Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

LisaK in VA

Letters of Recommendation... ROTC; Service Academies; HIghly Selective Schools

Recommended Posts

Right now only one (maybe two, if the baby's words at 10 are any indication) of my children is applying to highly selective schools. Where do we get all of these letters of recommendation?

  • lived overseas for 6 years, no opportunities for dual enrollment due to location and cost (William & Mary prefers dual enrollment for home school high schoolers -- AP tests will have to suffice).
  • while overseas, really only took one class with an instructor who would be good for a recommendation (AP Bio in 10th grade -- and yes, she is asking him).
  • I've been her swim coach for the past 3 years, she has just started practicing with her new coaches, but they haven't gotten to know her yet.
  • She has had zero outside math instruction (save for one class at a school that closed down two years ago -- and I have no way to contact the instructor -- it was AP Stats, so I'm not sure how much weight it would carry).
  • We are just getting back into a church.
  • The only jobs she's worked have been teaching swimming lessons privately, volunteer peer tutor, baby sit, dog sit.
  • No scouts or clubs, other than Missoula Theatre when she was able (she had no interest in venturing, by the time it became available her sophomore year).

 

In many ways, I have been it for this child.  She has self studied, used various online resources for Math and German (MIT online courseware), and taken AP exams.  We have a small group of friends who know her, most of our friends stateside really haven't seen her much since she was 11.  

I have mentioned that she could email the admissions department and start out her inquiry stating she has read what is available online for home school students, and provide the unique circumstances of being stationed overseas, with more limited availability of certain programs/opportunities.

Her stats:  

  • SAT score 1550; ACT (projected to be around 35 or 36 -- based upon practice tests, she scored a 27 in 9th grade). joining the homeschool honor society now; will receive NMS Commended this fall.
  • Multiple AP exams with only one 3, the remainder are/will most likely be 4's and 5s (AP Statistics, AP Calc BC; AP Physics C Mechanics; AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism; AP English Language; AP English Literature; AP Biology, AP Gov't; AP Macro Econ; AP Micro Econ, AP Comparative Politics)   She's also taken the SAT2 for Bio (720), and will take the SAT2 Math 2, SAT2 English and SAT2 for German.
  • Voted as Captain of her swim team in 10th and 11th grades (is ineligible to compete in VA athletics her senior year, except for club sports).  Was #1 in our swim league in Europe for 2 years in her age group (won high points award this past spring)
  • over 200 volunteer hours a year going back multiple years for various service organizations (BSA, swim team, base school, general base support), and this year with various vegan/environmental groups (local events)

 

I know what I want to address in her counselor letter.  I know that one individual will probably be writing 11 letters of recommendation (most likely the same thing with new contact information).  I just feel a bit lost and overwhelmed (and I know she does, too).  We were hoping to have her attend VA Wesleyan for German and advanced math, but our housing situation took a major curve ball the week we were supposed to move in and we were left without the home we had been promised -- our housing situation has since been resolved, but not in time to work out attending VA Wesleyan this fall).

Anyone with any advice or encouragement?

Schools to which she is applying:

  • Dartmouth* may walk on
  • Princeton (swim club)
  • VMI (recruited for swim; NROTC)
  • Liberty* may walk on 
  • VA Wesleyan (recruited for swim)
  • USCGA (recruited for swim)
  • USNA* may walk on
  • Vassar (recruited for swim)
  • Swarthmore (recruited for swim)
  • William & Mary (swim club)
  • Macalester (recruited for swim)

 

Edited by LisaK in VA
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She shouldn't need more than 2 letters of recommendation, so if she has the AP bio teacher she's halfway there (and one of my son's letters was from his Spanish tutor who hadn't taught him since 10th grade; it made sense because she knew him better than one semester DE profs). If she's not doing early decision anywhere, she won't need the letters until mid year, which should give her new coaches time to get to know her well enough to write a letter. I know most colleges will say 2 academic recommendations, but they also probably understand that things can be different for homeschoolers. Of course, it would be ideal if every kid had a dozen perfect people to ask for recommendations, but that's not how it is most of the time. Having the recommendations as the weakest part of her application (particularly when you have a clear explanation about why) is much better than grades or test scores! Particularly at schools where she's being recruited, I can't imagine only having one academic recommendation would be a dealbreaker.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With being recruited by some of the schools, I think she will be fine there. Is there any way to get her into a community college class for math (I’m not clear from your sig if the math classes are for last year or this year) or a second year of science or get a tutor (either in person or via Skype) for math or German who could write a letter at the end of the term? I know OSU does German online all the way to a BA degree if nothing is else available, and there is no out of state tuition charge.

From your description and signature, it looks like she’s already completed more than enough classes for high school in all areas, so hopefully she can find at least one outside class or tutor in her special area(s) of interest where she will really shine and be able to get a great letter. Good luck!

Edited by Frances
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Frances said:

With being recruited by some of the schools, I think she will be fine there. Is there any way to get her into a community college class for math (I’m not clear from your sig if the math classes are for last year or this year) or a second year of science or get a tutor (either in person or via Skype) for math or German who could write a letter at the end of the term? I know OSU does German online all the way to a BA degree if nothing is else available, and there is no out of state tuition charge.

From your description and signature, it looks like she’s already completed more than enough classes for high school in all areas, so hopefully she can find at least one outside class or tutor in her special area(s) of interest where she will really shine and be able to get a great letter. Good luck!

 

Honestly, this would be a HUGE hardship for us to manage.  I guess I'm at a loss as to how a school could place financial hardship requirements/suggestions onto students.  Testing can even be a financial hardship for many, but at least I can swallow that.  We don't get free dual enrollment here, and $480-640 per class at the community college(!), not including required fees and books, let alone transportation arrangements is a LOT more of a hardship than a $75 exam. 

German isn't an option at any of the CCs.  And since she would be taking 200 level math courses in high school, in the area of her major, there is a high likelihood she will have to repeat them and pay for them again (exception would be Liberty and VA Wesleyan).   Having to take classes at VA Wesleyan is at least more affordable, and the course recognition a bit higher since it's a 4-year university.  But, I'm at a loss as to how she would get there and back with her training schedule, a long commute, and the limited course offerings (she also doesn't have a license, and even if she did, would not have a car... we're getting cars as we can... but right now we're lucky to have two. )

She's already completed both AP Physics C courses, Chem, Bio, AP Bio, Honors Physics, Integrated Physics & Chem, and even Marine Biology -- she has zero desire to take any more science and I don't feel she should have to.  Part of the reason she took AP Physics C and studied for the AP exams her junior year was to not need a science her senior year.  She's really completed most of the German she cares to do online or otherwise right now, too -- so she's really just doing an MIT intermediate German course and prepping for the SAT2 -- we both feel that trying to prep for AP German would just be too much this year.  She needs a bit of time to enjoy some non-rigorous electives.  If I can scrounge together enough money, I will pay for a tutor to help her improve her spoken/listening skills and do specific preparation for the SAT2.

I'd like for WM & Mary to remain an option, but this may be one hoop too many (and we've had to jump through plenty for the NCAA, the service academies, Princeton and Dartmouth -- my stomach is in knots regarding nomination letters and NROTC applications.  Which reminds me, I have to figure out how she takes the ASVAB here...

If you can't tell... I'm just drowning a bit in all of this right now, on top of how nuts our move has been (we can't move anywhere easily, it seems -- but at least we will NOT be in a hotel for 7 months here!)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, kokotg said:

She shouldn't need more than 2 letters of recommendation, so if she has the AP bio teacher she's halfway there (and one of my son's letters was from his Spanish tutor who hadn't taught him since 10th grade; it made sense because she knew him better than one semester DE profs). If she's not doing early decision anywhere, she won't need the letters until mid year, which should give her new coaches time to get to know her well enough to write a letter. I know most colleges will say 2 academic recommendations, but they also probably understand that things can be different for homeschoolers. Of course, it would be ideal if every kid had a dozen perfect people to ask for recommendations, but that's not how it is most of the time. Having the recommendations as the weakest part of her application (particularly when you have a clear explanation about why) is much better than grades or test scores! Particularly at schools where she's being recruited, I can't imagine only having one academic recommendation would be a dealbreaker.

She's trying to get in touch with the AP Bio teacher (hasn't heard back yet).  The only other teachers she's had have been for PE, Word/Powerpoint and the same (horrid) teacher for Photography and Fundamentals of Art.  No special tutors.  The issue is some of these letters are necessary for the nomination process for the service academies and those are needed NOW (I think they close at the end of September), so there is no real time to get to know the coaches in a month and a half.

I do hope this isn't a dealbreaker -- we're doing the best we can, but all of the suggestions/requirements are starting to get to me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only suggested science or German as possible outside classes because I thought maybe they were special areas of interest outside of math given the large number of classes she’s already taken in those areas and if the math classes in your sig were from last year, I wasn’t sure a community college would go beyond that. I wasn’t suggesting you had to do anything else at all in terms of testing or classes, she seems plenty impressive enough to me already. I was just thinking that if she could somehow find an outside class or tutor or mentor in her major area of interest, then that could kills two birds with one stone by getting a recommender and allowing her to pursue her passions. I don’t at all think it will be a deal breaker if she doesn’t get another academic reference, I was just tying to suggest ways it might be possible. I’m sorry if my post stressed you out.

Edited by Frances
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another possibility is that you write the second letter (if she hears back from the AP bio teacher), even though you're also writing the counselor letter. You can focus on different things in the two different letters and also offer an explanation about why she's had few outside teachers. I just did some quick googling, and Vassar actually only requires one teacher rec plus the counselor letter. I know Emory's not on the list, but I remember that they say specifically on their homeschool info page that homeschooled students need one letter not from a family member (it looks like the wording has changed now, but when we were looking it suggested someone like a pastor or a music teacher, I think--i.e. they expected some homeschoolers would not have any outside academic references to offer). Having just done the college application thing last year, I know it's super stressful and that you feel like there are a million opportunities for you to mess everything up and undo all her hard work....but I honestly don't think you need to focus too much on this one thing. Letters of recommendation are almost never the thing that makes or breaks an application, and your kid has a very strong profile, and schools will recognize that. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DS had a real problem finding a STEM recommendation for MIT (required 1 STEM and 1 Humanities). DS is self taught. His online chem teacher was in chemotherapy and his 2 math profs didn't know him from Adam.  He ended up asking the team leader who took him to Hong Kong for a Math Competition 2 years before, who was only 24 and doing a PhD at Pitt. Haha. But it was all we had. He asked what he should write about, and we gave him a list as we figured that he had never been asked to write a recommendation before. We suggested things like Maturity for travelling at 15, Stress management for dealing with a competition he was going to fail, Persistence for working for so many years towards this goal, etc.  He was *very* appreciative that we gave him a list. So perhaps pick someone who has worked with your dd even years before, and then put together a list of ideas to kind of help it along.

Ruth in NZ

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about an LOR from an adult in an organization who received or supervised  volunteer service hours that weren't one-offs?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Frances said:

I only suggested science or German as possible outside classes because I thought maybe they were special areas of interest outside of math given the large number of classes she’s already taken in those areas and if the math classes in your sig were from last year, I wasn’t sure a community college would go beyond that. I wasn’t suggesting you had to do anything else at all in terms of testing or classes, she seems plenty impressive enough to me already. I was just thinking that if she could somehow find an outside class or tutor or mentor in her major area of interest, then that could kills two birds with one stone by getting a recommender and allowing her to pursue her passions. I don’t at all think it will be a deal breaker if she doesn’t get another academic reference, I was just tying to suggest ways it might be possible. I’m sorry if my post stressed you out.

 

I'm sorry -- I don't think it was you stressing me out.  I'm just kind of stressed period (still living in temporary quarters, moving plans got changed abruptly -- which then changed everything else -- just heaps of uncertainty and working at finding a full time remote position that pays well AND has hours... I have one $35/hr job I make about $50 a week from; and one $25/hr job I make about $20k from, but need another $30k to really make a dent in these medical bills/credit cards).   I do thank you -- it's been a wild ride.  The W&M "preferences for homeschoolers" just threw me for a loop. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

How about an LOR from an adult in an organization who received or supervised  volunteer service hours that weren't one-offs?

Thanks -- this got me thinking outside of my self-imposed box.  I may ask our old Troop Committee Chair, who saw Kathryn (heck, our entire family) do these things over the past few years.  Unfortunately, all of the volunteer stuff she was involved in was usually coordinated and overseen by me -- but they at least SAW her doing the things 😄

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, lewelma said:

DS had a real problem finding a STEM recommendation for MIT (required 1 STEM and 1 Humanities). DS is self taught. His online chem teacher was in chemotherapy and his 2 math profs didn't know him from Adam.  He ended up asking the team leader who took him to Hong Kong for a Math Competition 2 years before, who was only 24 and doing a PhD at Pitt. Haha. But it was all we had. He asked what he should write about, and we gave him a list as we figured that he had never been asked to write a recommendation before. We suggested things like Maturity for travelling at 15, Stress management for dealing with a competition he was going to fail, Persistence for working for so many years towards this goal, etc.  He was *very* appreciative that we gave him a list. So perhaps pick someone who has worked with your dd even years before, and then put together a list of ideas to kind of help it along.

Ruth in NZ

 

Thank you for the idea...  that pot is way too far removed (she would have been 11, and she is very much not the same timid 11 year old girl they knew :D).  She is using one of our former team coaches (one of my assistant coaches), though.  We are stretching... and reaching!!  I may have found a local math instructor who may give her an evaluation -- she'll have to sit down with the teacher at minimum for a couple of hours, but I think that would be enough for her to figure out what her math aptitude is (I don't speak math beyond Geometry/Alg 2, so PonyGirl might like the opportunity to discuss fancy math terminology with someone who truly appreciates it!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Deep breath. It'll be ok! Really.

2. I'd contact the academies and see if there's a rep near you that you could meet with. This can help a ton with the process and connection for a recommendation. I'd have your student take the initiative on connecting and setting up a meeting. Go beyond the fairs. Grads (I'm one) and reps love to talk about their academies and love initiative. Recruiting helps but she still has to get in. 

3. Overall, I'd recommend emphasizing your student's uniqueness. The competitive colleges see A TON of similar, highly qualified candidates. What makes your student special IS the weirdness of your journey. Celebrate it. She's smart, capable, and has walked an interesting path - communicate that. She needs to also. You have opportunities with the educational statement and she can do it in her essays. It's the time to share your journey. 

4. If she's a junior - seek out the academy summer programs. Highly recommended.

Hope that helps! Really, don't underestimate her LIFE. It's far too interesting to stick in the standard box and that's A GREAT thing for selective colleges. Hang in there!!

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, FriedClams said:

1. Deep breath. It'll be ok! Really.

2. I'd contact the academies and see if there's a rep near you that you could meet with. This can help a ton with the process and connection for a recommendation. I'd have your student take the initiative on connecting and setting up a meeting. Go beyond the fairs. Grads (I'm one) and reps love to talk about their academies and love initiative. Recruiting helps but she still has to get in. 

3. Overall, I'd recommend emphasizing your student's uniqueness. The competitive colleges see A TON of similar, highly qualified candidates. What makes your student special IS the weirdness of your journey. Celebrate it. She's smart, capable, and has walked an interesting path - communicate that. She needs to also. You have opportunities with the educational statement and she can do it in her essays. It's the time to share your journey. 

4. If she's a junior - seek out the academy summer programs. Highly recommended.

Hope that helps! Really, don't underestimate her LIFE. It's far too interesting to stick in the standard box and that's A GREAT thing for selective colleges. Hang in there!!

Thank you so much for this -- it's exactly what I needed to hear.  She hasn't had a typical high school experience (or even a typical homeschool highschool experience).  Yes, I'm having her do all the contacting (unless it's financial aid questions, I typically handle those as they involve letters of professional judgement type things -- scholarship questions are hers).  Thank you!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LisaK in VA said:

Thank you so much for this -- it's exactly what I needed to hear.  She hasn't had a typical high school experience (or even a typical homeschool highschool experience).  Yes, I'm having her do all the contacting (unless it's financial aid questions, I typically handle those as they involve letters of professional judgement type things -- scholarship questions are hers).  Thank you!!

My sister is a high school physics teacher. Last year I was stressing about the same kind of issues. One thing she said really helped. "If you asked 100 admissions officers what they'd do with their kid, it's what you're doing. Don't stress." She was right. I think my DDs unusual path really helped her. (One of her big decisions was more DE to get through Calculus 2, which most every everything freshman have at her dream school, or travel. A lot. We choose travel. 😄) Celebrate her journey! And every school will try and sell you all the benefits of their international programs... You already know that. Sell it!! 😃😃

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, with academic stats like hers, I would find a LOR writer who knows her well enough and can vouch for her activities. Perhaps in the counselor's letter, explain why dd did not have two "academic" LOR writers. Emphasize her differences - they're a GOOD thing!! I think the "boxes" are there to help them sort out between the 1,000 students with nearly identical applications. Students like your dd are in a different pile entirely. Run with it!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2019 at 8:24 PM, LisaK in VA said:

 

Honestly, this would be a HUGE hardship for us to manage.  I guess I'm at a loss as to how a school could place financial hardship requirements/suggestions onto students.  Testing can even be a financial hardship for many, but at least I can swallow that.  We don't get free dual enrollment here, and $480-640 per class at the community college(!), not including required fees and books, let alone transportation arrangements is a LOT more of a hardship than a $75 exam. 

German isn't an option at any of the CCs.  And since she would be taking 200 level math courses in high school, in the area of her major, there is a high likelihood she will have to repeat them and pay for them again (exception would be Liberty and VA Wesleyan).   Having to take classes at VA Wesleyan is at least more affordable, and the course recognition a bit higher since it's a 4-year university.  But, I'm at a loss as to how she would get there and back with her training schedule, a long commute, and the limited course offerings (she also doesn't have a license, and even if she did, would not have a car... we're getting cars as we can... but right now we're lucky to have two. )

She's already completed both AP Physics C courses, Chem, Bio, AP Bio, Honors Physics, Integrated Physics & Chem, and even Marine Biology -- she has zero desire to take any more science and I don't feel she should have to.  Part of the reason she took AP Physics C and studied for the AP exams her junior year was to not need a science her senior year.  She's really completed most of the German she cares to do online or otherwise right now, too -- so she's really just doing an MIT intermediate German course and prepping for the SAT2 -- we both feel that trying to prep for AP German would just be too much this year.  She needs a bit of time to enjoy some non-rigorous electives.  If I can scrounge together enough money, I will pay for a tutor to help her improve her spoken/listening skills and do specific preparation for the SAT2.

I'd like for WM & Mary to remain an option, but this may be one hoop too many (and we've had to jump through plenty for the NCAA, the service academies, Princeton and Dartmouth -- my stomach is in knots regarding nomination letters and NROTC applications.  Which reminds me, I have to figure out how she takes the ASVAB here...

If you can't tell... I'm just drowning a bit in all of this right now, on top of how nuts our move has been (we can't move anywhere easily, it seems -- but at least we will NOT be in a hotel for 7 months here!)

WHY would she take the ASVAB?

I have two sons on 4 year Navy ROTC scholarships and I have been a Naval Academy BGO for many years. An ASVAB is not part of that application process. 

If a Navy recruiter is asking here to take an ASVAB she should poke at why.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2019 at 8:24 PM, LisaK in VA said:

 

Honestly, this would be a HUGE hardship for us to manage.  I guess I'm at a loss as to how a school could place financial hardship requirements/suggestions onto students.  Testing can even be a financial hardship for many, but at least I can swallow that.  We don't get free dual enrollment here, and $480-640 per class at the community college(!), not including required fees and books, let alone transportation arrangements is a LOT more of a hardship than a $75 exam. 

German isn't an option at any of the CCs.  And since she would be taking 200 level math courses in high school, in the area of her major, there is a high likelihood she will have to repeat them and pay for them again (exception would be Liberty and VA Wesleyan).   Having to take classes at VA Wesleyan is at least more affordable, and the course recognition a bit higher since it's a 4-year university.  But, I'm at a loss as to how she would get there and back with her training schedule, a long commute, and the limited course offerings (she also doesn't have a license, and even if she did, would not have a car... we're getting cars as we can... but right now we're lucky to have two. )

She's already completed both AP Physics C courses, Chem, Bio, AP Bio, Honors Physics, Integrated Physics & Chem, and even Marine Biology -- she has zero desire to take any more science and I don't feel she should have to.  Part of the reason she took AP Physics C and studied for the AP exams her junior year was to not need a science her senior year.  She's really completed most of the German she cares to do online or otherwise right now, too -- so she's really just doing an MIT intermediate German course and prepping for the SAT2 -- we both feel that trying to prep for AP German would just be too much this year.  She needs a bit of time to enjoy some non-rigorous electives.  If I can scrounge together enough money, I will pay for a tutor to help her improve her spoken/listening skills and do specific preparation for the SAT2.

I'd like for WM & Mary to remain an option, but this may be one hoop too many (and we've had to jump through plenty for the NCAA, the service academies, Princeton and Dartmouth -- my stomach is in knots regarding nomination letters and NROTC applications.  Which reminds me, I have to figure out how she takes the ASVAB here...

If you can't tell... I'm just drowning a bit in all of this right now, on top of how nuts our move has been (we can't move anywhere easily, it seems -- but at least we will NOT be in a hotel for 7 months here!)

My dd interviewed and attended an info session at W&M a couple of weeks ago. W&M seems a bit unusual in that they say that their optional essay truly is optional. During the info session, they made a pretty big deal about this and said they have many students who are currently at the college who have not written the essay. I mention this because it looks like letters of recommendation are optional for them as well, which is something I have not seen at any other colleges. On the common app, there is space for three optional letters of recommendation. A number of the colleges my dd is applying to only allow one teacher recommendation. Most only allow two.

Also, from what I’ve read about more selective colleges and recommendation letters, a letter from someone who does not know the student on a personal level and who doesn’t get into specific examples isn’t going to be much of a help anyway. So, taking a class at the CC just for that purpose may not really be worth it.

We used a teacher my dd had from 7th through 10th grade for one of her recs because he knows her well and he was one of her favorite teachers even though I’ve had people tell me it should be someone from 11th grade. 

Edited by Mom0012
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, FriedClams said:

1. Deep breath. It'll be ok! Really.

2. I'd contact the academies and see if there's a rep near you that you could meet with. This can help a ton with the process and connection for a recommendation. I'd have your student take the initiative on connecting and setting up a meeting. Go beyond the fairs. Grads (I'm one) and reps love to talk about their academies and love initiative. Recruiting helps but she still has to get in. 

3. Overall, I'd recommend emphasizing your student's uniqueness. The competitive colleges see A TON of similar, highly qualified candidates. What makes your student special IS the weirdness of your journey. Celebrate it. She's smart, capable, and has walked an interesting path - communicate that. She needs to also. You have opportunities with the educational statement and she can do it in her essays. It's the time to share your journey. 

4. If she's a junior - seek out the academy summer programs. Highly recommended.

Hope that helps! Really, don't underestimate her LIFE. It's far too interesting to stick in the standard box and that's A GREAT thing for selective colleges. Hang in there!!

Yes! I started freaking out a couple of months ago because I was talking to a mom whose son got into 3 Ivy League schools and some of the things she wanted my dd to do this summer would have really created a lot of stress and hardship. Then, I realized most of the things she was suggesting were standard things that are all part of the normal profile for kids that attend pricey private schools and would not make my dd stand out in any way and might actually hurt her, IMO. For example, she wanted her to travel overseas this summer. It was incredibly nice of her to try to help me and I had a lot of fun talking with her, but I really think some of her suggestions were dead wrong for my dd. 

The other thing that has helped me through this process is finding a couple of academic and financial safeties that my dd feels good about, So, she can reach for the stars, but if those *dream* schools don’t work out for us either because she doesn’t get accepted or she doesn’t get enough financial aid, we have other nice options for her that we know will work.

Edited by Mom0012
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

WHY would she take the ASVAB?

I have two sons on 4 year Navy ROTC scholarships and I have been a Naval Academy BGO for many years. An ASVAB is not part of that application process. 

If a Navy recruiter is asking here to take an ASVAB she should poke at why.

Thanks, I clarified with DD -- she wrote it down as "something she would have to do" -- but understood that it wasn't part of the application process.  I didn't understand her note in that way.  Misunderstanding on my part cleared up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all that any student can do is to do their best to present their case as a future part of a college's student body.  That is based on records of past performance and the admissions office's best assessment of their potential. 

Some will have no problem saying yes based on what she has.  Some will be willing to consider alternative references.  Some will steadfastly want to see specifically what they ask for.

It sounds like she has had strong academic results and swimming results.  It will be up to the schools to decide how to evaluate the fact that this was done without outside teaching and coaching. 

You may want to address this head on in in your School Profile and Counselor Letter. 

She should contact the academy and ROTC to ask about her options for other inputs (even assistant coaches or family friends who can address her maturity might be welcome).

She should ask other schools if there is an option of an interview. 

If she is quite interested in being a Naval Officer, some students apply for USNA as college freshmen or join a Navy ROTC unit as a non-scholarship college program student and then apply for the next year's scholarship cycle. Since the application opens in March and the first board is in August, some students applying the summer before college can get most or all of freahman year covered. 

I apologize for details of her situation I'm missing.  We are in the midst of a move and have only been visiting the board occasionally.  It sounds like a lot has been happening for your family that I haven't kept up on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/26/2019 at 5:52 PM, Sebastian (a lady) said:

I think all that any student can do is to do their best to present their case as a future part of a college's student body.  That is based on records of past performance and the admissions office's best assessment of their potential. 

Some will have no problem saying yes based on what she has.  Some will be willing to consider alternative references.  Some will steadfastly want to see specifically what they ask for.

It sounds like she has had strong academic results and swimming results.  It will be up to the schools to decide how to evaluate the fact that this was done without outside teaching and coaching. 

You may want to address this head on in in your School Profile and Counselor Letter. 

She should contact the academy and ROTC to ask about her options for other inputs (even assistant coaches or family friends who can address her maturity might be welcome).

She should ask other schools if there is an option of an interview. 

If she is quite interested in being a Naval Officer, some students apply for USNA as college freshmen or join a Navy ROTC unit as a non-scholarship college program student and then apply for the next year's scholarship cycle. Since the application opens in March and the first board is in August, some students applying the summer before college can get most or all of freahman year covered. 

I apologize for details of her situation I'm missing.  We are in the midst of a move and have only been visiting the board occasionally.  It sounds like a lot has been happening for your family that I haven't kept up on.

We are seeing what we can do WRT interviews in lieu of LORs, or other individuals who might suffice.  Full disclosure -- NROTC/AFROTC are only really being looked at for schools she may not swim for, or wouldn't have sufficient scholarship money (for example, she will receive full-tuition+++ from LU and VA Wesleyan, needs ROTC for VMI/Princeton/Dartmouth.  She would most likely not do ROTC at a school it was not a financial necessity, and join post grad instead.  The nomination applications are underway, but thusfar, we still have not heard back from the Senators' offiices regarding substitutions to the specific LORs, nor has she heard back from the biology teacher (two emails, two weeks).  Thus far all attempts at a math evaluation/rec have been a bust.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/25/2019 at 3:34 AM, lewelma said:

 He asked what he should write about, and we gave him a list as we figured that he had never been asked to write a recommendation before. We suggested things like Maturity for travelling at 15, Stress management for dealing with a competition he was going to fail, Persistence for working for so many years towards this goal, etc.  He was *very* appreciative that we gave him a list.  

Just an aside: we realized early on that many recommenders ask what would be most helpful for them to write about. The really seasoned recommenders asked as well, because they know the readers may be looking for very different things. Some were willing to write different letters tailored to different applications, for which we were VERY grateful. 

Once we saw that, we just started to give that info (once the person agreed to be a recommender): Thanks so much for agreeing to write Z's recommendation! It's for a leadership scholarship, so anything you can say related to that would be very helpful. OR This school values initiative, so if you could mention that Z's volunteering was their own idea and not part of a program, that would be very helpful. 

If we hadn't felt comfortable doing that with a certain person, we would have just included the organization's own description if available. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok-take a deep breath. This is all do-able. My kids did 2 and 3 years of high school each while overseas. Neither had dual-enrollment courses, outside sports options were limited, etc.

William and Mary, my kiddo with 3 years overseas, totally home schooled, no dual enrollment, no SAT II scores, was admitted and even given a scholarship. My advice: don't panic about the recommendations for the most part. The big questions are did she complete a typical program ie 4 years of math, science, english, social studies (or close to 4 years), and foreign language. If a student a W&M has not completed 4 years of language they might be required to take language while a student there. Make sure you have a clear transcript that shows what courses your child has taken in high school and grades for those courses. Be sure to include relevant test scores (ACT, SAT, AP) and designate any AP or honors level courses. Write course descriptions that explain what was studied in each class and include a brief list of major works studied (ie text used, primary books read, etc.). Write a counselor letter that explains your child's unique situation. Whenever possible go to a tour and schedule an on-campus interview. If she plans on athletics and ROTC try to meet with coaches and staff to discuss these options, they can be great advocates with admissions. This should apply to all selective school she is interested in attending. 

Service Academies-Start the application now if she is a senior. It is a long multi-step process. She'll also want to be in contact with the members of congress she will seek nominations from to get on their lists for nomination panels/interviews/etc. The potential nomination source will need the same transcript/course description/test score information the colleges want. Visits, speaking with admissions, interviews, meetings with coaches are all important. There are a few people on the boards who have worked with service academy admissions both as parent and representing the academy, if you search threads you'll probably gain from their insight.

ROTC-start the NROTC scholarship process now as well. There are a few boards throughout the year and she will want to make herself eligible for as many of them as possible. There will be physicals, fitness tests, eye exams, etc. that they will arrange and you need to give yourself time for all of this. Be sure to look at the requirements for declared college majors etc. You will also need 5 schools, I believe, that you are applying to that have the ROTC service program of your choice. Not all schools have all the services represented. There is a preference for having at least one school you are eligible for in-state tuition at.

VMI-Kiddo #2 is at VMI so I promise it can be done. First, try to get there for a fall admissions open house. This will give your child a clear view of what being a cadet, especially during the first year, is like. There are also many hours of presentation for you and your applicant on admissions, student life, ROTC, academics, etc. More information than any other school attempted to give us. I highly recommend you also schedule interviews with admissions, someone in the NROTC program (or service of your choice) to discuss the ROTC program, admissions, and scholarship options at VMI, and the relevant athletic coaches. All can be advocates with admissions. VMI is challenging, especially the first year, they try very hard to be upfront about it, don't presume that as a military family your child is already prepared and therefore be dismissive of what they are saying, that is a mistake some families make. I'm happy to go on at length about VMI if you would like to contact me directly.

Letters of Recommendation-obviously one from you. After that I would encourage your student to discuss their situation with each relevant admissions office. Find out what alternatives they might suggest. You can get letters from employers, coaches, scout leaders, volunteer supervisors, etc. But clear communication by the student about the problem with the relevant schools is important.

ASVAB-If your child is considering college why are you worried about this exam? I do not believe it is a requirement for any of the options you've discussed.

Finally, you have a very academically proficient, hard working, involved kiddo with a unique story. Be sure you tell that story in the application materials, the counselors letter, and possibly the student's essay. That story not only explains who your student is but why they don't fit the norms of what an admissions office expects of a homeschooled student. 

Best of luck!

Edited by JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2019 at 8:24 PM, LisaK in VA said:

 

I'd like for WM & Mary to remain an option, but this may be one hoop too many (and we've had to jump through plenty for the NCAA, the service academies, Princeton and Dartmouth -- my stomach is in knots regarding nomination letters and NROTC applications.  Which reminds me, I have to figure out how she takes the ASVAB here...

 

Just as another data point -- If your daughter really likes Wm and Mary and would be happy there, they really give preference to those that apply Early Decision. As in 58 percent are accepted, vs 37 percent overall.  For instance, looking at the stats on their page, 923 applied early, and 528 enrolled.  The rest of the class (around 1000 students) was filled by the other 13,000 people who applied.  (I'm sure more than 1,000 got accepted, but it's still a lower rate than ED) . If we had to do it over again and my dd had wanted to go to WM and Mary (which she did at first, until she didn't) we would have applied early decision. She got waitlisted regular decision. 

The acceptance rate for males is much higher there because they are trying to keep the numbers balanced somewhat but the amount of woman applying greatly exceeds the amount of men.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick update... the AP Biology professor has been completely unresponsive to any form of contact over the past three weeks.  We can't continue waiting -- so we have found some alternatives (an adult who worked on deck with her as she helped teach/lead swim practice as Captain -- also a USNA grad, and a scout leader who will talk about her community leadership, volunteering to help the Boy Scouts raise money for summer camp and various Eagle Projects (she was not a scout).  We've really reached into as many barrels as we can at this point (we'll continue to work on other things for applications with later due dates -- but the NROTC and Nomination Packets really need to get sent in now.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, today is the day -- Warner's packet is due.  We've received one letter.  Letters from Italy and CO apparently are delayed by mail system.  DD will call later today to tell them why she can't complete the packet in the manner requested.  Still time for others.  Trying to encourage her, but like being on the wrong side of a breakup, it's still kind of sucks.  Funny thing is... we wound up NOT waiting on the Biology teacher's rec.  He never replied to DD, but the letters just showed up at our house one day.

The NROTC contact got back to us -- and said that I could write her math recommendation, but the school's academic adviser would need to write the counselor letter (which I wrote).   I can only write one of the three letters (she has one from a different swim coach) -- but they keep giving her alternatives that all equal me.  I get the feeling this guy doesn't understand homeschooling.

DD did wind up getting the ACT score she needed for the full-tuition scholarship (YAY).  

Moving forward on this the best we can.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So frustrating when you do all you can and still wind up behind the 8-ball! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you've got it all in motion. We went through similar issues. My DD is applying to selective schools through Questbridge. She had two academic teachers that were lined up for letters from a co-op she was in from 6-10th grade. Both were teachers from 9th grade, but knew her for a long time and activities prior to 9th grade, but she hadn't had either of them as teachers since 9th. She did online math, so no interaction with a teacher. And she did have a science teacher for 10th grade that wasn't responding to her. After 10th grade all academic work was at home gr 11th. 

 

But then Questbridge says specifically the recs have to be from 11th or 12th grade, nothing prior when applying to them. They want current.

All selective schools say they want letters from academic classes. Her academic outside teachers were all before 11th grade.

But a call to Questbridge and several calls and in person talks with selective school admission officers assured me that from homeschoolers they are used to the situation and just want letters from people who know the kids the best. They don't have to be academic teachers. I'll put that in my counselor letter. 

So.... For us it ended up being a long time dance teacher and a shorter time girl scout leader who did work closely with her over 11th grade. So far that's been fine. She was accepted as a Questbridge finalist. We are in the process of the actual school applications, so hopefully that will work ok there. 

And congrats to your DD on her scores and swim recruitments!! She's doing awesome. I think whatever you get for letters will probably be fine! You've got reason to explain why they are late. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...