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Flabbergasted by friends' lack of awareness of college costs - UPDATE in post #440

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Sorry for the long quotation, but I didn't want to take out your secondary thoughts.

 

In the case that I was thinking of, the young person (diagnosed and treated for mental illness after taking medical leave from university) found the specific demands of university stressful because of the large amount of self regulation required. That same person had previously been successful (winning awards) in a low wage 9 to 5 job with clear expectations and requirements. The degree was something he had to struggle through (with continuing treatment) in order to be able to set up an ordinary middle class career.

 

People are different. University is not the workplace.

I hear what you are saying but I think in that case I would still prefer to invest in mental health care, than a full ride to college.

 

An example would be offering to pay for academic counseling or offering to pay for software to help the kid stay organized, or providing more daily support with calls and so on.

 

In other words, don't lower expectations. Provide help for them to rise to the challenge.

 

Having to take out a loan for 20% of your education because you have a 3.0 instead of a full ride for a 4.0 is a better deal than most people have at all.

 

Most students get jack for jack, they get a 40 hour work week, a 12-credit schedule, a shared room, plus loans to cover the extra tuition, per this thread.

 

All I'm suggesting is that the baseline is at least something and then you get bonuses for good grades.

 

That said it is up to every family and they can deal with it. The individual situation you brought up is not my life and not my kid so I can't really say anything. I hope it worked out for them-sounds like it did.

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This was us.  It was April that he decided to switch from NZ system to American system for high school education, and apply to American Universities.  I'm pretty with it as is he, but man did we have to do a TON of work to come up to speed, understand the system, get the standardized testing done, make sure he had the course requirements, pick the schools, visit the schools, do the applications, study the financials, etc.  I'm telling you it was a pretty full on 8 months!

 

 

I think Attolia meant the other family were planning to visit schools in March believing that the student could get accepted and enroll in college that fall, not just apply in the fall. That's also what the mom I mentioned above thought — she just assumed that her son could apply sometime in April, get accepted within a month or two, and enroll in August/September.

 

 

 

Yes, what Corraleno said.  I was talking about March of senior year, not junior year.  This person assumed a June 1st deadline for all schools.  Didn't check, mind you, just assumed that they could visit around and take their time and apply by June 1st.

Edited by Attolia

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Oh, "getting into university" is easy!  It's getting into a selective university that is hard. 

 

And getting significant money to pay for it.

 

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And getting significant money to pay for it.

 

Exactly. Around here the popular schools are really not difficult to get into. All the worry about what will look good to colleges, whether a college will accept physical science as a high school science, is two years foreign language enough, AP classes, extracurriculars, etc etc. None of that is an issue around here. That worry is misplaced. Now paying for it is a whole different story and that is where the vast majority of the folks need to shift their focus.

 

Of course I know that those things matter for selective schools. But the vast majority of people are not going to apply to selective schools.

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Around here its not easy to get into certain majors in certain not selective state Us.  So, good thing to know that an Advanced Regents Diploma combined with not so great SATs isn't going to get you in the dept as a freshman, and also good to the know the gpa requirement to be admitted to the dept after starting is high. 

Gcs aren't telling students those factoids...they advise get in to the best ranking U you can, then transfer into the dept you want.  Students who rank in the top ten out of app 500  students are coming back sharing that the transfer requests aren't working if their math prep is poor and they try to get into business or science or eng.  Not too bad an outcome for those at Ivies or Little Sisters, as they certainly will get a good education in the original fine arts major and can do something with it.  But the kids at state U with similar plan are going to have a tough haul. 

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Yes, this is true.  They did shift to almost all merit a few years ago.  I read that too.  But, really, they just don't have a super competitive scholarship.  DD got the highest award they give with the James B Duke being full tuition.  They "wined and dined" her ... put us up for a weekend in a really nice hotel, covered everything, talked to us and talked to us (and to her), and we actually really liked the school. Had it been a full ride and not just full tuition she probably would have taken it.  I am actually super glad it wasn't though because she may have committed there before getting the full ride package offer from Duke.  She is so happy with where she is and Furman would have greatly compromised the things she was looking for in a college.  She wanted a very diverse school that was small enough that you always see people you know, but large enough to still see new faces too.  DD must text me once a week and randomly say "I am so glad I am here".  She almost committed to a small top ten liberal arts school before being offered the full ride from Duke.  She thinks she would have suffocated there or Furman.

 

My guy is/was super happy he ended up where he did and not a smaller LAC too.  I'm positive he'd have done well wherever he went.  He's that type (as is your dd), but the opportunities just differ so much when there are more students (and a good school).

 

Furman did us a favor taking themselves out of consideration for him.  My other two went to LACs and definitely enjoyed it, but their personalities and college desires were totally different than his.

 

What boggles my mind is the lack of even trying to figure it out. Last week the mom of a homeschooled senior told me he was still trying to decide where to apply. I mentioned that the regular decision deadline at a lot of schools was January 15th (we were having this conversation on the 13th), and she looked astonished and said "To start next fall? I thought it was like April."  :svengo: 

 

I've talked to a divorced mom whose daughter is planning to apply to lots of expensive private schools on the assumption that she will get 100% financial aid, since the mom is low income. No clue that (1) most colleges do not even claim to meet "full need," (2) the school's idea of "full need" and the parent's may be vastly different, and (3) all of the schools on her daughter's list use the CSS and count the noncustodial parent's income (which in her case is quite high). "Oh, her dad won't pay a dime for college, they can't count his income." Um, yes they can. They would be much better off looking at FAFSA-only schools, especially ones where the daughter's good-but-not-awesome stats might earn some nice merit aid. But the girl already has her hopes up for attending one of these top private schools. For free.  :001_huh:

 

The most egregious example though is a kid I've mentioned here before, who genuinely believes that he can just pick whichever Ivy he wants and his parents will write a check. He is not a top recruit in his sport, and he will have a very minimal transcript from an online school, with 3 yrs of science and history, 2 yrs of foreign language, and no APs or SAT2s. When I suggested he might look into schools like Penn State, Ohio State, and Stevens Institute (none of which are even safeties with his stats, but at least fencing would help at those), he literally wrinkled his nose and said no, his parents thought he should just focus on Ivies. I tried to gently talk to the mom about what the typical Ivy applicant looks like, and she insisted that once they interview him they'll see how brilliant he is. And, as if all that isn't bad enough, the online HS program they use states right on their website that they are not NCAA approved and students who need approval should not use their program. I cannot even comprehend how these people, who are far from stupid, have made so many shockingly bad decisions that will seriously limit this kid's options.  :blink:

 

It isn't just homeschoolers.  We have all of these situations happen at our ps every single year too.  This happens even when the school tries to educate parents about college admissions and finances.  Now that we have a less than stellar college counselor, it certainly doesn't help (sigh).

 

When people have perceptions, it's difficult to change them.

 

 

...when you know to look for it!

If your parents have not completed high school and no family member has gone to college, you may simply not know that this is something you need to research. Sure, once you know to look for it, the information is not hard to find. But it may not ever occur to you.

The student was concerned that his not-4.0 GPA might be keeping him from an Ivy - but was completely unaware of the fact that, of his four math credits, two were middle school level. His parents would not have been able to ascertain this; their kid took more math than they ever mastered.

 

I only then realized fully how privileged my kids are because their parents know about college.

 

Ditto - either know or are willing to look up info rather than just assume their perceptions are correct.  In general, first gen students are at a disadvantage knowledge-wise.  It's usually those who come in the guidance office in March right before graduation stating that they've decided they want to go to college - not meaning CC.

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Not knowing if this was also a mom looking at expensive private schools and not aware of what part of the country you are in, I must say that this is actually true in my part of the country (middle) for public state colleges.

 

Many of the state universities and state colleges in the 5-7 middle of the US (think Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, South and North Dakota, Wyoming) have rolling admissions. You can apply in April. Scholarship deadlines might be January, but you could possibly get a small scholarship as late as March if the money holds out. (I haven't checked deadlines for any lately so I am not sure how many this would work for.)

 

Also, most (public Us) in this area don't take the Common App. My local friend who graduated a homeschool last year had never heard of it. Her son only applied to the type of schools I mentioned above and is attending the local state college for the first couple years while living at home to save money.

 

But we hardly have any homeschooler go all the way to graduation in our small town. I can think of five in the last eight years. So, there isn't much experience with the process of even homeschooling high school. (One local homeschooler of littles still thinks her kids will have to take some sort of GED because she hasn't researched that far. Her oldest is in 3rd grade, so she has time. Edited to add that both her and her husband still have massive college debt from their undergrad and graduate degrees. And, she wants her kids to go to private Catholic colleges so they gave a better chance of finding a good spouse. I have just kept my mouth shut so far.)

 

 

I don't think this is hugely unreasonable if her family is pretty devoutly Catholic.  Religious differences are hard to square in a marriage, which is why many religions - at least several varieties of Christians and Orthodox Jews, that I know of - strongly encourage or outright require marrying within the faith.

 

It would be easier to find another Catholic at a Catholic school, I'd imagine.  Many people meet their spouses in college, so it's not completely out there.

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Around here its not easy to get into certain majors in certain not selective state Us.   

 

This is a very good point. A non-selective school can definitely have a selective department. They don't hide this information, but you do have to look for it (take a tour, visit the web site, request printed info). 

 

I nearly lost my mind getting FASFA done this year, and this is our second go-round. Filling in the info was easy, but we had an issue with parental user names. Note: if you are working on kid 1, make sure you write down every detail of every user name, because you aren't getting anywhere without that. FASFA never forgets what info is associated with a user name, and doesn't let you start over with a new one. 

 

So, yeah, I also feel privileged that, for the most part, we have a fair amount of knowledge about college. More importantly, that I knew the importance of researching various things, and had the time and energy to do so. The FASFA snafu was just a reminder to document everything, and keep that documentation forever, lol. 

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Sure, except finances might make this difficult. While they have a big family and only the dad works, he makes a good salary. Despite their college debt and how many kids they have, they will likely be considered almost full pay at most private Catholic colleges. Their EFC will likely be way out of range for them even when they have two or three in college at the same time. 

I don't think this is hugely unreasonable if her family is pretty devoutly Catholic.  Religious differences are hard to square in a marriage, which is why many religions - at least several varieties of Christians and Orthodox Jews, that I know of - strongly encourage or outright require marrying within the faith.

 

It would be easier to find another Catholic at a Catholic school, I'd imagine.  Many people meet their spouses in college, so it's not completely out there.

FWIW, my DH & I met at a State U that had a very active faith group for Catholics. It is even more active and larger now than when we went there. It is the finances that I don't think she's paying attention to; she doesn't seem to be keeping up with how much they, the parents, would have to take out in loans for something like Benedictine College, Belmont Abbey, or even Wyoming Catholic. 

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I was talking to a friend one day, and we were discussing college costs. I mentioned the cost of the in-state public college that ds was looking at, and she said, "Oh, we could NEVER pay that every year!" Um, honey, that was per SEMESTER!!! She was completely clueless. 

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...when you know to look for it!

If your parents have not completed high school and no family member has gone to college, you may simply not know that this is something you need to research. Sure, once you know to look for it, the information is not hard to find. But it may not ever occur to you.

The student was concerned that his not-4.0 GPA might be keeping him from an Ivy - but was completely unaware of the fact that, of his four math credits, two were middle school level. His parents would not have been able to ascertain this; their kid took more math than they ever mastered.

 

I only then realized fully how privileged my kids are because their parents know about college.

I think it is hard for many people on this board to recognize they and their children come from a place of privilege. Many children in lower classes have 2 parents working all the time and yet the children are expected to navigate college, course requirements, etc. There are expected to take classes even if they don't have much for opportunities available to them for many of these things. Kudos to you for recognizing it.

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I think it is hard for many people on this board to recognize they and their children come from a place of privilege. Many children in lower classes have 2 parents working all the time and yet the children are expected to navigate college, course requirements, etc. There are expected to take classes even if they don't have much for opportunities available to them for many of these things. Kudos to you for recognizing it.

I realize that and I would be willing to help with "guidance"- are there any online organizations that would need volunteers?

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Big Brothers and Big Sisters need volunteers and that can be a great way to use a nationally accredited, school-affiliated program to get in touch with needy and working-class kids.

 

Though you might be paired with a non-college-bound kid, you can use that avenue to get in touch with other Big Brothers who help needy kids.

 

Edit: Oh look! It's even in Tuscon, awesome!

 

https://www.tucsonbigs.org/mentor2-0-volunteer-mentoring-college-success/

 

 

Edited by Tsuga
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Big Brothers and Big Sisters need volunteers and that can be a great way to use a nationally accredited, school-affiliated program to get in touch with needy and working-class kids.

 

Though you might be paired with a non-college-bound kid, you can use that avenue to get in touch with other Big Brothers who help needy kids.

 

Edit: Oh look! It's even in Tuscon, awesome!

 

https://www.tucsonbigs.org/mentor2-0-volunteer-mentoring-college-success/

unfortunately due to a chronic medical issue I would only be able to help from my home - online or by phone.

Mark

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I think it is hard for many people on this board to recognize they and their children come from a place of privilege. Many children in lower classes have 2 parents working all the time and yet the children are expected to navigate college, course requirements, etc. There are expected to take classes even if they don't have much for opportunities available to them for many of these things. Kudos to you for recognizing it.

 

I'm a 20-year veteran of teaching at local community colleges, and the VAST MAJORITY of my students know very little about applying for college, scholarships, navigating transfer agreements, etc. etc. Several told me that the guidance department at the local high school focuses on the high performers and spends very little time on middle and upper-middle students. Many I've talked to had little information about starting at the community college and transferring to state colleges with guaranteed admission other than it's availability.

 

My son started at the community college and is now in a selective business school at a 4-year. It's in the top 20 for his major according one of the rankings. Getting him lined up for that required a lot of research on my part because the 4-year wasn't good about returning phone calls/emails, and the community college counsellors at that time were clueless. In the middle I actually switched colleges myself and found a counsellor there who truly understood it all, and that helped. We saved thousands of dollars and time by doing it correctly.

 

For kids who have community college budgets and dreams of a 4-year degree, it can be really hard to line up. My daughter has the head of advising as her counsellor at the local community college, and she knows her stuff. I always have my daughter work out her schedule and go over it with her before she goes, but I feel completely comfortable now sending her alone to register. When she went in December, the counsellor made a change that took into account something I didn't know, so that was good. We didn't have that level of understanding when my son went. They made all kinds of mistakes and suggested classes that wouldn't have worked with guaranteed admission every time. Now I know that at least the liberal arts advisor knows the transfer agreements and which courses line up.

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As G5052 points out -- often students are badly misadvised by community colleges. Sadly, we see them come in all the time, they want to be "a math teacher", and they have taken nothing but college algebra because the CC advisor kept telling them to just get their gen eds done and the 4-year would take care of the rest. It is frustrating. 

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Around here its not easy to get into certain majors in certain not selective state Us.  So, good thing to know that an Advanced Regents Diploma combined with not so great SATs isn't going to get you in the dept as a freshman, and also good to the know the gpa requirement to be admitted to the dept after starting is high. 

Gcs aren't telling students those factoids...they advise get in to the best ranking U you can, then transfer into the dept you want.  Students who rank in the top ten out of app 500  students are coming back sharing that the transfer requests aren't working if their math prep is poor and they try to get into business or science or eng.  Not too bad an outcome for those at Ivies or Little Sisters, as they certainly will get a good education in the original fine arts major and can do something with it.  But the kids at state U with similar plan are going to have a tough haul. 

 

While that used to be what we were told to tell students, it is not really true anymore.   (want to go to UCLA and you are female?  Tell them you are interested in Aeronautic Engineering as they are trying to get women in there!  Then switch to nursing your Sr. Year.....or whatever.)

 

Now, in many schools, you can't just go change your major.  You have to reapply to that school within the school.  

 

And many programs now have students starting your major classes your freshman year, so it isn't just the old routine of Gen Eds for two years and THEN start your major.  

 

So much has changed in the last 15 years.

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I would like to like your post Mark. I do not know of any already running but what a great thing to start. I see places like College Confidential but not really a volunteer organization. The hard part is even if you built a volunteer organization you would have to let kids know about and encourage them to use it.

 

The sad part is that is what guidance counselors in every school should be helping with but in my school I think they mostly were for talking to kids who were in trouble. At least that was my impression in high school so I never asked them anything and it sounds like there are many who don't know what they are talking about anyway if the Hive is relating true info.

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I realize that and I would be willing to help with "guidance"- are there any online organizations that would need volunteers?

 

I haven't had time to research this organization, but they appear legit and exactly what you are looking for: 

 

https://www.ustrive.com/

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unfortunately due to a chronic medical issue I would only be able to help from my home - online or by phone.

Mark

It looks like they had online opportunities though.

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While that used to be what we were told to tell students, it is not really true anymore.   (want to go to UCLA and you are female?  Tell them you are interested in Aeronautic Engineering as they are trying to get women in there!  Then switch to nursing your Sr. Year.....or whatever.)

 

Now, in many schools, you can't just go change your major.  You have to reapply to that school within the school.  

 

And many programs now have students starting your major classes your freshman year, so it isn't just the old routine of Gen Eds for two years and THEN start your major.  

 

So much has changed in the last 15 years.

 

Yes, for my son to transfer under guaranteed admission to a selective program, he had to have every credit lined up perfectly with all A's and B's for that specific major. He had to have certain classes in his major including some that he had to take at a neighboring community college because the local one doesn't offer them. Otherwise it would have been a general transfer admission, and then he'd have to take more classes and see if he got admitted to the program as a transfer student. The only admit in the fall, so that would stretch it out even more.

 

My daughter has more options because it's not as strict a program, but in order to qualify to take certain classes as a junior, there are specific things she has to take at the community college and certain classes she has to avoid that the 4-year won't accept. Also, the 2-year only requires a year of foreign language, but the 4-year wants two years. So we had to make sure that was built in.

 

College is indeed far more rigid now.

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I would like to like your post Mark. I do not know of any already running but what a great thing to start. I see places like College Confidential but not really a volunteer organization. The hard part is even if you built a volunteer organization you would have to let kids know about and encourage them to use it.

 

The sad part is that is what guidance counselors in every school should be helping with but in my school I think they mostly were for talking to kids who were in trouble. At least that was my impression in high school so I never asked them anything and it sounds like there are many who don't know what they are talking about anyway if the Hive is relating true info.

 

 

I realize that and I would be willing to help with "guidance"- are there any online organizations that would need volunteers?

 

I just got info about Strive for College in an email from Common App (I'm signed up to get info as a counselor).  It might be a group to check out.  

 

Even if most of their mentoring is done in person, there might be students who are remote who would need to have Skype or phone support.  

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I have limited amounts of sympathy for students and parents.  Yes, there is a lot of information to try to master.  But the approach just cannot be to close ones eyes and hope for the best.

 

I interview for my alma mater and run into students and parents with all kids of outlandish ideas about admissions there.  It is a complicated system, but it it pretty clearly laid out.  For example there is a link on the main admissions page for "Steps for Admission."  About 1/4 of the students I interview have not looked at that page.  So they have no idea of the full timeline or the complete list of what they have to do.  

 

I was venting once that the handouts we gave out could be better.  DH did a Google search for "How do I get into the Naval Academy" The admissions page with this link was the first result.  General advice for 9-12th graders was the first sub result.  So what should I really make of a high school junior who says he has wanted to attend since he was a little kid, but has no idea that he should have been taking strong math and science courses or be active in athletics and leadership?  Or with a student who says that this is his dream school, but doesn't know what degrees it offers.

 

I see friends on Facebook spend more energy discussing Instant Pot than the ins and outs of college admissions.  http://bfy.tw/GCVA

 

I will admit that often articles talk about the cost of tuition and fees, but don't include room and board, books or travel.  Those other numbers can be quite large and can't just be disregarded or considered as minor.

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I haven't had time to research this organization, but they appear legit and exactly what you are looking for: 

 

https://www.ustrive.com/

they wanted $40 for someone background check fee - sorry not a good start

I will look at the other

 

I always am circumspect when it is .com and not .org

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I've found myself in this volunteer position on a regular basis. It's not through a company or organization, but word-of-mouth. I spent several hours with a mom yesterday. We know her because her dd was the Jr. Miss the year my dd was rodeo queen! The woman is clueless, with a high school junior. And I do a lot of counseling with boys as they earn their Eagle Scout award. So, we can do a lot of good, just by being good community members.

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they wanted $40 for someone background check fee - sorry not a good start

I will at the other

 

I always am circumspect when it is .com and not .org

 

I think that $40 is about the cost of a background check.  I recall that was near the amount that our swim region needed for checks on prospective officials.  

 

The address that Common App uses for them is a .org.  I wouldn't rule the organization out.  http://www.striveforcollege.org/index.html

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I have limited amounts of sympathy for students and parents. Yes, there is a lot of information to try to master. But the approach just cannot be to close ones eyes and hope for the best.

 

I interview for my alma mater and run into students and parents with all kids of outlandish ideas about admissions there. It is a complicated system, but it it pretty clearly laid out. For example there is a link on the main admissions page for "Steps for Admission." About 1/4 of the students I interview have not looked at that page. So they have no idea of the full timeline or the complete list of what they have to do.

 

I was venting once that the handouts we gave out could be better. DH did a Google search for "How do I get into the Naval Academy" The admissions page with this link was the first result. General advice for 9-12th graders was the first sub result. So what should I really make of a high school junior who says he has wanted to attend since he was a little kid, but has no idea that he should have been taking strong math and science courses or be active in athletics and leadership? Or with a student who says that this is his dream school, but doesn't know what degrees it offers.

 

I see friends on Facebook spend more energy discussing Instant Pot than the ins and outs of college admissions. http://bfy.tw/GCVA

 

I will admit that often articles talk about the cost of tuition and fees, but don't include room and board, books or travel. Those other numbers can be quite large and can't just be disregarded or considered as minor.

I understand where you are coming from if someone is busy with their cheerleading squad or whatever but I guess I've dealt with kids who have druggy parents or whatever and I do feel for them. We are probably talking different people though. An 8th grader with a drugged up parent probably doesn't know to make sure his courses are lined up to have all the correct credits for college or even knows he should be looking at his age. How many 12 and 13 year olds have this figured out if their parents aren't telling them? Of course, most of the time in these situations C.C. will be the best solution although there are exceptions.

 

I have seen kids really being proactive to get out of their situations and that is awesome. It doesn't change the fact that others have it easier though. Googling info is a skill. I didn't realize this for a long time because it came natural to me. My mother can't for the life of her google info. I don't understand how one gets through med school if you can't sort info. Adding phrases to narrow things, looking at references, seeing what authority it is based on rather than accepting info at face value from some opinion piece. Now if they can't do this they probably don't belong at an Ivy league school! But it is amazing how one gets through life without this and not so amazing where you end up. Often, as in what I quoted, they are being given the wrong info in the first place! And you expect a 12-14 year old to figure out that their adult authority is just plain wrong. I teach my kids, "Ask, but verify" but it takes time and mistakes to learn that lesson without someone teaching you.

 

 

How many middle schoolers think that "now" is the time to make sure they can reach their goals. Honestly, that is one thing that sucessful parents teach their children. How to plan for the future. It is a lesson other children never recieve. When I was young and waiting tables I was often flabbergasted when someone who complained of being poor spent most of their pay check on pull tabs or drinking out. We make mid 6 figures now and still don't drink out and eat out maybe twice a year for very special occasions but now I recognize all these missing lessons that they really didn't have or at least fully comprehend. If I turn to public school teaching when done homeschooling these are certainly lessons I'll want to incorporate somehow in my day.

 

 

 

Part of our differences might be who we are helping and what we are seeing. I think what you are seeing is people who want everything handed to them without putting in the effort. I agree that some effort is called for and many Americans expect things handed to them with no effort at all. It's part of those lessons they failed to get from their parents about working hard, seeking opportunity, keeping your eyes open. I see people who don't even know better. Or as quoted before to even know what to look for and when to start looking.

 

I also don't think everyone needs to go to an Ivy and I think America does give lots of other options. The cost though is probably just too much to begin with in many cases and the whole conversation could be mitigated if the costs weren't so extreme.

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I understand where you are coming from if someone is busy with their cheerleading squad or whatever but I guess I've dealt with kids who have druggy parents or whatever and I do feel for them. We are probably talking different people though. An 8th grader with a drugged up parent probably doesn't know to make sure his courses are lined up to have all the correct credits for college or even knows he should be looking at his age. How many 12 and 13 year olds have this figured out if their parents aren't telling them? Of course, most of the time in these situations C.C. will be the best solution although there are exceptions.

 

I have seen kids really being proactive to get out of their situations and that is awesome. It doesn't change the fact that others have it easier though. Googling info is a skill. I didn't realize this for a long time because it came natural to me. My mother can't for the life of her google info. I don't understand how one gets through med school if you can't sort info. Adding phrases to narrow things, looking at references, seeing what authority it is based on rather than accepting info at face value from some opinion piece. Now if they can't do this they probably don't belong at an Ivy league school! But it is amazing how one gets through life without this and not so amazing where you end up. Often, as in what I quoted, they are being given the wrong info in the first place! And you expect a 12-14 year old to figure out that their adult authority is just plain wrong. I teach my kids, "Ask, but verify" but it takes time and mistakes to learn that lesson without someone teaching you.

 

 

How many middle schoolers think that "now" is the time to make sure they can reach their goals. Honestly, that is one thing that sucessful parents teach their children. How to plan for the future. It is a lesson other children never recieve. When I was young and waiting tables I was often flabbergasted when someone who complained of being poor spent most of their pay check on pull tabs or drinking out. We make mid 6 figures now and still don't drink out and eat out maybe twice a year for very special occasions but now I recognize all these missing lessons that they really didn't have or at least fully comprehend. If I turn to public school teaching when done homeschooling these are certainly lessons I'll want to incorporate somehow in my day.

 

 

 

Part of our differences might be who we are helping and what we are seeing. I think what you are seeing is people who want everything handed to them without putting in the effort. I agree that some effort is called for and many Americans expect things handed to them with no effort at all. It's part of those lessons they failed to get from their parents about working hard, seeking opportunity, keeping your eyes open. I see people who don't even know better. Or as quoted before to even know what to look for and when to start looking.

 

I also don't think everyone needs to go to an Ivy and I think America does give lots of other options. The cost though is probably just too much to begin with in many cases and the whole conversation could be mitigated if the costs weren't so extreme.

 

The type of student you describe isn't the group that frustrates me.  I'll cheerfully sit with kids who are interested but don't know where to start and walk them through the timeline and show them where to go on the website.

 

The ones that frustrate me are the kids who attend one of the most expensive private schools in the state, say they are very interested in my college, but can't tell me the first thing about it and have not even looked at the website.  I suspect that they are working off a list of highly ranked engineering schools and haven't thought much deeper than that.

 

My all time favorite was one parent who dismissed my counsel, saying that a particular requirement wouldn't be an issue because the student's grandfather was golf buddies with some retired admiral I'd never heard of.  Well ok then.  I guess there is nothing you need to learn from me.  

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The type of student you describe isn't the group that frustrates me. I'll cheerfully sit with kids who are interested but don't know where to start and walk them through the timeline and show them where to go on the website.

 

The ones that frustrate me are the kids who attend one of the most expensive private schools in the state, say they are very interested in my college, but can't tell me the first thing about it and have not even looked at the website. I suspect that they are working off a list of highly ranked engineering schools and haven't thought much deeper than that.

 

My all time favorite was one parent who dismissed my counsel, saying that a particular requirement wouldn't be an issue because the student's grandfather was golf buddies with some retired admiral I'd never heard of. Well ok then. I guess there is nothing you need to learn from me.

Ha!

Yes, that is completely different.

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I have limited amounts of sympathy for students and parents.  Yes, there is a lot of information to try to master.  But the approach just cannot be to close ones eyes and hope for the best.

 

I interview for my alma mater and run into students and parents with all kids of outlandish ideas about admissions there.  It is a complicated system, but it it pretty clearly laid out.  For example there is a link on the main admissions page for "Steps for Admission."  About 1/4 of the students I interview have not looked at that page.  So they have no idea of the full timeline or the complete list of what they have to do.  

 

I was venting once that the handouts we gave out could be better.  DH did a Google search for "How do I get into the Naval Academy" The admissions page with this link was the first result.  General advice for 9-12th graders was the first sub result.  So what should I really make of a high school junior who says he has wanted to attend since he was a little kid, but has no idea that he should have been taking strong math and science courses or be active in athletics and leadership?  Or with a student who says that this is his dream school, but doesn't know what degrees it offers.

 

I see friends on Facebook spend more energy discussing Instant Pot than the ins and outs of college admissions.  http://bfy.tw/GCVA

 

I will admit that often articles talk about the cost of tuition and fees, but don't include room and board, books or travel.  Those other numbers can be quite large and can't just be disregarded or considered as minor.

 

I agree, much of my sympathy for parents and students is limited as well. Especially when dealing with a brick and mortar high school and a simple college application.  Yet I am constantly surprised at what parents and students never consider. One set of parents never bothered to look at extra costs, they simply assumed that tuition covered all costs, another set didn't bother to tell their child they had no money to pay for college expenses until past the date for all applications, financial aid and scholarship applications, others were surprised to learn that if accepted to a particular college their child would actually need to be physically resident and that there wasn't an automatic online/telecommute option. None of these parents were homeschoolers.  I am shocked by the deliberate lack of interest in their child's future and/or how their money will be spent.  These were all parents that had been highly involved in their children's lives.

 

I can only assume that some parents consider it not "their job" or "their business" to be involved in the college application process and they assume a guidance counselor has it all in hand.  I don't think for the average parent of a college bound student it is too difficult to understand the process and costs. If the system is designed to be completed by a high school student surely most parents can handle it.  Of course there are exceptions to this, I can think of many special circumstances, but I'm referring to the average here not the exception.

 

However, I think admissions has become hugely competitive.  I don't think we'll find parents discussing it the same way they do their favorite recipes because they don't want to give anyone the edge over their kid. Parents don't want to discuss failures, long shots, or admissions strategies.  Is this sad, yes. But I think it reflects the nature of the beast that is the admissions game. This is why I'm so grateful for the group here. Questions get answered, advice is given, tips are shared, folks offer encouragement, celebrate the successes and send virtual hugs with the disappointments.  I don't think this is the same as real world parent interaction during application season.

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 One set of parents never bothered to look at extra costs, they simply assumed that tuition covered all costs, another set didn't bother to tell their child they had no money to pay for college expenses until past the date for all applications, financial aid and scholarship applications, others were surprised to learn that if accepted to a particular college their child would actually need to be physically resident and that there wasn't an automatic online/telecommute option. None of these parents were homeschoolers.  I am shocked by the deliberate lack of interest in their child's future and/or how their money will be spent.  These were all parents that had been highly involved in their children's lives.

 

 

There's also the issue of what parents think they are saying vs what the child thinks they are hearing.  Husband was in high school in the mid-seventies.  His parents said that they would pay for him to go to any university he wanted.  He applied all over the country but didn't even think about scholarships, taking exams beyond the SAT, etc.  He was accepted into somewhere quite fancy, at which point his parents said that they had meant 'in-state'.  He ended up at UT Austin and was very happy there, but he had built himself other hopes.

 

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I would venture a guess that most counselors in our state are good at knowing what is required to get into our state's flagship. Probably aware of what is necessary at some of the regional state schools as well for those who can't get into the flagship. That is where most students will attend if they attend at all - in-state public universities. Our particular area is unique with its affluence situated in an otherwise pretty poor state, so the local schools probably do okay with their knowledge beyond our borders and into the private school realm. However, even where the knowledge is solid, there is nowhere NEAR the breadth of information that is on here or on CC. That's the benefit of the Hive - of any hive. Lots of people with lots of experiences from lots of different places. It would be impossible for a single individual to have the collective knowledge one could get here - especially about particular schools in places very far removed geographically. No one is going to have inside knowledge/experience about so many different schools, no matter how good of a GC they are. BUT, a public school counselor should know the basics beyond funneling kids into the closest university. They should be willing and able to do the legwork to research other options when students want to look at those. Understand the Common App, the CSS profile, the need for Subject Teats, etc. Even if the need of that knowledge isn't applicable to all students.

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As G5052 points out -- often students are badly misadvised by community colleges. Sadly, we see them come in all the time, they want to be "a math teacher", and they have taken nothing but college algebra because the CC advisor kept telling them to just get their gen eds done and the 4-year would take care of the rest. It is frustrating. 

 

I suppose it at least makes me feel better knowing it's not just pre-med advisers who give our incredibly wrong info - all in a "misery loves company" sort of way I guess.

 

In reality, I wish we could trust counselors, esp paid counselors, to do their job correctly!

 

 

I would venture a guess that most counselors in our state are good at knowing what is required to get into our state's flagship. Probably aware of what is necessary at some of the regional state schools as well for those who can't get into the flagship. That is where most students will attend if they attend at all - in-state public universities. Our particular area is unique with its affluence situated in an otherwise pretty poor state, so the local schools probably do okay with their knowledge beyond our borders and into the private school realm. However, even where the knowledge is solid, there is nowhere NEAR the breadth of information that is on here or on CC. That's the benefit of the Hive - of any hive. Lots of people with lots of experiences from lots of different places. It would be impossible for a single individual to have the collective knowledge one could get here - especially about particular schools in places very far removed geographically. No one is going to have inside knowledge/experience about so many different schools, no matter how good of a GC they are. BUT, a public school counselor should know the basics beyond funneling kids into the closest university. They should be willing and able to do the legwork to research other options when students want to look at those. Understand the Common App, the CSS profile, the need for Subject Teats, etc. Even if the need of that knowledge isn't applicable to all students.

 

I agree, and this is what seems to be lacking right now in my school.  It's why I'm quite tempted to volunteer my time next year, but I also have to figure out if I can considering family health issues and our travel.

 

I think, at this point, if I wanted any sort of full time job, this might actually be it (over teaching - though I'd still tutor some on the side).  It bothers me considerably that so many are being let down.

 

With kids vs parents and researching... I agree in a way that they should be able to come up with more than they do - esp those in privileged settings.  Too many of those just plain assume they know enough without looking or have some sort of false belief in what they think will happen because they are "special." 

 

However, akin to The Glass Castle or Hillbilly Elegy (both autobiographical books), way too many first gen college students (and their parents) don't realize they can step up into this world.  They know it's out there and theoretically possible, but in a way are more or less too afraid to google or just plain assume it's complicated and not for them (or their kids).  They honestly need handholding and reassuring that they are, indeed, as capable as the next student (often more).  They need reminding to get things done, to get essays reviewed, to not wait until the last minute and for them, it's not pure procrastination.  It's a segment of fear and not wanting to be disappointed if they dare have some hope.  It seems pretty surreal to them - totally the opposite of the special snowflake lack of knowledge or procrastinating type.

 

Considering my county only has less than 25% of adults with a college degree - and most of them aren't in my school district (as they're associated with Gettysburg College and or hospitals, or commuters to MD to work, etc, and aren't as common in my district) - I see quite a few of the first gens and not so many of the special snowflakes.

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I would venture a guess that most counselors in our state are good at knowing what is required to get into our state's flagship. Probably aware of what is necessary at some of the regional state schools as well for those who can't get into the flagship. That is where most students will attend if they attend at all - in-state public universities. Our particular area is unique with its affluence situated in an otherwise pretty poor state, so the local schools probably do okay with their knowledge beyond our borders and into the private school realm. However, even where the knowledge is solid, there is nowhere NEAR the breadth of information that is on here or on CC. That's the benefit of the Hive - of any hive. Lots of people with lots of experiences from lots of different places. It would be impossible for a single individual to have the collective knowledge one could get here - especially about particular schools in places very far removed geographically. No one is going to have inside knowledge/experience about so many different schools, no matter how good of a GC they are. BUT, a public school counselor should know the basics beyond funneling kids into the closest university. They should be willing and able to do the legwork to research other options when students want to look at those. Understand the Common App, the CSS profile, the need for Subject Teats, etc. Even if the need of that knowledge isn't applicable to all students.

 

I think that is very much the case locally.  The state university has a different approach to admissions given our remoteness.  They will accept any student who meets the minimum ACT/SAT and grade requirements.  The CC system is part of the UHawaii system so courses transfer from one campus to another without issue.  

 

Popular out of state schools include schools in Oregon,Washington, California, and Nevada (Vegas is called the 9th Hawaiian island).  The midwest and the east coast are incredibly distant and out of mind for most students.  WUE helps with tuition at some schools, which makes the west coast publics poplar.  And the cost of travel to and from school does increase the cost of attendance a lot (Just two trips a year, ie Christmas holiday and starting/finishing in Aug/May costs around $3000.  And that doesn't address where the student goes for Thanksgiving or Spring Break when dorms are closed.)  

 

On one hand I love that the CC to U Hawaii system makes such a smooth transfer on ramp.  On the other hand, I wish that students knew about more the the great schools that could offer a quality education and merit aid to qualifying students.  I don't think, for example that Alabama gets many applicants from here.  And the colder the winter, the fewer the applications, I think.  

 

I think it is very likely that families get sticker shock at the full cost of attendance at out of state schools.  The schools here are mostly commuter.  Some have few dorms and only guarantee them to freshmen.  So the $10-15k for room and board may surprise some families at a point in time when it is really too late to do other applications.

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I think that is very much the case locally.  The state university has a different approach to admissions given our remoteness.  They will accept any student who meets the minimum ACT/SAT and grade requirements.  The CC system is part of the UHawaii system so courses transfer from one campus to another without issue.  

 

Popular out of state schools include schools in Oregon,Washington, California, and Nevada (Vegas is called the 9th Hawaiian island).  The midwest and the east coast are incredibly distant and out of mind for most students.  WUE helps with tuition at some schools, which makes the west coast publics poplar.  And the cost of travel to and from school does increase the cost of attendance a lot (Just two trips a year, ie Christmas holiday and starting/finishing in Aug/May costs around $3000.  And that doesn't address where the student goes for Thanksgiving or Spring Break when dorms are closed.)  

 

WUE list:
Hawaii   University of Hawaii at Hilo   Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii at Manoa Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii Maui College Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii West Oahu Four-Year Public
 
 
update:
This is for folks in one of the other WUE states who may want to consider attending college in Hawaii .

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WUE list:
Hawaii   University of Hawaii at Hilo   Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii at Manoa Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii Maui College Four-Year Public
Hawaii   University of Hawaii West Oahu Four-Year Public
 

 

 

We live in Hawaii, so those schools would all be in state.  The WUE program does cover some (but not all) of the public schools in other Western states like Oregon, Washington, Idaho, etc.

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My sophomore daughter has been working for a program called Matriculate that counsels low-income youth (at no charge) on the college app process. I just Googled and it looks like it is based at only 9 schools right now. I'm not sure how participants are chosen. She has a list of clients that she meets with regularly via Skype. I've got no clue what the success rate is as far as admissions.

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they wanted $40 for someone background check fee - sorry not a good start

I will look at the other

 

I always am circumspect when it is .com and not .org

Who will pay for the background check then? I pay for three checks per year sometimes.

 

.com just means .org was taken. There is very little governance around this.

 

I agree with your skeptical approach but I think your criteria are a bit unfair.

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I agree, much of my sympathy for parents and students is limited as well. Especially when dealing with a brick and mortar high school and a simple college application. Yet I am constantly surprised at what parents and students never consider. One set of parents never bothered to look at extra costs, they simply assumed that tuition covered all costs, another set didn't bother to tell their child they had no money to pay for college expenses until past the date for all applications, financial aid and scholarship applications, others were surprised to learn that if accepted to a particular college their child would actually need to be physically resident and that there wasn't an automatic online/telecommute option. None of these parents were homeschoolers. I am shocked by the deliberate lack of interest in their child's future and/or how their money will be spent. These were all parents that had been highly involved in their children's lives.

 

I can only assume that some parents consider it not "their job" or "their business" to be involved in the college application process and they assume a guidance counselor has it all in hand. I don't think for the average parent of a college bound student it is too difficult to understand the process and costs. If the system is designed to be completed by a high school student surely most parents can handle it. Of course there are exceptions to this, I can think of many special circumstances, but I'm referring to the average here not the exception.

 

...

The "not their business" reminds me of a high school friend of mine whose mother once bragged to mine how she believed in her kids doing things for themselves and not interfering in school work... My friend had similar ACT scores to mine, right at the top. I was a National Merritt finalist, and my mom was surprised that my friend hadn't at least gotten commended, and asked him about that. He said he didn't know how people applied for that. When my mom asked if he'd taken the PSAT, he said he was told it was just for practice, so he goofed off. The real kicker is that he went to the nearby state flagship, which had full rides for kids who were national Merritt, even if they didn't have stellar grades, and he had to work to pay his tuition, since of course his parents weren't contributing. (Edit to add: my mom only asked him because she was surprised he had to work, given his test scores which had come up in conversation...)

 

Another friend had pretty good SAT scores, and I forget if he was a commended scholar (my school had a lot--it was a top ranked public school) but he refused to take the ACT, which was required to get into the honors college at the same state school... In both cases, the parents were educated, but just didn't seem interested in making sure the kids knew what was what... (The one where the mother was consciously hands off at least seems to have been better at making the best of things and not turning out bitter and angry at the world, for what it's worth...)

Edited by zejh

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I can't believe that kid didn't research basic scholarship info at the universities he was applying to (and that counselors didn't basically make all G&T sophomores and juniors take the PSAT and explain what it was for!)

 

My parents had nothing whatsoever to do with my college applications, investigation, any of it.  I knew they weren't paying and I knew the state school one state over gave full rides for NM (only an hour away from home, too), so I signed right up for that and never thought twice about whether I would have gotten enough need-based aid to attend an ivy or enough merit aid to attend another private school.  DH was at the time a student in a school near me, so I didn't really investigate much in the way of moving out of the area for school.

 

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All freshman, sophomores and juniors take the PSAT in my district. If they want the scores they have to pay the registration fee. Otherwise they test and don't know the results. Everyone is informed that junior year they must pay the fee if they want national merit consideration. Most of the neighboring districts do this as well.

 

They do a reduction in fee for those on free lunch (1/3 of my local school).

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At our school the PSAT is completely optional and advertised as a cheap practice for the SAT for 10th and 11th graders.  A couple of times when I've proctored it and talked about why we are strict with the timing and rules I mentioned National Merit scholarship aspects.  Each time there have been several students totally unaware of that part.  We usually get 0-2 who qualify each year, pending the year, and it's still not well known.

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Huh.....our local districts give the PSAT for free to all 8th graders, and give them their scores.  The ACT is given, for free, to all 10th graders.  Other than that, you take it and pay on your own.

 

 

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Huh.....our local districts give the PSAT for free to all 8th graders, and give them their scores.  The ACT is given, for free, to all 10th graders.  Other than that, you take it and pay on your own.

 

I was unaware that 8th graders take it.  Our school frowns on 9th graders taking it (due to seating capacity).  I think I've come across one 9th grade student over all the years.  Otherwise it's sophomores and juniors (an occasional homeschooler, but very, very few, esp if you don't count mine).

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Huh.....our local districts give the PSAT for free to all 8th graders, and give them their scores. The ACT is given, for free, to all 10th graders. Other than that, you take it and pay on your own.

My district pays for 10th graders to take the PSAT but the 11th graders have to pay unless they qualify for free/reduced fee lunch. Kind of weird policy but no explanation given.

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My district pays for 10th graders to take the PSAT but the 11th graders have to pay unless they qualify for free/reduced fee lunch. Kind of weird policy but no explanation given.

Our district in Virginia did this. I think the rationale is that students in range of being competitive for NMS junior year will know that and pay for the test.

The district paying sophomore year means every student gets a free score and the counselors have the opportunity to give guidance.

 

All 9-11th graders take the test. Those who aren't getting an official score get their test back along with an answer key and their test booklet. So they do have the option of figuring out their score and using it as a practice test.

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I remember January application deadlines 35 years ago. 

 

 

By that reasoning, I applied to a university in Texas in April 2005 (almost 13 years ago?), and got a full scholarship at that (plus a little extra cash for w/e). So, parental experience doesn't really mean much. Reading up on it a bit before senior year does. The details require a bunch of work because it's so different from school to school, but the general idea is easy enough to figure out. It's not hard to find something like a "college application timeline" or w/e (reason I didn't apply before April? because I took the GED in April, and you can't apply to college without a high school diploma or GED).

 

ETA: to clarify, I get that you can apply before you've graduated high school if you're in high school. 

Edited by luuknam

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Sure, except finances might make this difficult. While they have a big family and only the dad works, he makes a good salary. Despite their college debt and how many kids they have, they will likely be considered almost full pay at most private Catholic colleges. Their EFC will likely be way out of range for them even when they have two or three in college at the same time.

FWIW, my DH & I met at a State U that had a very active faith group for Catholics. It is even more active and larger now than when we went there. It is the finances that I don't think she's paying attention to; she doesn't seem to be keeping up with how much they, the parents, would have to take out in loans for something like Benedictine College, Belmont Abbey, or even Wyoming Catholic.

On the other hand, there are so many Catholic colleges out there, and if they don’t care much about selectivity or location and their children are strong students and test well, they could likely get substantial merit aid at one or more of them. We live in the PNW and one of my son’s childhood friends got pretty much a full ride to some Catholic college in the Midwest I never heard of before, and I grew up Catholic and am from the Midwest. Edited by Frances

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I was unaware that 8th graders take it.  Our school frowns on 9th graders taking it (due to seating capacity).  I think I've come across one 9th grade student over all the years.  Otherwise it's sophomores and juniors (an occasional homeschooler, but very, very few, esp if you don't count mine).

 

By 10th grade they want them to take the actual SAT or ACT.  Our district just happens to offer the ACT.  My second son took the ACT in 10th, didn't score that great, did a test prep course and took it again in 11th.  He did better, but still not stellar.  He just isn't the best test taker.    Oh well.  

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By 10th grade they want them to take the actual SAT or ACT.  Our district just happens to offer the ACT.  My second son took the ACT in 10th, didn't score that great, did a test prep course and took it again in 11th.  He did better, but still not stellar.  He just isn't the best test taker.    Oh well.  

 

At the school I work at, the SAT is marketed to spring juniors and fall seniors.  The ACT is not offered.  If someone wants to take that, they need to sign up for a nearby school district.  A few do, but not many.

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