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dereksurfs

Reasons to Consider a Less Selective, Less Expensive College

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Weeelllll, maybe not selling and smoking during breaks, but a big chunk of my coworkers smoked and everybody knew who did, and parties weren't drug free either.. Drug testing never seems to occur at places where everybody has at least a masters degree, or at least that has been my experience. ☹ï¸

 

Or people are smart enough to know how to (usually) avoid getting caught -- even when there is testing. Add to that lunchtime drinking (or excessive drinking in general), prescription drug abuse, etc...  Professions are not immune. These issues aren't isolated to the schoolyard or campus.

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I'm curious to know how summer programs correlate to actual experiences on campus. My teen has been to several summer camps at various campuses with varying levels of selectivity and cost (both for the camps and for the colleges/universities where the camps took place). The differences have been striking. I'm aware that this is anecdotal and somewhat subjective, but I'm interested in hearing about the perceptions and experiences of others. Does a summer camp give a good reflection of college life at the school?

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Or people are smart enough to know how to (usually) avoid getting caught -- even when there is testing. Add to that lunchtime drinking (or excessive drinking in general), prescription drug abuse, etc...  Professions are not immune. These issues aren't isolated to the schoolyard or campus.

 

Yes, however, my main point is its just not as in one's face nor does it interface their lives daily in the workplace unless they choose to engage in those things themselves. While on school campuses its a totally different thing especially since kids are forced to 'dorm' together when living on campus. There is a lot of peer pressure in those environments which many students alike would rather not engage in. Include in that the elementary playground which is both ridiculous and reality for many. 

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Does a summer camp give a good reflection of college life at the school?

Usually no. Summer camp tend to be restricted to one part of the campus. The campers are also herded everywhere generally and not wandering around the vast campus. Also most college students aren’t doing summer term due to internships and other reasons. SJSU for example is a lot more peaceful during summer term.

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The whole idea of dorms and being forced to live with a total stranger is beyond my comprehension. (Been there, done that ---don't ever want to do it again.) So, yes dorms are a different scenario.  Also, maturity plays a role in how we react to various situations. Still, these are significant issues in many workplaces. 

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Weeelllll, maybe not selling and smoking during breaks, but a big chunk of my coworkers smoked and everybody knew who did, and parties weren't drug free either.. Drug testing never seems to occur at places where everybody has at least a masters degree, or at least that has been my experience. ☹ï¸

 

I guess it really depends where one works. I don't think graduate degrees have anything to do with it. I speak from personal experience in working with Masters and PhDs in their fields. Its more about the corporate policies, state, federal regulations, compliance, etc... Even in those corporate cultures which are more of a 'party' environment, it shouldn't impact the lives of those who work there and don't partake.

 

ETA: I've always worked in environments which have a low tolerance for drugs in the workplace. And even the startups and mid sized companies I've worked for had high standards. That's not to say they didn't have holiday parties with some folks having a little too much to drink, etc... It just never was an issue while working, not even once can I think of a time. I certainly never smelled pot on lunch break,etc... I would think its like that in many professional environments. Could you imagine visiting a relative while in the hospital after surgery and then seeing their doctor smoking weed on break! haha  :tongue_smilie:

Edited by dereksurfs
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Usually no. Summer camp tend to be restricted to one part of the campus. The campers are also herded everywhere generally and not wandering around the vast campus. Also most college students aren’t doing summer term due to internships and other reasons. SJSU for example is a lot more peaceful during summer term.

 

Right. I guess I mean on a broader scale -- the type of students the camp/school attracts, the organization of the program, the quality of instruction, etc. 

 

Most programs are run by an organization in a separate department or perhaps not even part of the school, but professors or students often participate in some way.

 

(ETA: Just a note that at some camps the students in upper grades are often given much more freedom to roam around the campus and even surrounding areas.)

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy

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I guess it really depends where one works. I don't think graduate degrees have anything to do with it. I speak from personal experience in working with Masters and PhDs in their fields. Its more about the corporate policies, state, federal regulations, compliance, etc... Even in those corporate cultures which are more of a 'party' environment, it shouldn't impact the lives of those who work there and don't partake.

 

Shouldn't being the key word.  Unfortunately, even when there isn't a "party" environment -- think local hospital -- lives are absolutely affected, the lives of coworkers and others. I've watched professional and personal lives crumble due in part to a hidden workplace drug culture. Also, pressure can still be there, although it may present differently.

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.

 

 Could you imagine visiting a relative while in the hospital after surgery and then seeing their doctor smoking weed on break! haha   :tongue_smilie:

 

Yes. 

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy

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I guess it really depends where one works. I don't think graduate degrees have anything to do with it. I speak from personal experience in working with Masters and PhDs in their fields. Its more about the corporate policies, state, federal regulations, compliance, etc... Even in those corporate cultures which are more of a 'party' environment, it shouldn't impact the lives of those who work there and don't partake.

 

ETA: I've always worked in environments which have a low tolerance for drugs in the workplace. And even the startups and mid sized companies I've worked for had high standards. That's not to say they didn't have holiday parties with some folks having a little too much to drink, etc... It just never was an issue while working, not even once can I think of a time. I certainly never smelled pot on lunch break,etc... I would think its like that in many professional environments. Could you imagine visiting a relative while in the hospital after surgery and then seeing their doctor smoking weed on break! haha :tongue_smilie:

Government employers, teachers, docs.... a bit different. Absolutely corporate culture matters. It's hit and miss.

I will tell you though that I felt a lot of pressure not partying with them. I was too busy with too many kids at home, not so much because of my morals. 😋

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Shouldn't being the key word.  Unfortunately, even when there isn't a "party" environment -- think local hospital -- lives are absolutely affected, the lives of coworkers and others. I've watched professional and personal lives crumble due in part to a hidden workplace drug culture. Also, pressure can still be there, although it may present differently.

 

Yes, sure, drugs affect adults everywhere. And even in environments where there are strict policies folks get into serious trouble including losing their jobs. The main difference, as I mentioned,is that its not in your face like it is on school campuses. Does it occur after hours, behind closed doors, hidden, as you mentioned? Sure. But if you're not actively engaged with those things it won't affect your daily work. That's not saying it won't affect your co-worker who is addicted to drugs, etc... So if that is the case and you rely on them to do a good jobs it can still screw things up. I know one guy who worked for the Gov't and lost his security clearance due to drug use, for example. Drugs and alcohol are a serious matter in the workplace, just on a different level with different consequences (e.g. caught intoxicated or stoned while performing surgery).

Edited by dereksurfs
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Hidden to outsiders, not necessarily to others who work there-- although that is certainly the case at times as well. 

 

I think we agree that having a developing child or teen in an environment that they can't easily escape (school, dorm, etc) that has more people drinking, smoking, and doing drugs than ones that aren't is not ideal. It's actually not ideal for anyone. An adult with a solid education at least has more options and more control.

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I think this aspect has more to do with existing problems we're seeing at the high school level. If most high school students attending X elite school have a 4.35 GPA, then yes, a 'B' is like a total failure and shameful in some high school circles. There was a post on CC asking a similar question. When did a 3.4 GPA in high school become a negative thing? Was it 10 years ago, maybe 20?

 

I don't know when a 3.4 became low, but I suspect that was when nclb came in. In 2010 here, I went to my first guidance counselor presentation at the high school, and they handed out the SUNY admissions info packet and reminded us that an 88 high school average (no letter grades in high school here). was really the bottom of the barrel for admitted students.  

 

 

current sheet: 

https://www.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/summary-sheets/Admissions_qf_stateop.pdf

 

take a look at sat vs gpa

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Is there a reason no high school GPA range was given for Cornell? It would have been in our shortlist for engineering if we had relocated to Malta.

 

Only those those four colleges, Ag, Ecology, Vet, I&L are part of the SUNY system. The rest are the private portion of Cornell and unlisted.

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In my district, an 88 average would put a person in the 35%ile.  And that's in a diverse district, that normally acheives 2 grade levels below its demographics, per the recent Stanford study.  It takes a 96 average or better to be in the top 10%, out of a cohort of just under 500.  

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Only those those four colleges, Ag, Ecology, Vet, I&L are part of the SUNY system. The rest are the private portion of Cornell and unlisted.

Thanks. There is a difference of $17k for tuition between the private portion and land grant portion of Cornell. I am only familiar with Cornell engineering and the cost of acceptance is estimated at more than $70k.

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handed out the SUNY admissions info packet and reminded us that an 88 high school average (no letter grades in high school here). was really the bottom of the barrel for admitted students.  

 

 

No grade inflation here.  All assessments in NZ are curved to approximately 15% A, 30% B, 35% C, and 20% F.  Even more severely, DS's just took a music exam through the Royal School of London, and only 10% of students will get a 'distinction' which was a score of 70%.  You can make exams as hard as you want. And I will say, the difference in the grading percentiles between America and NZ made it very hard to explain to Admissions what DS's 4.0 actually means from an American point of view.    

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Weeelllll, maybe not selling and smoking during breaks, but a big chunk of my coworkers smoked and everybody knew who did, and parties weren't drug free either.. Drug testing never seems to occur at places where everybody has at least a masters degree, or at least that has been my experience. ☹ï¸

 

Yes, because the cost of having to get rid of someone who is highly qualified (and specifically qualified, and trained, and etc.) and replace them with another person whom you might have to replace in a year is just not worth the drug-testing.

 

Now at a place with entry-level workers, it makes more sense (economically, not discussing the morality of it), because the availability of labor is higher, and because you tend to factor in a certain amount of turnover anyway as people move on to better jobs.

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When I was in high school, our grading scale was something like

 

100-96= A

95-88= B

87-78= C

77-70 = D

< 70 = F

 

I have no idea what that school's grading scale is now, but I haven't seen any local grading scale with that narrow of a top range. I wonder if grade inflation is also combined with more "college-like" grading scales (10 pt spreads)?

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No grade inflation here.  All assessments in NZ are curved to approximately 15% A, 30% B, 35% C, and 20% F.  Even more severely, DS's just took a music exam through the Royal School of London, and only 10% of students will get a 'distinction' which was a score of 70%.  You can make exams as hard as you want. And I will say, the difference in the grading percentiles between America and NZ made it very hard to explain to Admissions what DS's 4.0 actually means from an American point of view.    

 

We aren't seeing grade inflation, we are seeing course deflation.  An example is FL.  Before nclb, students here could take FL 2 in two semesters, now the only choice is 4 semesters.  AP Music Theory is no longer offered, but they can take half the content in a two semester course. APUSH and AP English are offered, but they only teach enough to earn a 3.  The top students have no trouble earning 100s with courses that really are remedial but labeled as gen ed. If they were offered AP/IB/honors, we wouldn't see as many with such high grades. Because we have Regents Exams, we often see who the real top students are....most of those earning a 95+ are not able to do so on the Regents Exams, because there is no credit there for homework completion.

 

Of course, this is only in certain high schools.  Be in a wealthy or title one zip code and the school is fully funded and one can access complete courses, where students do not have to afterschool to cover the missing units.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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Ours was 90-94 A-, 95-100 A; 80-83 B-, 84-87 B, 88-89 B+ (I am not that sure about the Bs, but I think that is right), etc.

 

There was no grade inflation in the top classes - I would say there were probably a fair number of As, certainly more than 15 percent, but if you took the school as a whole, 15% of kids weren't even taking the top weighted courses, and certainly all of the ones who did weren't getting As.

 

So a top-weighted A (IB) was 5.0, a mid-weight A was 4.5 (Pre-IB, Honors, DE classes, etc.), an A in a normal class was 4.0

 

A top-weighted B was 4.0, midweight B was 3.5, etc.

 

 

Thus, you might have 30% of the school getting As and certainly possibly that 30% of the IB students were getting As - but maybe 5% of students were getting 5.0s, if that makes sense, and another say 5-10% were getting 4.5s.  

 

There was no deliberate curve, though.  It's just if you have a large enough school with enough differentiation of ability, it sort of curves itself.

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What I really want to know is how college admissions offices recalculate the high school GPA.  My kids' school has +/- so:
97-100 = A+ = 4.33

93-96 = A = 4.0

90-92 = A- = 3.67

 

I think that in most cases, the resulting reported unweighted GPA ends up not terribly different than if the school used 90-100 = A, basically because an A+ in one class can balance out an A- in another so that the gpa could still be 4.0 in the presence of A-'s.  However, if the college recalculates so that A+ = A = 4.0 but A- = 3.67, the recalculated GPA would be lower than 4.0.

Since some high schools use 90-100 = A, I'm trying to imagine how a college might recalculate all applicants' GPAs any other way than that (aside from any wacky weighting schemes for honors/ap).  If anyone has knowledge of college admissions gpa recalculation, I'd love to hear about it :) (I already know UCs recalculate using 90-100=A but they are unlikely to be relevant)

Edited by wapiti
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I just looked it up. The county wide grading scale for that district is now

 

 

A = 90 - 100

B = 80 - 89

C = 70 - 79

D = 60 – 69

F = 59 and BELOW

I = INCOMPLETE

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What I really want to know is how college admissions offices recalculate the high school GPA.  My kids' school has +/- so:

97-100 = A+ = 4.33

93-96 = A = 4.0

90-92 = A- = 3.67

 

I think that in most cases, the resulting reported unweighted GPA ends up not terribly different than if the school used 90-100 = A, basically because an A+ in one class can balance out an A- in another so that the gpa could still be 4.0 in the presence of A-'s.  However, if the college recalculates so that A+ = A = 4.0 but A- = 3.67, the recalculated GPA would be lower than 4.0.

 

Since some high schools use 90-100 = A, I'm trying to imagine how a college might recalculate all applicants' GPAs any other way than that (aside from any wacky weighting schemes for honors/ap).  If anyone has knowledge of college admissions gpa recalculation, I'd love to hear about it :) (I already know UCs recalculate using 90-100=A but they are unlikely to be relevant)

 

I'm wondering how much time they spend recalculating. Do they truly recalculate every application? Seems hard to believe. Do they double-check their recalculations so as not to make a decision based on an incorrect number? So many aspects of this whole process seem unfair. No wonder if often feels like a lottery.

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I'm not sure, but I doubt the data is entered by hand and if it is, a staffer (probably a college student) would do the entry (in which case I can see your concern though they'd just be entering the grades into the computer and the computer would do the calculating).  And yes, I do think the selective colleges recalculate for every student.  A state flagship may not.

Edited by wapiti
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One of the public schools in my area recently changed their grading scale from 93-100 is an A to 90-100 is an A.  The school made this change because it felt the students were being penalized when compared to students in other districts who had higher GPAs.  .

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Grading here is not based on percentage correct. It is based in level of thinking demonstrated. If you can recall and explain that is a C. Relational thinking is a B. And insightful/abstract thinking is an A. So if you learn all the content presented and can recall it , the best you can do is a C.

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Lewelma, that is also true of IB courses in the US; percentage scores are assigned, but generally based on a rubric that requires demonstration of various levels of insight (as well as some technical requirements).  Generally our teachers translated the IB scores scale (1-7) to American-style percentages based on the typical grade distribution of the 1-7 - so a 7 on a paper was like a 98 or something, I don't remember exactly.  

 

Math was done with a percentage correct, though - I am pretty sure there were questions and answers, and even proofs were sort of either right or wrong (although it was harder to get something right, of course, than to get something wrong).  I have to say I basically crammed and dumped all of IB Math 1 and 2 (PreCalc and Calc) so my memory of it is not great compared to my memory of Bio, English, Hist, etc.

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most tests here are designed to show both A,B,C. However, A and B aren't tested too extensively any more, usually a small amount of points. Success on A, B,C level problems would result in a grade of 96 or higher, without any extra credit or reworking the missed problems for add'l credit. Success on B and C but not A would be 88-96.  Success on just C would be 87 or below.Basically a compressed grading system, to allow the low end a pass. Results in not distinguishing much in high end.Remember its full inclusion, no vo-tech or special needs excluded.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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That may be true of standard classes here, too, but because of the weight, an A in a class where highest-order thinking is not required is essentially a B and an A in a class that is weighted is both harder to obtain by members of the class and impossible for average students, who are generally discouraged or disqualified from taking the class in the first place.

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Arcadia, there is nothing about '4/20 Day' that is unique to UCSC. It's actually celebrated across the nation on 'many' college campuses, city parks, etc...

 

Let's face reality, pot is everywhere including all of our top campuses. In fact, according to one survey students smoke more pot at UCSB, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Virginia Tech, Brown, Princeton and Yale than at UCSC. Its just an old stereotype that is not unique at all to UCSC compared to countless others which most parents have no problem sending their kids to. 

 

Regarding the trees, yes, they are plentiful on campus, especially the redwoods. I can see how someone with tree allergies would have to be careful. Though I've never heard of anyone with allergies to redwoods, I'm sure its possible. I didn't see any cherry blossom there. I don't think they're native to the area.

I had a friend who attended UCSC for a year. He wrote to me about seeing a deer in the woods. First time ever seeing one. 

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Grading here is not based on percentage correct. It is based in level of thinking demonstrated. If you can recall and explain that is a C. Relational thinking is a B. And insightful/abstract thinking is an A. So if you learn all the content presented and can recall it , the best you can do is a C.

Wow - that's a high standard!

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Wow - that's a high standard!

Not necessarily. I guess it depends how it's actually implemented. When my youngest ds was in upper elementary school that's what his grading rubrics looked like for many assignments. Not math though.

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Wow - that's a high standard!

 

Well, about 60% of students get a C or F on any one standard. (no D's here). What I like about the system is that they challenge good students through higher level thinking rather than just more content to memorize.

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Well, about 60% of students get a C or F on any one standard. (no D's here). What I like about the system is that they challenge good students through higher level thinking rather than just more content to memorize.

 

The US has been trying to do more of that at least in part through the common core. Though I'm not sure how effective it has been.

 

Since there has been such a big emphasis on standardized tests which have significant multiple choice sections, there is long standing tendency to teach to these tests (AP, PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, etc...). Add to that numerous test prep classes focused on scoring even higher. The unfortunate results are the numbers used as criteria for admissions including GPAs which vary so much based upon a school's rigor and grading policies. What do all those higher or lower numbers really mean in the end?

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Please don't quote -- a bit too much personal info

 

Derek, I know the conversation has moved on, but I was way too busy with university applications to reply to you earlier. I hope our experience is helpful to you, although it is kind of from the other side of the coin as we have chosen to pay for ds to attend an elite if he can get in. Unfortunately, we think we will have to pay full fare.  We are not wealthy, but we own our 600 sq ft apartment, drive a 20 year old car, have health care provided by the state, and have a reasonably funded retirement.  If we are careful, we can pay out of salary, and we think that is what will be asked of us.  Why do we think an elite education is worth this crazy sum - 400K NZ dollars?  Well, first of all, we don't need the money for anything else.  Sure, we could have a better funded retirement, or be able to afford a house rather than an apartment, or go on a holiday, or whatever, but when we consider what else we could do with the money, it just seems less, somehow. We think that this experience will be the making of ds.  He will not be the best, and this is of critical importance to his development.

 

DS is applying to 4 elites and 2 top 20s. What we are after is not harder courses, but peers.  We have done our research and visited the schools. Each school has its pros and cons. MIT for example has reasonably easy math courses for ds, but the peer set would teach him about *using* his math for practical projects, which he is very interested in.  However, MIT has probably the most intense workaholic atmosphere of any school he is applying to.  We have no desire to spend a fortune to have our son destroyed by mental health issues.  We are very aware of this, and asked about it to the numerous MIT people in different roles. We have been reassured in different ways by different people.

 

DS needs challenge to thrive, and he needs true peers to be humble. My grandfather was an american chemist who was hand-picked to work on the bomb. By retirement, he had more than 100 patents to his name including synthetic rubber. He always told me "In my line of work, geniuses are a dime a dozen.  I'd take a hard worker any day over a genius."  My grandfather recognized that smart can equate to lazy and being used to being on top with little work. We do not want DS to see himself as the best.  He needs true peers that are his age.  Although there is another equally valid path of working at grad level with professors mentoring him, this is truly not what he wants.  He wants peers, not mentors, and I think that this strong desire has to do with being the top.  He was on the IMO team at age 15. That is just crazy young to be the top in the country, and I might add self-taught without knowledgeable parent, teach, or tutor. In fact, he has been self taught in math since the age of 8, and this is without textbooks as he considered them cheating. How does that affect your impression of yourself, I ask you? Seriously, how? So what we will be paying for is peers. Not status, not content, not mentors -- but peers. Kids his own age that profoundly understand him. I think it will be the making of him, and I think it will be a good use of our money.

 

Now, we just have to wait to see if we have overshot the mark.  I've warned him that he could get in nowhere. If so, he has guarenteed entrance to ANU which is top 20 in the world. Problem is, it's in Australia, and he really wants to go back to his roots in America.

 

I've kind of laid it out here in a heartfelt manner, so if you respond, be kind. Hope it helps you understand the issue from perhaps a different viewpoint. 

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I believe I mentioned this before in one of my posts, but I'll add again.  There are many who go on college visits to higher level schools (not necessarily limited to Top 20) and return incredibly happy about having found their "people."

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I don't think a 3.4 has been common among applicants to elite colleges for a very long time. A 3.4 = 16 Bs and 12 As. One or two Bs actually has very little impact on GPA — it's literally only a few hundredths of a point (1 B out of 28 credits = 3.96, 2 = 3.93). Assuming a student took at least a few honors/AP/DE classes, their weighted GPA will be over 4.0 anyway. I don't think elite colleges consider a difference of a few hundredths of a GPA point to be any more significant that the difference between a 35 and a 36 on the ACT.

 

It's a shame that so many HS students are so obsessed with rankings and with the idea that the only way to get into elite schools is by doing boring things perfectly (5s on tons of APs, 1600/36 on SAT/ACT, etc.) instead of doing really interesting and usual things well and with passion. Especially since the latter is often more successful.

I don't know if this is new but my friend was telling me some $$$ privates in NYC now have "mini courses" in area of student's interest, with those grades excluded from GPA.

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Peers can be found everywhere for undergrad. One might be better off looking at a place where one can advance one's knowledge or one's start-up as well as have intellectual peers.  It only takes a cluster of peers for happiness.

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Peers can be found everywhere for undergrad. One might be better off looking at a place where one can advance one's knowledge or one's start-up as well as have intellectual peers.  It only takes a cluster of peers for happiness.

 

This may be true, but the bigger the pool of peers one has to choose from, the greater the odds of finding that cluster. Kindred spirits and true peers are not always a given in any situation. It makes sense (and cents!) to go where the odds are greatest, wherever that may be for a given student. An honors program will not offer a large enough pool of true peers for every student.

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This may be true, but the bigger the pool of peers one has to choose from, the greater the odds of finding that cluster. Kindred spirits and true peers are not always a given in any situation. It makes sense (and cents!) to go where the odds are greatest, wherever that may be for a given student. An honors program will not offer a large enough pool of true peers for every student.

 

Clusters are everywhere, from the CC, to the regional U to an honors program or elite.  What you can't find everywhere is mentoring, deep courses, incubators, undergrad research space or students who had the opportunity to accelerate their studies beyond high school.  

 

Sure, you might get luckier if you fish in the bigger pool (public ivy). But consider how many people one can interact with on a daily basis...how much fishing time is needed?  An honors college may  be big enough, depending on the selection criteria, just due to concentration. 

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Peers can be found everywhere for undergrad. One might be better off looking at a place where one can advance one's knowledge or one's start-up as well as have intellectual peers.  It only takes a cluster of peers for happiness.

 

Some students are ok with this.  They will do well wherever they go.  They might enjoy A better than B, but they'll do well at both.

 

But many students like having peers(!), where they actually fit in with the crowd, not just a handful of friends they might find.

 

And... there are some students who have trouble finding peers when they're such a minority presence at the school.  Maybe there are some out there, but finding them - and getting along with them (even academic peers don't always have tons of other things in common).  Those students can end up depressed or disillusioned.

 

Wanting to find their people in larger numbers is NOT a bad thing.

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Clusters are everywhere, from the CC, to the regional U to an honors program or elite.   

 

No, they are not.  There may be some at some CCs or Regional Us or similar, but they aren't everywhere.

 

When we took my middle son's sophomore ACT score to our local CC to sign him up for DE classes, the admin office said they had never seen such a high ACT score before.  He scored higher on their math placement test than anyone (without Calculus) had before.  The lad couldn't drive yet, but ended up leading his study groups in his classes and having some of his assignments used by his professors in later classes (they asked for his permission).

 

This kid gets along well with pretty much everyone.  He had friends there, but it wasn't until he got to a nice college that he had some academic peers.  Even there he graduated Summa Cum Laude (top 1%) and was usually the leader of his study groups (plus a paid TA for recitations, etc).  Had he stayed in our CC he would have still aced his classes, but it honestly wouldn't have been the same experience for him - including class content and definitely with research opportunities.  (Other areas apparently have higher level CCs than we have.)

 

There is a wide variety of level in colleges and they tend to attract similar groups of students.  Some colleges (esp large schools) have a wide variety, but smaller ones can be much less so.

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This is such a journey.  One of the few insights my oldest has had is that she really wants a school where the vast majority are as smart, or smarter, than she is, because that motivates her to do her best work, learn the most, be the best she can be.  Sigh, this is going to be a tall order due to low admit rates (and Ivy-level isn't even on the table; probably more like 20-50-ish).  Meanwhile...dh pipes in, what about scholarships?  I tried hard not to laugh, knowing that won't be the case at schools where the student falls in the middle for stats, and I'm working on a spreadsheet of lower-cost options (either due to lower price or potential merit or both) so that he can begin to learn the lay of the land, the potential trade-offs that I've been looking at for quite some time now.

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I can also add that on some of our college visits or inquiries, professors often told us that my guy would be better at a different (deeper) school.  I don't recall admissions ever saying that, but I doubt the professors were lying.  We adjusted where we looked accordingly.  It's why many potentially "free" (for him) places got eliminated.  We didn't need free.  We just needed affordable.

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Some students are ok with this.  They will do well wherever they go.  They might enjoy A better than B, but they'll do well at both.

 

But many students like having peers(!), where they actually fit in with the crowd, not just a handful of friends they might find.

 

And... there are some students who have trouble finding peers when they're such a minority presence at the school.  Maybe there are some out there, but finding them - and getting along with them (even academic peers don't always have tons of other things in common).  Those students can end up depressed or disillusioned.

 

Wanting to find their people in larger numbers is NOT a bad thing.

 

No one said it is a bad thing.

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No one said it is a bad thing.

 

Some seem to imply it shouldn't matter.  For many students, fit does matter.  For some it doesn't.

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No, they are not.  There may be some at some CCs or Regional Us or similar, but they aren't everywhere.

 

When we took my middle son's sophomore ACT score to our local CC to sign him up for DE classes, the admin office said they had never seen such a high ACT score before.  He scored higher on their math placement test than anyone (without Calculus) had before.  The lad couldn't drive yet, but ended up leading his study groups in his classes and having some of his assignments used by his professors in later classes (they asked for his permission).

 

This kid gets along well with pretty much everyone.  He had friends there, but it wasn't until he got to a nice college that he had some academic peers.  Even there he graduated Summa Cum Laude (top 1%) and was usually the leader of his study groups (plus a paid TA for recitations, etc).  Had he stayed in our CC he would have still aced his classes, but it honestly wouldn't have been the same experience for him - including class content and definitely with research opportunities.  (Other areas apparently have higher level CCs than we have.)

 

There is a wide variety of level in colleges and they tend to attract similar groups of students.  Some colleges (esp large schools) have a wide variety, but smaller ones can be much less so.

 

We will have to agree to disagree.  Our experience is looking outside the major or area of acceleration is also valuable in finding like minds.  My son has no desire to silo, and prefers people who enjoy thinking no matter what the major.  

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Some seem to imply it shouldn't matter.  For many students, fit does matter.  For some it doesn't.

 

 

Uh, no. If you want to draw that implication, go right ahead. The qualifiers I used do not imply that level of black/white.

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