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Chrysalis Academy

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

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I just wanted to add that in my California locality, some CCs seem to be tightening the route that some of us homeschoolers are taking. There are more requirements depending on the personnel you speak to, especially if a student is enrolling as a regular student using the CHSPE but with the intention to eventually apply to 4-yr unis as a freshman (i.e. student is technically therefore still in high school). The CHSPE folks make the wording very clear that a student younger than 18 holding the CHSPE can be enrolled in high school despite having passed the exam. But due to ignorance of this CHSPE fact, it seems that some CC personnel are giving students a hard time.

 

I also wanted to add that my reply in post #120 was tongue in cheek and just for fun. :laugh: I am actually looking forward to explaining our path in greater detail. Definitely looking forward to that more than writing course descriptions. We've had SO much fun homeschooling. I can't wait to tackle those questions with DS. :001_wub: I just don't think right now that DS wants to apply to Stanford. :laugh:

 

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. 

 

I have had the opportunity to meet/ listen to a group of homeschoolers whose kids used CC for high school (as regular students, not concurrently enrolled) and accumulated over 60 credit hours and were still admitted as freshmen by UCs. This was last year. The rule of thumb seems to be to make it very clear that their courses were taken as part of their high school studies, i.e. the parents did not graduate the kids from their homeschools until the kids were ready to apply to UCs. Mine is probably also going to have >60 by the time he applies as a freshman so I am hoping this will hold true for him too (if applying to UC). I don't see why it would be different with Harvey Mudd, for example (ETA: they might just not accept the credits as transferable units). I should hopefully know more in a few months as a couple of friends' kids who used CC heavily are applying to private colleges too.

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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 love this post. It about sums up what I'm thinking about the whole a-g/admission by exam issue in CA as well.

 

What is WUE? I'm not familiar with that acronym.

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I love this post. It about sums up what I'm thinking about the whole a-g/admission by exam issue in CA as well.

 

What is WUE? I'm not familiar with that acronym.

 

 

WUE.

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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. 

 

I would be shocked if this were true for California.

 

I am well aware of bias against community colleges in other parts of the country, and some of the bias is with good reason when academic standards are lacking.  However, the community college system in CA has been around for 100+ years with master planning intentionally meshed with the master plans of the UC's and Cal States.  The UC's have tremendous control over what goes in CC classrooms because of their mandate to accept automatically all "qualified" transfers.

 

I would argue the quality of the CA CC's is closer to most regional state universities in the Midwest and South.

 

More than that, though, is that the CC are part of the state ethos in a way I haven't seen elsewhere.  I can't imagine an admissions officer at a public medical school dissing the CC and still keeping his or her job.  Because they are a fact of life and how the state system is supposed to work.

 

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I would be shocked if this were true for California.

 

I am well aware of bias against community colleges in other parts of the country, and some of the bias is with good reason when academic standards are lacking.  However, the community college system in CA has been around for 100+ years with master planning intentionally meshed with the master plans of the UC's and Cal States.  The UC's have tremendous control over what goes in CC classrooms because of their mandate to accept automatically all "qualified" transfers.

 

I would argue the quality of the CA CC's is closer to most regional state universities in the Midwest and South.

 

More than that, though, is that the CC are part of the state ethos in a way I haven't seen elsewhere.  I can't imagine an admissions officer at a public medical school dissing the CC and still keeping his or her job.  Because they are a fact of life and how the state system is supposed to work.

 

 

I really appreciate this post. This sounds very much like the situation in MN. After reading so many negatives about CC, I asked a friend of mine who teaches at a CC if I was dreaming when I felt like the situation in MN was different. She assured me that the CC classes were by and large taught at the same level as the universities. The whole MNSCU system is set up for colleges to work together and encourages students to start out at CC if that works best. The U of MN College of Vet Medicine goes so far as to provide a list of which classes at each CC correspond to their prerequisites.

 

I was pretty sure that the negatives of CC were not applicable to my situation, but it is hard to not second guess. Knowing the situation in CA is similar offers further reassurance that starting my kids out at a CC will not be detrimental. Thank you!!

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Just a FYI. There are 6 UC campus left in the TAG (transfer admission guarantee) program. Four in SoCal: Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara. Two in NorCal: Merced, Santa Cruz. There are also exclusions in the TAG program. For example engineering is excluded for UCSB.

 

"The TAG matrix [PDF] provides a list of participating campuses and campus-specific requirements to qualify."

http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/files/tag-matrix.pdf

 

There are pathways besides TAG. I find this link useful for course selection at CC even if not applying to the UCs. For example engineering with a minor in business/econs is high on my kids list so it is useful to know what math and science course would come in useful.

http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/transfer/preparation-paths/index.html

 

ETA:

My kids music teacher's daughter is in pre-med in UCB. Even with good GPA, there are no guarantees. UCB is an hour's drive away so she gets to see her daughter on weekends.

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I really appreciate this post. This sounds very much like the situation in MN. After reading so many negatives about CC, I asked a friend of mine who teaches at a CC if I was dreaming when I felt like the situation in MN was different. She assured me that the CC classes were by and large taught at the same level as the universities. The whole MNSCU system is set up for colleges to work together and encourages students to start out at CC if that works best. The U of MN College of Vet Medicine goes so far as to provide a list of which classes at each CC correspond to their prerequisites.

 

I was pretty sure that the negatives of CC were not applicable to my situation, but it is hard to not second guess. Knowing the situation in CA is similar offers further reassurance that starting my kids out at a CC will not be detrimental. Thank you!!

 

I think CC's have changed a lot and many are not the mediocre choice that they once were. Ours is part of an association that automatically codes how credits will transfer to over a hundred colleges and universities in our state. 

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Thank you for this post Pegasus!

 

Step away from those threads.  Find a high school path that makes sense to you and your students. We used many of the programs that are called "light" on these boards for DD in high school.  No single course took 10+ hours per week on a regular basis.

 

DD now has 42 college credit hours under her belt (including dual enrollment as a high school student and her first full-time semester as a college student).  She has a 4.0 grade point average, including courses like calculus I, engineering science (i.e., physics for engineering majors), computer science I, and English composition.

 

High school does not have to be intense and time consuming to set a student up for success.

 

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