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2_girls_mommy

help on selective college application

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I am late to the game. Was not planning on selective schools. We were happy with in state. But dd has scored fantastically on ACTs. And big schools are reaching out to her, schools that I didn't even know reach out to students. So we are upping our game late to the game. Here is where we are. I did no grade weighting. I gave no honors designations. I didn't even give As in all of our homeschool classes if I didn't think the best effort was fully there, so her official GPA is lower than kids in PS who are taking APs and honors classes for higher than 4.0 averages, even though she is capable of that kind of work. I just never thought that would look great coming from a homeschooler. She did no DE so far. She will be taking some DE this, her upcoming senior, year. She has great ACT scores, 3 fantastic National Latin Exam scores for Latin 1-3 and one ok for Latin 4 . I was her teacher, who learned along with her, so we expected that 4 wouldn't be as good without a master, but we had been to the classics department of our state school where she is planning on attending, and he was fine with what she had done and was already going to place her above intro classes.  She is going to take two SAT subject tests on the August date. She has all of the extra curricular, leadership activities, job, various awards, so I know all of that is up to standards.

BUT I don't know what to do for listing what we studied. I wasn't planning on handing in anything besides a transcript of classes and grades to our state schools that don't require class descriptions. I am not the type that picks a course and does as is. I am very eclectic.  She outsourced for math online so I can easily give those. But she has a perfect score in Reading and a 35 in English, but I have no official syllabus for how we studied those classes. We have text that books we picked up and did a few lessons from here and there, but nothing in full, no real tests. We read books. I read books aloud. There were papers written and projects done and plays attended, etc.  I have lists of everything we did. I do keep a daily record. I just don't know how I write that up.  Take our homegrown history and government courses. We did a big weeklong field trip to D.C. last years and did a lot. We are going to another early American city and doing all of the museums and sites this year. One year she did a class at a convention on how a bill becomes a law. I'll choose some book from a stack of library books for her official text for government, but we don't work through, do the tests, and all of that. I planned on counting all of that towards those classes. I want to study for a CLEP government course and just CLEP out . I know that you can't probably CLEP out at selective schools, but since that was our original course this year I still want to do it because it will save us money if she stays with our state school like originally planned. I do have a class picked out for American History this year that is very WTM in style, lots of original sources and writing, so I will have a course description, but I want to count all of the workshops and musuems and such too. There are several things I grouped together for official classes that were hodgepodge like that for my transcript classes. A little of Well Trained Mind style assignments, some co-op enrichment classes, field trips, etc. Good grade given because everything I asked to be accomplished was accomplished. 

Are there any examples of how to write that up into a description for a class? I mean with our homeschool Latin its easy. I can copy the index o show what units we studied. Any body have a link or an example Honors English course description just so I can get a sense of what it looks like?  And any words of advice. We figure since these schools are reaching out to her, we would regret not trying, so even though we aren't counting on them since we never planned it, I do want to at least try. I feel my part is harder than hers, since I wasn't prepared for any of this, and she has already done most of her work and tests! 

sorry so long. I don't even know what I am looking for. But if you have any suggestions, take pity on me and share. 🙂

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First off, don't panic! If you have records of everything you did, you're in fine shape. I kept my course descriptions fairly general and brief, although there were detailed reading lists and lists of texts used (and field trips, where applicable). I gave almost no tests in high school, and no one questioned my grading as far as I know (I would imagine most schools take homeschool grades with a grain of salt anyway). I wasn't worried about it because his test scores and grades from DE and other outside classes matched up with the grades I gave him. Honestly, I would be surprised if anyone did much more than skim the course description document. So my advice is to google some examples, keep it pretty simple, and save your energy for fretting over things like the counselor letter instead. I found that way more stressful! 

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My kid was accepted to a couple of selective schools.  I have a stripped transcript with descriptions I've shared with a couple people if you want to send me a PM with an e-mail and you promise not to share further.   And maybe you could give me any feedback too if you had any.  I am thinking about packaging my info into a website/seminar and I do have another kid coming up too on a personal level.  I spent so many hours and have been asked many times about our paperwork since we started this process. 

I thought this was a really nice starting point for writing a school profile

https://simplify4you.com/2018/write-your-school-profile-in-6-steps/

I wouldn't get too excited about schools reaching out after a high test score.  Absolutely apply if the financials work and run the EFCs + consider additional expenses and you can afford the applications.  But that's what marketing departments do.  They might be more aggressive if they get less apps from your area/demographic.  My kids got all kinds of mailings and follow up some personal and it really didn't mean a whole lot during the admissions process.  He did get into less heavy marketing schools and didn't get in where he got phone calls.  It is to their benefit to get as many applications through the door as possible.  It's good to stay level headed about the whole thing.    Good luck!

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It actually sounds like you have some excellent record-keeping going on, you just need to reorganize it into classes: course title, instructor name, textbooks used, course description, etc.  It'll take some time, but should be doable.  This exercise is common among unschoolers who need to organize everything that was learned into well-defined classes.   A hack is to find course descriptions for high school classes similar to yours and use that as a starting point.  

I'm glad @FuzzyCatz mentioned college's aggressive marketing because I wanted to warn of the same.  Not to prematurely discourage you because I think by all means if her test scores are consistent with what a school typically admits, and your student wants to attend, then you should definitely apply.  But really, that's a decision that should be made independently of whether you received a brochure in the mail that was likely triggered by a high test score.   Ignore the brochures.  If your student wants to attend, throw your hat into the ring.  You won't be admitted if you don't apply.  

I find that people on these boards have varying ideas of what they consider a "selective college" so you may want to see where your student stands by going to College Confidential and looking at the Chance Me threads.  

Here's an example of a Harvard Chance Me from a few years ago (not my kid, it came up in a google search):

2250 SAT
770 SAT US, 800 SAT Math 2, 770 SAT Chem
Top 1-3% GPA in school
AP US, AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Micro, AP Macro, AP Lang, AP Stats (all 5's)
AP Physics C, AP US Gov, AP Lit, AP Calc BC (Taking senior year)
Honors: National Merit Semi, National Honor Society, Cum Laude Society

Extracurriculars:
1) Research (9th grade-)
Publications- 1 co-author in Human Molecular Genetics, 1 co-author paper submitted (accepted by reviewers), 1 co-author is in preparation for publication.
Intel ISEF 3 times- 9th grade Student Observer, 10th + 11th Finalist
Presented research posters 3 times at International Spinal Muscular Atrophy research meeting.
Invited to give a seminar talk for graduate students on the research project.
Worked 4 years at one lab; during that time, interned for short periods at 2 other labs
Attended a program at a local hospital for gifted high school students, studying molecular biology of cancer.
Employed at Ohio State University as a Student Research Assistant.

2) Neuroscience writer for the National High School Journal of Science (12th grade-)
Wrote 8 neuroscience review articles for the entire summer 2013 issue, reviewing current progress in neuroscience research.

3) Speech and debate (9th grade-)
4th Place and 6th Place in Duo Interpretation at two tournaments.

4) MusicCare volunteer at the James Cancer Hospital (11th grade-)
Volunteered 100 hours at hospital to play piano for cancer patients and visitors

5) Piano Performance (5th grade-)
Finalist at Hope Young Artist Competition.
Honorable Mention at local competition.
Organized and performed a solo piano benefit concert. Team leader of 26 students and 8 teachers, raising $3500 for breast cancer research.

6) Violinist in school orchestra (7th grade-)
Perform in 5 concerts every year; orchestra was selected as a Finalist to compete at National Orchestra Festival competition

7) Ballroom dancer (5th grade-)
1st Place Juvenile International Latin, Riverfront DanceSport Festival
4th Place International Open Latin 3 dances, Arnold Sport Festival (Dancing division)

😎 Junior Director at local civic association (12th grade)
Helped to organize and plan community events, such as 4th of July Parade (100 community service hours)

Other awards: Recipient of 2012 and 2013 Presidential Service Award

Edited by daijobu
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You guys are awesome. Thank you!!! Now I have to see what a homeschool counselor letter looks like next. I know most of the usual stuff doesn't apply to us. Our pastor's wife is a high school counselor, so she has talked to me about hers. I did call and ask what they usually see from homeschoolers, so I wasn't concerned. But now I am, darn it.  I am feeling a lot better about the class descriptions after these replies though. Thanks for the links.

Oh, and yes, we have picked the sliding scale ones to look further into and are planning a trip east to visit one for our senior trip vacation, to see if she is really interested. We are in a part of the country that has a very very small percentage attend. The counselor I have been talking to (from our only IB school in the state,) has never seen a letter like one that my dd got. She says she has only seen rejection letters after applications from this school. And her school has kids with higher composite scores, so something stands out to them. Who knows what?  So we decided to go for it and to look at a couple others that have sliding scales too. At our income, a few Ivy Leagues are cheaper for us than state schools if she actually got in. We qualify for fee waivers for test and application fees at a lot of places, so putting out some money when I need to for some of it isn't killing us. She is happy enough with the state school we had already decided on and will go straight to its honor college and can dorm there, so our hearts aren't set on this. But she would regret not trying. 

 

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My DD had some letters and lots of emails that seemed very personalized & "amazing" after her great test scores came in, and we live in a low income rural area. Just be careful not to get your DD's hopes up. Highly selective is a lottery for everyone. That doesn't mean she shouldn't go for it, just that the emails & letters don't mean much (unless it is a likely letter after she applies!).

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3 hours ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

I am late to the game. Was not planning on selective schools. We were happy with in state. But dd has scored fantastically on ACTs. And big schools are reaching out to her, schools that I didn't even know reach out to students. So we are upping our game late to the game. Here is where we are. I did no grade weighting. I gave no honors designations. I didn't even give As in all of our homeschool classes if I didn't think the best effort was fully there, so her official GPA is lower than kids in PS who are taking APs and honors classes for higher than 4.0 averages, even though she is capable of that kind of work. I just never thought that would look great coming from a homeschooler. 🙂

I'd look carefully at scholarship criteria at the state schools your dd does apply to. Many have a formula using test scores and GPAs. I'd think long and hard about grading your student harder than your local public school would have because you may be costing her thousands of dollars in aid money. Often, universities use charts that convert ACT scores into high school GPA equivalents for home schoolers and others from unknown grading situations. Here's an example:

https://blog.prepscholar.com/act-gpa-conversion-percentile-match

 

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46 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

I'd look carefully at scholarship criteria at the state schools your dd does apply to. Many have a formula using test scores and GPAs. I'd think long and hard about grading your student harder than your local public school would have because you may be costing her thousands of dollars in aid money. Often, universities use charts that convert ACT scores into high school GPA equivalents for home schoolers and others from unknown grading situations. Here's an example:

https://blog.prepscholar.com/act-gpa-conversion-percentile-match

 

Thank you. I will check that out too. We are lucky enough that we have a state scholarship based on income and other qualifications that we have been careful to work towards that she has qualified for for free tuition at instate public schools. The school she wants to attend also covers fees and books to students that have that particular scholarship, leaving us only room and board. So we are chipping away at that. Not based on GPA, but they have a merit based in school program where once a student hits 30 on ACT they start receiving money off. She is now a couple points above that so her amount allotted should be going up, and she is now only two points away from total free ride there with senior year to keep trying left in front of us. Plus she already qualifies for their honors program ingoing as a freshman. So that is what we have focused on. We have that plan in place, and is likely what we will end up doing.

But this being our first time through everything, I need to take all things into consideration. We really hadn't looked anywhere else since she qualified for the free tuition in state to begin with. But we are now broadening our horizons! 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy

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I'll throw in a few things with the great advice you've already been given. 

Not to be a wet blanket, but schools that reach out don't always do so with scholarships in the end. Go into the process as emotionless and realistic about what you can afford in the long run and the realities of admissions statistics.  And, applications are expensive ($50 for the application, plus $15 for every ACT score to be sent, plus any DE transcripts you have to send, etc.) so I would limit the list to schools she really cares about. Again, not to be a downer, but you can read up on the finance issues on other current threads, and highly selective schools really are highly selective. (As an aside, University of Chicago... Stop already with the mail. LOL). We would actually play Buzz Word Bingo with the mailings when they were are the height of the mailing season. "Unique", "World focused", "Experiential", "Personal"... You get the idea. (We really weren't trying to be ugly or cynical - it's just kind of a stressful time and it made the process a little bit lighter.)

My dd applied to a couple competitive schools and beyond a transcript, no one wanted anything amplifying (course descriptions, etc). There was the counselor statement (Coalition App maybe?) that is amplifying, but not about classes.  My dd did have a number of DE credits from junior and senior year, so those had their own transcripts but I included them for her GPA. I researched what was a reasonable weighting for high school, honors, and DE/AP and put a really clear scale on the transcript. If the schools use the coalition app you'll enter data ad nauseam for what your scales are, etc. so they'll know what you used.  For the Counselor Statement, I spent a lot of time on why my student was unique, our educational philosophy, etc. It was the one spot I had to really share what made our school experience stand out and why our process would prepare her for a competitive college. I've always been part focused academic, part hippie - so it was really a great opportunity to expound our journey. In addition to that the student essays really are the place to share and shine - so use those wisely.  

 

Good luck! Don't stress. Let your student run the process. And come here for encouragement!! 

 

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

My DD had some letters and lots of emails that seemed very personalized & "amazing" after her great test scores came in, and we live in a low income rural area. Just be careful not to get your DD's hopes up. Highly selective is a lottery for everyone. That doesn't mean she shouldn't go for it, just that the emails & letters don't mean much (unless it is a likely letter after she applies!).

This is my comment as well. Colleges do not reach out to students through mail, email, etc in any real meaningful way. It is simply marketing material to increase their applicationnumbers.

To give the opposite perspective, my kids do not check the receive college info box. Kids that did with extremely high stats got invited by my dd's U to recruiting steak dinners with speakers/representatives Those dinners took place in major cities around the country. My Dd never received a single email, flyer, etc from the school, but she was one of the 20 kids to receive their top scholarship.

Definitely let her apply if she likes the schools and the NPCs return numbers that are more affordable than her other option. Just bc it is marketing material does not mean she isn't a great candidate for acceptance. She really might have the exact profile they are looking for.  There is just no way of knowing bc you can't base it off what is essentially spam. Fwiw, if you do not have the $$ for visiting just bc you want to without it being a hardship, I would not spend money to visit until after acceptances roll in and she has decisions that need to be made.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Thanks all! We're aware of most of what you're saying, I promise. We have our plan that we've been working on. But with a couple schools that we've looked into (yes, thanks to marketing, lol) we've seen that if she did actually get in that we maybe could manage. We won't know for sure til all is said and done of course. We are a one (low) income family. We won't be doing anything that we can't do.  She's careful to say the least and has been working and saving for several years herself. There are some financial aides we weren't aware of, so we never even dared dream of these schools before.  We know chances are low to get in and all of that, but do want to give our best effort on the application, no matter where she goes.  I know you all have experience to share, so I'll be reading, asking all the questions that have been asked before, I'm sure. We aren't getting hopes up, just dipping our toes in. 🙂

On our planned visit- my sisters and I planned a trip for senior year and for American history a year ago. We do history related travel as part of school. We're cheap travelers. The tour is because we've got a college age kiddo doing tours who actually has the scores and profile of their students, so of course we're doing it while there. This isn't a total whim for her to apply, but it is a little bit. 

There are so many past threads I'll start looking through. But I'm sure I'll post new ones along the way.

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1 hour ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

Thanks all! We're aware of most of what you're saying, I promise. We have our plan that we've been working on. But with a couple schools that we've looked into (yes, thanks to marketing, lol) we've seen that if she did actually get in that we maybe could manage. We won't know for sure til all is said and done of course. We are a one (low) income family. We won't be doing anything that we can't do.  She's careful to say the least and has been working and saving for several years herself. There are some financial aides we weren't aware of, so we never even dared dream of these schools before. 

This was the case for us--private colleges that meet full financial need were often as cheap or cheaper than our state public schools, even though he'd have full tuition covered through state grants. So those were his choices--highly selective private if you can get in or in-state public. He applied to a ton of schools and wound up with some great options to choose from. It's maybe worth noting that it's not just "lottery schools" that have excellent financial aid. Most private liberal arts colleges in the top 30 or so, for example, meet 100% of demonstrated need. Usually somewhat less generous than the Ivies (they'll expect students to take the federal loans, generally), but still manageable for many families (not to say those schools aren't also tough to get into, but it's a whole different world from the schools with 5-6% acceptance rates).

Edited by kokotg
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4 hours ago, kokotg said:

This was the case for us--private colleges that meet full financial need were often as cheap or cheaper than our state public schools, even though he'd have full tuition covered through state grants. So those were his choices--highly selective private if you can get in or in-state public. He applied to a ton of schools and wound up with some great options to choose from. It's maybe worth noting that it's not just "lottery schools" that have excellent financial aid. Most private liberal arts colleges in the top 30 or so, for example, meet 100% of demonstrated need. Usually somewhat less generous than the Ivies (they'll expect students to take the federal loans, generally), but still manageable for many families (not to say those schools aren't also tough to get into, but it's a whole different world from the schools with 5-6% acceptance rates).

That's good to know, thank you! We'd been tossing all of the flyers and stuff. Haven't really considered any of them. 

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I have a daughter at a highly selective school. I don't have any advice on the transcript, as it sounds like your style was a bit different than ours.

That said, I wouldn't stress too much about putting together the perfect transcript. They are going to look much more closely at how she presents herself in essays and what her letters of recommendation say.

I agree with everyone that says to not put too much stock in the marketing letters and e mails, but it sounds like you realize that 🙂

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7 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

I have a daughter at a highly selective school. I don't have any advice on the transcript, as it sounds like your style was a bit different than ours.

That said, I wouldn't stress too much about putting together the perfect transcript. They are going to look much more closely at how she presents herself in essays and what her letters of recommendation say.

I agree with everyone that says to not put too much stock in the marketing letters and e mails, but it sounds like you realize that 🙂

I feel like everyone has a different style than I do!  But now I'm dreading how I explain it. I talk to others irl who homeschool through high school, and they're all like, "We used BJU." They read a book, did the assigned papers, took the test, easy peasy. So not my style. I'm dreading this in advance though. I haven't really started the process. It's just almost time, so I'm starting to look into it. Like grading systems- um, I didn't have one? It will all work out like it's supposed to. 

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11 hours ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

I feel like everyone has a different style than I do!  But now I'm dreading how I explain it. I talk to others irl who homeschool through high school, and they're all like, "We used BJU." They read a book, did the assigned papers, took the test, easy peasy. So not my style. I'm dreading this in advance though. I haven't really started the process. It's just almost time, so I'm starting to look into it. Like grading systems- um, I didn't have one? It will all work out like it's supposed to. 

We don't very often outsource, use textbooks/prepared curriculum, or give tests for grades. My kids have had no problems with acceptances. I just explain in my counselor letter that we work to mastery and that their educations are co-designed by them to utilize homeschooling's opportunities to their fullest by allowing them to explore areas of deep interest. Their course descriptions describe what they used /did.

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13 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

We don't very often outsource, use textbooks/prepared curriculum, or give tests for grades. My kids have had no problems with acceptances. I just explain in my counselor letter that we work to mastery and that their educations are co-designed by them to utilize homeschooling's opportunities to their fullest by allowing them to explore areas of deep interest. Their course descriptions describe what they used /did.

I've read a lot of your posts. I do not think I am as articulate as you, but I feel your style is similar to mine.

As we get this going soon, I would appreciate any help on my parts of the app if you don't mind if I message you now and then, or if you have examples of anything you'd like to share. 

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New update. She just got invited to apply through Questbridge National College Match. So it has a different more in depth application process I am just now reading about- just got the invite this morning. I have so much to learn and feel so out of my league. I've got to figure out if it would be an advantage to go through them or try on our own at full needs based top schools?? So much to learn and do in two months (while she's finishing the summer in a full time job and rehearsing six nights a week on top for a community theater musical which leaves us zero time to start anything until the play is over partway through August! When common app opens Aug 1st. ) Sigh. 

 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy

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You may want to start a new thread about Questbridge specifically so you can learn more about their specific process.  

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53 minutes ago, daijobu said:

You may want to start a new thread about Questbridge specifically so you can learn more about their specific process.  

Yes, I might. My brain is on overload right now. I'd never even heard of it until today. I've found some old ones to read through for now. I didn't even know if it was real at first. We get so much junk.

This girl kills me. She should have been national merit. With the scores she's doing now, she could have been, but she's always hated math. So she bombed math on the PSAT because as a gifted perfectionist, if it's hard, she thinks that means she's no good because most things are easy. She wasn't working her hardest that year. But then got super high everywhere else which I think motivated her. I don't think she believed me before of what she was capable. This year, she decided to improve that, and now she's 99 percentile composite in our state and 96 percentile for math and stem and perfect in reading, etc. I feel like after PSAT I decided we weren't going to pursue anything else big. State was ok, and my brain was ok with that. Now she wants to try for a little more, and I've lost a year of mentally preparing and researching. I appreciate everyone's help!

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ON Questbridge, just make sure you qualify.  My kid got tons of mailings/contact from them and he was most definitely not eligible. Otherwise, seems like a great opportunity. 

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3 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

ON Questbridge, just make sure you qualify.  My kid got tons of mailings/contact from them and he was most definitely not eligible. Otherwise, seems like a great opportunity. 

We do, from what I've read so far, but haven't looked deeply for small print or anything yet. 🙂 I had to register for SAT subjects today on top of family stuff. So that was my main to do. I'm trying to just figure out one thing at a time.

 

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I think it can be exciting to examine all of the opportunities, though it can be overwhelming. My kids are not high stats, but DH and I both were. I attended a Colleges That Change Lives LAC, because I wanted a small liberal arts school, and I got a great scholarship there. In addition to looking at your state university, you might consider smaller schools with strong scholarship programs. As you weigh the choices, be sure to take the cost of transportation into consideration, because once she is enrolled, she will either need to pay for that trip multiple times per year or limit how often she is able to come home.

DH attended an Ivy. I do think that the name on his resume opened up the door, when he received his current job, although it didn't seem to make a difference when he was early in his career. Other than that advantage, which happened with that one job offer, DH doesn't feel that his Ivy experience was better than any other college education. If he could turn back time, he actually would have chosen to go to a specific liberal arts school within our state instead (he applied and was accepted there, but chose the Ivy instead). He feels he would have been happier there. At the time, he thought that since he could go to an Ivy, he might as well grasp the opportunity. But it did not result in a happier college experience for him.

All that to say that it's more important to choose the school that is the right fit than to choose one with an impressive name. I'm sure you realize this, but your daughter might not, and it's good to offer her that perspective.

Congrats to her on her great scores!

Edited by Storygirl
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I would recommend reading threads about Questbridge on College Confidential. I have skimmed some of them in the past but without great attention. It seems like it can be a great option or not depending on the applicant profile and their ultimate goals.

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3 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I would recommend reading threads about Questbridge on College Confidential. I have skimmed some of them in the past but without great attention. It seems like it can be a great option or not depending on the applicant profile and their ultimate goals.

That's what I was getting from my initial scans to see if this program was legit or not. Haven't had time to dig deeper. But since mine isn't so focused that she has had a particular school or career in mind, this might be exactly the thing for her to try for, in theory. It's really a low chance of anyone getting matched with them also, but might give her a little advantage, although she's not as disadvantaged as what they might be looking for from that program. We're low income, but her life's been pretty stable. She may not be the demographic they want most... Just something new to look into for now.

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 When my ds told me in April of his junior year that he wanted to go to a selective American University, I about had a heart attack.  Although I had kept lists of what he had read and done, nothing was organized into courses because no 'homeschool' course would count when applying to NZ universities as NZ had an exam-based entrance system not a transcript system. So we were just studying and learning outside of a school course framework.  What this meant was that I had to consolidate lots of somewhat related content into courses that could be understood by admissions.  I got a lot of help from this board, and here are three examples of unschooling methods turned into courses.  Given that we did not have courses, clearly I also did not have grades.  I created grades based off of his standardized tests scores in related fields. 

Notice that the History of Western Thought brings together lots of different types of content (a simple philosophy textbook, 30 hours of Justice lectures, philosophical novels, and a 400 page book on modeling consciousness! definitely a hodgepodge but one with a theme running through it).  I was also honest with output for each course, or the lack of it. The Economics course has only reading and discussion - no essays, tests, or production of any kind. In fact, the book was so difficult for us that we ended up taking turns reading it out loud and analyzing it as we went. Also, I used the phrase 'reading assignments' in my course descriptions to describe his learning in a way that admissions could understand, but in reality he read what he wanted, when he wanted, which I discussed in my counselor's letter. Notice also that I did some double dipping. He read the Economist for 4 years, so that went into the Contemporary World Problems but the economic articles I put into the Economic course.  I also put his Scientific American reading into both Contemporary World Problems and into one of his science courses (I think it was Physics because he read a LOT of cosmology articles over 4 years which didn't fit into Contemporary World Problems, haha). I also included a subset of his English reading into the History of Western Thought, because we analyzed these books in a literary way for English, but then later we would call them up to discuss a philosophical idea we were reading about in one of our philosophy textbooks.  I didn't overdo it, but we did use some content in multiple ways.  My goal was to just do the best job I could in translating what we did into edu-speak.  And also to be fair to my son and the nature of his deep authentic learning.  For example, if you look at the Economics course, I worked hard to really come to terms with what we learned, because it was way way more than just Economics.  

Happy to answer questions, 

Ruth in NZ

Contemporary World Problems.  (1 credit)

This course covered political, economic, social, and environmental problems and sought to examine current events from a historical perspective. The course explored relationships between events, evaluated competing beliefs and goals, and identified bias. Scientific and technological advancements were also studied to better understand the part they play in solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. Periodicals were read year-round throughout high school, yielding 800 hours of reading. Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, short essays, and a research paper.

Texts: The Economist, National Geographic, Scientific American

 

 

The History of Western Thought. (1 credit)

This course examined the development of the western intellectual tradition from the Greeks through to 20th-century thinkers. Topics included metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. The course examined the rational basis of belief in all areas of inquiry, and taught critical and creative thinking and how to construct a cogent argument. In addition to studying the great thinkers of each era, influential philosophical novels by classic authors were read and discussed including Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, Borges, Camu, and Hemingway. The course also took a detour into the philosophy of consciousness and how it can be analytically modelled. Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, and short essays.

Texts: Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, by Simon Blackburn

The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books, by James Garvey

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter

Justice. EdX. Harvard University

 

 

 

The Economics of Inequality. (0.5 credits)

Using Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, this course evaluated and analyzed the history, theory, and implications of inequality in the world. The focus was on understanding how historical data can aid in understanding past and present trends in multiple countries. The length of the book (700 pages) required complex arguments to be tracked and reconstructed, and its focus on using evidence such as facts, statistics, examples, and expert opinions encouraged a nuanced understanding of the nature of evidence and how it should be evaluated. Great Courses lectures were used to provide the necessary background on economic growth, the business cycle, the global economy, unemployment, inflation, and economic policy. The Economistwas used to understand macroeconomics in the context of current events and across many different economic and political systems. The course included reading assignments and participation in discussions.

Texts: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty

Unexpected Economics, by The Great Courses and Timothy Taylor

Thinking Like an Economist, by The Great Courses and Randall Bartlett

The Economist

 

 

Edited by lewelma
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On 7/26/2019 at 2:43 PM, FuzzyCatz said:

ON Questbridge, just make sure you qualify.  My kid got tons of mailings/contact from them and he was most definitely not eligible. Otherwise, seems like a great opportunity. 

 

Mine, too.

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Update- well guys, she was notified yesterday that she is a Questbridge finalist. We prayed a lot about it, did some info nights with some ivies when they were near us, and decided to try through Questbridge. Good or bad we got the first round of applications into them on time, and she is a finalist. The next steps are hers to get extra supplements in to the eleven schools she chose from their partners-- in two weeks! 

Thanks to everyone who talked me through this!  

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Wow. Congrats! Good luck to her in getting those done & getting matched.

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Not to in any way burst your bubble, but it's all a marketing game nowadays.  She may very well get  in, but them reaching out to her means almost nothing.  The more applicants they can get, the lower their acceptance rate, which makes them look even more selective which in some ways makes them even more appealing...so they spend a LOT of money sending out mailers, and pamphlets etc.  One Ivy League school even courted my son with a phone call, and several letters in addition to the expensive full color mailers.  He did not get in.

Now, that is not to say it's not worth it to apply but keep things in perspective and only apply if, you can afford it, and if your dd is actually excited about the school.  I made my son apply to two extra Ivy League schools that he was totally not interested in, and in retrospect it was a waste of time since he was overloaded with advanced classes and had already applied to some very selective schools that he was excited about.  He ended up getting into a fairly selective program at a big school which is moderately selective and we are super happy with his choice, and he also got scholarships to other less selective schools.

Luckily my son is not one to be high in the sky hopeful and then down in the dumps, nor is he one to set his sights on exactly one thing and takes things as they come, so his rejection from his top choice school didn't make him super upset or dejected 🙂

But really, the mailers mean almost nothing. We are getting them now for my dd, not as many because her SAT scores are lower but she's definitely getting a lot of them and it's not because they actually want to admit her.  It's because they want to increase the application pool.

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Are you familiar with what Questbridge is? It's a very big deal that she's a finalist. She gets to submit up to twelve applications in to early decisions instead of the usual one with the schools choosing from this pool prior to early decisions to choose who they want to "match" for a full scholarship for four years. They matched around 1500 students last year for a full four years free at their forty partner schools and over two thousand were accepted through Questbridge with scholarships during regular admissions That was out of under 7000 finalists. This year there are only like 5,800 finalists. We're very proud of her being selected for this! And even if not matched for a full scholarship this is a really exciting achievement. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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38 minutes ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

Are you familiar with what Questbridge is? It's a very big deal that she's a finalist. She gets to submit up to twelve applications in to early decisions instead of the usual one with the schools choosing from this pool prior to early decisions to choose who they want to "match" for a full scholarship for four years. They matched around 1500 students last year for a full four years free at their forty partner schools and over two thousand were accepted through Questbridge with scholarships during regular admissions That was out of under 7000 finalists. This year there are only like 5,800 finalists. We're very proud of her being selected for this! And even if not matched for a full scholarship this is a really exciting achievement. 

 

Sorry, I was responding to the original post with just the mailers from the selective schools.  I'm super happy for your dd, and this is definitely something to be excited about.  We never looked into it, but I understand it's really helpful both financially and academically.  

I would still say 11 is too much, is she really excited about those 11 schools?  Just pick the ones she's really excited about 🙂 Unless she has lots of time on her hands and is able to do a beautiful and meaningful job of all 11....or another thought is to start with them in the order of which she is most excited and that seem best for her, then work her way down the list, so if she doesn't get through all 11 you'll know she put the best heart into the first 5 or 6 

Edited by Calming Tea
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15 hours ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

Update- well guys, she was notified yesterday that she is a Questbridge finalist. We prayed a lot about it, did some info nights with some ivies when they were near us, and decided to try through Questbridge. Good or bad we got the first round of applications into them on time, and she is a finalist. The next steps are hers to get extra supplements in to the eleven schools she chose from their partners-- in two weeks! 

Thanks to everyone who talked me through this!  

Woot woot, that's awesome!

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:57 AM, Calming Tea said:

 

Sorry, I was responding to the original post with just the mailers from the selective schools.  I'm super happy for your dd, and this is definitely something to be excited about.  We never looked into it, but I understand it's really helpful both financially and academically.  

I would still say 11 is too much, is she really excited about those 11 schools?  Just pick the ones she's really excited about 🙂 Unless she has lots of time on her hands and is able to do a beautiful and meaningful job of all 11....or another thought is to start with them in the order of which she is most excited and that seem best for her, then work her way down the list, so if she doesn't get through all 11 you'll know she put the best heart into the first 5 or 6 

Questbridge has its own application similar to Common App that is distributed to each college that she selected. You select your colleges with the app, before you know if you are a finalist. So most of her work was completed last month. Some have extra supplements like a few questions or another essay or telling them which majors you're interested in. Some don't require anything else. Then we have the financials to get to each. And a couple want common app too, but she's already been working on that. Most of the info is stuff she'd already put together for her previous app. So our goal is most definitely to aim for getting everything in to all eleven schools. The good thing about selecting them with the early deadline is that we've already put in the work on the stuff that took a lot of research going over her records and all of that. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 6:36 AM, 2_girls_mommy said:

Update- well guys, she was notified yesterday that she is a Questbridge finalist.

What wonderful news! Wishing your daughter well as she moves forward with the process.

Regards,

Kareni

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No match. ;( But we weren't really expecting one just based on things we read, but were still hoping.   Moving into regular admissions now and debating about choosing one for early decision. Most of her choices allow finalists to move into a binding early admission app after the match process.  There are still good scholarships available. Completely free would have been nice though! 

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I don’t know anything about questbridge at all except I’ve interviewed some applicants that had that designation for one of my alma matters AND (to your post) that a neighbor kid did not get matched but got into his top choice school via the regular process. Sending good wishes. 

Edited by madteaparty
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10 hours ago, 2_girls_mommy said:

No match. ;( But we weren't really expecting one just based on things we read, but were still hoping.   Moving into regular admissions now and debating about choosing one for early decision. Most of her choices allow finalists to move into a binding early admission app after the match process.  There are still good scholarships available. Completely free would have been nice though! 

 Aw, bummer. I was hoping she would get her match and the relief of being done with the college search! No doubt she will end up just where she is supposed to be. But now you wait a bit longer.

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