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After talking to college admissions - are APs even worth the work?


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I had full intention of packing on those AP courses to both of my children's schedule.  However, the last few college admission counselors I have spoken to, are starting to make me question this.  According to them, since we homeschool, they will consider the student in the top 25%  and then look at their SAT and extracurricular activities.  So, is it worth having them do the AP courses?  Or would we be saving ourselves headache/stress by taking either the AP or CLEP exam after regular coursework.  I'm just so flabbergasted that none of that matters.  :confused1: 

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There are several reasons to do APs.

1. Create competetive transcript for highly selective college - this seems not to be needed for you

2. Challenge student through coursework

3. Get cheap college credit. This may still be valuable, even if your kids get admitted without the APs.

Edited by regentrude
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For my family I decided they are not worth it. My third ds might end up with one or two but only if that is because it is the most appropriate course for his goals, not for the AP designation.

 

I have come to the conclusion that for most kids it is the ACT (or SAT) score and GPA that matters most.

 

My usual disclaimer that we do not pursue highly competitive admissions (but we do pursue merit aid).

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I, too, would like my children to pursue merit aid.  And I do feel that the APs prep them for the work ahead that they will find at the college level.  I'm just super surprised that it would not make a difference in admission for a child who is applying to some of the bigger colleges in the state.  No, they aren't applying to Harvard or Yale or anything of that sort, but intend to go to one of the bigger universities in our area.  

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I, too, would like my children to pursue merit aid.  And I do feel that the APs prep them for the work ahead that they will find at the college level.  I'm just super surprised that it would not make a difference in admission for a child who is applying to some of the bigger colleges in the state.  No, they aren't applying to Harvard or Yale or anything of that sort, but intend to go to one of the bigger universities in our area.

My dc have gotten into the state flagship, smaller state Us, private LAC, a private university, and a very large out of state public research U without APs and with some kind of merit aid at all. Granted, none are top tier schools but several are top 200 schools and some had admissions rates around 50% and average ACT scores around 26-28. So, while not top tier, certainly decent schools.

 

It just didn't even come up as an issue that mine didn't have APs. I'm not against the idea and see how they are right for some kids and families. (Actually my oldest had a couple of APs with PAH and did poorly on the tests. He's gone on to be very successful in college)

 

If they work for your dc, by all means take advantage of the opportunity. But I wouldn't try to cram them in if the interest isn't there or it crowds out something else that would be valuable just for the sake of AP.

 

Again, just my $.02!!!

Edited by teachermom2834
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Because AP courses are supposed to have a certain level of standardization, it can be a way of helping admissions officers or scholarship administrators compare apples to apples. It's not the only way, but it's a way.

 

That's not to say that they are valuable or necessary or even the right choice for every student. It depends.

 

The advice the college admissions counselors are giving you sounds a bit simplistic.

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I had full intention of packing on those AP courses to both of my children's schedule.  However, the last few college admission counselors I have spoken to, are starting to make me question this.  According to them, since we homeschool, they will consider the student in the top 25%  and then look at their SAT and extracurricular activities.  So, is it worth having them do the AP courses?  Or would we be saving ourselves headache/stress by taking either the AP or CLEP exam after regular coursework.  I'm just so flabbergasted that none of that matters.  :confused1:

 

I think the bolded is an overgeneralization.  Course work definitely matters.  Whether or not those courses need to be APs or not is a slightly different question.  What schools are being applied to also makes a significant difference as well.

 

So first---what schools are being considered?  Your avg typical state public?  Probably correct that APs and CLEPs don't matter.  Non-competitive private?  Similar.  More competitive public/private? Rigor is going to start to matter.  Whether or not they are APs is again a slightly different question.  Advanced coursework will matter; the issue is whether or not they need to be APs.

 

FWIW, I also wonder where on earth the statistic came from that bc students are applying as homeschoolers that they will consider them in the top 25%? Are you sure you understood that comment correctly?  I would suspect that they are looking at test scores and seeing where they fall in their applicant pool and estimating somewhere in that range.   

 

On these forums, outsourcing classes and taking numerous APs or DEing is probably by far the most common option amg competitive students. The conventional wisdom posted is that the higher the ranked the school, the more rigorous and demanding the coursework needs to be.  Most take the AP path.  Some DE.  Some DE and take the AP exam. Etc.

 

My kids can't aim for tippy top schools bc we have realized that we can't afford them.  It does lower the stress level  when there is no need to compete with the Joneses.  ;)  However, I have learned that my kids do extremely well in admissions by simply using homeschooling to their advantage and accomplishing what they want to accomplish at their level.  They have taken unusually high level coursework for high schoolers, but not necessarily conventional courses.  The fact that they don't look like all other applicants has seemed to work in their favor in terms of scholarships.  But, equally, they do have standardized test scores and ECs that are substantial and validate their commitment to academic excellence.

 

My current college freshman was willing to take the gamble on homeschooling exactly the way she wanted to and accept the consequences if college admissions was unimpressed and left her with fewer options.  She didn't take a single AP and didn't DE except for 1 course spring of her sr yr (no DE grades during application season.)  She studied 3 languages and we created several unusual courses to encompass her language/culture interests.  She competed in foreign language competitions and had awards for her achievements.  She was a NMF. She did take CLEP exams at the end of several courses that were more traditional classes (cal, US history, gov't, econ). In the end she was accepted to every school she applied to and with $$ money to all.

 

So the long and the short of it is that it all DEPENDS.  If she had instead taken AP classes and had looked like everyone else, she might either have been less successful or equally successful. There is no knowing what would have happened if she had ventured down any other path b/c there are no test case students so no one knows what would have happened in the different scenarios.  Bc she was a strong applicant in general with high levels of unusual achievements, they made her stand out-----caveat----at the schools she applied to.  That much I do know. At schools that she didn't apply to, ????

 

I know that for our family that we are not pursuing specific academic courses or activities with the intent of wooing admissions officers.  I personally cannot fathom their spending 4 yrs hoping for a certain scenario that boils down to 8 mins of an adcoms' screening time. But, that is why we homeschool in general.  We homeschool bc I don't want to replicate what schools are doing.  I would much rather our kids spend 4 yrs actively pursuing what they love and want to do and let the dust settle at the other end in whatever way it does.  But, that is a gamble we are willing to take.

 

For other families, their reasons for homeschooling are different than ours.  They value APs for the focus of the courses and the content.  For them, that is the right answer for their students. Many students really enjoy APs and want to take them.  They should.

 

But, no, I would never load on the APs just for admissions bc that is what you think admissions wants.

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I, too, would like my children to pursue merit aid.  And I do feel that the APs prep them for the work ahead that they will find at the college level.  I'm just super surprised that it would not make a difference in admission for a child who is applying to some of the bigger colleges in the state.  No, they aren't applying to Harvard or Yale or anything of that sort, but intend to go to one of the bigger universities in our area.  

 

Most universities are not very picky whom they take and accept students based on ACT/SAT score and transcript. The selective colleges where APs etc make a difference are the minority, not the norm.

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So, is it worth having them do the AP courses? Or would we be saving ourselves headache/stress by taking either the AP or CLEP exam after regular coursework.

CLEP exams aren’t worth it for us because UC (California) doesn’t accept CLEP for credit which CSU does. Both UCs and CSUs accept AP exams scores.

 

As for AP courses, it depends so much on the courses. My oldest did not take a AP Calculus course but took the AoPS Calculus course instead. He did test prep for AP Calculus BC with test prep book and CollegeBoard past years FRQs. However he took the $150 Edhesive AP Computer Science A course because it is very affordable and I am ensured the syllabus for the exam is covered. He could have probably self studied for the exam but at $150, I just paid up for the nagging by an external source and a peace of mind. He did pass both exams.

 

This academic year, we paid for AP Chemistry and AP Physics courses because I know my kid does better answering to someone else. Labs got done instead of neglected/forgotten. Lab reports are graded by someone else so my kid doesn’t feel mommy is being extremely picky. My husband is also comical about spending in that he would pay more than $2k for an outsourced brick and mortar science class but not be willing to spend even $200 if we self study because he keeps thinking about ways to cut cost since there is no hard deadlines.

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I, too, would like my children to pursue merit aid.  And I do feel that the APs prep them for the work ahead that they will find at the college level.  I'm just super surprised that it would not make a difference in admission for a child who is applying to some of the bigger colleges in the state.  No, they aren't applying to Harvard or Yale or anything of that sort, but intend to go to one of the bigger universities in our area.  

 

My dd who is a college freshman never stepped inside of a classroom until this yr.  The only "classroom" type class she took was statistics and it was an online DE course.  With the exception of Russian that she took with a private tutor, every other course she took, she took at home with me as the sole source of her grades.  She was 1 of 46 students invited to her university's top scholarship competition and she was awarded one of their top 20 scholarships.  She took 17 hrs last semester with a 4.0.  

 

There are lots of ways of prepping students for rigorous coursework.  APs are absolutely a good option but not the only one.

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I think the bolded is an overgeneralization.  Course work definitely matters.  Whether or not those courses need to be APs or not is a slightly different question.  What schools are being applied to also makes a significant difference as well.

 

So first---what schools are being considered?  Your avg typical state public?  Probably correct that APs and CLEPs don't matter.  Non-competitive private?  Similar.  More competitive public/private? Rigor is going to start to matter.  Whether or not they are APs is again a slightly different question.  Advanced coursework will matter; the issue is whether or not they need to be APs.

 

FWIW, I also wonder where on earth the statistic came from that bc students are applying as homeschoolers that they will consider them in the top 25%? Are you sure you understood that comment correctly?  I would suspect that they are looking at test scores and seeing where they fall in their applicant pool and estimating somewhere in that range.   

 

On these forums, outsourcing classes and taking numerous APs or DEing is probably by far the most common option amg competitive students. The conventional wisdom posted is that the higher the ranked the school, the more rigorous and demanding the coursework needs to be.  Most take the AP path.  Some DE.  Some DE and take the AP exam. Etc.

 

My kids can't aim for tippy top schools bc we have realized that we can't afford them.  It does lower the stress level  when there is no need to compete with the Joneses.  ;)  However, I have learned that my kids do extremely well in admissions by simply using homeschooling to their advantage and accomplishing what they want to accomplish at their level.  They have taken unusually high level coursework for high schoolers, but not necessarily conventional courses.  The fact that they don't look like all other applicants has seemed to work in their favor in terms of scholarships.  But, equally, they do have standardized test scores and ECs that are substantial and validate their commitment to academic excellence.

 

My current college freshman was willing to take the gamble on homeschooling exactly the way she wanted to and accept the consequences if college admissions was unimpressed and left her with fewer options.  She didn't take a single AP and didn't DE except for 1 course spring of her sr yr (no DE grades during application season.)  She studied 3 languages and we created several unusual courses to encompass her language/culture interests.  She competed in foreign language competitions and had awards for her achievements.  She was a NMF. She did take CLEP exams at the end of several courses that were more traditional classes (cal, US history, gov't, econ). In the end she was accepted to every school she applied to and with $$ money to all.

 

So the long and the short of it is that it all DEPENDS.  If she had instead taken AP classes and had looked like everyone else, she might either have been less successful or equally successful. There is no knowing what would have happened if she had ventured down any other path b/c there are no test case students so no one knows what would have happened in the different scenarios.  Bc she was a strong applicant in general with high levels of unusual achievements, they made her stand out-----caveat----at the schools she applied to.  That much I do know. At schools that she didn't apply to, ????

 

I know that for our family that we are not pursuing specific academic courses or activities with the intent of wooing admissions officers.  I personally cannot fathom their spending 4 yrs hoping for a certain scenario that boils down to 8 mins of an adcoms' screening time. But, that is why we homeschool in general.  We homeschool bc I don't want to replicate what schools are doing.  I would much rather our kids spend 4 yrs actively pursuing what they love and want to do and let the dust settle at the other end in whatever way it does.  But, that is a gamble we are willing to take.

 

For other families, their reasons for homeschooling are different than ours.  They value APs for the focus of the courses and the content.  For them, that is the right answer for their students. Many students really enjoy APs and want to take them.  They should.

 

But, no, I would never load on the APs just for admissions bc that is what you think admissions wants.

This part really hit home for me.  Thanks for all your input.

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I also heard that homeschoolers are considered top 25%, then they look at SAT scores.

 

I called an admissions office yesterday to ask about it, and I was told they compare your SAT scores to the scores of those in schools in your area and assign a class rank.

 

Maybe this varies by school???

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I also heard that homeschoolers are considered top 25%, then they look at SAT scores.

 

I called an admissions office yesterday to ask about it, and I was told they compare your SAT scores to the scores of those in schools in your area and assign a class rank.

 

Maybe this varies by school???

 

Both of these comments are interesting.

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I also heard that homeschoolers are considered top 25%, then they look at SAT scores.

 

I called an admissions office yesterday to ask about it, and I was told they compare your SAT scores to the scores of those in schools in your area and assign a class rank.

 

Maybe this varies by school???

Those are both comments I have never heard before with any of my kids. I wonder if this is something new or who you are talking to. I have never heard that class rank was even that big of an issue except in states like TX bc so many schools no longer rank.

 

Fwiw, The entire concept about the top 25% makes me laugh bc of a conversation on the general forum about how many homeschoolers are committing educational neglect and the assumptions by some that the number is high. Sounds like whatever schools are being represented by the 25% stat don't agree. ;) (Though I don't agree that the top 25% is any more of a real representation, not amg the homeschoolers I know, anyway.)

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I read the comment about homeschoolers being classified as top 25% on the CC forums.

 

I was curious because we’re in TX and some schools have auto admit based on class rank or a combo of class rank and SAT scores.

 

So I checked UT Austin’s website and it said that homeschoolers are assigned a rank based on test scores. Then, I called UT Austin, and I was told the rank would be assigned based on the rank of students in our area who had the same SAT scores as my son.

Edited by Jazzy
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What exactly does "top 25%" mean? If this is high school class rank, then sure, homeschoolers can safely be assumed to be in the top quartile of their high school, since the number of homeschooled quintuplets is negligible.

There is no other way to assign home schoolers a class rank quartile.

So the info is completelymeaningless.

 

This doesn't mean they are in the top 25 of their college though.

Edited by regentrude
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I just called Texas Tech since they also have a combo of class rank and SAT scores that lead to auto admission. The man who answered said they look at the SAT scores of applicants for that term and assign a class rank that corresponds to students who had similar scores. I asked follow up questions to try to get a better understanding, and he wasn’t quite sure exactly how it worked. He put me on hold and came back and told me that 1490 is the SAT score for top 10%.

 

Regentrude, since there is only 1 person in the homeschool students class, there really isn’t a class rank so they have to assign one. This also applies to schools that don’t rank.

Edited by Jazzy
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What exactly does "top 25%" mean? If this is high school class rank, then sure, homeschoolers can safely be assumed to be in the top quartile of their high school, since the number of homeschooled quintuplets is negligible.

There is no other way to assign home schoolers a class rank quartile.

So the info is completelymeaningless.

 

This doesn't mean they are in the top 25 of their college though.

I hadn't thought of it meaning in the top 25% of their high school. That is an interesting interpretation. Most of the schools my kids applied to don't even list class rank as an important factor. (It wasn't a question on on several non-CA applications.) But that interpretation would make more sense. I interpreted it to mean in the top 25% of applicants which seems extreme to say the least.

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What exactly does "top 25%" mean? If this is high school class rank, then sure, homeschoolers can safely be assumed to be in the top quartile of their high school, since the number of homeschooled quintuplets is negligible.

There is no other way to assign home schoolers a class rank quartile.

So the info is completelymeaningless.

 

This doesn't mean they are in the top 25 of their college though.

Right, it doesn’t mean they are in the top 25 of their college. The number is used for admission. At UT Austin, those in the top 6% of their class are automatically admitted to the university. They take up a large number of the available spots. Texas A&M is much easier to figure out because it auto admits based on SAT scores alone.

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I hadn't thought of it meaning in the top 25% of their high school. That is an interesting interpretation. Most of the schools my kids applied to don't even list class rank as an important factor. (It wasn't a question on on several non-CA applications.) But that interpretation would make more sense. I interpreted it to mean in the top 25% of applicants which seems extreme to say the least.

I was referring to top 25% as their high school class rank.

 

Here is the thread I first read it in:

 

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/texas-m-university/1662725-homeschooled-a-m-and-sat.html

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Right, it doesn’t mean they are in the top 25 of their college. The number is used for admission. At UT Austin, those in the top 6% of their class are automatically admitted to the university. They take up a large number of the available spots. Texas A&M is much easier to figure out because it auto admits based on SAT scores alone.

It sounds like this is a TX specific practice. TX and their auto admits is sort of like CA and their A-G requirements. Neither really translate well outside of their own state.

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I’m not sure how Tech calculated that number because it seems high to me. 1490 SAT score puts a student in the 98-99th percentile. I find it hard to believe that the top 10% of high school students across the state (so including students in rural and unerperforming schools) had scores in that range. I looked on the College Board website, and it said the mean SAT score for TX high school students in the top 10th of their class is 1212, which sounds more realistic.

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CLEP exams aren’t worth it for us because UC (California) doesn’t accept CLEP for credit which CSU does. Both UCs and CSUs accept AP exams scores.

 

As for AP courses, it depends so much on the courses. My oldest did not take a AP Calculus course but took the AoPS Calculus course instead. He did test prep for AP Calculus BC with test prep book and CollegeBoard past years FRQs. However he took the $150 Edhesive AP Computer Science A course because it is very affordable and I am ensured the syllabus for the exam is covered. He could have probably self studied for the exam but at $150, I just paid up for the nagging by an external source and a peace of mind. He did pass both exams.

 

This academic year, we paid for AP Chemistry and AP Physics courses because I know my kid does better answering to someone else. Labs got done instead of neglected/forgotten. Lab reports are graded by someone else so my kid doesn’t feel mommy is being extremely picky. My husband is also comical about spending in that he would pay more than $2k for an outsourced brick and mortar science class but not be willing to spend even $200 if we self study because he keeps thinking about ways to cut cost since there is no hard deadlines.

 

May I ask who you are doing your APs though?

 

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May I ask who you are doing your APs though?

PAH for Chemistry, Physics C Mechanics and Physics C Electricity & Magnetism

 

The $2k brick and mortar science lab course was a local yearlong course, not AP level.

 

ETA:

My kids are also taking AP exams in case they want to apply to Canadian universities like UBC or U of Waterloo.

Edited by Arcadia
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I just want to add here that AP classes are not necessarily the instruments of torture that they are sometimes made out to be on the forum. The content can be interesting and even exciting for some. There are kids that even enjoy the testing. One of my daughters was really eager to do AP English Lang after completing AP English Lit because she found the course to be so enjoyable.

 

I say this because I do think people sometimes avoid giving the courses a go because of the fear that it will be too much. And that is true in some circumstances, but not universally. Personally, I find dual enrollment (if one is choosing among the options) to be a bigger risk because of the potential impact to the college GPA by courses taken in high school.

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I just want to add here that AP classes are not necessarily the instruments of torture that they are sometimes made out to be on the forum. The content can be interesting and even exciting for some. There are kids that even enjoy the testing. One of my daughters was really eager to do AP English Lang after completing AP English Lit because she found the course to be so enjoyable.

 

I say this because I do think people sometimes avoid giving the courses a go because of the fear that it will be too much. And that is true in some circumstances, but not universally. Personally, I find dual enrollment (if one is choosing among the options) to be a bigger risk because of the potential impact to the college GPA by courses taken in high school.

Exactly.  My older kids chose AP classes based upon their content and the challenge presented.  They chose to do APUSH and AP World History through PA homeschools.  One took AP Latin.  They also chose to take college science classes at our local LAC (these were classes for science majors.)  DD is attending our local high school part-time.  She is not as strong a student as her older siblings, but she is easily bored.  She takes AP classes because she loves the subject, the content, and the challenge as well as being with peers who are excited about learning.

 

For our kids, they did not apply to any academic reach schools because we knew that we would not be getting any need-based aid and could not afford any school without merit aid.  Everywhere they applied was a school we were fairly confident our children could get in and that offered merit aid.  For us, the AP classes showed a level of rigor that helped with those scholarship decisions as well as getting into honors programs. 

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I’m not sure how Tech calculated that number because it seems high to me. 1490 SAT score puts a student in the 98-99th percentile. I find it hard to believe that the top 10% of high school students across the state (so including students in rural and unerperforming schools) had scores in that range. I looked on the College Board website, and it said the mean SAT score for TX high school students in the top 10th of their class is 1212, which sounds more realistic.

 

The law refers to the test scores of applicants to that college, not across the state. The exact wording (it is SB 1543 if anyone wants to look it up) is "If an institution of higher education in its undergraduate admission review process sorts applicants by high school graduating class rank, the institution shall place any applicant who presents evidence that the applicant has successfully completed a nontraditional secondary education that does not include a high school graduating class ranking at the average high school graduating class rank of undergraduate applicants to the institution who have equivalent standardized testing scores as the applicant."

 

I should clarify that this means that the college is supposed to give homeschoolers a class rank equivalent to the test scores of applicants to that particular college who have that class rank at their schools. So for applicants that are in the top 10% class of their public school class, the college is supposed to calculate their test scores and assign homeschoolers who have equivalent test scores a top 10% class rank as well. How they actually calculate the test scores for those students, I am not sure.

Edited by bctnln1059
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I was referring to top 25% as their high school class rank.

 

Here is the thread I first read it in:

 

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/texas-m-university/1662725-homeschooled-a-m-and-sat.html

 

The thread is from 2014 and the automatic top 25% was specific to A&M. They have now changed to follow the law requiring them to assign based on test scores, so the automatic top 25% no longer applies.

 

 

the last few college admission counselors I have spoken to, are starting to make me question this.  According to them, since we homeschool, they will consider the student in the top 25%  and then look at their SAT and extracurricular activities. 

 

 I'd be curious to know what colleges those are, since A&M was the only one I had heard of that automatically assigned homeschoolers a top 25% class rank, and they have since done away with the practice.

 

In any case, assigning homeschoolers top 25% is not common to the vast majority of colleges.

 

Edited by bctnln1059
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The thread is from 2014 and the automatic top 25% was specific to A&M. They have now changed to follow the law requiring them to assign based on test scores, so the automatic top 25% no longer applies.

Yes, I said above that Texas A&M now autoadmits based on test scores.

 

Just to be clear, I was not making the point that the top 25% still applies. I was simply sharing that I had heard the same as the OP and went college websites and also called a couple of colleges to see whether or not it was true.

Edited by Jazzy
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The law refers to the test scores of applicants to that college, not across the state. The exact wording (it is SB 1543 if anyone wants to look it up) is "If an institution of higher education in its undergraduate admission review process sorts applicants by high school graduating class rank, the institution shall place any applicant who presents evidence that the applicant has successfully completed a nontraditional secondary education that does not include a high school graduating class ranking at the average high school graduating class rank of undergraduate applicants to the institution who have equivalent standardized testing scores as the applicant."

 

I should clarify that this means that the college is supposed to give homeschoolers a class rank equivalent to the test scores of applicants to that particular college who have that class rank at their schools. So for applicants that are in the top 10% class of their public school class, the college is supposed to calculate their test scores and assign homeschoolers who have equivalent test scores a top 10% class rank as well. How they actually calculate the test scores for those students, I am not sure.

Yes, that’s true. It just still seems high to me considering that top 10% applicants to any college come from a wide range of backgrounds. I would expect the number to be closer to the College Board’s mean number for the top 10% across the state of Texas. Or closer to A&M’s autoadmit number. But maybe top 10% students with lower scores aren’t applying to Tech.

 

I’m also interested in knowing how the number is calculated, but don’t think the individuals I spoke to in admissions have a clear understanding of how it is done.

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I agree, since the top 10% rule is supposed to increase access for those from lower-scoring schools. But as a point of comparison, we visited UT Dallas in January and the homeschool admissions counselor there said their average SAT score for their top 10% class rank applicants this year was a 1530! Yikes!

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I agree, since the top 10% rule is supposed to increase access for those from lower-scoring schools. But as a point of comparison, we visited UT Dallas in January and the homeschool admissions counselor there said their average SAT score for their top 10% class rank applicants this year was a 1530! Yikes!

 

Totally off-topic, but I was wondering what you thought about UT Dallas when you visited.  Yikes, indeed, on the average SAT score for their top 10% class rank applicants!  I did not know that.  

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It would be interesting to find out what UT Austin's average test scores are for their top 6% class rank auto admits, since they receive more auto admit applications that the other Texas publics.

I was super curious, too, so I called and asked for the specific number. This time I got a totally different answer. I was told they consider homeschooled and non ranking private school applicants under holistic review not according to a 6% rank SAT number. That’s not what it says on the website, though, so I’m just not sure that’s accurate.

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I was super curious, too, so I called and asked for the specific number. This time I got a totally different answer. I was told they consider homeschooled and non ranking private school applicants under holistic review not according to a 6% rank SAT number. That’s not what it says on the website, though, so I’m just not sure that’s accurate.

 

Thanks for letting me know. It's true that the website says they adhere to the new law, even though in the past homeschoolers were always holistic review. So either this person didn't know about the law, or they aren't really following it!

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Totally off-topic, but I was wondering what you thought about UT Dallas when you visited.  Yikes, indeed, on the average SAT score for their top 10% class rank applicants!  I did not know that.  

 

My dd loved that the dorms had private rooms for everyone--each suite has 3 bedrooms with your own sink, a shared living space, and separate shower and toilet that each lock. It looks like they have good opportunities for undergraduate research in biology, which would be important to her. She liked the food in the dining hall as well. Overall she had a positive impression of it. They are not big on sports but that's not something important to her.

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My dd loved that the dorms had private rooms for everyone--each suite has 3 bedrooms with your own sink, a shared living space, and separate shower and toilet that each lock. It looks like they have good opportunities for undergraduate research in biology, which would be important to her. She liked the food in the dining hall as well. Overall she had a positive impression of it. They are not big on sports but that's not something important to her.

 

That sounds perfect for my dd.  She has no interest in sports, but she does really need privacy.  Thank you!

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We're doing 2. And a bunch of DE. The 2 APs are only because we need calculus, and Derek Owen's calculus is AP approved, so I might as well call it that on the transcript. And, we're doing edhesive AP computer science A - also AP approved. Neither kid will take tests in comp sci because they want to take it again in college (hoping for deeper and/or wider) and the calculus will be repeated at some engineering college anyway. So we're not really playing the AP game as many do.

 

ETA - I do think strength of schedule does matter in highly selective schools. The admissions people we've listened to even stated that - for example- AP US isn't regarded the same as AP physics (this is for math/engineering). So, not all APs are the same. For these schools it was "are you talking the courses available to you that are the most challenging available?" Sometimes that is AP, sometimes it's DE, sometimes it's honors.... It's about personal challenge. They talked a lot about passion and challenge. I'm hoping we're going the right direction with all of this!!

Edited by FriedClams
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To answer your question bctnln1059- the College I had spoken to that particular day was, in fact, Texas A&M College Station. The admissions officer I spoke to told me "since GPA doesn't matter (since your child is homeschooled) it won't matter if you have AP or CLEP credit." I then asked what exactly are they looking for/at. To which he responded, we look at homeschoolers as being in the top 25% (of their 'school/graduating class') and then look at SAT scores and extracurricular activities.

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I was referring to top 25% as their high school class rank.

 

Here is the thread I first read it in:

 

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/texas-m-university/1662725-homeschooled-a-m-and-sat.html

 

That makes so much more sense. I, too, thought OP meant "top 25% of applicants" and for many selective colleges that's an enormous advantage.

 

Just "top 25% in graduating class" for an extremely high performing student would actually be hard on the student.

 

OP--I would take an AP class if your student can't get that level of instruction at home and loves the subject, or if your family is in the "donut hole" and really needs to save on tuition, and AP is a cheaper option than college credit.

 

Re: 1530, that seems like a decent score, in keeping with the top 10% of students.

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Thanks Tsuga- yes I see it as a HUGE disadvantage being considered in the top 25%. I'd much rather they look at the courses he took and even interview him in order to give him a better shot.

So at this point I'm viewing AP courses as being only advantageous in obtaining credit or prepping for the college level work.

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Thanks Tsuga- yes I see it as a HUGE disadvantage being considered in the top 25%. I'd much rather they look at the courses he took and even interview him in order to give him a better shot.

So at this point I'm viewing AP courses as being only advantageous in obtaining credit or prepping for the college level work.

 

I'm sure you realize but it isn't the AP course that gets you credit but your score on the AP exam. I don't think taking an AP course without the exam is of much use in terms of admissions, but if you take the exam and get a good score then it can validate your grades and also get you college credit. We have taken the exam without doing an accredited course and because of the grade dd will get college credit for it.

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To answer your question bctnln1059- the College I had spoken to that particular day was, in fact, Texas A&M College Station. The admissions officer I spoke to told me "since GPA doesn't matter (since your child is homeschooled) it won't matter if you have AP or CLEP credit." I then asked what exactly are they looking for/at. To which he responded, we look at homeschoolers as being in the top 25% (of their 'school/graduating class') and then look at SAT scores and extracurricular activities.

 

Ok, thanks, that's interesting that they would still say that.

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Thanks Tsuga- yes I see it as a HUGE disadvantage being considered in the top 25%. I'd much rather they look at the courses he took and even interview him in order to give him a better shot.

 

 

The advantage of being in the top 25% at A&M is that the student can be admitted automatically if that rank is combined with the following test scores:

  • New SAT:
    • Total score of at least a 1360 with at least:
      • 620 Math; and
      • 660 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
  • Old SAT:
    • Composite score of at least 1300 (Math and Critical Reading) with at least:
      • 600 Math; and
      • 600 Critical Reading
  • ACT:
    • Composite score of at least 30 with at least:
      • 27 Math; and
      • 27 English
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The advantage of being in the top 25% at A&M is that the student can be admitted automatically if that rank is combined with the following test scores:

  • New SAT:
    • Total score of at least a 1360 with at least:
      • 620 Math; and
      • 660 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
  • Old SAT:
    • Composite score of at least 1300 (Math and Critical Reading) with at least:
      • 600 Math; and
      • 600 Critical Reading
  • ACT:
    • Composite score of at least 30 with at least:
      • 27 Math; and
      • 27 English

 

 

Ah, this post clarifies things for me in regard to the OP. It does seem that the information is specific to certain Texas schools and their autoadmit policies. AP courses would not matter, because it sounds like the admission officers at those schools disregard GPA/transcript when it comes to homeschoolers (the "Mommy grades" viewpoint, I presume?) They have created a formula that, with a validating test score, the hoemschooled student has a shot at the autoadmit process. This does seem to be a bit of an advantage.

 

However, even with that scenario, I think it is likely that evidence of advanced coursework would be useful for scholarship purposes, both within and outside the school. And, of course, if the student intends to apply anywhere other than these schools, advanced coursework will be one factor considered.

 

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Many schools don't care at all.

 

Many competitive schools like to see some outside classes for rigor and readiness.  That can be AP.  But it can also be DE, SAT2, outside class providers, etc.  Can also be a gateway to merit and scholarships.  If that's not a road you're considering, than I wouldn't worry about it.  Some kids crave that rigor.  My kid is flying through DE classes and it's shown me he needs a 4 year college with a peer group and some rigor.

 

I also read somewhere recently about a study that after you do some small number of college classes (AP or DE, etc) there's no value add for doing more for applicants.  Like those with 9 AP's do not necessarily perform or are better prepared for college than those with 4 APs.   I can't quote exact figures nor do I have a link at the moment but I'll look around.

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