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Is anyone else feeling really, really sad?


quark
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I am truly happy for all the wonderful college acceptance news. I really am. I cheer in my heart for each one that is posted here or on other forums. But sometimes, I have this terrible fear that when it comes to my own kid, I will only have a string of rejections to report.

 

I might lose courage and take this down...but was just wondering in the meantime, am I the only one? Anyone else with a kid who plans to apply this fall or soon feeling the same way? I read about all the amazing, amazing kids who were rejected by some schools (well, yeah, I admit I follow mostly news about selective schools). If those kids don't get in how will mine? I feel like just unschooling through grad school-level or whatever and then turning the kid loose to go start a business of some sort (at least enough to feed himself).

 

I hope it's normal to feel this way. :crying:

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:grouphug: there is always the fear of the unknown. Mine doesn't even like sports so we are looking north of Niagara Falls or across the Atlantic ocean :lol:

 

There was a local friendly math contest where oldest made it past the qualifier but youngest didn't :( We are holding back the news until the day of the final round itself. It is very likely my youngest would want to go to the same college as wherever oldest choose to go.

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? I feel like just unschooling through grad school-level or whatever and then turning the kid loose to go start a business of some sort (at least enough to feed himself).

 

 

 

I don't think do this and working toward college are mutually exclusive. We are actually doing something similar with our children. If they have an interest or niche, we are fostering it early with an eye toward entrepreneurship. If they make into college- bonus!

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I think the you are mostly noticing threads where people are posting about top tier schools. And there are more of those threads. There have been things posted about lower stats applicants going to lesser known schools. People do find options.

 

During this process you have to identify avrange of schools where your DC is likely to be accepted, he's a good fit for the environment and you can afford it. It's a tricky Venn diagram. However, there are options out there. Finding the options can be hard work.

 

Your DC will be applying next year? Doing the homework finding the options right now is hard work. Perhaps you are discouraged slogging through too much info about everything.

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You are not alone.  My child should be "high stats" -- but, we are also low income, overseas, but not military (we work for the military, but many things do not extend to DOD civilians), and he's a white male looking at male-dominated fields.  There is no such thing as a "sure thing" -- and college acceptances are completely out of our control.  Someone else is looking at my child, and has their own set of personal biases, inferences and attitudes which will color how they look at his background, personal story and educational experience -- and then comparing my son to someone else.  We have no way of knowing what they will like or not like, or what they are looking for.  It's like throwing darts out blindfolded and hoping something sticks, and that something is also affordable!

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I'm pretty sure all of us have similar feelings based upon the huge boost we all feel when that first acceptance arrives.  

 

FWIW, rejections come to ps kids too.  Two days ago I was talking a bit with a young lad who got rejected and/or waitlisted at all the places he really wanted to go.  He has a safety school (one most on here wouldn't recognize), but it was quite the let-down to him, esp since his sister got accepted to many fancy places.  With only one safety school, he doesn't even have a choice unless he gets off a waitlist (2).

 

As parents/teachers, we do our best and see what happens.  We should also be sure there's a safety school our kids like or a Plan B of some sort.

 

Best wishes to you, and no, you're not alone.

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I am not completely sure I understand you.  You use the words fear and sadness in relation to college acceptance/rejection, maybe wrt top tier schools?

 

I will say that when I started hs'ing ds in K, I was petrified.  I thought I had to teach reading, math, science, foreign language, art, pe, music, history and more to a Ker.  I only thought I would be "successful" at hs'ing if I hs'ed K-12 and ds was accepted into and attended an elite university.  In order not to live in fear during that time, I had to adjust my expectations and widen my definition of success.  Being on the other side of the college admission process, I now know that I have been successful.

 

When I see college acceptances here, I am overwhelmed by the variety of schools.  I feel privileged to follow the diverse paths of so many young men and women.  I see how our dc blossom no matter the path. 

 

I don't know if this is helpful or not.  Being on the other side of the college process has washed away all my fears, so I hope I am not coming across as unsympathetic. 

 

:grouphug:

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Quark, I know exactly how you feel. I think it's perfectly normal for all parents to feel that way, but I think the feeling is heightened in the situation of a high-achieving homeschooled student who isn't following a "traditional" path.

 

Right now all my energy is going toward identifying safety schools (academic and financial) with something special for dd----a language program, a small focused program in a huge state school, a track record with specific types of internships and fellowships, and so on, not just the normal "is there an honors program with perks?" I'll be happy with a list of four so that she will still have choices if she hates any after visiting.

 

:grouphug:

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Completely normal. Getting into a college with a rejection rate of 90+% is a lottery, and getting the rejections is depressing, even with that rational knowledge.

My DD applied EA to her first choice and was waitlisted (which at that time she felt was worse than an outright rejection). That was her first response from any college. She was rejected from six schools. In the end, she did get into several good schools and could choose.

There are plenty of good colleges out there that are not as hard to get into. Your DS will find a school where he gets a good education - even if it's not an Ivy. Those aren't the only game in town.

 

I think the emotional aspect is made worse by the very involved, all consuming application process - students have to write all those essays and bare their soul. that makes it hard to keep a healthy detachment.

Good luck to you.

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I think it is completely normal for all parents of college bound kids.  I think it is even more so for homeschooling families because of the deep parental involvement through the entire educational process as well as the application process.

 

Having finished applications with my oldest this year, I am facing repeating the process again in 6 mo to a year with child no 2.  I am already nervous about that and won't even drop off the oldest at the dorms until August.

 

I think it is good to try and maintain a healthy dose of realism in the application process beginning with selecting schools for application.  Be critical about chances, research scholarship and financial aid options, look for a place your kid can thrive, grow, and succeed.  I think many kids get wrapped around where they think they should be accepted and attend and don't look critically at where they may actually be accepted or what is compatible financially.  Yes, great kids get rejections-rejections that make no sense.  I've seen kids be accepted to top 20 LACs and rejected from unranked regional schools.  But there are many great options-I also know a couple students that chose or defaulted to the plan B option to attend CC  then on to State U option and they are ready and able to make their dreams come true.

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Quark, I was more scared - with my first - about the merit aid.  He needed it. And a lot of it.  

 

Wanna know what I did when a safety school (Dickinson) came back as his first acceptance and absolutely no merit?  Because of my fear, I sent an application to a school without ds knowing it. A sure bet with tons of guaranteed merit aid.  I sent it through the Common App, copying and pasting his essays!

 

How embarrassing when my son texted me after he received a "thank you for your application"!

 

Fear.  Normal.  One way or another, it will all work out.  I promise.  :)

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The vast majority of students who really want to go to college can go. Those "string of rejections" stories you read are almost always about students who set their sights on only "the best" schools, which almost always means the ones with acceptance rates in the single digits, and are then shocked and dismayed when they don't beat the odds. 

 

The ones who apply thoughtfully and realistically to schools that are good matches both academically and financially do just fine.

 

Unless you are worried about whether your kid will bring home the acceptance from a "brand name" school so you can slap that bumper sticker on your car for bragging rights, you really don't have to worry about this. 

 

My own son, with very good (but not tippy-top) grades and good (but not stellar) test scores was accepted to nine colleges, any of which would have provided him with access to a great education and college experience. He's happily attending his first choice school at an out-of-pocket cost we can just about afford. But even if disaster had occured and none of the schools to which he applied had worked out, the back-up plan was for him to finish two years at the local community college with a guaranteed transfer to one of the state universities. There is always a way.

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I try to keep hold on the mantra I have repeated since we started kindergarten, "Comparison is the death of contentment." It really doesn't matter who is going to a top school, or even who is going to college at all. What matters is that we work just as hard to pursue what is right for our child.

 

My dh works at the local, state university. So DD gets free tuition. Therefore we have always planned that she would go to college. But honestly, if it weren't for that, I am not sure she would choose college at all. She is one of those super content/low motivation kids who is happy with a few friends and a low-key life. Dh and I have discussed this at length and decided that she should go for at least one year and then she can decide whether to continue. That is the opposite of my personality, more like dh.

 

However, one thing she is really set on is living on campus. Which costs MORE than tuition! She didn't receive much aid from the school due to the tuition remission situation. So I have been scrambling like crazy, helping her to apply to every outside scholarship we can find. I often wonder, as I nurse one more paper cut while clearing yet another stapler jam, will she actually get any of these or am I wasting my time? Will we have to take on thousands of dollars of debt just for her to live on campus?

 

It is important to us that she have that opportunity, since she is an only child, currently living at the end of a dead-end road, who was homeschooled before going to the community college for dual enrollment her junior and senior years. Dh and I feel that she needs the opportunity to experience the company of her peers. So more hours of slaving over a hot copier for me...

 

So yes, I am anxious, sad, worried, ambivalent and more about all this. I think/hope it is perfectly natural to feel this way. My kid is not top tier bound. She is barely college bound. Her grades are strong (3.95/4.0), her ACT average. So I have to keep my blinders on and focus on just this next year and just my kid. Congrats to all the others who are following a different path. I hope all our DC will find equal satisfaction with their choices.

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I think it's "Imposter syndrome, homeschooling parent edition"- the fear that you're not good enough and they're going to find out. Regardless of past performance or evidence to the contrary.

 

And all the safety nets in the world don't help. There's still the fear.

 

Add a kid who is doing things out of the typical age range, and it's even worse-there's a significant amount of judging that just happens day to day with an asynchronous kid, and that can lead to even more parental doubts and fears of failure.

 

You'll make it through. He'll make it through. And, in another couple of years, please remind me of this!

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Quark, I was more scared - with my first - about the merit aid.  He needed it. And a lot of it.  

 

Wanna know what I did when a safety school (Dickinson) came back as his first acceptance and absolutely no merit?  Because of my fear, I sent an application to a school without ds knowing it. A sure bet with tons of guaranteed merit aid.  I sent it through the Common App, copying and pasting his essays!

 

How embarrassing when my son texted me after he received a "thank you for your application"!

 

Fear.  Normal.  One way or another, it will all work out.  I promise.   :)

 

Now that someone else has admitted it, I did the same thing.    When DS received the application notification from the school his response was "What did you do?"

 

 I still have fear. It's a different kind of fear but it's there. I'm hoping it goes away but a few people have told me that some degree of fear and anxiety until college graduation is normal.

 

hugs to you

 

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You see more posts about kids applying for top tier universities here than the number of kids actually applying would warrant. Keep in mind that these universities aren't great for every student - even those with the elite scores.  Both of  my kids would fall into the category of kids with the scores who might apply to an ivy league school - though not necessarily get in. But neither even wanted to experience that environment. Not all kids thrive under those conditions.

 

It's best to help your son or daughter find the right environment for them, regardless of how other people rate their choices. I'm not saying not to apply to the top tier schools, but I am suggesting to get a realistic idea of the pros and cons of applying to and attending a full range of schools. Knowing that they can get an excellent education and have a great college experience at a school that they are likely to get into would be a good first step to being prepared for a top-tier rejection.

 

It seems that some parents set their sights on the ivy league early on without regard for what is a good fit for their child once they reach college age. Being so focused on a particular outcome and then being rejected feels like a life-failure to both themselves and their child. That's not the truth nor is it fair to set your children up to feel that way.

Edited by DebbS
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Thank you all so very much for understanding where I am coming from. I was worrying about posting this last night and this community as always has shown compassion and understanding.

 

We are not planning to apply to ivies. Mostly state schools but one of them is a public ivy and where DS seems to be thriving through a DE class there this semester. Their acceptance rate dropped below 15% this year. My fear might be misplaced in the whole scheme of things. I think I worry that maybe what I think are achievements might not be those at all or that he won't be accepted where he will really thrive. Our choices are geographically limited at the moment so there is that factor. There is a factor of being rejected due to his age. And there is that factor of ECs just not being good enough because I dont want to force him when his heart is all wrapped up in academics. He has things to write about in essays but he just will not do anything that might sound like a brag. There is the factor of a good friend I am helping/ counselling who is overcome with grief and is taking her (very amazing) child's rejection very personally. And of course the factor of having this asynchronous child and what I see as things I just cant help him with till something in his brain clicks. That might not happen till years from now. He would be such a valuable addition to any student body because of his incredible kindness but so is every other student in some way.

 

I don't want to give colleges power over my emotions. But it is so hard not to sometimes. It will all work out like you guys have said. The rational part of me knows that. The rational part understands how demeaning it is to play a game and I am proud to say we have not. But have I actually been stupid not to? I question that a lot.

 

Thank you everyone. Lots of grateful hugs back. And yes, the transfer app is plan b for the year after if he is rejected by all his choices this first round. He is already close to the unit/gen ed requirements and could apply as a transfer this fall but he wanted to give freshman status a chance first.

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I will just say:  Don't overthink it.  They'll be fine.  My children who could have applied at top tier schools went very different, alternative routes instead.  My child who I didn't even think would be accepted into college was accepted at a great private liberal arts college with great scholarships and is very happy.  

 

It all works out.

 

 

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I think it's "Imposter syndrome, homeschooling parent edition"- the fear that you're not good enough and they're going to find out. Regardless of past performance or evidence to the contrary.

 

And all the safety nets in the world don't help. There's still the fear.

 

Add a kid who is doing things out of the typical age range, and it's even worse-there's a significant amount of judging that just happens day to day with an asynchronous kid, and that can lead to even more parental doubts and fears of failure.

 

You'll make it through. He'll make it through. And, in another couple of years, please remind me of this!

 

LOL -- "imposter syndrome, homeschooling parent edition"!  

 

That first admissions letter is a huge, huge relief.  That first waitlist or rejection is tough, even when you know the acceptance rate is so low it is basically a lottery to be admitted.  The push and pull of worry and relief never seems to end, either. My youngest has had a stellar undergrad career, has a post graduation job lined up and I still find myself sighing in relief that homeschooling didn't ruin him!

 

Also, there is such a wide spectrum of college choices out there that your student will find, and be admitted to, a school with the best fit. Sometimes that fit isn't apparent til after those rejection letters come in.  My ds was rejected by his top choice school (after languishing on the waitlist) but when we visited his back up schools, he knew immediately that one of them was a much better choice after all.  It is NOT black and white -- oh that "high stat" kid should be going to an Ivy or MIT or whatever.  NO. There are other factors -- whether the culture of the school fits the personality of the student, whether it is affordable for the family, the kinds of programs it offers whether academics or music or sports. 

 

Get your hands on Loren Pope's Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College that is Right for You, or his better known Colleges that Change Lives

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It is more worrying for a parent when a child is already finding his place, feels at home at the university he is doing DE in.

 

We do lots of activities which happen to be hosted at Stanford. If my kids had felt a sense of belonging there instead of just feeling a sense of safety due to familiarity there, I would be as worried as you.

 

Oldest still wants to start a cupcake business :)

 

ETA:

As a silly aside, one kid has landslide phobia so the UC up the hill is out more or less. We have driven past many cave-ins on roads as well as seen the horrible erosion at Pacifica.

 

At this moment we would be looking at colleges that aren't sports crazy but are orchestra crazy. Maybe we should tour colleges' concert halls instead :)

Edited by Arcadia
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The vast majority of students who really want to go to college can go. Those "string of rejections" stories you read are almost always about students who set their sights on only "the best" schools, which almost always means the ones with acceptance rates in the single digits, and are then shocked and dismayed when they don't beat the odds. 

 

The ones who apply thoughtfully and realistically to schools that are good matches both academically and financially do just fine.

 

Unless you are worried about whether your kid will bring home the acceptance from a "brand name" school so you can slap that bumper sticker on your car for bragging rights, you really don't have to worry about this. 

 

My own son, with very good (but not tippy-top) grades and good (but not stellar) test scores was accepted to nine colleges, any of which would have provided him with access to a great education and college experience. He's happily attending his first choice school at an out-of-pocket cost we can just about afford. But even if disaster had occured and none of the schools to which he applied had worked out, the back-up plan was for him to finish two years at the local community college with a guaranteed transfer to one of the state universities. There is always a way.

 

This has been our experience so far as well.  We had help putting together ds's college list and I am grateful for that. Recently he asked if being accepted at all of his choices meant that he hadn't reached high enough.  This isn't my take. Every school on the list is able to provide him with a solid education that would prepare him for graduate school, even if they vary widely in location, size, etc.

 

While my student is an "average-bright,"  I think even for the tippy-top student, it's not just a question of the school itself, but a particular department within the school, right?   My son did not apply to any top tier school; he doesn't have the numbers.  However, two of the schools that he was accepted to routinely make the list of top ten schools for his undergraduate program interest. They are sandwiched in there between absolutely top tier schools. We feel very fortunate in this respect.

 

So Quark, while I understand your sadness to a certain extent, I do believe there is an abundance of amazing options out there for students of all levels.  You will probably need to take that homeschool trait of thinking "way outside the box" to come up with a list that you and your student are happy with.

 

Edited by swimmermom3
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I've written before but I'll write it again: My partner, my sister, his sister and I all got top scores (like top 5% or higher) but due to being from poor families and not knowing how the system worked, and not even having much money to apply, two went straight to CC, and I went to a regional state U, and he went to a medium-top school but came home because he didn't like the program. Both of us went to CC and then back to university at a state school. We have jobs alongside people from the Ivy Leagues and do just fine. My partner didn't even finish his degree but was promoted prior to graduation!

 

I realize there is a lot of value for certain programs in certain schools; certainly, if you want to go into research and get the Nobel Prize or even work on certain projects, you are going to want to get into a top school at some point. But there's always graduate school, and research is not a career that the vast majority of people look at. My favorite doctor ever went to a public school.

 

I share your anxiety because I want everything to go right for my kids. But I also know that it will work out.  :grouphug:

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  and more  :grouphug:

 

I often think that the career/college counseling part of homeschooling a high schooler is the hardest job of all. And all of the crazy upheavals in the past 8-10 year in the economy, job market, college costs, and college admissions, it hasn't gotten any easier.

 

Love Tsuga's post that shows all kinds of real-life work-arounds.

 

You have such a bright young man with a steady determination, and you have done a wonderful job mentoring him, plus loads and loads of research on all the options and how to get there. Together you make a terrific team, and that's sure to open doors -- some of them will likely be in surprising or unexpected places! But that just makes the journey much more interesting and opens up new possibilities for goals. :)

 

We're all rooting for you Quark! Hugs, Lori D.

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I think it's "Imposter syndrome, homeschooling parent edition"- the fear that you're not good enough and they're going to find out. Regardless of past performance or evidence to the contrary.

 

And all the safety nets in the world don't help. There's still the fear.

 

Add a kid who is doing things out of the typical age range, and it's even worse-there's a significant amount of judging that just happens day to day with an asynchronous kid, and that can lead to even more parental doubts and fears of failure.

 

You'll make it through. He'll make it through. And, in another couple of years, please remind me of this!

 

There's a name for it?  I think I just experienced a hard core version of it for the first time at a luncheon for admitted students at one of the schools we visited. Thankfully my son was at one table, while I was with a professor and two mothers with their daughters at another. The mothers spent a significant amount of time reassuring the professor and each other that this school wasn't their child's only option and that they were waiting for replies from the Ivies. Their children attended private high schools, along with the professor's, and I think everyone played field hockey and lacrosse.  By that point I was hoping fervently that a Bloody Mary would magically appear and that no one would ask where ds went to school. They didn't. They asked where he had been accepted to and much to my shame, I picked the two most recognizable schools to trot out. I think my voice was even a bit shaky. How dumb is that?  Even my leopard print blouse wasn't lending me any courage at that point. :lol: :tongue_smilie:

 

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Quark, how old is your ds?

 

Next year, ds will apply to schools and graduate early.  He is looking at ivies and top-tier.  I am trying to find good, medium-sized safeties with an excellent physics dept. and great merit aid!  Not easy.

 

Next year, I will be very worried that he won't find the right fit, due to finances.  And I will be very worried that he won't get into any of his preferred schools.  Next year, be sure to tell me that it will work out just fine! ;)

 

 

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This has been our experience so far as well. We had help putting together ds's college list and I am grateful for that. Recently he asked if being accepted at all of his choices meant that he hadn't reached high enough. This isn't my take. Every school on the list is able to provide him with a solid education that would prepare him for graduate school, even if they vary widely in location, size, etc.

 

While my student is an "average-bright," I think even for the tippy-top student, it's not just a question of the school itself, but a particular department within the school, right? My son did not apply to any top tier school; he doesn't have the numbers. However, two of the schools that he was accepted to routinely make the list of top ten schools for his undergraduate program interest. They are sandwiched in there between absolutely top tier schools. We feel very fortunate in this respect.

 

So Quark, while I understand your sadness to a certain extent, I do believe there is an abundance of amazing options out there for students of all levels. You will probably need to take that homeschool trait of thinking "way outside the box" to come up with a list that you and your student are happy with.

 

My son was also accepted into all of the schools (mostly mid-tier, none highly selective) to which he applied. I think there were nine, maybe ten. I think this means that we did a bang-up job picking schools to apply to, not that he should gave aimed higher :) Edited by Penguin
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There are so many I want to quote and respond to but please forgive me for not doing that because I am afraid I will sound like a broken record in each response. Please know I am so thankful to you all. 

 

...By that point I was hoping fervently that a Bloody Mary would magically appear and that no one would ask where ds went to school. They didn't. They asked where he had been accepted to and much to my shame, I picked the two most recognizable schools to trot out. I think my voice was even a bit shaky. How dumb is that?  Even my leopard print blouse wasn't lending me any courage at that point. :lol: :tongue_smilie:
 

 

Oh Lisa, I would have totally done that too. Even after a large order of ice cream magically appeared and I was already well-fortified with the sugar, I would have still mentioned the most recognizable ones first (well, in DS's case we don't know if even that will happen). We can be "dumb" together. :grouphug:

 

Quark, how old is your ds?

 

Next year, ds will apply to schools and graduate early.  He is looking at ivies and top-tier.  I am trying to find good, medium-sized safeties with an excellent physics dept. and great merit aid!  Not easy.

 

Next year, I will be very worried that he won't find the right fit, due to finances.  And I will be very worried that he won't get into any of his preferred schools.  Next year, be sure to tell me that it will work out just fine! ;)

 

He turns 14 this fall and will be 14 going on 15 when/ if he starts as a freshman. He has all the credits, gpa, scores, I promise. This is not pushy mom scenario. One more reason not to apply as a transfer this year. He will be so young even if he has the chops and experience of being with people older than he is.

 

I think in 3-4 years, I won't worry so much and might even feel brave about encouraging him to try for MIT because he would be of or very close to that caliber then in a more well rounded way (oh man, who am I kidding, I'll probably be as much of a wreck then too). It's just sticky right now. This kid is so ready. So able to handle it. So eager to go. And if you didn't know his age you would think he is 17. But there are more actual 17-18yos who probably deserve/ need it more? I don't know. I don't know if we will be able to afford private schools either.

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In my experience from grad school, the kids who went to Ivies for undergrad weren't just academic stars they were also star achievers. Focused, driven, always on the go. It was kind of nice to realize that I just wasn't that type. There are lots and lots of incredibly smart kids who aren't that type. I wouldn't worry if your son only wants to do the activities that are meaningful to him. He will find his tribe. It may or may not be at an Ivy. Not an Ivy may ultimately be a better fit.

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I still think it's important to remember that there are a lot of different schools with super smart kids.

 

Oh yes, definitely. But we are limited by area. We won't be sending off a 14 turning 15yo to a dorm his first year. And we don't have any family members living in another state who can take him in. So we will have to move with him. To a place DH can get a job (niche industry). Hence, some limited choices. For a kid hoping for a research-bent, there are not many research schools that would fit the criteria. We can't afford some of the choices open to us too. I have still drawn up a fairly reasonable list (vs previously only focusing on 2 schools) but he still won't have the ability to choose like most students will. And so I worry. But I am also trying not to worry and feel happy knowing we have other choices and some of this worry might just be a perception I have. Or not. :willy_nilly: Must. Not. Overthink.

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What research will he do in his first two years though? I did not realize how accelerated your son was. I don't care if he's the next Stephen Hawking and is at MIT, he still has to complete his entry level courses, kwim? He might complete them in one year or three but he has to complete them. For the most gifted students there are TAships and some low-level research jobs junior and senior year but he can still transfer then, when he will be newly 17.

 

I would focus on quality undergrad instruction for the first two years, and local, then he can apply to transfer. Accelerated by four years is going to get noticed, it will not be your usual transfer, you know?

 

And even if he's at a state I for 4 years and wants to do research, fine. That happens at grad school. Competition is much more focused then, sports etc. don't matter.

 

Hugs.

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Quark, I was scared witless when dd applied to college. I kept it under wraps for her sake, but my insides were quaking. When it became obvious she would have legitimate choices, the felling of relief was HUGE! You are not alone in this, and as homeschooling parents we take this so much harder than many parents. Rejections are very, very high for the graduates of our local public school because the academics are so cruddy, the programs extremely limited, and well, the college bound kid who does the "typical" college prep track for this school simply doesn't have a whole lot to show for him or herself. The kids in scouts or 4-H do a lot better because they have verification of due diligence from outside "the school from zipcode _____", but the other kids have rejections galore nearly all of them landing at the semi-okay CC or the okay Cc or crappy state U because its cheap, but the educations STINKS. Parents are pretty angry when this happens, some very hurt, but the difference is that most of them will blame the school (and in many cases rightly so), and that at least alleviates their angst because they feel like it was something outside their control. However for the homeschooling parent, we take all the blame on ourselves.

 

But here's the deal, it's Russian Roulette out there. Seriously, I'm pretty well convinced that with the top 100 schools, and especially so for the top 50 in both the university rankings and LAC rankings, they take the applications of all of the "qualified to be here" students, pick out a few that they really, really, really want, and put the rest of the names in a hat and draw out X number of names. At least, that is how it appears from the outside anyway, and in so many cases it really is a toss of the dice because the bank of qualified students is big. We have a record number of students applying to college - something like 4+ million last year - and in most cases, colleges have not expanded the size of their freshmen classes, and that is especially true at state schools with so many having experienced funding shortfalls from their respective legislatures. That alone right there makes the whole thing crazy more competitive than it was when all of use were applying way back, and even when our significantly younger sibs did. My sister is 14 years younger than I, and she still never faced anything like the competition our kids face.

 

And yet, despite all of that, there is, I am convinced, a school for everyone who really wants to attend, who really wants to give it their best shot, who really sees college has the best path for him or her. The key is not "putting all your eggs in one basket" or in the case of college admissions, the basket of two or three selective schools. There are a lot of amazing state flagships, small private colleges, test optional schools, state flagship extension campuses with unique and exciting programs just waiting for your student to uncover them, schools your student may never have heard of waiting for a chance to have your child on their campus, in their halls, joining the great debate of ideas. The key is that one needs to be open diversity, to keep the options open, to not fall in love with an ideal, but be realistic and look for those plums that you didn't know were out there.

 

If your child wants to go to college, is ready to embrace the challenge, and is willing to consider the adventure of looking at a wide variety of schools, then your child will find a college that works well for him or her. I've seen this happen so often, that I think it is very much true.

 

Says the Spartan 4-H mamma graduate of Oberlin married to a Spring Arbor University Alum who has somehow managed to raise two Wolverines and now a Western Michigan Bronco...Western never having ever been on our horizons until my quirky, loveable, adventure loving middle ds found the one and only Freshwater Sciences and Sustainability BS program in the entire US, a diamond in the rough, only 3.5 hours from our home! Who'd have thought?

Edited by FaithManor
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What research will he do in his first two years though? I did not realize how accelerated your son was. I don't care if he's the next Stephen Hawking and is at MIT, he still has to complete his entry level courses, kwim? He might complete them in one year or three but he has to complete them. For the most gifted students there are TAships and some low-level research jobs junior and senior year but he can still transfer then, when he will be newly 17.

 

I would focus on quality undergrad instruction for the first two years, and local, then he can apply to transfer. Accelerated by four years is going to get noticed, it will not be your usual transfer, you know?

 

And even if he's at a state I for 4 years and wants to do research, fine. That happens at grad school. Competition is much more focused then, sports etc. don't matter.

 

Hugs.

 

Thanks Tsuga. He is finishing up his entry level courses this semester as a dual enrolled student. If he is accepted into the school(s) he wants, he should be placed higher as he will have completed those lower div prereqs. He is starting to ask around for some research now itself. Not a Stephen Hawking. Just addicted to learning.

 

My experience researching age-related matters is that age is not always an advantage. In fact, we think it can be a major disadvantage. Harvey Mudd for example, told me they don't want younger students. Our UCs are a little more open to younger students and have had a number of successful ones pass through their doors.

 

Oh gosh, so glad to know sports won't matter at grad school level. Because he just won't have any. :lol:

 

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I really get your worry, Quark. Know that your worries are normal, but try not to let it overcome you. I think you have an excellent plan B with the CC transfer plan. Some of our CA CC are high quality with wonderful dedicated professors. I know many students who have done the CA CC transfer path to save money, and had great results, including some who completed PhD's.

Edited by 3XBlessed
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What research will he do in his first two years though? I did not realize how accelerated your son was. I don't care if he's the next Stephen Hawking and is at MIT, he still has to complete his entry level courses, kwim? He might complete them in one year or three but he has to complete them. For the most gifted students there are TAships and some low-level research jobs junior and senior year but he can still transfer then, when he will be newly 17.

 

I would focus on quality undergrad instruction for the first two years, and local, then he can apply to transfer. Accelerated by four years is going to get noticed, it will not be your usual transfer, you know?

 

And even if he's at a state I for 4 years and wants to do research, fine. That happens at grad school. Competition is much more focused then, sports etc. don't matter.

 

Hugs.

 

Wouldn't the type of research he does in the first two years depend on the type of school?  One of the things that blew me away at the LACs that ds was accepted to was the amazing things freshmen were doing. They weren't sitting in introductory courses with 100+ students taking notes being bored out of their minds like dh and I were at our state university.  At one school, our guide had done experiments in her freshman year chemistry class that utilized artifacts that were thousands of years old and were from the school's anthropology museum. This same school offered ds a $2,000 grant to create his own research or field project after he had been at the school for a year.

 

These same schools may also provide a first rate experience for a younger student.  Just a thought. :blushing:

 

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3XBlessed, you nailed it. That's him too.

 

So tempted to respond to all of you personally. Thank you, thank you for sharing your stories and your empathy. I just have to be patient and let the whole worried feeling run its course. Maybe if DS is rejected it will turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to him too.

 

Thanks everyone!

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I didn't realize you are in CA... At least he will be in state for some amazing schools. I went to Berkeley at 17. No, I wouldn't send a 14 year old to live in the dorms! I know Berkeley had a 15 year old transfer student last year, but I'm pretty sure he lived locally. I had a 13 year old classmate once at Berkeley, I had no idea until the end of the semester.

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Quark, because you sound like a really sincere person, I feel sort of comfortable giving some really frank opinions 

(pls forgive me if they are too "sharp". Also I have not read all the posts, so it might be irrelevant!).

 

If MIT or any school is the goal, then aim for it! At least if you fail, you can say you've tried your best! 

 

Princeton, MIT, and Stanford do take young kids. Logistics can be complicated, but you really have to solve one problem at a time.

Why not just talk to them directly first. 

If they are willing to take the kid, then you worry about how to support him while his there.

If they say he still needs some more achievements, then do them -- don't consider them as jumping the hoops to satisfy someone, but as stuff that would help to build up his abilities to handle the work and the amazing peers when he gets there.

 

Personally, mine has had enough excellent challenges from competitions to "delay" for a few years to get to MIT and it is all good. 

BUT it is your kid, he should follow his own path.

 

ETA: "and the amazing peers"

Edited by JoanHomeEd
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Just brainstorming here. You said you have geographical limitations because of your husband's job. It sounds like your son would have enough units for junior standing, even if he starts as a freshman. Could you and your son live somewhere for two years while your husband stays home? Crazy, but I'm trying to think outside the box. Or maybe son does four years but you live with him for first two? Sigh. No good answers!

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I think you may be worrying needlessly. There are so many colleges out there that can offer good educations, research opportunities, connections. His undergrad institution does not have to be one of just a handful of schools. Find one that offers the best fit for him in and area that best fits your family and finances. I'm sure there are more than 2!

 

Don't get trapped into the mindset that it's all or nothing - MIT for undergrad or failure at life. Find what works best for him now (and best for your family) and he will be on the right path. I know it's said so often that it's a cliche but an education is what you make of it. A good student can find what he needs just about anywhere.

Edited by Butler
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Have you look at the UCs near to your husband's workplace? Hubby is thinking of doing a road trip to Caltech and Calpoly because we have never been there and SoCal summer is cooler than NorCal.

 

You need a summer college tour road trip :lol:

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Big flagship campuses can start to feel pretty small once you are nestled in a specific program. You start circling around the same few buildings and seeing the same faces in the hallways. That said, I would also look at UC Davis. Smaller than some other UCs. A dear friend of mine from Berkeley did his math PhD there. It's such a lovely college town too.

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Quark, we're north across the bay from Cal, but I know our local CC transfers a number of students to UC schools and is quite well regarded; lots of international students make it a magnet for starting studies in the US as well. If you're interested, totally as a backup plan, pm me.

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Okay, some quick and dirty back of the envelope math. According to Berkeley the average SAT score of an admitted CA resident in 2015 was 2124. According to the SAT that's the bottom of the 97th percentile. Also according to SAT 236,923 students from CA took the SAT in 2014. Subtract the bottom 96 percent. That leaves 9,476 CA residents who scored 97th and above. Berkeley admitted 8,737 CA residents in 2015. Clearly not all the Berkeley admits are from this top CA SAT pool (because obviously GPA is also a huge factor) but if you have average Berkeley SAT scores the admit rate starts looking pretty darn good. Way higher than 20%. You are competing with a only a certain number of CA kids at the top. This isn't like Harvard where they could fill a freshman class with identical statistics over and over and over again. Assuming your sons stats line up on paper, I don't think it's crazy to dream big with the UCs.

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