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Janeway

Do we need a do over?

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I am wondering if we need a do over? SO many problems!

Son did not really know what he wanted to major in before. He was pretty certain of philosophy it seemed. Now he wants to do computer science. But he does not want to do a BS or a BSCS, he only wants to do a BA in computer science because he still wants to be open to taking liberal arts classes and philosophy and such. Stupidly, we did not get out and look at colleges until it was senior year so he has not seen much. AND, with the shut down, he never got to finish seeing the colleges he applied to. PLUS, his original goals have changed.  Deadlines are June 1!!!!!! There is even a scholarship issue where he had a significant outside scholarship and we have been unable to verify things with that. 

OKAY, with the change to computer science, even though it is a BA, my husband, who has a degree in computer science, is starting to think of other schools son should consider.  As it stands right now, son is planning to accept the University Scholars program at Baylor. We just cannot afford it without this outside scholarship and I am having a very hard time getting answers.  In fact, THIS is the main issue. And the deadline is June 1.  There seems to be enough financial aid at Austin College and Trinity University without this additional money (and I already verified I can bring the money in). Southwestern University did not give enough aid (they gave more than Baylor, but less than AC or TU) and I have not been able to verify that this money can be taken to an out of state school (Cornell College and Hendrix). UTD was another school but he really wants to be able to take liberal arts courses.

My husband is suggesting we have him postpone college until we are not trying to make decisions in the middle of a shut down. And that during this time, he can visit more schools and apply to a bigger variety of places (like add Rice in). BUT, we have done SO much work!!!! I do not know if it is worth it. Plus,  there is a situation where when he first applied, he was attending a classical education charter school and then he left. (story in another post so I will not rehash). If we redo the applications, we have to face doing all that over again, I don't know if he can get the teachers to redo their recommendations, and what additional schools would we consider?

My husband would like to see him apply to the school my husband went to. Our son said he has no interest in going across country. My feeling is, that because of the situation of how senior went after he applied, that redoing applications everywhere could be a nightmare. So perhaps, if he does not go right away, he should take community college courses and apply as a transfer student. OR, at least go to one of the schools with good enough aid and apply to transfer if he is not happy. Son says he would like to just go straight off to college, but he is a bit torn about where to go, but at this point would like to just go to Baylor.  We only have this week to sort out the financial aid problems and then either put the money down when we don't know if he can go and risk losing it, or forgetting it.

 

 

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I am opposed to the idea of a B.A. in Computer Science. A B.S. or nothing... There are universities he might attend, such as Carolina, where my DD is, where he could take the Liberal Arts courses he is interested in, and, if he qualifies, major in C.S.  How is he at Math? Calculus? I am familiar with Austin College. Had neighbors whose DS went there and eventually became an M.D.  And of course I know of Baylor. The DD of a colleague went there and I think she eventually became an Osteopath.  I agree with your DH that your DS should step back and either take a year off, as many will do during the 2020-2021 school year, or enroll in a Community College and continue studying until he settles down and he finds a place that he likes and that he can afford.  This is tricky in a "normal" year and with Covid-19 and the Memorial Day holiday tomorrow, it is more complex.  He needs IMO to either be solid on the Major he wants, or, like my DD, apply "Undeclared" with regard to Major. Some schools require the students to do that.  Good luck to him!

 

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Just throwing it out there that the difference between a BA and a BS (if both are offered, which is not always the case, lots of places just have a BS) is usually just a few classes. I would also say that a BA when a BS is offered doesn't make a lot of sense if he intends on doing anything with a CS degree. 

I actually went to Rice (back in the day, lol!) and double majored in CS and Spanish Literature. Most places have plenty of space in the schedule for a CS major and some kind of a minor or second major or even just a lot of coursework in a secondary subject. Obviously, double majoring is easier when subjects have some overlap, but it's completely doable in disparate subjects as well.

My son is going to be a freshman in CS next year (just decided against a gap year for various reasons), and very few universities required admission directly into the CS major at the time of application (UIUC was the only super-strict one where you have to get in to CS initially or you can't major in it). He should be able to take the classes he needs and apply for a CS major at most (all?) of the schools you are looking at.

Regarding a gap year and re-applying next year, folks are speculating that admissions are going to be worse than usual for the rising seniors. There are a larger than average number of kids taking a gap year in addition to the expectation that international students unable to come this year (travel/visa restrictions) will be competing for spots next year. No one knows what will happen, of course, but if you are considering somewhere like Rice, the admissions numbers are brutally low in a regular year and may be worse next year. Good luck with your decision. My son did a junior year switch from a chem major interest to a CS major, so we had to do a frantic change in direction as well!

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Yes, I have a B.S. and M.S. in computer science and teach at the community college level. My area is an "IT hotspot" with lots of jobs when things are good (tight now of course), and I can tell you that they universally want a B.S., not a B.A. Computer science is indeed a math-intense major, but it also generally has the best employment prospects for right out of college. Information systems and business information systems are not as strong although those majors with business analytics is very hot here. Business analytics is also math-oriented but not as much as computer science. 

Of course he can take humanities in a B.S. program. I had way more humanities credits than I needed. 

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I agree, he should go with the BS for a computer science major. He can totally take philosophy and other liberal arts classes. The main difference with the BA is that he would take less  math and he would have to take foreign language. But both are going to give him room to take elective courses. If he’s ready and really just wants to go on to a four year school, I would try to narrow down from the ones he has already applied to and see if he can choose one. Sorry it’s a tough year to choose!

Edited by MerryAtHope
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Is this the same ds that you posted about recently who didn't want to use a computer at college? Sorry if I am mixing you up with someone else!

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If he wants to major in computer science, he should absolutely get a BS.  Getting a BA will make it look like he wanted to take the easy way out.  (I am still annoyed with UC Santa Cruz for only offering a BA in biochemistry when I was there--I mean, isn't it obvious that biochemistry is a science?)

Couldn't he simply pick the best fit for now and then consider transferring later on?  It sounds like his interests could change again anyway.  

I agree with you about not wanting to have to reapply given the complicated relationship with the high school he attended.

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I think you should pick a college closeby so that you can support him.  He sounds very immature right now (hoping that changes as he gets out on his own), so I think being close to you is more important than the specific degree programs.  Once hes admitted and gets an advisor, maybe they can convince him to get the BS vs the BA. 

I think its important to remember that lots of kids totally change paths in the college years.  I'm trying to encourage my oldest to go where there are several options.  She currently thinks since she can't decide between 2 degrees, she will just get both (not sure who is funding all that 😉 ).   By the time she gets there and takes a few course specific classes,  I'm hoping she will narrow it down to just 1!

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I think it all depends on where you live, for the BA/BS thing.  Here is my anecdote.  I helped a relative choose Texas State University because they offered both a BA and a BS in Computer Science (because he did not like/do great at math).  Pressured by his father, he chose the BS route.  When he got a D in Calculus (I forget which Calculus) for the second or third time, he decided to become an English major with a CS minor.  He now works in IT in my town.  Where he has been (same employer;  IT in a couple different departments) since he graduated.  So there is my anecdote.

For your particular situation for your ds who has been struggling so much with all of this, I have no advice, just Best Wishes!

Edited by perkybunch
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52 minutes ago, Selkie said:

Is this the same ds that you posted about recently who didn't want to use a computer at college? Sorry if I am mixing you up with someone else!

Yes....yep. Yes yes yes and yes. Want to step in to my life? At least he cleaned the bathroom today. 

Turns out...his deal was, he does not want to turn things in electronically but he likes programming. He took classes for nine weeks at the local public school and they did a ton online. They insisted on the use of ipads. Honestly, our local public schools seemed confused. For example, one teacher putting out a syllabus and having classes on one platform. Then after completing a portion of the course, realizing this and telling son to just redo the class (this was my other son who took a class there). Another situation-teacher had everything on the wrong platform and no access to anything anywhere. At least with that class, child did not do half of the work before being told it was not valid. 

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Wait..so you all are saying he really needs to go for the BS and not the BA? 

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4 minutes ago, Janeway said:

Wait..so you all are saying he really needs to go for the BS and not the BA? 

If he's serious about CS, yes.

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So please help me again on this seriously. I have a lot of software developers in my family, including one at Amazon, one at Apple, one at Oracle, and then a variety of other lessor known companies. They all have told me it does not matter, the BA vs BS thing. BUT, they are all over 40 yrs old so I am thinking maybe this is an "older developer" vs "younger developer" issue. Maybe older people get a pass but younger people who are fresh out of college are expected to have BSCS degrees?

 

edited to add: the one at Oracle and the one at Amazon have BSCS degrees, but say they have plenty of people working with them who do not.

Edited by Janeway
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1 minute ago, EKS said:

If he's serious about CS, yes.

Maybe he does need the year off.

And to answer the question about his math skills, he has excellent math skills, has already taken calculus but not the AP exam so he would retake it in college and has taken calculus based physics too, but not the AP exam.

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1 hour ago, EKS said:

If he wants to major in computer science, he should absolutely get a BS.  Getting a BA will make it look like he wanted to take the easy way out.  (I am still annoyed with UC Santa Cruz for only offering a BA in biochemistry when I was there--I mean, isn't it obvious that biochemistry is a science?)

Couldn't he simply pick the best fit for now and then consider transferring later on?  It sounds like his interests could change again anyway.  

I agree with you about not wanting to have to reapply given the complicated relationship with the high school he attended.

I’m not sure BS and BA mean the same thing at all colleges in terms of requirements. For my son’s chemistry major, he automatically fulfilled the basic BS requirements just by taking required courses for his major. Doing a BA instead would have meant fulfilling the foreign language requirement. That was literally the only difference. So in that case, some might argue the BS was the easy way out since it required nothing different or extra for a science major. My undergrad LAC did not offer BS degrees, but for example, chemistry majors could choose the ACS endorsed major which required more math and science than the regular one. My husband didn’t choose it because he was also an art major fulfilling premed requirements. It certainly didn’t hurt him when it came to med school and chemistry PhD program acceptances.

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15 minutes ago, Janeway said:

So please help me again on this seriously. I have a lot of software developers in my family, including one at Amazon, one at Apple, one at Oracle, and then a variety of other lessor known companies. They all have told me it does not matter, the BA vs BS thing. BUT, they are all over 40 yrs old so I am thinking maybe this is an "older developer" vs "younger developer" issue. Maybe older people get a pass but younger people who are fresh out of college are expected to have BSCS degrees?

 

edited to add: the one at Oracle and the one at Amazon have BSCS degrees, but say they have plenty of people working with them who do not.

It really depends on what he wants to do. Per my DH, a 4yr degree is important but it matters little what it is in or where it is from. CS major is nice but not really a decision maker in hiring. It's far more important to have certifications that you won't necessarily get from school and a portfolio. 

But we only know the area that DH is involved in. Maybe it's very different if what he wants to do w/ computers is different. He should be deciding what he likes over the next several years so he can work for that, but I don't think it's super important for him to know now whether he wants a BA or BS. 

I'm not concerned about the gap year competition thing. IMO, it's more important to think about what your particular student needs next year. 

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1 hour ago, Frances said:

I’m not sure BS and BA mean the same thing at all colleges in terms of requirements.

You're right--they can mean completely different things depending on the school.  The issue is not what it actually means, but what people think it means. If there is no choice, that's one thing.  But if there is a choice, go for the BS. 

(And you know what's funny? Doing the BA in chemistry back in the day at UCSD meant more foreign language, not less.)

Edited by EKS
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Just assume that you didn't win the outside scholarship. The typical practice is to just notify the winners.

With that out of the way, are the remaining choices good schools or are you not sure?

Do you have a reasonable gap-year plan? What will your child be doing to keep busy?

I would not make too many decisions based on BA or BS in computer science -- there really isn't that much of a difference in most cases. I wouldn't even make too big of a deal as far as majors go, since your son has changed his mind about majors pretty wildly. Neither kid of mine majored in exactly what they said they were going to study on their college applications.

However, make sure the schools are affordable and offer a variety of suitable opportunities before you commit. (My kid who changed from geology to engineering was very fortunate to get it, that major change is very difficult at her university.)

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54 minutes ago, JanetC said:

Just assume that you didn't win the outside scholarship. The typical practice is to just notify the winners.

With that out of the way, are the remaining choices good schools or are you not sure?

Do you have a reasonable gap-year plan? What will your child be doing to keep busy?

I would not make too many decisions based on BA or BS in computer science -- there really isn't that much of a difference in most cases. I wouldn't even make too big of a deal as far as majors go, since your son has changed his mind about majors pretty wildly. Neither kid of mine majored in exactly what they said they were going to study on their college applications.

However, make sure the schools are affordable and offer a variety of suitable opportunities before you commit. (My kid who changed from geology to engineering was very fortunate to get it, that major change is very difficult at her university.)

He was already notified he earned the outside scholarship. But he had to notify them of which school he wanted it to be applied to and with the shutdown, communication has been impossible.  As in, after the shut down, he went back to inform them which school and a secretarial type person gave him bad information and then we had to go back and forth with a supervisor and that is where we are at.  There seems to be an issue of did we turn in paperwork in time, which we provided digital proof we did, and whatever. I just wish emails would be answered and things would be dealt with as this was not our fault.

Edited by Janeway
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3 hours ago, Janeway said:

Wait..so you all are saying he really needs to go for the BS and not the BA? 

 I would take a closer look at the requirements for each one. When I was looking, back when my son had interest in this area, all the CS degrees required higher level math, so a person was at least halfway or more to meeting the BS requirements anyway. To do that but go with a BA and have to also do four semesters of foreign language seems like it would actually cut into the amount of electives a student could take. Either way though, he should have plenty of room to take philosophy and other courses, so don’t let that determine whether he does BS or BA. Things do vary a lot by school though so you may want to take a look at the degree paths offered by his top two or three favorite schools. See which ones might be the best fit for him that way. I hope you can get the scholarship thing figured out. That sounds very frustrating after finding out that he won!

Edited by MerryAtHope
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I will second having him closer by if you can. It is so nice that my son’s school is only an hour away. It makes it really easy to do a weekend! When my daughter goes, she will be three hours away. Still doable, but quite a bit more driving, especially if we have to be the ones to go get her! That’s 12 hours of driving instead of only 4!

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Is this your ASD ds?  If so, I would not jump into a financial situation for college that puts any sort of financial strain on your family.  I personally would take the CC approach for him to explore majors until he settles on what he wants to definitively pursue.  Inflexible thinking and having to follow strict course requirements that may not mesh with their "necessity" thinking can cause a lot of conflict.  It is much easier to cope with all of the ensuing problems when the financial impact is less.

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11 hours ago, Janeway said:

So please help me again on this seriously. I have a lot of software developers in my family, including one at Amazon, one at Apple, one at Oracle, and then a variety of other lessor known companies. They all have told me it does not matter, the BA vs BS thing. BUT, they are all over 40 yrs old so I am thinking maybe this is an "older developer" vs "younger developer" issue. Maybe older people get a pass but younger people who are fresh out of college are expected to have BSCS degrees?

edited to add: the one at Oracle and the one at Amazon have BSCS degrees, but say they have plenty of people working with them who do not.

 

I am really old (started out with Assembly Language programming).  I do not believe this is something  differing between "older developers" and "younger developers".

Yes, there are people with many different types of degrees (many with an M.S. in Math) working as Software Engineers. 

However...  With regard to someone applying for a position, or being considered for a promotion, I believe it would be normal for Supervisors and Hiring Managers to if nothing else, think to themselves, "Why did he only get a B.A. in C.S.? Why didn't he get a B.S. in C.S. like the rest of our employees?"

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I would not be overly concerned about whether the bachelor's degree is labelled as a BA or a BS.  Whether both of these options are offered for a particular field of study will vary from school-to-school and who much the requirements will differ between the two can also vary quite a bit.  The particular classes the student takes will be more important.  Also, at some schools it is much easier to take a wide variety of electives or double major (or minor) than it is at other schools.  I would focus much more on what school is a good fit, academically and emotionally for the student and financially for the family. 

I am a bit torn about students delaying a year to start college.  I think things are going to be chaotic over the next year.  But, four years from now, a student who delays starting may really be ready to be moving on to a job or graduate school.  It is also a situation where many young people are facing few other opportunities for the next year--jobs are few and they don't have the opportunity to travel.  I don't think it is necessarily good for them to be just sitting around waiting for a better time to start college.  

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Looking at Baylor's CS offerings, I can see why he would prefer the BA. The BS doesn't offer much wiggle room (maybe because it is in the Engineering college). The BA would allow a Philosophy minor, probably.

Students graduating with a BSCS in Computer Science are schooled in upper-level computer science topics with a solid foundation in mathematics and the sciences. Within the BSCS degree, students select a general computer science, gaming or software engineering track. The gaming specialization is designed to provide an understanding of the development and application of interactive digital media technologies while the software engineering track emphasizes the methods used to produce and maintain high-quality software in a systematic, controlled and efficient manner. Students who are acquiring their BA in computer science acquire a traditional liberal arts education with a solid set of core computer science courses.

This is your Latin kid, right? So, the foreign language requirement probably doesn't bother him because he could probably take a Latin class or two. 

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This has been a stressful season for you--I'm so sorry! Given the difficulties you mentioned with the school during application season, I can certainly see why you'd be hesitant to take a gap year and apply again next year--having to deal with those kinds of problems again would worry me, too.

I wonder how your son would feel about narrowing it down to the two schools (Austin and Trinity) that are affordable even without the scholarship, and where you know you can bring the scholarship in, and then choose one of them. I know nothing about either school, but had a quick peek around their websites, and they both look like nice places--small, nurturing, good quality--maybe a really good atmosphere for someone who is still finding out who they are and what they want (which is totally normal for a teen!!). Then if you do get the scholarship people sorted out, that money is gravy on top of an already affordable school. He can save the extra for accumulating some certifications, or getting a start on grad school, or something else.

It's just an idea--but I do think narrowing it down to two of the options that are already on the table might possibly remove some of the stress from the decision. It would for me, anyway--any time I can get a decision down to two choices, it seems much easier to me.

Good luck! We're rooting for you!

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4 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Looking at Baylor's CS offerings, I can see why he would prefer the BA. The BS doesn't offer much wiggle room (maybe because it is in the Engineering college). The BA would allow a Philosophy minor, probably.

 

The explanation Baylor University provided, that you quoted, gives one a quick and simple explanation. If one needs to work, the B.S.C.S. will IMO put one light years ahead of someone who only has a B.A. in C.S.

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Yes, in my area for kids right out of college, the B.S. is the only way to go. The jobs all say that, and I've talked to people who recruit in the area, and they will automatically disqualify a B.A. I'm in an IT "hot spot," so getting a job can be a little competitive.

Certainly people without the degrees are working in that field, but very few are now STARTING in that field without the degree in my area. And some of my community college students are people going back to school because their career stalled without the degree. I teach IT (not CS) because there is much more demand for that at the community college level and because more go that way because it is less math. Employment prospects for IT are excellent if you focus on cloud or cybersecurity which don't require as much math. One of the classes I teach is required in those concentrations, so enrollment is hot there. General IT is not as good here. 

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Both my DH and I have CS degrees and are over 40.  I have BS math and CS degrees.  And we’d also recommend the BS if he actually wants to be competitive for software engineering jobs as a new grad.  I have a kid doing BS comp sci with another full degree program.  He has flexibility thanks to 2 years CC Dual enrollment.   Most people we know with BAs are doing something like tech writing or they went on to get a masters.  My husbands current company (Fortune 500 software company) has very strong feelings about what new grads have done and the quality of programs.

Is there a decent state school he could transfer to after doing some general eds at a local CC where he could live at home?  Between the flip flopping, the immaturity, possible need for scaffolding and budget constraints I wouldn’t be banking on one particular path.   My kid is high stat and is doing great at a top 15 public now and the CC classes set him up great.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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On 5/25/2020 at 6:57 AM, RootAnn said:

Looking at Baylor's CS offerings, I can see why he would prefer the BA. The BS doesn't offer much wiggle room (maybe because it is in the Engineering college). The BA would allow a Philosophy minor, probably.

 

 

This is your Latin kid, right? So, the foreign language requirement probably doesn't bother him because he could probably take a Latin class or two. 

He also already has the 2 years of Latin credit at Baylor, so he would just go on to upper level classes if he kept taking classes in it.

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On 5/25/2020 at 6:21 AM, Lanny said:

 

I am really old (started out with Assembly Language programming).  I do not believe this is something  differing between "older developers" and "younger developers".

 

I have books in Fortran and Pascal.  They were my mom's books. She has two degrees,  one in computer science.

Edited by Janeway
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15 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I have books in Fortran and Pascal.  They were my mom's books. She has two degrees,  one in computer science.

 

I used Fortran in 2 different companies. I think both were using HP 1000 machines.

My understanding was that Pascal was supposed to have been used only as a teaching language. Some people who'd learned it in university apparently began using it in industry. I don't think it was designed for that...

That brings back memories from long ago...

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My CS degree is a BA because my school was not offering "S" degrees while I was an undergrad (they do now). I also have a MS CS (pure computer science, as in how to build an OS rather than applied).

My BA CS degree included a ton of extras. I had to take a class each in 10 areas including things like archaeology, art history, intro to Islam/culture, and so on. I also had to take a foreign language, philosophy, and a bunch of other stuff. It was horribly difficult because on top of all those I was doing full on math like linear algebra plus calc-based physics plus a CS course plus... My cohort regularly had 18+ credits in a semester, and my highest load was 21 credits.  So I would be spending hours in the lab trying to figure out UNIX-based C++ assignments while struggling to write that philosophy paper, and then memorizing Ancient Egyptian dynasty names, and then going to the physics lab or recitation. It was very, very difficult.

Did I enjoy the liberal arts component? Well, some classes were wonderful, yes. Did I wish I could skip them all or only have to take maybe 2 of my choice? Oh definitely. The BA degree time requirements such as papers, reading, memorizing, researching primary sources are extremely time consuming.  I had to go to a museum for one class, which I loved, but it took so many extra hours with travel! I was very driven and efficient in my executive skills. Otherwise, I would have crashed and burned right in the first semester and never came back.

Be careful. He needs to understand just how much work that kind of a degree is. The time requirement outside of the classroom is huge. Huge.

 

 

Edited by RosemaryAndThyme
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On 5/24/2020 at 6:27 PM, Janeway said:

Turns out...his deal was, he does not want to turn things in electronically but he likes programming. He took classes for nine weeks at the local public school and they did a ton online. They insisted on the use of ipads. Honestly, our local public schools seemed confused. For example, one teacher putting out a syllabus and having classes on one platform.

My ds has taken a couple of cs classes at his university and has had to turn in everything for those classes electronically. Did your son not like having to turn things in electronically due to the school's issues or does he not want to turn anything in electronically period? Honestly, if he goes to most 4 year universities, I would expect most of his work, including non CS classes, would be turned in electronically.

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3 hours ago, RosemaryAndThyme said:

My CS degree is a BA because my school was not offering "S" degrees while I was an undergrad (they do now). I also have a MS CS (pure computer science, as in how to build an OS rather than applied).

My BA CS degree included a ton of extras. I had to take a class each in 10 areas including things like archaeology, art history, intro to Islam/culture, and so on. I also had to take a foreign language, philosophy, and a bunch of other stuff. It was horribly difficult because on top of all those I was doing full on math like linear algebra plus calc-based physics plus a CS course plus... My cohort regularly had 18+ credits in a semester, and my highest load was 21 credits.  So I would be spending hours in the lab trying to figure out UNIX-based C++ assignments while struggling to write that philosophy paper, and then memorizing Ancient Egyptian dynasty names, and then going to the physics lab or recitation. It was very, very difficult.

Did I enjoy the liberal arts component? Well, some classes were wonderful, yes. Did I wish I could skip them all or only have to take maybe 2 of my choice? Oh definitely. The BA degree time requirements such as papers, reading, memorizing, researching primary sources are extremely time consuming.  I had to go to a museum for one class, which I loved, but it took so many extra hours with travel! I was very driven and efficient in my executive skills. Otherwise, I would have crashed and burned right in the first semester and never came back.

Be careful. He needs to understand just how much work that kind of a degree is. The time requirement outside of the classroom is huge. Huge.

 

 

This was my son’s experience with a science major BS while fulfilling all of the humanities heavy requirements for his honors college. He contemplated dropping out of the honors college several times, but his older friends said the amazing classes the last two years would be worth it. In the end he was glad he stayed, but the first two years were pretty bad at times when he was basically taking all required classes for his major and the honors college. Usually three math/science and one reading/writing intensive advanced humanities class every quarter. He only got out of the foreign language requirement (the honors college required it for both BA and BS students, unlike the regular university requirements) because his major was one of a handful where it was determined that it was not realistic for students to complete it and all honors college requirements in four years.
 

Although the honors college did have some perks and amazing junior and senior level classes, I think it might have been better to just do the BS, skip the honors college, and then choose the upper division humanities and social science classes he wanted from the very beginning, rather than spending two years taking required ones he didn’t like. Ironically, all of his other leading college choices were top LACs, none of which required as many humanities classes for a BA as he took for the BS from his uni’s honors college. 

Every place is so different that I think the OP’s son needs to make sure he thoroughly understands the requirements and options of different tracks. And since he is so undecided about a major, especially with the pandemic, it seems like CC could be a great place to start in the fall.

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2 hours ago, Frances said:

This was my son’s experience with a science major BS while fulfilling all of the humanities heavy requirements for his honors college. He contemplated dropping out of the honors college several times, but his older friends said the amazing classes the last two years would be worth it. In the end he was glad he stayed, but the first two years were pretty bad at times when he was basically taking all required classes for his major and the honors college. Usually three math/science and one reading/writing intensive advanced humanities class every quarter. He only got out of the foreign language requirement (the honors college required it for both BA and BS students, unlike the regular university requirements) because his major was one of a handful where it was determined that it was not realistic for students to complete it and all honors college requirements in four years.
 

Although the honors college did have some perks and amazing junior and senior level classes, I think it might have been better to just do the BS, skip the honors college, and then choose the upper division humanities and social science classes he wanted from the very beginning, rather than spending two years taking required ones he didn’t like. Ironically, all of his other leading college choices were top LACs, none of which required as many humanities classes for a BA as he took for the BS from his uni’s honors college. 

Every place is so different that I think the OP’s son needs to make sure he thoroughly understands the requirements and options of different tracks. And since he is so undecided about a major, especially with the pandemic, it seems like CC could be a great place to start in the fall.

My daughter ended up not doing the honors college at her school because of all the extra classes.  Most of them were writing intensive history classes and she's not a fan, plus she had a major and two minors - Psychology, Criminal Justice and Dance - that would have made it hard, plus she worked while in school.   She's about to finish up her Masters in Forensic Psychology and I definitely think it was the right decision for her. 

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17 hours ago, wilrunner said:

My ds has taken a couple of cs classes at his university and has had to turn in everything for those classes electronically. Did your son not like having to turn things in electronically due to the school's issues or does he not want to turn anything in electronically period? Honestly, if he goes to most 4 year universities, I would expect most of his work, including non CS classes, would be turned in electronically.

I am unsure. I know he did not like their iPads. Everything had to be done on iPads and there were no books. The teachers usually had several platforms going and did not properly handle them. This includes stuff like listing a site to do work on and then after completing a bunch of work, coming back and saying she meant this other site but he could redo all the work over there.

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54 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I am unsure. I know he did not like their iPads. Everything had to be done on iPads and there were no books. The teachers usually had several platforms going and did not properly handle them. This includes stuff like listing a site to do work on and then after completing a bunch of work, coming back and saying she meant this other site but he could redo all the work over there.

 

If he was required to use a Tablet, one without a keyboard, I wouldn't like that either. With a keyboard it would probably be OK for me, but my experience with Tablets is very limited. Except for my phone, I like to use an external USB Keyboard on the Laptop when I'm at home.

If those teachers were suddenly thrust into doing Online courses, because of Covid-19 in March 2020, one might sympathize with them, but if they went into a new course, knowing that it would be Online, that's a mess.

The thing about not needing to buy a textbook is cool. First, there's no expense of buying a textbook. Secondly, one doesn't need to lug a heavy textbook in their backpack.  DD has had courses where they used an eBook, usually much less expensive than a traditional textbook. Often in her school bookstore, they have both traditional textbooks and eBooks. The price differential can be staggering...

From the teachers you mentioned, it doesn't sound like they were prepared to be teaching Online courses and I can easily understand how your DS would resent that. I would too...

ETA: In a university, I doubt they would have the students do all of their work on a Tablet. I cannot imagine that. I believe they will require a Laptop, or, at the minimum, a Chromebook might be acceptable in some schools.

 

Edited by Lanny
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4 hours ago, Lanny said:

 

If he was required to use a Tablet, one without a keyboard, I wouldn't like that either. With a keyboard it would probably be OK for me, but my experience with Tablets is very limited. Except for my phone, I like to use an external USB Keyboard on the Laptop when I'm at home.

If those teachers were suddenly thrust into doing Online courses, because of Covid-19 in March 2020, one might sympathize with them, but if they went into a new course, knowing that it would be Online, that's a mess.

The thing about not needing to buy a textbook is cool. First, there's no expense of buying a textbook. Secondly, one doesn't need to lug a heavy textbook in their backpack.  DD has had courses where they used an eBook, usually much less expensive than a traditional textbook. Often in her school bookstore, they have both traditional textbooks and eBooks. The price differential can be staggering...

From the teachers you mentioned, it doesn't sound like they were prepared to be teaching Online courses and I can easily understand how your DS would resent that. I would too...

ETA: In a university, I doubt they would have the students do all of their work on a Tablet. I cannot imagine that. I believe they will require a Laptop, or, at the minimum, a Chromebook might be acceptable in some schools.

 

He only took a couple courses from mid October to December. So they were 9 week courses. And it was through their virtual learning academy...so they were teachers who regularly taught through there.

Edited by Janeway
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5 hours ago, Janeway said:

I am unsure. I know he did not like their iPads. Everything had to be done on iPads and there were no books. The teachers usually had several platforms going and did not properly handle them. This includes stuff like listing a site to do work on and then after completing a bunch of work, coming back and saying she meant this other site but he could redo all the work over there.

Most universities have work being done across multiple different set ups from class to class.  For example if a professor assigns homework through a textbook provider's site like McGraw-Hill,  the homework might be linked to be completed on MH's website or the professor might pull it directly into Blackboard.  Sometimes there are comment pages that the students have to go back and look at in order to see a professor's comments, etc.  Keeping up with syllabi, Blackboard assignments, in-class assignments, online assessments is executive function heavy.  

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23 hours ago, wilrunner said:

My ds has taken a couple of cs classes at his university and has had to turn in everything for those classes electronically. Did your son not like having to turn things in electronically due to the school's issues or does he not want to turn anything in electronically period? Honestly, if he goes to most 4 year universities, I would expect most of his work, including non CS classes, would be turned in electronically.

Yes--this statement about not wanting to turn in work electronically struck me as well. 

He should expect to turn things in electronically no matter where he goes, regardless of whether the class is online or not.  It is (or is rapidly becoming) the new norm.

If this is a real sticking point, I would be concerned about his ability to handle college more generally.

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I teach in the online part, but virtually everything is turned in electronically at my college. Because I teach web development, they give me their college-hosted URL in the assignment upload window once they get their sites going. Even being 95% IT majors, they have the worst time giving me a working URL though! I just graded a set of second assignments for a class of almost 30, and about four of them got 10/100 because they didn't give me a working URL. 

As someone else said, anything in IT and CS is also very time-consuming. You are going to spend hours and hours troubleshooting. Some people really lose their heads over that, but it is a hard reality.

I had a student last summer who was in my generation who was all excited about starting their studies for a new career in web development. But no matter how much time I spent with them trying to get them to see how you reason and problem solve to fix problems on a web page, they just didn't get it. They wanted things to work the first time, and then would email me pages to fix that didn't work after the first thing they tried. I even did this online with them -- OK, this doesn't work. Now find that in your HTML. What is wrong with your HTML. Where did we cover that in the textbook. And so on. I did that repeatedly with them. Finally they dropped the class, and then filed a grievance with the college in the fall that I had failed to properly teach the course and had been unwilling to help. Ultimately, the college refused to go forward with it because they had willingly dropped the course and because I provided all of the emails and dates when I had tried to help. 

But yes, that's just how it was. I didn't finish my PhD, but programming at that level is intense. I used to work 40 or more hours a week and then sometimes put in another 40 on just one graduate-level class. 

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20 hours ago, Janeway said:

I am unsure. I know he did not like their iPads. Everything had to be done on iPads and there were no books. The teachers usually had several platforms going and did not properly handle them. This includes stuff like listing a site to do work on and then after completing a bunch of work, coming back and saying she meant this other site but he could redo all the work over there.

There can be a big difference between "turn a paper in electronically" and do the classwork on a computerized system.  I may have my students write a paper and upload the paper to the LMS.  The process would be almost the same as if they were typing the paper, then printing it, then bringing it to class to hand to me as far as doing the work.  

If it is a class that has him doing work online, then the process can be very different.  A math class, for example, may have him working problems online.  Then, instead of using pencil and paper to work a problem and see the flow of the problem, the student is using a keyboard to input information.  Then the student cannot see from beginning to the end of a problem, cannot easily go back and review earlier steps of a problem, and can run into rounding errors and data entry errors.  Or, I just had to complete an online certification at my university.  I had to read a paragraph, then click a video to watch, then click the answers to a couple of T/F questions, then read a couple more paragraphs, then type in my reaction, then play a matching game, then upload a document, then read two more paragraphs, then get my gold star on my page to move through the modules.  It nearly drove me crazy!   

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21 hours ago, EKS said:

Yes--this statement about not wanting to turn in work electronically struck me as well. 

He should expect to turn things in electronically no matter where he goes, regardless of whether the class is online or not.  It is (or is rapidly becoming) the new norm.

If this is a real sticking point, I would be concerned about his ability to handle college more generally.

I agree with this.  Both my kid's DE CC experience and his big university experience reflect this. The other thing is different profs can be very exacting and diverse with how their classes operate and how work comes in.  It may not be consistent across a campus or even a department.  My son was using all sorts of different websites and apps this spring with his classes after the went online, and was using several before he went online.  College is a lot of hoop jumping.

I also agree CS programs have heavy work loads.  You really need to look at them individually. They can vary widely.

I just want to be clear, I do think a BA can be fine in CS.  I would say that could be a good path for the unsure student who might change majors and has broader interests.  I do think in most cases, you will not be eligible for many tech heavy software development jobs with just that undergrad degree.  But may be eligible for a wide variety of other types of jobs and well positioned for grad programs.   It can be helpful to ask questions with placement.  There are some small privates that can well place ambitious students that possibly go above and beyond with the BA with connections.  Larger tech hubs can be more competitive for opportunities.   But for the companies my husband and I worked and hired for, often flagship engineering programs were the most coveted CS degree undergrad hires.  Over many schools with fancier names.

That said, if that were the path, I would not choose a school based solely on the CS program.  I would choose a school that is a financial fit and seems like it will work  a quirkier student overall.  I still think the CC path could be really good  as a stepping stone if he hasn't done college work to this point.  I wouldn't sign on for a college you can make work for 5 years financially with a kid that may change direction or have hiccups in transitioning.  Keep in mind academic scholarships are often very strict on sequencing, grades and graduating on time, so that is something to check.  If grad school is on the table for this student, keeping his debt low to none is a good consideration too.

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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On 5/27/2020 at 1:27 PM, G5052 said:

 

I had a student last summer who was in my generation who was all excited about starting their studies for a new career in web development. But no matter how much time I spent with them trying to get them to see how you reason and problem solve to fix problems on a web page, they just didn't get it. They wanted things to work the first time, and then would email me pages to fix that didn't work after the first thing they tried. I even did this online with them -- OK, this doesn't work. Now find that in your HTML. What is wrong with your HTML. Where did we cover that in the textbook. And so on. I did that repeatedly with them. Finally they dropped the class, and then filed a grievance with the college in the fall that I had failed to properly teach the course and had been unwilling to help. Ultimately, the college refused to go forward with it because they had willingly dropped the course and because I provided all of the emails and dates when I had tried to help. 

 

 

Wow, I have no words for this, and after all the extra help you provided.  Is this common?

It also reminds me of teaching my kids python in middle school.  They would type in their code, would not bother to even run it once, and then announce to me that they were done and it works perfectly.  🤔    

 

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Our state cc has a solid CS program (and other programs) that have transfer as a junior agreements with (5) four year Unis, plus similar agreements in Computer Information Systems, Cyber Security and CIS technology. The students are often eligible for scholarships at the 4 years because they completed the AS.

It would still require checking some boxes and executive function skills- but when we decided one of our older boys needed a "do over" two years into to college, we had him transfer to the CC to graduate, just so he would have something.

He's been able to go forward with the rest of his undergraduate on his own. I'm sure states vary, but I would have started our one guy there if knew then what I know now. He had an awesome guidance counselor and really liked his classes.

Edited by MamaSprout
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1 hour ago, MamaSprout said:

but I would have started our one guy there if knew then what I know now. He had an awesome guidance counselor and really liked his classes.

Don't you wish we could have do-overs with cash refunds?! Gosh, when I think how much money we spent trying to launch our Aspie, it adds up to more than we have spent on all of our other adult kids combined and none of it worked.  At 28 we think that he has finally found his place.  The pandemic was actually a blessing for him (who'd have guessed??) He was working part-time with Lowes and they were flooded with customers.  They kept calling him and asking if he could come in.  He said yes and they promoted him to full-time a few weeks ago.  Yesterday management surprised him with a bike to reward him for his hard work and to make it easier for him to get to work.  (He lives within easy walking distance. He hasn't had the courage to learn to drive.) But, what a kind thing for them to do and what an ego boost for ds.

Anyway, spectrum kids can really struggle finding their path.  It isn't necessarily easy---many don't take a straight path forward like neurotypical children.  We learned the hard way (financially) that the stats reflect sobering reality.  This is from a 2017 article:

Quote

There will be 500,000 adults on the autism spectrum aging into adulthood over the next 10 years. Yet a whopping 85% of college grads affected by autism are unemployed, compared to the national unemployment rate of 4.5%.

 In an economic downturn, those numbers will only become worse. 

I am a realist when it comes to our kids and I am pretty harsh on how I assess their ability to progress.  But, I was totally blindsided by our ds's inability to successfully launch.  He was able to handle college courses without issue and made all As with only a couple of Bs.  It was everything else that exploded.  Even with paying $$ for autism on-campus supports, he couldn't successfully progress. 

Even if we had a do-over, he would have had to make a lot of his own mistakes and crash and burn bc much of what has impeded him is his own inflexibility.

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1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Don't you wish we could have do-overs with cash refunds?! Gosh, when I think how much money we spent trying to launch our Aspie, it adds up to more than we have spent on all of our other adult kids combined and none of it worked.  At 28 we think that he has finally found his place.  The pandemic was actually a blessing for him (who'd have guessed??) He was working part-time with Lowes and they were flooded with customers.  They kept calling him and asking if he could come in.  He said yes and they promoted him to full-time a few weeks ago.  Yesterday management surprised him with a bike to reward him for his hard work and to make it easier for him to get to work.  (He lives within easy walking distance. He hasn't had the courage to learn to drive.) But, what a kind thing for them to do and what an ego boost for ds.

Anyway, spectrum kids can really struggle finding their path.  It isn't necessarily easy---many don't take a straight path forward like neurotypical children.  We learned the hard way (financially) that the stats reflect sobering reality.  This is from a 2017 article:

 In an economic downturn, those numbers will only become worse. 

I am a realist when it comes to our kids and I am pretty harsh on how I assess their ability to progress.  But, I was totally blindsided by our ds's inability to successfully launch.  He was able to handle college courses without issue and made all As with only a couple of Bs.  It was everything else that exploded.  Even with paying $$ for autism on-campus supports, he couldn't successfully progress. 

Even if we had a do-over, he would have had to make a lot of his own mistakes and crash and burn bc much of what has impeded him is his own inflexibility.

How much of this do you think is real unemployment and how much from prejudice? We have faced so much and have been told the most nasty stuff through the years.  I am talking from anyone from educators on over. My sister, who was a high school counselor in our very large district was informed to not allow kids with ASD to enroll in AP or preAp courses. We have been told by more than one educator and person in position of authority, that kids with autism do not go to college and just need to focus on life skills. When my son was in kindergarten, he was reading chapter books before he started kinder and turned 6 in the first month of kinder, yet the teacher demanded that he was not ready for kindergarten because of his special needs and then wanted to hold him back at the end of the year. She made it clear she did not want him in her class all year and knew he would be at a different school then. Public school was hell for my son. I could write pages and pages over how he has been treated through the years, but my blood boils and I think places should be sued and held accountable.

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I'm going to go anecdotal again.  My relative on the spectrum went to a university that I chose for him (he didn't really have a preference), based on his skills, abilities, and interests.  It was also 3 hours from home.  I tutored him most summers to keep him from failing some classes.  I designed his class schedule every semester and his 4 year plan, and I helped him change his 4 year plan when he decided to change his major (not because I am controlling but because he needed help in these areas).  He was visited monthly by family to assist with various things.  Once he drove home (3 hours) when he was too tired, and that was dangerous.  So then he was always accompanied, which meant someone from home drove up 3 hours and then followed him home 3 hours.  

In hindsight, he should have gone to school locally.  I think he would have been happier, and he would have more easily gotten the support he needed.  So my suggestion to you is to keep your son close, because even if he can do the academics, he will likely need other support.

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4 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

They kept calling him and asking if he could come in.  He said yes and they promoted him to full-time a few weeks ago.  Yesterday management surprised him with a bike to reward him for his hard work and to make it easier for him to get to work.  (He lives within easy walking distance. He hasn't had the courage to learn to drive.) But, what a kind thing for them to do and what an ego boost for ds.

 

Bless them, this is so heartening!

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