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I'm a bit confused. I thought American schools typically had kids take 6 credits per year, and that PE could count.  Now I'm seeing people mention 8 credits, and that PE doesn't count.  And what about WOOT with AoPS, is that an EC?  DS does 15 hours per week of competition math, so I would kind of like to give credit for WOOT if I'm going to take off the PE.  If you have checked all the 4,4,4,4,4 boxes and have a couple of academic electives, is there a reason you *need*  more than 6 credits per year to be competitive?  It seems a bit like an arms race.  

 

Ruth in NZ

 

ETA: I'm in NZ, so I don't have a certain number of credits required for a high school diploma.  DS just has to pass 5 12th grade exams (like APs), which he has already done.

Edited by lewelma
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In the U.S. different states have different requirements.  Also different colleges/Universities have different requirements.  And those are often being revised.  I don't know that there is a definitive answer here.  Some still require P.E.  Some don't.  Some have credit requirements that would include 6 credits a year.  Some require more.  Depends on the state/school/goals.

 

Is your son hoping to get into a U.S. based University?  If not, is there a reason you would need to try to match what a U.S. based transcript would potentially look like?

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I'm interested in the answer as well. In past threads I have received advice from BTDT board members that most college admissions are very happy to see 5-6 challenging courses. 

 

We are banking on this and are aiming for 6 challenging courses (5 core plus one academic elective) focusing on AP and honors (and perhaps some DE). They will also have PE and a semester elective each year and fine arts one year. The AP classes my DS has enrolled in to-date have taken an average of 8-10 hours/week. Once you start taking multiple AP's that really adds up and the workload is significant even though it is 6 academic credits instead of 8. 

 

Of course, I won't know for sure how it works out for a couple more years! 

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Yes, DS is applying to American universities and is doing so as an American citizen. So I have been advised on other threads that I should try to meet the American requirements since he is not applying as an international student. 

 

 

The AP classes my DS has enrolled in to-date have taken an average of 8-10 hours/week. Once you start taking multiple AP's that really adds up and the workload is significant even though it is 6 academic credits instead of 8.

This is our problem as well.  Not AP courses, but courses that are very challenging and time consuming, and way way over the carnegie credit of 150 hours.  If I need more credits and need to drop PE, then ds has the hours to start peeling off other courses.  I would just have to figure out how to separate them out specifically in the social sciences.  Also, for my ds, the 'competition math' work he does could easily be re-labled as self-studied half classes in group theory and graph theory, 2 courses of university number theory, a course in probability, etc.  People have suggested that his 15 hours a week of competition math work should be an EC, but I could also give the subjects he is studying names, and claim them as credit.  Not sure how to proceed here.

 

When I talked to an MIT admissions officer, he said to just put down DS's advanced chemistry, even though he had to study a year of chem before he could take the 2nd year course.  He only took the formal National exam for the 2nd year course.  If he had been in school, he would have taken chem 1 in 11th grade and chem 2 in 12th grade.  It is all just so subjective. 

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Even applying as an American student his transcript will likely be reviewed by an international admission specialist because he is coming from overseas. My family's experience with applying to college from a variety of overseas schools (though not homeschool) was that the universities handled foreign high school variations just fine. Getting transcripts translated may have been the trickiest part--well, that, and getting teachers to understand teacher recommendation expectations for American universities.

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Yes, DS is applying to American universities and is doing so as an American citizen. So I have been advised on other threads that I should try to meet the American requirements since he is not applying as an international student. 

 

 

 

This is our problem as well.  Not AP courses, but courses that are very challenging and time consuming, and way way over the carnegie credit of 150 hours.  If I need more credits and need to drop PE, then ds has the hours to start peeling off other courses.  I would just have to figure out how to separate them out specifically in the social sciences.  Also, for my ds, the 'competition math' work he does could easily be re-labled as self-studied half classes in group theory and graph theory, 2 courses of university number theory, a course in probability, etc.  People have suggested that his 15 hours a week of competition math work should be an EC, but I could also give the subjects he is studying names, and claim them as credit.  Not sure how to proceed here.

 

When I talked to an MIT admissions officer, he said to just put down DS's advanced chemistry, even though he had to study a year of chem before he could take the 2nd year course.  He only took the formal National exam for the 2nd year course.  If he had been in school, he would have taken chem 1 in 11th grade and chem 2 in 12th grade.  It is all just so subjective. 

 

I would go ahead and break out the math classes you listed and include them for credit. Your son has plenty of really strong ECs in addition to math competitions, and even if you break out the coursework, there are still probably plenty of hours "leftover" for a math EC as well. If you need the credits I also wouldn't hesitate to list Chem 1 & Chem 2 (or Chem and Adv Chem). 

 

I would aim for at least 6 strong academic credits per year: the 5 "cores" plus one academic elective. If you want to add PE on top of that, that's OK, but I would not count something like PE as one of the 6 main academic credits. 

 

I don't think many US students will have 8 credits/yr, unless they are on a block system (4 courses per semester), are taking summer classes every year, or do DE where 1 college semester = 1 high school year.

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Remind me what the 5 core are - english, science, foreign language, math, ss? I was putting music down as his elective, making 6.  I been told by various posters that PE, music, and competition math should all be ECs - which adds up to 32 hours a week plus his volunteer work puts him at 36.  So not quite sure how he would do 6 full challenging courses on top of that and not go somewhat insane.  One of those 3 things must count for credit.  I was using music, you think math?  He already has 10 math courses on his transcript. 

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Even applying as an American student his transcript will likely be reviewed by an international admission specialist because he is coming from overseas. My family's experience with applying to college from a variety of overseas schools (though not homeschool) was that the universities handled foreign high school variations just fine. Getting transcripts translated may have been the trickiest part--well, that, and getting teachers to understand teacher recommendation expectations for American universities.

 

I'm aware that this might happen.  I'm just wondering how many overseas homeschoolers apply to elite universities, certainly none in my city in the 10 years I've been homeschooling.  Given that he has completed the NZ diploma requirements as an official school student (by taking the national exams) and that only represented 1/3 of his coursework, they won't be able to just hand it to the international guys handling NZ applications. In addition, DS has chosen to work with other accredited schools instead of taking scholarship exams like all high-end NZ students, so he will not be directly comparable to anyone applying out of NZ.  

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Remind me what the 5 core are - english, science, foreign language, math, ss? I was putting music down as his elective, making 6.  I been told by various posters that PE, music, and competition math should all be ECs - which adds up to 32 hours a week plus his volunteer work puts him at 36.  So not quite sure how he would do 6 full challenging courses on top of that and not go somewhat insane.  One of those 3 things must count for credit.  I was using music, you think math?  He already has 10 math courses on his transcript. 

 

In your case, I don't think you need to stress so much about making his transcript look precisely like an American transcript.

 

Where I would make PE an extracurricular is if he is playing a particular sport, where it is more of an interest than a topic of study (awkwardly worded.) You want to have his interests documented as part of his "story" for the sorts of schools that he is pursuing. Music can be a fine elective, but if he is spending more time on it than would be typical for a high school course, you want to document those hours. My daughter took a high school orchestra course for three years. It was one hour a day, plus the occasional concert. That's a class. But her hours of private instruction on two instruments, practice time, particpation in festivals and competitions, performances in church etc were documented as extracurricular. Much more time involved than the typical class.

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Remind me what the 5 core are - english, science, foreign language, math, ss? I was putting music down as his elective, making 6.  I been told by various posters that PE, music, and competition math should all be ECs - which adds up to 32 hours a week plus his volunteer work puts him at 36.  So not quite sure how he would do 6 full challenging courses on top of that and not go somewhat insane.  One of those 3 things must count for credit.  I was using music, you think math?  He already has 10 math courses on his transcript. 

 

Music is fine for the 6th course. From your signature it looks like he does violin lessons plus a string group and a trio? So you could count the lessons as a fine arts credit, and count the string group and trio for ECs (along with his sports, math competitions, and other ECs).

 

If he already has 10 math courses, though, as well as all the usual courses in English, science, SS, and FL, then I'm confused as to how he's short of credits?  :confused1:

 

FWIW, our local high school, which is pretty good but not extra special, requires 7 credits per year, with a total of 28 to graduate. Only 1 credit each of PE and health are required as part of the 28 credits. Students can fill their schedule with "fluff" once they've gotten the main requirements out of the way, but most students aiming at highly selective schools are going to be taking 6, if not 7, academic courses each year. 

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In your case, I don't think you need to stress so much about making his transcript look precisely like an American transcript.

 

Where I would make PE an extracurricular is if he is playing a particular sport, where it is more of an interest than a topic of study (awkwardly worded.) You want to have his interests documented as part of his "story" for the sorts of schools that he is pursuing. Music can be a fine elective, but if he is spending more time on it than would be typical for a high school course, you want to document those hours. My daughter took a high school orchestra course for three years. It was one hour a day, plus the occasional concert. That's a class. But her hours of private instruction on two instruments, practice time, particpation in festivals and competitions, performances in church etc were documented as extracurricular. Much more time involved than the typical class.

 

OK, yes that was what I was doing.  His private lessons are culminating in a post-secondary diploma through the Royal School of Music in the UK.  I was putting his trio and string group (4 hours per week on Saturday) as an EC. 

 

I was trying to make my transcript look like an American transcript because he is homeschooled, and I simply could not figure out how to show off all the stuff he has done in a way that they can understand given that he is coming from a different country with a different educational system.  In another thread I ran, it was suggested that since we had not finalized his Social Science credits that I should just go for 0.5 credit of government and 0.5 of economics.  Kind of might as well so if they are looking to tick boxes they can.  Plus ds is interested in the topics so we just went with it. Also, if ds is not going to do the scholarship exams that are standard here for high-end students, he has to have done something else.  So that something else is being broad like an American while concurrently being pointy.  NZers can be pointy only.

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Music is fine for the 6th course. From your signature it looks like he does violin lessons plus a string group and a trio? So you could count the lessons as a fine arts credit, and count the string group and trio for ECs (along with his sports, math competitions, and other ECs).

 

If he already has 10 math courses, though, as well as all the usual courses in English, science, SS, and FL, then I'm confused as to how he's short of credits?  :confused1:

 

FWIW, our local high school, which is pretty good but not extra special, requires 7 credits per year, with a total of 28 to graduate. Only 1 credit each of PE and health are required as part of the 28 credits. Students can fill their schedule with "fluff" once they've gotten the main requirements out of the way, but most students aiming at highly selective schools are going to be taking 6, if not 7, academic courses each year. 

 

Not short of credits, if I don't need *8* per year.  Three of his math credits (algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2) and 2 mandarin credits are before 9th grade. So by credits he is only up by 1 with the 10 math classes.

 

ETA: basically, I can create more math credits if I want (seriously, 15 hours a week on math for 3 years year round that does not count for credit yields quite a lot I can work with if I need to), and I could even create more social studies classes because he reads so much.  I could also count PE.  If I need more credits, ds has done the work for more.  I just thought 6 was standard, so I've kind of gone with that and a bit more. 

Edited by lewelma
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I think it really depends on the school.  In our public district, they have 7 hours per day (so 7 credits per year).  When I was in school 15 years ago we could take audited classes (getting a credit for it, but not attending the actual class) and they had a zero hour, so maybe 1% of students took 8 credits, but most took 7.  Required to graduate is one PE, one practical art (cooking or keyboarding or some such), 1 fine art - and kids who are in orchestra or choir or band are taking that 1 hour per day, so probably only 6 academic credits per year.

 

This adds up to me - 4 years x 5 essentials (math, english, science, history, foreign language) and then an extra of this or that (maybe 2 fine arts or phil. or psych. or something).

 

Lewelma, you are overthinking this.  What he has done is sufficient.  Whether you put the extra math stuff and sports as credits or ECs, he is going to get past the first wave of applicants and have his application read (esp. assuming a good result in the imo), and they are going to see what he has done, however you categorize it.  

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I think he will be fine.

 

In our school district, a student needs 23.5 credits to graduate.  1 credit of gym is required and 1 credit in the arts is required.  So as a homeschooler, I tried to follow that as a guide.  My kids were involved in a lot of gym/sports and art/music activities.  I did count 1 credit worth of each on their transcripts, in order to fulfill the recommended requirement, but that was it.  All the other hours (in those areas) just counted as extra curricular.

 

Our state also recommends the following as a basic guideline to be prepared for college admissions:

 

English 4 years

 
Math 4 years
 
Science 3 years
 
Social 3 years
 
Languages 2 years
 
Arts 1 year
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My plans for at least DD11 (which I realize is a bit early, but she is almost 12 and I am freaking out all of a sudden) are 4 credits each of Eng, Hist, Sci, Math, and primary FL, then 4 of secondary FL and a few academic electives (philosophy, economics, advanced writing topics, etc.)  So we will probably wind up with 6 or 7 academic credits per year.  If she ends up having a serious (more than 5 hr/week) extracurricular interest, probably 6 credits; if she doesn't develop anything like that non-academic, then 7 or 8.  I'd say our goal is to be competitive for some top universities but the reality is we could never (or would never, if we could technically) make the EFC, so we are really looking to be competitive for full-ride scholarships at 4-year unis that offer merit aid.

 

Anyway, all that to say, I dunno.  Hopefully the college bubble bursts before we have to figure this craziness out.

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Coming late to this: I have not seen any evidence that colleges really put much stock into the number of credits. His overall transcript will be strong. I'd make sure he has the  required 4x5. And music instruction is perfectly fine as an elective - I just would count all the ensembles etc as a (very strong) extracurricular to make it stand out.

 

I think you are overthinking :)

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This is what our "one of the top in the state" high school recommends.  They regularly have kids accepted at military academies, and Ivy League schools.  They offer quite a few options.  A lot of states have their graduation requirements online but the best place to look is probably at the colleges that are being considered.
 
PE is required in NJ every year so counts as a credit course.
 
 
Grade 9
English – English 9/World Cultures - Interdisciplinary
Social Studies – World Cultures or History
Math – CP Algebra Enriched, CP Algebra Core, CP Geometry Honors, CP Geometry Enriched
Science – Contemporary Biology, Biology or Honors Biology
World Languages – Spanish I or 2, French I or 2, American Sign Language 1,  Latin I
Physical Education and Human Development
Elective(s) – a minimum of one elective from the performing and fine arts offerings or one from 
practical arts offerings.
 
Grade 10
English – English 10 or Honors English 10
Social Studies – US History I, US History I Honors, Electives: AP World History, Economics
Math – CP Geometry Enriched, CP Geometry Core, CP Algebra II Honors, CP Algebra II Enriched
Science – Biology, Chemistry, or Honors Chemistry
World Languages – Spanish, ASL, French or Latin 
Physical Education and Driver Education
Elective(s) – recommended
 
Grade 11
English – English 11, Honors English 11 or AP English (Language)
Social Studies – US History II, US History II Honors, AP US History II; Electives: AP World 
History, AP Government, AP European History, AP Art History, or AP Economics
Math – CP Algebra II Enriched, Pre-Calculus, Honors Pre-Calculus, Pre-College Math or CP Algebra II 
Core
Science – Chemistry, Conceptual Physics, Physics, AP Physics 1, Earth/Space Science, Environmental 
and Sustainability Science, or AP Biology. AP Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, AP Environmental 
Science
World Languages – Spanish, French or Latin (CP or Honors)
Physical Education and Current Health Issues
Elective(s) – recommended
 
Grade 12
English – English 12, Honors English 12 or Advanced Placement (Lang. or Lit)
Social Studies – Economics or AP Economics : AP World History, AP Government, AP European History 
or AP Art History
Math – Pre-Calculus, Pre College, Discrete Math with Financial Literacy, Calculus, AP Calculus, 
Honors Multivariable Calculus or AP Statistics
Science – Conceptual Physics, Physics, Earth/Space Science, Environmental and Sustainability 
Science, A.P. Biology, AP Chemistry, or AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C, Anatomy & Physiology, AP 
Environmental Science
World Languages – Spanish, French or Latin (CP, Honors or AP)
Physical Education and Human development
Elective(s) – recommended
 

 

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Just to confuse you even more.......each state has different requirements!

 

There usually isn't enough of a variance to make one disqualified to attend college  in another state, but it can be problematic when students go from state to state.

 

And it was even a bit of an issue within the state this year.  My son transferred from 10th grade to another school for 11th grade.  His 10th grade school had 6 classes per day, and the ability to only receive 6 credits per year.  Their graduation requirement was 22 credits.  Meaning that there were 2 "extra" in there and some kids took half days their Sr. year, while others opted to get those extra two credits.

 

Meanwhile, his new school is block scheduling......which means 4 classes per semester, allowing for 8 credits per year.  The new school's graduation credit requirement is 26.  Since he only had 12 going in, he will have to take full loads both years just to finish.

 

BOTH schools were public schools in the state, although one was a charter school.

 

And not to confuse you even further.......even within my state, graduation requirements changed twice while my son was in high school.  He is on "the class of 2018" requirements list, but my younger son will enter after the requirements have changed and will have to take one more History class and one less elective.

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Coming late to this: I have not seen any evidence that colleges really put much stock into the number of credits. His overall transcript will be strong. I'd make sure he has the required 4x5. And music instruction is perfectly fine as an elective - I just would count all the ensembles etc as a (very strong) extracurricular to make it stand out.

 

I think you are overthinking :)

Agreeing with this because it is impossible to keep up, credit wise, there's so many different ways to count, and so the number of credit becomes irrelevant. A semester long college class may be worth half a credit in some states and one in others.

I do think you need to count all credits, he did the work, it needs documented.

Edited by madteaparty
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Yes, there's a credit arms race going on out there. But as a homeschooler, your child will not be compared to kids from the same school district who may have taken an even more rigorous set of classes.

 

Give credit where credit is due. Ideally you have 5 to 7 credits per year. (Math, science, social science/history, foreign language, English) and some electives (fine arts, occupational education, stuff that doesn't fit in the previous categories).

 

Competition math preparation would usually be an extracurricular, but it can be a credit if you need it. My daughter's science fair projects are high school credits mainly because they take so much time that her schedules would seem light without acknowledging the work she's doing for that.

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I'm interested in the answer as well. In past threads I have received advice from BTDT board members that most college admissions are very happy to see 5-6 challenging courses. 

 

 

 

Most colleges are indeed very happy to see 5-6 challenging courses, but I think the OP mentioned that were looking at some elite universities (sorry if I am wrong about that). And some schools that are fairly competitive, but not even super elite, spell out that they like to see you take the max number of difficult courses. U of Georgia, the one I mentioned before, is one of these, and their admit rate is 53% - much higher than Stanford and so on. 

 

Yes, DS is applying to American universities and is doing so as an American citizen. So I have been advised on other threads that I should try to meet the American requirements since he is not applying as an international student. 

 

 

 

This is our problem as well.  Not AP courses, but courses that are very challenging and time consuming, and way way over the carnegie credit of 150 hours.  If I need more credits and need to drop PE, then ds has the hours to start peeling off other courses.  I would just have to figure out how to separate them out specifically in the social sciences.  Also, for my ds, the 'competition math' work he does could easily be re-labled as self-studied half classes in group theory and graph theory, 2 courses of university number theory, a course in probability, etc.  People have suggested that his 15 hours a week of competition math work should be an EC, but I could also give the subjects he is studying names, and claim them as credit.  Not sure how to proceed here.

 

When I talked to an MIT admissions officer, he said to just put down DS's advanced chemistry, even though he had to study a year of chem before he could take the 2nd year course.  He only took the formal National exam for the 2nd year course.  If he had been in school, he would have taken chem 1 in 11th grade and chem 2 in 12th grade.  It is all just so subjective. 

 

If you have an abundance of hours, backed up by genuine knowledge and work, you don't need to make yourself insane figuring out how to parse them into separate courses. Just eyeball and go, yeah, we have way more than enough for one credit in history and half a credit in government. 

 

Personally, if he studied chem for two years, then I would put chem 1 and chem 2. It can't hurt and might help. 

 

Yes, American admissions are very subjective and a bit insane sometimes. Sorry. 

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A lot of the elite ones, though, are more likely to have an admissions officer on staff who can see just how high-level the OP's son's mathematics classes are, especially when backed up by his competitions. They're also the ones who are very likely to be interested in an extremely pointy overseas applicant. 

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I know you are looking at Princeton, where I have a child. I can tell you that the unique strength of his transcript will likely appeal to their admissions team more than trying to make it fit the standard American mold. They do like to compare apples to apples, but in his case his package is so obviously strong that I don't think there's any question that he could fit in academically. In all likelihood, he is competing with other New Zealanders for those geographic diversity spots, not the kid from Iowa or even NYC. So present him as he is, and don't underplay the Kiwi angle!

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In my district, which lists courses taken in middle school on the transcript, the very strongest students generally graduate with 35 credits (7 carried up from MS -- 3 language, 3 math, 1 English) and 7 a year (one each period in the school day) unless they attend the math/science magnet which has an 8 period day. 

 

At the private school where I teach, middle school classes aren't reflected on the transcript.  A handful of kids take 8 classes a year, but most take 7, so most transcripts would have 28 credits.  

 

In both places, 2 semesters of PE are the norm for the strongest students.  Other students may take more.

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I know you are looking at Princeton, where I have a child. I can tell you that the unique strength of his transcript will likely appeal to their admissions team more than trying to make it fit the standard American mold. They do like to compare apples to apples, but in his case his package is so obviously strong that I don't think there's any question that he could fit in academically. In all likelihood, he is competing with other New Zealanders for those geographic diversity spots, not the kid from Iowa or even NYC. So present him as he is, and don't underplay the Kiwi angle!

I agree!

 

I would also not run away from homeschooling. Let it shine for what it is--the opportunity to learn via different methodology than everyone else. Homeschoolers don't need to wrap themselves up in traditional school packaging. I think showing breadth and depth of subjects should be the objective. I think that as long as you portray content across the 5 core areas, that is what is going to matter.

 

The only boxes I would worry about checking off is if they specifically identify a course by name like American history. Some don't. Some do. If they do, make sure he hits it. Otherwise, if it says something like 4 histories, the broad core category can be covered by any number of possibilities. Come up with a course title that embraces what you want to them to understand was covered.

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I'm not sure how commonly done this is, but I've seen where some schools award two credits for AP science courses and hold them for two periods of the school day. So that's one (very meaty, time consuming) course for two credits.

 

Around here, most of the "good" schools seem to do 8 periods a day, which means a kid would get 7 credits per year (one period would be lunch). But a lot of schools have an extra morning or afternoon period, opening up the possibility of an extra credit.

Edited by Farrar
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 They're also the ones who are very likely to be interested in an extremely pointy overseas applicant. 

 

 

I know you are looking at Princeton, where I have a child. I can tell you that the unique strength of his transcript will likely appeal to their admissions team more than trying to make it fit the standard American mold. They do like to compare apples to apples, but in his case his package is so obviously strong that I don't think there's any question that he could fit in academically. In all likelihood, he is competing with other New Zealanders for those geographic diversity spots, not the kid from Iowa or even NYC. So present him as he is, and don't underplay the Kiwi angle!

 

 

I agree!

 

I would also not run away from homeschooling. Let it shine for what it is--the opportunity to learn via different methodology than everyone else. 

 

These are very good points.  I doubt very very seriously that there are more than a handful of that of homeschool applicants from NZ applying to the elite universities.  They would either be doing Cambridge exams or be going through Te Kura for NZ qualifications including the scholarship exams.  NZers are very into exam style high school programs, so I doubt there are likely any homeschool applicants who have such an eclectic path as we do. You guys are absolutely right, I need to highlight this unusual path rather than hiding from it.  It is very easy here in NZ to think that you have to do it like everyone else because basically to get into university here the *only* path is to do it like everyone else.

 

I will stick to the transcript I have made. Music will count for 4 electives and I'll put in a quarter credit each year for martial arts as PE.  Trio/string group, varsity badminton, and competition math will be his ECs. I've drafted the transcript, course descriptions, and student profile (which I'm going to tweak given the above ideas).  All that is left is the councilor letter that my dh will write.  LoR will be from his English teacher and IMO team leader. It is looking good!  Thanks for all the help along the way! 

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These are very good points.  I doubt very very seriously that there are more than a handful of that of homeschool applicants from NZ applying to the elite universities.  They would either be doing Cambridge exams or be going through Te Kura for NZ qualifications including the scholarship exams.  NZers are very into exam style high school programs, so I doubt there are likely any homeschool applicants who have such an eclectic path as we do. You guys are absolutely right, I need to highlight this unusual path rather than hiding from it.  It is very easy here in NZ to think that you have to do it like everyone else because basically to get into university here the *only* path is to do it like everyone else.

 

I will stick to the transcript I have made. Music will count for 4 electives and I'll put in a quarter credit each year for martial arts as PE.  Trio/string group, varsity badminton, and competition math will be his ECs. I've drafted the transcript, course descriptions, and student profile (which I'm going to tweak given the above ideas).  All that is left is the councilor letter that my dh will write.  LoR will be from his English teacher and IMO team leader. It is looking good!  Thanks for all the help along the way! 

 

When my daughter went to the Princeton admitted students day a year ago, one of the greeters at check in remembered her name because of an essay she wrote. Compelling essays that flesh out his story will be important. That's the big work that lies ahead.

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A lot of the elite ones, though, are more likely to have an admissions officer on staff who can see just how high-level the OP's son's mathematics classes are, especially when backed up by his competitions. They're also the ones who are very likely to be interested in an extremely pointy overseas applicant. 

 

Oh, agreed. I was responding more to the post about most schools being happy to see 5-6 challenging courses. 

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When my daughter went to the Princeton admitted students day a year ago, one of the greeters at check in remembered her name because of an essay she wrote. Compelling essays that flesh out his story will be important. That's the big work that lies ahead.

 

Luckily for him, his application essays can count for English credit in the NZ national assessment system.  They fall under the portfolio option with a focus on purpose and audience.  So they will be his English for the next few months.   :thumbup1:

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I'm a bit confused. I thought American schools typically had kids take 6 credits per year, and that PE could count.  Now I'm seeing people mention 8 credits, and that PE doesn't count.

 

 It seems a bit like an arms race.  

 

 

 

I agree, but it's more than a bit.  I hate so much about how things are set up.

 

Scrolling through some state comparisons, it seems graduation requirements vary by quite a few credits!  But several are still at 24. (Mine dropped to 21 recently. My specific district lists 22.)  I remember when taking honors over cp  within the same amount of credits was considered "advanced".  Now the drive is for even more advanced, and more credits when possible. In a way, I understand that what it takes to graduate isn't the same as what it takes to make it in college, but I resent much of it.

 

FWIW, 2 of my kids are on track to have more credits than I'll be comfortable putting on a transcript.  Only a few of them here and there will qualify as "advanced", so they won't be considered all that competitive.  But they'll be very interesting, well-rounded humans.  ;)

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Well, if you'd like more weirdness to worry about, not all states use the Cambridge credit system! :laugh:  (All of the schools at his level, I suspect, do, though.)

 

 

Ruth, I've read all of your transcript threads.  I think that, were I in your shoes, I would not be trying to create an American-style transcript.  Yes, your DS will by applying as an American citizen, but he's lived his entire life in NZ and you've educated him his entire school career to NZ standards.  Add on top of that all of his extra accomplishments and he is absolutely unique.  If it were me, I think that I would create a transcript that looks like a "New Zealand Plus Extra Homeschool Awesomeness Transcript."  I think that I would address your concerns in a school statement, i.e., "At the New Zealand Academy of Awesome, we strive to achieve the highest standards of NZ education, <insert brief explanation of NZ system here.>  In addition, however, we seek to further round out the Awesome Education with ..."  In other words, I would explain the parameters of the system my student worked within (and, honestly, it sounds more rigorous than ours PLUS has the advantage of being cool-ly foreign, think, "Oooo, shiny new different educational system..."), show how he excelled in that system, and then highlight how much MORE he did.

 

Does that make any sense?

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Well, if you'd like more weirdness to worry about, not all states use the Cambridge credit system! :laugh:  (All of the schools at his level, I suspect, do, though.)

 

 

Ruth, I've read all of your transcript threads.  I think that, were I in your shoes, I would not be trying to create an American-style transcript.  Yes, your DS will by applying as an American citizen, but he's lived his entire life in NZ and you've educated him his entire school career to NZ standards.  Add on top of that all of his extra accomplishments and he is absolutely unique.  If it were me, I think that I would create a transcript that looks like a "New Zealand Plus Extra Homeschool Awesomeness Transcript."  I think that I would address your concerns in a school statement, i.e., "At the New Zealand Academy of Awesome, we strive to achieve the highest standards of NZ education, <insert brief explanation of NZ system here.>  In addition, however, we seek to further round out the Awesome Education with ..."  In other words, I would explain the parameters of the system my student worked within (and, honestly, it sounds more rigorous than ours PLUS has the advantage of being cool-ly foreign, think, "Oooo, shiny new different educational system..."), show how he excelled in that system, and then highlight how much MORE he did.

 

Does that make any sense?

 

Yep! They will have plenty of high achieving American-style applicants. He really does need to emphasize the excellent New Zealand angle. By the way, I chatted with a family from New Zealand at last year's freshman move-in at Princeton. I wish now I had gotten the skinny on that kid's resume for you ;-)

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Aarrgh.  Don't know if I've done that.  I'm trying, but it is NOT straight forward. I've lived in NZ my entire adult life and I just think much more humbly.  My school profile is very matter of fact without a lot of emotive words.  DS feels *very* strongly that he wants to be authentic, and does not want to put on a sales pitch.  

 

What I have done on the transcript is to bold the 6 classes out of 28 he has taken that were used to gain him a high school diploma with distinction. Think about that for a moment, and tell me how to highlight that even better. All the other work was beyond the NZ requirements. 

 

People have said that he is actually competing with NZers not Americans for the international spots.  So this is how ds is different and what I've highlighted on the school profile:

 

DS will not have 10th or 11th grade exams as Te Kura allowed him to skip them (this is VERY unusual).

DS will not have scholarship exams because he chose to challenge himself through his other educational providers including University, AoPS, post secondary diploma in music, and his math competitions.

DS will not have course endorsements because he did not take the courses in a calendar year

(these 3 things will make his NZ school transcript look very different from all the other kids applying. But I'm creating a homeschooling transcript that integrates everything together from 8 different providers)

 

DS is homeschooled but yet has the credits on the national exams to be considered a traditional school student.

DS will have multiple transcripts from school, university, AoPS, and ABRSM

DS will have lots of other courses that he self-studied because he was interested and motivated

DS will have taken 26 Math Olympiads by the end of 12th grade (yes 26!!) And he came in 9th in the AMO as a junior. (plus hoping for a metal at the IMO this year)

 

So basically, I'm hoping what he has that is extra will over-ride what he is lacking.  I've tried to make this clear, and to make him look like he has taken the freedom he has been given and used it to create a unique path. But I'm not convinced I'm very good at this.

 

In the last 3 years as far as I know, 100% of IMO kids who have applied overseas have gotten in.  2 are at Harvard, 1 at Princeton, and 1 at Cambridge.  However, they will have had the scholarship exams, and I know for a fact that 2 of them were top scholars (so top 10 in NZ by exam scores for that year).  The kid who is currently at Princeton got rejected from Harvard and MIT (he was NOT a top scholar).  

 

 

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By "emphasize the New Zealand angle", I don't necessarily mean on the transcript, though that is part of it. What's more important is how has being raised and home educated in New Zealand contributed to his unique strengths? What element is he bringing to a school community? His academic prowess is obvious, but who is he beyond that?

 

I do understand wanting to be authentic, and he should be, of course. But for the schools that interest him, he should recognize that at this point it is a bit like a sales pitch, as distasteful as that may seem. They have no way to know him past what is written on the computer screen initially.

 

The fun will come later, when he is admitted to various schools, and they have to sell their product to HIM :-)

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Right, the NZ angle.  Um, we have mountains?  Earthquakes?  ok, the US has those.  We have a government that is functional.  We have a huge sense of being part of the world and not an insular island. We are a modest, humble people. We are not patriotic and find the American patriotism almost farcical. We feel like we play a big roll on the world stage given our size. We are safe. We are without corruption. We work equally with China and America. We are not really competitive (except in sports), we are egalitarian (although becoming less so). We are not a stratified society by job (professional and trade both valued), or by economics (multi-million dollar house next door to state housing) going to same schools. But seriously, I'm going to have to think about how being from NZ gives him a unique perspective.  It is actually a pretty big ask for a 16 year old because you would have to know what America is, to know how being from NZ will bring something that is different.  Maybe when we go visit in July, the differences will be more apparent to him.

 

Also, where does the NZ angle go into the application?  His essays? My councilor letter?  

 

ETA: being raised in NZ has meant that he rose to the top quite young.  Being here gave him opportunities (like the IMO) that would not have been available in the USA.  It meant that he could be recognized for all his hard work.  And success leads to success.

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Right, the NZ angle.  Um, we have mountains?  Earthquakes?  ok, the US has those.  We have a government that is functional.  We have a huge sense of being part of the world and not an insular island. We are a modest, humble people. We are not patriotic and find the American patriotism almost farcical. We feel like we play a big roll on the world stage given our size. We are safe. We are without corruption. We work equally with China and America. We are not really competitive (except in sports), we are egalitarian (although becoming less so). We are not a stratified society by job (professional and trade both valued), or by economics (multi-million dollar house next door to state housing) going to same schools. But seriously, I'm going to have to think about how being from NZ gives him a unique perspective.  It is actually a pretty big ask for a 16 year old because you would have to know what America is, to know how being from NZ will bring something that is different.  Maybe when we go visit in July, the differences will be more apparent to him.

 

Also, where does the NZ angle go into the application?  His essays? My councilor letter?  

 

I think it is quite likely his coursework and ECs reflect the bolded.

 

I student taught in NZ, though, and there is definite economic stratification reflected in school attendance (at least for secondary school).  Or did you mean that they all go to the same universities (except the ones who can afford to go abroad, of course)

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I think it is quite likely his coursework and ECs reflect the bolded.

 

I student taught in NZ, though, and there is definite economic stratification reflected in school attendance (at least for secondary school).  Or did you mean that they all go to the same universities (except the ones who can afford to go abroad, of course)

 

My neighborhood has 3-million dollar homes on the same street at the state housing.  The kids all go to the same school.  Not a whole lot of kids go to private schools because there is a sense that neighborhood bonds are more important, and that private schools don't give that much better education.  In fact we live 6 blocks from the best secondary school (public or private) in the country based on exam scores, and it is public. 

 

Definitely, not everywhere, but here where we live and the experience he grew up with, economic stratification is not by neighborhood and all the kids mix together.

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Yeah, I would probably leave this part out, lol. 

 

haha.  People are always asking me what is it with Americans and their flags?  They simply cannot understand why you would fly your country's flag at your house.   

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Yeah, I would probably leave this part out, lol. 

 

 

I dunno - most elite colleges are fairly liberal, and especially with the current political climate might actually welcome some 'diversity' like this. 

 

Not that I work in college admissions. 

 

ETA: I would suggest having something more intelligent to say than just that the American flag thing is crazy. Like, if I were in an interview and stuff like that came up, I'd throw in some interesting tidbits such as the Dutch anthem (featuring stuff like "I am of German blood" and "I've always honored the king of Hispania"), which can then be used to show off some historical knowledge about NL.

 

ETA2: I don't know much about NZ, so I can't tell you what comparable kind of things you could say, but you and your son are both smart, so surely you can come up with something. Also, directness and even bluntness are stereotypes of the Dutch, so maybe it'd work better for a Dutch person to make comments like that than for a NZ person to do so - but again, I know next to nothing about Middle Earth, so, I'll leave that up to you to decide.

 

ETA3: And if we're sticking with the flag thing, in my case I might mention the one day out of the year that people do care about the flag (and orange pennant) - King's Day. Again, that can be used to segue into either personal experiences living in NL or some more intellectual stuff. I don't know if NZ has anything like that.

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 Haha. Story of my life.  I do it very well.   :tongue_smilie:

 

:grouphug: I have no advice to offer you, as I obviously have no clue about competitiveness or challenge in providing an education, but I do know that homeschooling takes courage because you are always coloring outside the lines and sometimes it looks so messy. Some of you aren't just coloring outside the lines, you are going straight off the page. You are one of those, and you've done it brilliantly and beautifully. You and your son have had a strong, productive partnership. You've got this. You know you do.

 

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Right, the NZ angle.  Um, we have mountains?  Earthquakes?  ok, the US has those.  We have a government that is functional.  We have a huge sense of being part of the world and not an insular island. We are a modest, humble people. We are not patriotic and find the American patriotism almost farcical. We feel like we play a big roll on the world stage given our size. We are safe. We are without corruption. We work equally with China and America. We are not really competitive (except in sports), we are egalitarian (although becoming less so). We are not a stratified society by job (professional and trade both valued), or by economics (multi-million dollar house next door to state housing) going to same schools. But seriously, I'm going to have to think about how being from NZ gives him a unique perspective.  It is actually a pretty big ask for a 16 year old because you would have to know what America is, to know how being from NZ will bring something that is different.  Maybe when we go visit in July, the differences will be more apparent to him.

 

Also, where does the NZ angle go into the application?  His essays? My councilor letter?  

 

ETA: being raised in NZ has meant that he rose to the top quite young.  Being here gave him opportunities (like the IMO) that would not have been available in the USA.  It meant that he could be recognized for all his hard work.  And success leads to success.

 

Ha, I do understand! We are from Alaska, but a more...suburban...part, and we are not wrestling bears here.

 

I think it would be fine for him to speak of his political leanings, which probably are influenced somewhat by local ideas. Or what it's like to be a dual citizen. Maybe an anecdote from ordinary life there. What IS it like to homeschool in New Zealand? My last daughter's main common app essay was about a single run in the mountains, comparing it to the transition from childhood to adulthood. So there was the subtle Alaska element, but also a larger point.

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