did take 2 SAT2 subject tests AFTER he was accepted to one of the schools because it was requested by a scholarship.)  He had pretty good letters of recommendation, but because we did not outsource math or English, the teacher who wrote it did not know him very well.  Again, it didn't seem to matter.  So when people talk about the need to have outside confirmation...IDK.  My experience is that if ACT or SAT scores are solid, outside confirmation seems to be a moot point.  Unless you are talking highly selective.  Even then, I'm not so sure.  Because the more you work towards outside confirmation, the more you follow a "typical" path and it seems to me the big advantage of homeschooling is not to be so typical.

 

WUE tuition is often less than the UC's and more than the Cal States.  However, many WUE schools are in areas where COLA is significantly lower than California.  I'm tossing this out there because WUE can have some overlooked gems.

 

I have enjoyed homeschooling the high school years more than elementary or middle school.  The kids get more personality and more opinionated and it's just a lot of fun to see them come into their own.  Mine have gotten super independent, and honestly I am not sure how motivated I could have kept them with a standard curriculum.  They have quirky interests, but that is a good thing. 

 

Let your geek flag fly.

 

I say all this to encourage you to worry less and go with what you know works.  Yes, those essay prompts for the homeschool counselor letters such as the one posted above are a PITA, but they are also a chance for you to explain your philosophy of how you educate and why you made the decisions you did.  Even the dreaded course descriptions--and yes, I did complain about that too--is a nice opportunity to summarize the high school years.  Admissions wants a chance to peek inside your "school."  It is nice of them to want to peek, at least.  Because we all know the UC's don't even want to step in the neighborhood. 

 

I reached a similar conclusion about a-g during our brief time in CA.  The charter options weren't that enticing and seemed to trade hassle and oversight for course offerings that weren't necessarily better than I was doing on my own.  DS's one semester at a CA CC was a very high quality math class that impressed him a lot.  Had we stayed in CA, I might have encouraged the CC to uni route.

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This seems to be what everybody is saying around me. Are there downsides? I have heard that kids who might one day want to attend medical schools might not be best served with CC first approach. I have also heard that having a ton of CC credits might not qualify you any more to apply as a freshman to a private college. What if my kid goes CC route and wakes up one day to want to attend Harvey Mudd. Will they force him to apply as transfer? I hope I don't sound too stupid, but I am wondering if there is a catch somewhere I am just not seeing. 

 

We're another California family who refused to play the UC A-G game. My kids also were not the type to take multiple standardized test to prove their worth to the UCs. 

 

My youngest finished high school with about 30 hours of CC credits. He had been planning on transferring to a UC, but was caught up in the mess during the recession when classes were just slashed state wide in all the college systems, and we agreed the situation was too grim to stick around. He applied to several out-of-state private LACs as an incoming freshman, was accepted with scholarship offers and wound up with his college accepting all those transfer credits.  Changing his mind on his college path did not hurt him. Another young man I know who had lots of CC credits was accepted to MIT as a freshman.

 

Most of the homeschool kids who grew up with mine went the route of CC then transferring to a UC. Several of those kids are engineering majors. My 2 kids were the outliers in going out of state from the get go. 

 

The medical school thing is something Creekland has been saying for years, based off a conversation she had with someone at an East Coast med school.  Whether it is universally true or not, I don't know. In California, with so many students going thru the CC system for financial reasons, well, I can't imagine it being held against them. 

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We're another California family who refused to play the UC A-G game. My kids also were not the type to take multiple standardized test to prove their worth to the UCs. 

 

My youngest finished high school with about 30 hours of CC credits. He had been planning on transferring to a UC, but was caught up in the mess during the recession when classes were just slashed state wide in all the college systems, and we agreed the situation was too grim to stick around. He applied to several out-of-state private LACs as an incoming freshman, was accepted with scholarship offers and wound up with his college accepting all those transfer credits.  Changing his mind on his college path did not hurt him. Another young man I know who had lots of CC credits was accepted to MIT as a freshman.

 

Most of the homeschool kids who grew up with mine went the route of CC then transferring to a UC. Several of those kids are engineering majors. My 2 kids were the outliers in going out of state from the get go. 

 

The medical school thing is something Creekland has been saying for years, based off a conversation she had with someone at an East Coast med school.  Whether it is universally true or not, I don't know. In California, with so many students going thru the CC system for financial reasons, well, I can't imagine it being held against them. 

Thank you. This is tremendously helpful. 

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