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dirty ethel rackham

Talk me down ... how to advise our young adults on careers/majors

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This is probably going to be long and rambly here.  Please be gentle with me.  I know that we made mistakes, but we were doing the best we could and this is an area that did not get the attention it deserved to do dealing with crises with our mentally ill 21 yo.  

 

Dd17 is a lovely, mostly well-rounded student.  She is smart, but not the most academically gifted, ... she works hard for her excellent grades.  She has much more emotional intelligence, is a better writer and communicator than her older siblings.  She has so many things going for her.  But ... math is not her thing.  It has been a struggle for her, both academically and emotionally, coming from a very mathy family. 

 

(It came very easily to her older siblings.  Dh is an engineer.  I majored in math in college and was a computer analyst for 10 years out of college.  I can't really help much in math because I think everything beyond Algebra 1 and Geometry (except for boolean algebra) are gone out of my brain ... I swear I got a lobotomy when I gave birth each time.  I struggle to focus and concentrate when it comes to advanced math.)    

 

Dd didn't really know what to major in when she was applying.  We had her do a project to investigate majors and careers, which involved looking at job outlook, potential careers for different majors that interested her, job shadowing, interviewing people in that field, etc.   Since dd she expressed interest in environmental biology, dh had her interview some women who work for him who are environmental engineers.  She was very inspired by them and decided to apply to some schools for environmental engineering, over my concerns.  At other schools where she wasn't confident that she would get into their engineering programs, she applied for neuroscience ... combining her interest in biology and psychology.  I feel that neuroscience is a better fit for her, partially because of the lower math requirement overall, and due to her natural abilities and interests.  I think she applied to engineering because she heard of all these women getting great scholarships and opportunities because they were a "minority" in that field and because the career path after graduation seems so much clearer.  She sees her oldest sibling, an accomplished student with a B.S. in biology, struggling to get into grad school ... but his struggles have to do with his narrow field choice and his shy, passive nature.  

 

So, back to math ... we have been piecing together math to get her through Pre-calculus before graduation.  She assured me that she could take an Algebra 2 final (after a very fragmented effort in completing this) and take an online precalc class and be OK.  She seems to be doing OK in her pre-calc class, but I just had her take a Regents exam in Algebra II and she barely squeaked out a C.  This does not bode well for her majoring in engineering.  (Most of my friends in college were engineers.  They were much smarter than me and they had to work hard at the necessary math.)  So, either it is her dislike of the subject that is causing her problems, which doesn't bode well for her graduating in this major.  Or she really isn't strong enough in it, which doesn't bode well in this major.  I wish she would abandon this pursuit and change to something that suits her better.  I think she is going after it for all the wrong reasons and that it will greatly impact her college experience, as far as successful she will be and her enjoyment of the experience.  (Also, it doesn't really leave much room for her more liberal arts bent ... being interested in a lot of things, and her passion for creating art.)   

 

So, I just graded her 2nd attempt at the Regents exam and saw her poor score and I just want to put my foot down and tell her that I will not put a dime toward her majoring in engineering.  Probably not the most productive way to approach this issue.  Her dad is not helping because I think he feels some pride at her "following in his footsteps."   He is being very passive about this, which means it falls in my lap.

 

I feel like I need to tread gently here.  She is feeling so much pressure ... a heavy academic load (her choice), uncertainty about the future (still no decision on where she will go as we are waiting on word on some scholarships which could be defining factors), and stress of living in a household with a mentally ill sibling.  I don't want to add to the pressure, but I think we need to get real here.  

 

Any advice?  Again, please be gentle.  We are all under a lot of pressure here for many other reasons.  

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Could she take a career aptitude test? My ds was recently accepted into a well-regarded engineering school as a liberal arts major. As soon as he found out he had gotten in, he started making noises about changing his major to engineering. Like your dd, math is a struggle for him. Anyways, someone in our community had made it possible for him to take a University of Georgia Archway administered career aptitude test. Instead of telling him that engineering may not suit his capabilities, I prayed that the test results would reveal that he should not be an engineer! Thank goodness, the test did just that, and after briefly considering a career in architecture or bartending, he is back to his liberal arts orientated major! 

 

From my own personal experience, long ago: My physicist dad suggested I major in engineering in case I didn't get into vet school. I started out in engineering calculus, quickly realized I was outta my league, dropped the class, and dropped the idea. I like to joke that I was planning to go to vet school in case I didn't make it as an engineer! If she is at a college with a wide variety of majors, could she just switch majors if she finds that engineering isn't working for her?

 

I hope the pressure eases off for all of you soon! 

 

 

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Unless she is making her college choice solely or primarily on the basis of engineering programs, I would probably let it go and let natural consequences run their course during her first term of college. I don’t think it’s uncommon for students to discover they aren’t really suited for the rigors of certain majors during their first term or year of college. I know it’s hard not to worry and to let her own her choices, but ultimately I think it’s for the best.

 

One of my nieces was convinced she wanted to be a radiation therapist after babysitting full-time for one during a summer in high school, despite the fact that she struggles with math and science. One term of high school physics quickly changed her mind.

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Unless she is making her college choice solely or primarily on the basis of engineering programs, I would probably let it go and let natural consequences run their course during her first term of college. I don’t think it’s uncommon for students to discover they aren’t really suited for the rigors of certain majors during their first term or year of college. I know it’s hard not to worry and to let her own her choices, but ultimately I think it’s for the best.

 

One of my nieces was convinced she wanted to be a radiation therapist after babysitting full-time for one during a summer in high school, despite the fact that she struggles with math and science. One term of high school physics quickly changed her mind.

This could be an awfully expensive mistake, costing us a lot of money, but also costing her scholarships if her GPA drops too low. I'm not comfortable with that gamble. I'd like to stack the odds in her favor before committing limited funds.

 

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This could be an awfully expensive mistake, costing us a lot of money, but also costing her scholarships if her GPA drops too low. I'm not comfortable with that gamble. I'd like to stack the odds in her favor before committing limited funds.

 

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Would she be starting with calculus in college or do the engineering programs use placement exams? Has she ever done a math placement exam at a community college? If not, maybe that would be the place to start. If she places fairly low, maybe that would be a good starting point for a conversation with you or a community college advisor. If they also offer some type of career assessment, maybe the two combined could show her other paths.

 

Does her online precalculus class have a teacher? If so, what is their assessment of her math abilities?

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Another vote for career counseling. It focused on my DS's strengths but didn't pull punches on his weaknesses and it was so much easier for him to take than advice coming from me :)

 

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Neuroscience actually requires a fair amount of physics and math. One class I took got into Fourier transforms and I needed my now-DH's help (he was an electrical engineering major) to coach me through that module. :scared:

 

I find neuroscience fascinating but am not strong enough in math and physics to study it beyond a very intro level.

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A third vote for career counseling.

 

My older two kids' college provided it free, so they both did it during their senior year of college. They both wished they had done it MUCH sooner, and if I had any more kids I would pay for it before senior year of high school.

 

It deals with not only academic strengths and weaknesses but also personality quirks.

 

The neat thing about career testing and counseling is that it comes with two parts -- one is a short list of "suggested careers" but the other equally important part is a short list of "careers to be avoided".

 

The test + counseling provided them both with epiphany moments. They both sort of knew they were strong in this and weak in that but they never really considered how that would impact their careers. For example, ds is good at and loves the academic field of philosophy, but the test showed that for various reasons teaching is a field he should NOT go into. He completely agreed with the assessment but hadn't considered that aspect before. Since he had seriously been considering philosophy and the only real jobs in philosophy are teaching, this was an eye-opener.

 

Obviously kids change, so if money were no object I'd do the assessment before senior year of high school and then again before senior year of college.

Edited by Gwen in VA
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I wanted to major in music (classical voice). My mother, who  was an opera singer and then voice professor at the conservatory, did not "let me". (I assume I could have fought her, but at sixteen, I bowed to the pressure). For many many years, I kept wondering "what if?" and was angry I never got the opportunity to find out whether I would have been able to succeed. It has taken me decades to make peace with this and my mother. 

So I would be very cautious telling a young person "you may not do this because I do not think you are good enough". As well meaning as it may be, it can do great damage to the relationship.

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Is she a junior in high school or senior in high school?

 

If junior: I'd consider having her do math through the summer and all senior year. I'd try to get her to do algebra 2 again with a different book, an online class or something that would give a different presentation than she had. Then I'd have her do precalc, again supplementing it. I'd try to get her through an advanced high school physics course.

 

If I could fit it in, I'd see if she could handle statistics, because social science fields and biology often require it.

 

At the same time I'd have her do some career assessments. Finding a career interesting and pursuing that career are different things. I didn't study certain subjects in college but I've still kept up with fields because they were interesting. Try to get her to understand that. My DD did a lot of extra stuff related to environmental science in high school. She's not majoring in it, but she has friends in the field and still pays attention to it because it is interesting.

 

If she's a senior: I'd push career aptitude testing. I'd also question the quality if engineering school that accepted a student who had only finished algebra 2. I'd look at schools that have a broad range of majors beyond engineering.

 

Keep in mind many programs in neuroscience require calculus. It is an interesting subject. But again you don't have to study it or work in the field to follow the research.

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What math instruction has she received? Did you teach her, or was her math outsourced? Any chance the issue is with the materials/instruction or interest and not inherent aptitude?

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I agree with Diana P.  Is she a junior?   Has she done the ACT/SAT yet?  Her math result on that may be a wake up call if it doesn't go well. 

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I wanted to major in music (classical voice). My mother, who was an opera singer and then voice professor at the conservatory, did not "let me". (I assume I could have fought her, but at sixteen, I bowed to the pressure). For many many years, I kept wondering "what if?" and was angry I never got the opportunity to find out whether I would have been able to succeed. It has taken me decades to make peace with this and my mother.

So I would be very cautious telling a young person "you may not do this because I do not think you are good enough". As well meaning as it may be, it can do great damage to the relationship.

This is very important. I resented my father putting me on a certain educational path for years.

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I like the idea of going to the CC and taking a placement test. It could be a real eye opener for her.

 

Have the two of you sat down and explored the course requirements for various majors? That was a real eye opener for DD16 who is interested in food systems but not interested in the agricultural side of it. While you are at it you might look at a liberal arts environmental sciences degree. DD18 is currently taking the intro class and is finding the Pset much easier than last semester’s Physics.

 

If possible, she might benefit from a semester or two or three of exploration to see what she really likes. That doesn’t work well with an engineering major but many liberal arts programs encourage it.

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Taking math at community college pass/fail but seeing whether she could keep up could be a good way to gauge whether or not she is truly not gifted enough, or whether she just needs more time, or what. Plus, free tutoring at the tutoring center. Can you try that out? They often offer things like calculus. Seems like a reasonable test before she tries out for engineering schools.

 

I thought calculus was the hardest math, harder than Calc II and harder than linear algebra. It's a real hump to get over.  :grouphug:

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I suggest going to college as an undeclared major for the first year. Take the school's common requirements that year.

 

Most colleges require undeclared majors to undergo career assessments, courtesy of the college themselves. This is what our soon-to-be college freshman will be doing this coming fall.

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It's really hard to be realizing this late senior year, as you could have worked on finding a super supportive engineering school for her. If she is doing fine in precalculus and it's a good class, I'm not sure revisiting algebra 2 is worth it. She may have to look up formulas or seek some help in college math, but her basic skills must be OK to be doing well in precal.

 

Look closely at the engineering schools that accepted her-- are they more weed-out than you like? Are the other students much stronger than her or are her test scores in line with everyone else's? Not every engineering school is MIT. She will probably be fine in the workforce where computers do all the grunt work in math.

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Its going to depend on the college.  At UB, they would place her in Intermediate Algebra...so no calc in year one.  They aren't even looking at regents's scores now, just SAT/ACT and how well Alg 2 went, but they are using Aleks for those wanting to begin with calc.   http://advising.buffalo.edu/advisors/newstudentreg/pdfs/mathplacement.pdf   Definitely look at how the college does placement and what the support is going to be.

 

I would consider a gap year, and use that for career exploration and recharging. You all have been been very busy and if she's doing engineering or science she will be better off recharged, hitting the ground running.

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I am voting for career counseling also. My first thought when I read your post was to wonder if a subscription to Aleks Math https://www.aleks.com/ be helpful.? It should be able to identify exactly what she doesn’t know and work with her to learn it. Since she seems to be interested in careers that use math maybe a different method of learning would be useful. One price for all levels and a free trial.

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If she is a sr, you might need to have the conversation about $$ and the number of yrs you are willing to pay for.  If she does not place into cal 1 first semester, she will possibly be off sequence in an engineering major to graduate in 4 yrs b/c most (all???) engineering sequences presume 1st semester cal.  It could mean a required 5th yr due to pre-reqs dependent upon cal. It would definitely be an issue I would investigate.

 

FWIW, maybe spend some time looking over 4 yr sequences and previewing textbooks that would cover some of those topics.  Maybe she will recognize that she is jumping in over her head?  

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Neuroscience actually requires a fair amount of physics and math. One class I took got into Fourier transforms and I needed my now-DH's help (he was an electrical engineering major) to coach me through that module. :scared:

 

I find neuroscience fascinating but am not strong enough in math and physics to study it beyond a very intro level.

 

I don't think that she can't learn the physics and math.  She took AP Physics 1 at the high school last year despite having done less than 1/4 of Algebra 2 and got A's and B's.  She did spend the summer before preparing by learning some concepts prior to taking the class and she learned the math as she went along.  It was harder for her and more work than for her classmates, but she liked it.  It was the first time she ever felt she had any confidence in her math ability.  But, if she goes into engineering, she is competing with a larger percentage of her classmates who took AP Calc in high school.  Having looked at the requirements for that major at many of the schools she is interested in, they do have options for math and physics for biological science majors.  I'm not saying it would be a breeze, but that I'm much more confident that she could do it.  

 

I wanted to major in music (classical voice). My mother, who  was an opera singer and then voice professor at the conservatory, did not "let me". (I assume I could have fought her, but at sixteen, I bowed to the pressure). For many many years, I kept wondering "what if?" and was angry I never got the opportunity to find out whether I would have been able to succeed. It has taken me decades to make peace with this and my mother. 

So I would be very cautious telling a young person "you may not do this because I do not think you are good enough". As well meaning as it may be, it can do great damage to the relationship.

Yeah, it is a delicate balance.  That is why I cam here to vent rather than say something damaging to her ... not to say that I haven't done any major parenting screw ups so far.  

 

Is she a junior in high school or senior in high school?

 

If junior: I'd consider having her do math through the summer and all senior year. I'd try to get her to do algebra 2 again with a different book, an online class or something that would give a different presentation than she had. Then I'd have her do precalc, again supplementing it. I'd try to get her through an advanced high school physics course.

 

If I could fit it in, I'd see if she could handle statistics, because social science fields and biology often require it.

 

At the same time I'd have her do some career assessments. Finding a career interesting and pursuing that career are different things. I didn't study certain subjects in college but I've still kept up with fields because they were interesting. Try to get her to understand that. My DD did a lot of extra stuff related to environmental science in high school. She's not majoring in it, but she has friends in the field and still pays attention to it because it is interesting.

 

If she's a senior: I'd push career aptitude testing. I'd also question the quality if engineering school that accepted a student who had only finished algebra 2. I'd look at schools that have a broad range of majors beyond engineering.

 

Keep in mind many programs in neuroscience require calculus. It is an interesting subject. But again you don't have to study it or work in the field to follow the research.

She is a senior, struggling against a major case of senioritis, dealing with some emotional issues due to the fall-out of living in a high-stress household of a sibling with a major mental illness.  She felt pressure to pick a major ... the harder one to get into with the idea that she could switch into something easier down the road rather than the other way around.  

 

She was accepted into Purdue school of engineering, Saint Louis University Civil Engineering, Kentucky school of Engineering, Marquette (Engineering).  

 

What math instruction has she received? Did you teach her, or was her math outsourced? Any chance the issue is with the materials/instruction or interest and not inherent aptitude?

I was her math teacher until we started outsourcing in high school.  It has been a bumpy road.  She probably would have done better in a physical classroom, but that decision should have been made in 7th grade.  I screwed up.  I was working so hard to remediate her slower progress in math compared to her siblings and not close doors.  If I had put her in math classes in our schools here, she would never have been allowed to take the advanced science classes because she would have been tracked into the lower achieving classes and been completely bored.  She has excelled in science (in a town where you are below average if you don't take calculus your senior year or even your junior year.)  

 

I don't think she is unable to learn math.  I think there has been a mismatch between her learning strengths and the options available to us.  Being the youngest and having an older sibling with special needs has meant that she got the benefit of my experience in some areas, but got the short end of the stick here when I needed to switch gears and do something new and different as far as math is concerned.  She also lived in the shadow of two older siblings for whom math came very naturally.    I do wish i had been able to either run a math circle for "average" kids when she was younger, or, at least found one to help with confidence and joy in math and to help her confidence.  Everything I found was for kids who were whizzes at math ... for the outliers.  

 

 

I would consider a gap year, and use that for career exploration and recharging. You all have been been very busy and if she's doing engineering or science she will be better off recharged, hitting the ground running.

She really doesn't want a gap year ... due to our home situation.  As much as I would selfishly love to have her home another year, it would be better for her mental and emotional health to get out of here.  

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She was accepted into Purdue school of engineering, Saint Louis University Civil Engineering, Kentucky school of Engineering, Marquette (Engineering).  

 

These are good schools. If they evaluated her transcript and test scores and admitted her, they must think she can be successful.

If senioritis and the home situations are factors, she may surprise you when she is at college.

Edited by regentrude
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She really doesn't want a gap year ... due to our home situation.  As much as I would selfishly love to have her home another year, it would be better for her mental and emotional health to get out of here.  

 

One does not have to live at home for a gap year.  

 

 

 

On the course load...does she have enough AP/DE that she can lighten her load, so she doesn't have any 17-19 credit hour semesters?

 

will she consider co-op?

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DD and I did talk after she saw her score on that test.  Many tears were shed ...  I'm not sure I handled it all that well (I did take it kind of personal when she implied that homeschooling was a terrible idea ... been struggling with my own issues of where my life is going), but I can't say that my words were the primary cause of the tears.  I think she is frustrated with her self, her lack of motivation and feeling afraid.  

 

I did get her to agree to some more in depth aptitude and interest assessments and to tell her that she has time to make decisions .  I just am wary of sending her into waters with an undertow.  

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DD and I did talk after she saw her score on that test.  Many tears were shed ..

 

Does the test score on the alg II exam really reflect her mastery?

You as her math teacher should be able to judge better than the test. 

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One does not have to live at home for a gap year.  

 

 

 

On the course load...does she have enough AP/DE that she can lighten her load, so she doesn't have any 17-19 credit hour semesters?

 

will she consider co-op?

The question becomes ... who will fund a gap year.  We barely have the funds to send her to college ... with lots of merit aid.  We may be supporting her sibling, a mentally ll adult, for the rest of her life.  This sibling is stable now, but we have seen enough of the trajectory of this illness that there will be some major expenses in the future.  

 

Re AP/DE ... we need to evaluate that further.  Getting accepted to 9 schools means a lot of comparisons to do.  She was hoping that she could always fit an art class in to feed her soul.  She doesn't want to major in art (ok, if money were no object and she didn't need to make a living, she'd love to go to art school.)  But we are not wealthy, just slightly upper middle class.  She still would love to be able to take a class in something that interests her, which is why I think she is better suited to a liberal arts and sciences type of degree.  None of the engineers I knew had room to take a class for fun.  

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These are good schools. If they evaluated her transcript and test scores and admitted her, they must think she can be successful.

If senioritis and the home situations are factors, she may surprise you when she is at college.

I agree. If she got into Purdue Engineering, she must have fairly decent math SAT or ACT scores. While it sounds like she may have to work harder than others, her performance in physics sounds like she can do it when she is motivated. Would she be willing to study calculus over the summer, so that when she starts in the fall she’s already seen most of the material?

 

My son was always much stronger in verbal stuff than math, and we constantly butted heads over math while homeschooling. I would have to say he surprised me in college, though. Of all the schools he was accepted to, he chose the one that required the most math for his major (chemistry) and then he chose to specialize in the most math intensive area of chemistry, physical chemistry. He even won a scholarship to do physical chemistry research in Germany. And I think the college “A†he is still most proud of is the one he earned in differential equations when he went into the final with some sort of B and then aced the exam, after hiring a tutor. Our kids can do amazing things when they are motivated.

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She felt pressure to pick a major ... the harder one to get into with the idea that she could switch into something easier down the road rather than the other way around.  

 

She was accepted into Purdue school of engineering, Saint Louis University Civil Engineering, Kentucky school of Engineering, Marquette (Engineering).

She's right about applying directly and transferring out if she changes her mind. She's gotten into a nice group of schools. I'm guessing her SAT or ACT scores are good so she might have more hidden math ability than is immediately apparent even to herself.

 

Could she take a Calc 1 MOOC over the summer to get geared up for first semester freshman year? That's a low pressure way to test it out before it counts.

 

There are several self-paced options on EdX:

 

https://www.edx.org/course?search_query=calculus

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Does the test score on the alg II exam really reflect her mastery?

You as her math teacher should be able to judge better than the test. 

Yeah, I'm having a major crisis of confidence in myself on even being able to assess where she is.  My algebra 2 abilities leave a lot to be desired ... despite my BS In Math from UIUC.  Like I said above, something happened to my brain ... i will likely have to repeat much of this math myself just for my associates that I am going back for.

 

What level math do you think she will place into?  Would she be willing to take an online placement practice exam?

I don't know where she will place.  She got a 28 on the math on the ACT.  She got a 36 on the writing and a 35 on English.  Should I have her take a placement test at the community college to see?  

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The question becomes ... who will fund a gap year.  We barely have the funds to send her to college ... with lots of merit aid.  We may be supporting her sibling, a mentally ll adult, for the rest of her life.  This sibling is stable now, but we have seen enough of the trajectory of this illness that there will be some major expenses in the future.  

 

Re AP/DE ... we need to evaluate that further.  Getting accepted to 9 schools means a lot of comparisons to do.  She was hoping that she could always fit an art class in to feed her soul.  She doesn't want to major in art (ok, if money were no object and she didn't need to make a living, she'd love to go to art school.)  But we are not wealthy, just slightly upper middle class.  She still would love to be able to take a class in something that interests her, which is why I think she is better suited to a liberal arts and sciences type of degree.  None of the engineers I knew had room to take a class for fun.  

 

The student would fund the gap year, possible with help from a relative offering a room.

 

On the Regents Exam..did you vet the test? The RE in my state will sometimes have questions that can be difficult just because of convoluted way of asking or an expectation that a particular calculator method was taught.  i would trust an Aleks assessment more if the student did not take a course that specifically included RE objectives. 

 

Look to see if any of the schools do a summer math prep . 

 

The engineers I know in school now who are taking nonengineering for fun are keeping up with their music, or they have a language class. They have the room because of the courses transferring in.

 

with your brain...I had similar. Bloodwork picked it up - B12 and D deficiency, as well as anemia at times.  The cause for me is genetic and there is a supplement that provides what my body can't make.  I feel better now than at any time in my life. 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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The CC might offer Accuplacer.  Does something like Aleks offer placement type exams?  Some schools might place based on the ACT, but some require placement exams.  

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The question becomes ... who will fund a gap year. We barely have the funds to send her to college ... with lots of merit aid. We may be supporting her sibling, a mentally ll adult, for the rest of her life. This sibling is stable now, but we have seen enough of the trajectory of this illness that there will be some major expenses in the future.

 

Re AP/DE ... we need to evaluate that further. Getting accepted to 9 schools means a lot of comparisons to do. She was hoping that she could always fit an art class in to feed her soul. She doesn't want to major in art (ok, if money were no object and she didn't need to make a living, she'd love to go to art school.) But we are not wealthy, just slightly upper middle class. She still would love to be able to take a class in something that interests her, which is why I think she is better suited to a liberal arts and sciences type of degree. None of the engineers I knew had room to take a class for fun.

With neuroscience and her strong emotional intelligence and communication skills has she considering any health care related careers? My husband majored in chemistry and art and also completed all of the premed requirements. I think his art major was one of the things that helped with med school acceptances, as it made him somewhat unique. He never consider making art a career, but it’s still a major passion and hobby for him.
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I agree. If she got into Purdue Engineering, she must have fairly decent math SAT or ACT scores. While it sounds like she may have to work harder than others, her performance in physics sounds like she can do it when she is motivated. Would she be willing to study calculus over the summer, so that when she starts in the fall she’s already seen most of the material?

 

My son was always much stronger in verbal stuff than math, and we constantly butted heads over math while homeschooling. I would have to say he surprised me in college, though. Of all the schools he was accepted to, he chose the one that required the most math for his major (chemistry) and then he chose to specialize in the most math intensive area of chemistry, physical chemistry. He even won a scholarship to do physical chemistry research in Germany. And I think the college “A†he is still most proud of is the one he earned in differential equations when he went into the final with some sort of B and then aced the exam, after hiring a tutor. Our kids can do amazing things when they are motivated.

Oh geesh.  Differential equations ... the subject of my nightmares.    The first time I took it, I had a near perfect grade on the first exam then failed the 2nd exam ... my first F ever.  I ended up dropping it and taking it again with a different professor.  

 

The bolded is where we were hoping she would be after AP Physics 1 last year.  She got a 3 on the AP exam which kind of deflated her enthusiasm, but she took it while she was sick and wouldn't go for the makeup exam option.  

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The student would fund the gap year, possible with help from a relative offering a room.

 

On the Regents Exam..did you vet the test? The RE in my state will sometimes have questions that can be difficult just because of convoluted way of asking or an expectation that a particular calculator method was taught.  i would trust an Aleks assessment more if the student did not take a course that specifically included RE objectives. 

 

Look to see if any of the schools do a summer math prep . 

 

The engineers I know in school now who are taking nonengineering for fun are keeping up with their music, or they have a language class. They have the room because of the courses transferring in.

I didn't vet the test.  Probably my mistake.  But,, I wanted something quick and dirty for me to be able to stop butting heads with her over math and just be able to give her a test and say ... here is your grade in that course.  Boom.  Done!   I chose it because we had used the Algebra 1 exam as a way to just be done with that class after many fits and starts.  

 

If anyone has another exam I can use to just evaluate her Algebra II knowledge so that I can just give her a grade and credit, I'd appreciate suggestions.  

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use ALEKS assessment instead of RE

 

A 28 on the ACT with an ALEKS>75 = Calc at UB. she won't have a problem if she's willing to use tutoring as soon as she has a question. My kid landed in that range, had no issue other than the math center hours conflicting with his work hours..he learned to find peer tutoring. Over the summer she could read up on the idea of calc.

 

this 'are you ready' site may also be helpful:  http://www.math.buffalo.edu/rur_index.html

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Now that I see the schools, I think her math skills may not be as bad as I'm interpreting what you've written.

 

Still I'd be concerned about whether she was ready for first year of engineering calc. If she is set on starting in engineering I'd encourage continuing in the precalc and starting a calc class this summer (audit, indep study, something to get her foundation up before she does the class at the school she chooses).

 

And I'd still look at career counseling, just to familiarize her with options.

 

((Hugs)) on the sibling situation. My DD is sandwhiched between a 2E older brother who has caused significant strife and a younger brother with intellectual disabilities who will not live independently. Making sure everyone's needs were met caused difficult choices and continues to make our family function in pieces (when we are a unit we fall apart).

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With neuroscience and her strong emotional intelligence and communication skills has she considering any health care related careers? My husband majored in chemistry and art and also completed all of the premed requirements. I think his art major was one of the things that helped with med school acceptances, as it made him somewhat unique. He never consider making art a career, but it’s still a major passion and hobby for him.

I've always thought that this would be a good fit for her, but she is adamantly opposed.  I'm not sure why.  I do know that she is NOT interested in becoming a therapist despite her interest in psychology because she is burned out on other people's problems.  I think she had been doing a bit of behind the scenes helping K, despite my best attempts to shield her from this, plus she had a close friend confide her suicidal tendencies before she came out to her parents.  The responsibility of that career terrifies her.  I didn't know that this was going on ... I would probably worked more with her on boundaries.  

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Now that I see the schools, I think her math skills may not be as bad as I'm interpreting what you've written.

 

Still I'd be concerned about whether she was ready for first year of engineering calc. If she is set on starting in engineering I'd encourage continuing in the precalc and starting a calc class this summer (audit, indep study, something to get her foundation up before she does the class at the school she chooses).

 

And I'd still look at career counseling, just to familiarize her with options.

 

((Hugs)) on the sibling situation. My DD is sandwhiched between a 2E older brother who has caused significant strife and a younger brother with intellectual disabilities who will not live independently. Making sure everyone's needs were met caused difficult choices and continues to make our family function in pieces (when we are a unit we fall apart).

Thanks for the vote of confidence.  

 

And thanks for sharing your experiences with trying to meet the needs of all your kids.  I have felt stretched so thin and often feet like I was drowning myself.  I've been struggling with feeling like a failure as a parent, not being able to meet the needs of my kids. My daughter was smart enough to know that her needs would be better met by taking most of her classes at the high school.  It took me longer to come to see that she was right.  

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I've always thought that this would be a good fit for her, but she is adamantly opposed. I'm not sure why. I do know that she is NOT interested in becoming a therapist despite her interest in psychology because she is burned out on other people's problems. I think she had been doing a bit of behind the scenes helping K, despite my best attempts to shield her from this, plus she had a close friend confide her suicidal tendencies before she came out to her parents. The responsibility of that career terrifies her. I didn't know that this was going on ... I would probably worked more with her on boundaries.

My DD is studying psychology, but the areas she's doing research in have nothing to do with her brothers' issues. Initially, I thought that was the direction she was going and asked. She really shut me down. So totally understand your DD not wanting anything to do with it. She's already lived it and needs to get away.

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Thank you all so much for entering into this conversation with me.  I appreciate your kind, gentle, exploration of our options.  I've polished off a half-pound of cookies while typing away here.  You have given me so much to think about and I think my panic is abating somewhat.  Now, I need to help dd with her sense of panic.  

 

From an ethical standpoint of the transcript ... how should I handle the Algebra 2 issue?  She got a B in the online pre-calc class through Mr. D. last semester.  

 

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I can't answer the alg 2 question.  But, following up on Diana P's suggestion, would she be willing to use Thinkwell cal this summer as a cal preview?  That way she wouldn't have an actual college course or grade to contend with, but she could get a solid introduction?

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Oh, it's too bad you guys don't have the freedom to just bum around college for a few years before deciding on a major.  Dh & I and both our kids did this (youngest is still) and it really made everything easier.  I went to uni at 17 and promptly changed my major from bio to business to crim to poli sci over the course of 3 yrs. Took 5 to graduate but was happy where I ended.

 

That said, if I'd had more student guidance in my first year, I probably would have stayed in bio. I had some bad advice about course selection and scheduling which tanked my grades & really dropped my confidence.  Looking back, I needed someone who would have said "you don't need to load up so high on courses, you don't need straight As, just chill already - you're doing ok, just keep going" 

I wonder whether she would benefit from seeing an outside academic counsellor. They have some in my city. They're not cheap but it's an interesting service for rising adults to talk about careers and academics and get some outside perspective and they're not related to any schools so very impartial. 

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If Kentucky is University of Kentucky, there are massive amounts of support for the calculus sequence. Free math tutoring center open 9am-5pm every day staffed by TA's and undergrads who have completed the calculus sequence with mostly A's, an engineering tutoring center open afternoons and evenings, recitation run by TA's twice a week in addition to lecture 3x a week, and TA's and professors have plenty of office hours and also willing to make appointments. I'm sure other universities also have plenty of support like that as well. (If it is UKY and she ends up going there, pm me and I'll tell y'all which math professors are the best. :p)

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I have no idea what would be best, but I would not discount maturity, motivation, and tutoring to develop further in college. Ds started college at the college algebra level thinking he wanted to do engineering. We knew it would take an extra year or two, but he was at an affordable school. He's doing very well, currently taking 3 math courses, loving it, and has found some excellent teachers. He's since decided on math as a major.

 

Have you suggested back up plans? Like I trust you to do well, these schools trust you to do well, but you need a plan B in case YOU (the student) decides it's too much. 

 

 

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The question becomes ... who will fund a gap year. 

 

Americorps offers room & board, healthcare, a modest stipend, and money towards college after completion. One of my cousins who was a "late bloomer" did City Year and that was great for giving him the time to mature and figure out what he wanted to study in college.

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I wish I had good advice for you. All I can say is that I have a kid who is a great communicator (writer) who loves art but really struggles with math (and math self-confidence). She's younger than yours here, but what is it with these creative children who just can't visualize the upper level math?

 

I also sometimes say that part of my brain went into the babies I had each time I was pregnant. I was known for my memory, but now I'm known for forgetting things very quickly. (They let me be the helper for secret santa gifting at Christmas. I forget so well that I always have look up who I have..) 

 

Many hugs for getting through this & all the other things you deal with each day. (You already know your daily thread is an immense help.)

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From a practical standpoint, will her choice of major at this point significantly impact which college she chooses and which classes she takes her first semester?  Most colleges require a placement test or a particular score on the ACT or SAT exam to place into particular math classes.  So, she will be somewhat limited to what math classes she can take her first semester regardless of her major.  From now until August is a long time in a 17 year olds life to change plans (and majors) and most students change once they are at the university.  Therefore, I would try to not make a big fuss over a choice at this point.  I would definitely wait and see how she does in the Pre-Calculus course before rushing to any decision.

 

As far as an Algebra II grade, Has she been accepted to those schools with a grade only from Algebra I and Geometry at this point?  I am a bit confused about whether she already has a grade in Pre-Cal or not.  (I thought I read that she seems to be doing well in Precal and then I thought I read that she made a B in precal).  Do you have any homework or other grades you can use to balance out the "C" on the exam to justify a "B" in algebra II--if she already has acceptances in hand the exact grade is somewhat of a moot point.

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I made c's in math throughout high school and also some in college although I did well when I had good professors in college.  It wasn't easy but was doable. It can be done if it is really what she wants to do.  

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28 in Math will place into the beginning of a calc series in many programs. That is like the 90th+ percentile. I would use the rest of your time to maybe hire a tutor to shore up for college math and pull yourself out of the equation entirely. Things aren’t nearly that bad. I can’t comment on how you should handle the algebra 2. I would maybe review the concepts she struggled with on the test and move on. It sounds like burn out is a real issue here. I think she has the ability. And I have math/comp sci degrees and did them through an engineering program.

 

I might encourage her to pick one of her options that has other schools/programs that may be of interest just in case and have a frank discussion about the finances and to what degree you can help. Once you get all the monetary offers in order, picking a cheaper option might be wise. But otherwise, I would let it sort itself out.

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