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ScoutTN
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Anyone beginning to visit colleges, talk about possibilities, and think through things with their 11th grader? 

We have made a couple visits and have another scheduled soon. This is our first time on the college path and it’s pretty overwhelming. 

Any advice for us newbies from y’all with loads of experience? (Besides read all the pinned threads here, of course.)

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We’re on this path too. I feel kind of overwhelmed because her 11th grade DE course load is really intense, so how in the world are we going to find time to do tours! I wish we had taken care of this last year. But, she has done a ton of online tours, and those have been surprisingly helpful at narrowing things down (such as when a certain west coast private school had four students talking mainly about the weather and using ‘like’ every other word).

She also has a super fun and jam-packed summer planned, so she’s been trying to knock out some of the essays before then. To get started, we read Hack the College Essay, which was super helpful! We also read How to Prepare a Standout College Application, which was less mind-blowing than Hack, but still very helpful with all the details.

The hardest thing we’re finding is what in the world is a safety school anymore. She’d rather not go too far from home, but we’re in CA, everything is so impacted and there are no guarantees anymore. She has lots of reaches and good matches, but no good safeties.

Edited by rzberrymom
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I do not have lots of experience,  but we are starting tours with my Junior.  She went on some tours with her older sister last year, and thinks she has picked her school.  She has a good idea of what she wants in terms of campus size and feel.  We recently took a department tour for the major she thinks she wants,  and it was better than I expected.  I think the department tour is more important than the campus tour, bc it really gives a good idea of how well funded it is, size of classes, graduation stats in the degree, equipment available,  etc. 

Things we are discussing:

1.  Degree plans and how it would work out with DE next year.  Really looking at the courses required to see if they are a good fit.  

2.  Money, she has a good scholarship at her chosen school- better than I expected.  Luckily she scored well on the ACT, or we would be doing test prep!  I am trying to figure out other outside scholarships. 

3.  Lifestyle in college- car or no car, how often will you come home, job or no job, etc. And how this relates to money 😉

4.  Lifestyle after graduation,  expected salary, job expectations and availability.   

5.  This kid is looking at a BS degree that requires a Masters or Doctorate to really practice.  That's a big discussion here- making her aware that the 4 year isn't the end, she will need to go on in order to get a job in the field.  The professor said the same thing to her,  and did make her aware that all students go beyond the BS.  It feels like a bigger commitment.

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Another CA junior here. I don’t know what is wrong with my kid, but he has no interest in visiting any colleges or researching any of them. He just seems to tell us what he doesn’t want, which is less helpful as one might imagine. Nope. I refuse to live in southern CA is as far as we have gotten. 
I think he will end up somewhere in the Midwest. 

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59 minutes ago, rzberrymom said:

We’re on this path too. I feel kind of overwhelmed because her 11th grade DE course load is really intense, so how in the world are we going to find time to do tours! I wish we had taken care of this last year. But, she has done a ton of online tours, and those have been surprisingly helpful at narrowing things down (such as when a certain west coast private school had four students talking mainly about the weather and using ‘like’ every other word).

She also has a super fun and jam-packed summer planned, so she’s been trying to knock out some of the essays before then. To get started, we read Hack the College Essay, which was super helpful! We also read How to Prepare a Standout College Application, which was less mind-blowing than Hack, but still very helpful with all the details.

The hardest thing we’re finding is what in the world is a safety school anymore. She’d rather not go too far from home, but we’re in CA, everything is so impacted and there are no guarantees anymore. She has lots of reaches and good matches, but no good safeties.

California as well and super bummed after some DMs with Arcadia whose older son is waiting for college decisions. Dd doesn’t really want to go far, but there aren’t many choices around us. She hasn’t done enough to make a stand out candidate from a college perspective; whatever she has done has always been for fun. We would like to have some merit scholarship unless it’s UC.
 

Dd’s friends have toured around LA at Caltech and Harvey Mudd. Those two schools are not within our radar. Dh will probably drive to UC Merced to take a look around the town this summer. It looks like a smaller campus, which we prefer, not overly competitive among the student body. Our friend’s son transferred from cc to Merced and seemed to like the school.

 

All in all I’m worried about finances, rejection letters, and going through the entire process. I’m confused about assets especially those where my name is on accounts for my parents but obviously I can’t use them. 
 

Maybe Dd hides it well, but she doesn’t seem too concerned where she goes as long as it’s a college.

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2 hours ago, ScoutTN said:

 

We have made a couple visits and have another scheduled soon. This is our first time on the college path and it’s pretty overwhelming. 

1) Finances - my husband insisted on state universities only so that was what we told our kids.
2) college tours - We did the college visits way before the pandemic while my husband was conducting internship interviews on campus. We did two college tours and for those the colleges want the name of potential applicant. For the private uni, we could list the younger sibling(s)’s names if we want to. For the public uni, they only ask for number of younger siblings but not the names. 
3) In our case college applications results for DS17 came out last week and some are coming out this week. DS16 is having community college final exams this week for his dual enrollment class. Luckily DS17 is not taking any dual enrollment classes this quarter else it would be so demoralizing with the rejections and waitlist he received.

4) Be generous with mommy grades. My county is filled with “overachieving” teens. It would be hard to stand a chance if we are stingy on mommy grades because my area’s public high schools have plenty with straight As. Quite a few of my area’s private high schools are well known as well.

5) choose dual enrollment classes carefully because they affect the GPA. My kids are willing to apply as transfer students if they can’t get into their choices so we let them pick class that they might not get an A in. 

 

44 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Another CA junior here. I don’t know what is wrong with my kid, but he has no interest in visiting any colleges or researching any of them. He just seems to tell us what he doesn’t want, which is less helpful as one might imagine. Nope. I refuse to live in southern CA is as far as we have gotten. 
I think he will end up somewhere in the Midwest. 

DS16’s standard response is “anything” 🤦‍♀️😂

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

Another CA junior here. I don’t know what is wrong with my kid, but he has no interest in visiting any colleges or researching any of them. He just seems to tell us what he doesn’t want, which is less helpful as one might imagine. Nope. I refuse to live in southern CA is as far as we have gotten. 
I think he will end up somewhere in the Midwest. 

Dd is not researching anything either, nor am I. Midwest sounds great, a small number of friends have headed there recently. 

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3 minutes ago, crazyforlatin said:

Dd is not researching anything either, nor am I. Midwest sounds great, a small number of friends have headed there recently. 

I just think the process is overwhelming. mine won’t even look at college mail. He is just like @Arcadia’s DS - “anywhere, a college” is what we get. 
I also think his way of dealing with stress is to pretend it’s not happening, sort of like an ostrich with his head in the sand. 
We are looking at UC essays and finding them stupid, repetitive, and absolute waste of time. Worst kind of essay topics we have seen. And they want four of them! Agggggg

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I just think the process is overwhelming. mine won’t even look at college mail. He is just like @Arcadia’s DS - “anywhere, a college” is what we get. 
I also think his way of dealing with stress is to pretend it’s not happening, sort of like an ostrich with his head in the sand. 
We are looking at UC essays and finding them stupid, repetitive, and absolute waste of time. Worst kind of essay topics we have seen. And they want four of them! Agggggg

DS17 who is writing phobic took months to write/type those personal insight questions. He took almost a month just to pick which ones to write out of the 8 choices. DS17 still have to write an essay for the UC he is waitlisted at and submit by April 15th.

DS16 is not writing phobic but is also a perfectionist like DS17. He just rather someone else choose for him. He is the least picky in our family. 

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2 hours ago, rzberrymom said:

 

The hardest thing we’re finding is what in the world is a safety school anymore. She’d rather not go too far from home, but we’re in CA, everything is so impacted and there are no guarantees anymore. She has lots of reaches and good matches, but no good safeties.

A good friend’s elder child was rejected by the child’s first choice which was UCLA years ago. She and her husband are entering their current junior in all the engineering related competitions they know of since 9th grade to build up their youngest child’s awards portfolio. This child’s first choice is UCB because the child wants to be nearer home. Her husband, who works in one of the big tech, volunteers for all this child’s competitions. Competition for college applications is really going crazy here with parents helping whatever way they can to make their kids application stand out. We passed by RSM and AOPS academy while grocery shopping and some parents are already stressed over their middle school age kids.

Edited by Arcadia
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32 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

A good friend’s elder child was rejected by the child’s first choice which was UCLA years ago. She and her husband are entering their current junior in all the engineering related competitions they know of since 9th grade to build up their youngest child’s awards portfolio. This child’s first choice is UCB because the child wants to be nearer home. Her husband, who works in one of the big tech, volunteers for all this child’s competitions. Competition for college applications is really going crazy here with parents helping whatever way they can to make their kids application stand out. We passed by RSM and AOPS academy while grocery shopping and some parents are already stressed over their middle school age kids.

Unbelievable…

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59 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I just think the process is overwhelming. mine won’t even look at college mail. He is just like @Arcadia’s DS - “anywhere, a college” is what we get. 
I also think his way of dealing with stress is to pretend it’s not happening, sort of like an ostrich with his head in the sand. 
We are looking at UC essays and finding them stupid, repetitive, and absolute waste of time. Worst kind of essay topics we have seen. And they want four of them! Agggggg

Have you guys read the John Dewis essay I linked to above? It’s completely worth the read. Don’t worry about the stupid prompts!

****

“If I were a college admissions director, I would only have one prompt: “Spend six hundred fifty words telling us something about yourself that no other applicant could possibly tell us about himself or herself.”

If you just start writing, by the time you look up, you will discover you have in fact responded to one of the actual prompts. Often it’s one you never would have chosen.

Colleges want the prompts to help you say something personal, but the problem is that they are written for a general audience, and therefore sound general, and inspire essays that are general. A college can’t very well ask, “Harry, where did you get that scar on your forehead?” But that’s what they’re hoping you’ll write about.

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I can verify that engineering programs (and camps) in Indiana have a good showing of CA people. In dd's engineering camp last summer at Rose Hulman, I think they had one more person from California than from Indiana, and the counselors said that there are lots of west coast kids at the school. 

As for the OP. It's a good idea to know where your kiddo wants to apply early in summer. Dd had her applications submitted before school started last fall. Two of her programs admitted Early Applications at a slightly higher rate, and she needed to have her big scholarship application in in October. We had two apps where she just applied without visiting or anything. We visited one of them after she was accepted and never visited the other. We did do the PA Homeschoolers Essay summer class. I knew we were going to need deadlines.

Edited by MamaSprout
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Fourth and last junior.  She has a favorite picked, but we're going visiting in April to try to add a few others.  She did DE this year in the fall but I made sure she wasn't in any college classes this term because I remember older son having to do his DE homework as we were visiting colleges and it was a little nerve-wracking (pre-zoom.)

My four are all over the map: oldest only applied to engineering schools, first dd only to music conservatories and so had to prepare and perform auditions as well as applications, ds23 to west coast as well as east coast looking for social justice focus within the curriculum (and ended up in the midwest). Current junior has a wide range of interests and plans to apply Early Decision.  Some thoughts, with thanks to previous posters who steered me over the years:

1) Enjoy the process!  I am so grateful for them to be able to apply to college.  And I made sure they were grateful too 🙂    In particular, I always try to make the visiting process fun, and while they did all the contacting, I did all the mapping, planning, and foraging to make it lower stress.  Snacks and loud music in the car are your friends. It is a short season of your life together, make it sweet if you can, whether or not you go visiting.

2) If you have need, do not let them apply to colleges that offer to meet need at less than what you can afford, unless you know they will qualify for excellent merit.  Big Future at the College Board website has a cost button for each college, on which is listed the percentage of need each college meets.  I only learned to do this after oldest visited and fell in love with a school that meets just 67% of need.  He chose to take loans knowing he would be earning a solid salary afterwards, but I don't believe at 18 or 19 they can really have informed choice.  This was my mistake as I didn't have any friends who homeschooled high school and didn't know how to find advice. There are many smart posters on here who focus on merit aid and less on need-based. I have been much more deliberate in helping current junior with test prep as we will have less need with only one kid at home and will need more merit aid this time around.

3) One of the best things I read here, similar to @Arcadia's suggestion above about mommy grades, is to really sing your child's praise in your counselor letter.  We as parents tend to notice the things we think they should improve but it's not your job to lay them out for admissions.  Instead spend time really thinking about what you want admissions to focus on as they read through your transcript.  If something is sub-optimal, figure out a way to massage it into something else - if something is not a strength, then perhaps it's something they are showing bold determination to address. But highlight your students' strengths with the brightest of pens!

4) If you are blessed with an aspiring music major, start planning two years ago.  Audition repertoire, sample lessons, and the actual auditions are a whole other ball of wax.  And wouldn't they rather be engineers?  Two words for audition-based admissions: hot tea.

5) College tours and information sessions are ultimately very similar, it was sitting in on actual classes that helped distinguish each school from the others for my kids. I'm finding that schools aren't allowing class visits due to covid this year, and it's not great.  Meeting with the heads of departments has also been helpful for mine, as they get a sense of the overall focus and the department head can see how well they have been socialized. Yep, I said that.

I'll be checking back with this thread - I've learned something new with each of my students, and I'm still learning now.

 

Edited by Eos
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Posted (edited)

Sorry y'all in CA have it so rough!! 

My Dd will not be applying to selective schools, so we are on a different path. So far we have two regional publics and two private Christian schools on her list. She will be accepted and in the honors college at both of the publics; both are affordable for us. She will get in and be honors college at one of the privates, but money is an unknown. The other private is smaller, more selective, and more expensive than the other schools and hard to predict. I will need more work - hoping for a big PT job - in order to afford the private schools. 
 

She is not interested in our state flagship, but Dh will take her to see it anyway...


 

Edited by ScoutTN
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We did the vast majority of our visits last summer but might do a couple more this summer. DD is applying to schools where 30-70% of students are admitted. She’ll get in somewhere and it will be fine. Her list is small but she likes them all and would be happy at each. 

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25 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

We did the vast majority of our visits last summer but might do a couple more this summer. DD is applying to schools where 30-70% of students are admitted. She’ll get in somewhere and it will be fine. Her list is small but she likes them all and would be happy at each. 

This sounds similar to our situation. My Dd does have preferences among the schools on her list, but I think she understands the financial aspect and is prepared to choose to be happy wherever she lands. 

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4 hours ago, Eos said:

2) If you have need, do not let them apply to colleges that offer to meet need at less than what you can afford, unless you know they will qualify for excellent merit.  Big Future at the College Board website has a cost button for each college, on which is listed the percentage of need each college meets.  I only learned to do this after oldest visited and fell in love with a school that meets just 67% of need.  He chose to take loans knowing he would be earning a solid salary afterwards, but I don't believe at 18 or 19 they can really have informed choice.  This was my mistake as I didn't have any friends who homeschooled high school and didn't know how to find advice. There are many smart posters on here who focus on merit aid and less on need-based. I have been much more deliberate in helping current junior with test prep as we will have less need with only one kid at home and will need more merit aid this time around.

I really wish I had understood merit aid earlier. Once the UC campuses got rid of all standardized tests for good, my DD chose to focus on her DE classes, her ECs and her job, rather than slog through days and days of test prep. It made sense to me at the time, since she could use transferring as her back-up plan.

But then she fell for a few schools that have high merit aid. I didn’t understand until recently that one of the reasons the schools give merit aid is because the kids’ high standardized test scores boost the schools’ rankings. We thought maybe her weighted GPA and accomplishments would help, but now we see that it would likely be a waste of time and effort. Live and learn.

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2 hours ago, ScoutTN said:

She will be accepted and in the honors college at both of the publics; both are affordable for us. She will get in and be honors college at one of the privates, but money is an unknown. The other private is smaller, more selective, and more expensive than the other schools and hard to predict.

Can you tell me how you know that she will be accepted? This is my first time through the process and I would love to get a better feel for likelihood of acceptance. 

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15 minutes ago, rzberrymom said:

I really wish I had understood merit aid earlier. Once the UC campuses got rid of all standardized tests for good, my DD chose to focus on her DE classes, her ECs and her job, rather than slog through days and days of test prep. It made sense to me at the time, since she could use transferring as her back-up plan.

But then she fell for a few schools that have high merit aid. I didn’t understand until recently that one of the reasons the schools give merit aid is because the kids’ high standardized test scores boost the schools’ rankings. We thought maybe her weighted GPA and accomplishments would help, but now we see that it would likely be a waste of time and effort. Live and learn.

The May and June SAT dates would have results out in time for college applications. My junior has a decent SAT score to fall back on and is taking the June SAT. That is the best timing for him as AP exams would be done and dual enrollment classes exams are in late June.

@Roadrunner@crazyforlatin my husband is reading college confidential and people who are getting rejections from UCs are getting out of state acceptances including at Georgia Tech.

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23 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Can you tell me how you know that she will be accepted? This is my first time through the process and I would love to get a better feel for likelihood of acceptance. 

Not the OP but at many schools Honors programs are automatic and the requriements are posted the way automatic merit aid is posted. Or a student may be so far above stats for a school that it is a pretty safe assumption. Others you do have to apply and selection isn't guaranteed. My dc have had all kinds in the schools they have applied to. 

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36 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Can you tell me how you know that she will be accepted? This is my first time through the process and I would love to get a better feel for likelihood of acceptance. 

For admission to college- It depends on the school, but some do have automatic admission based on test scores and GPA.  You can also look at the schools stats (average GPA and ACT scores) and assume if you are there or above you will be accepted.   Some schools are very selective, so it would be harder to know.  

 

For Honors College program- it also depends on the school.  Some offer automatic entrance at certain test scores and GPA, you just hit accept and you are in.  Others want essays and a form filled out, but generally accept anyone that qualifies (see school Honors page for minimum acceptance).  Others are limited, and very competitive and require letters of recommendation,  etc. 

I really like Honors programs if your student qualifies bc it gives priority registration (after 1st semester), gets them involved with good students who have (generally) good study habits.  The dorms are also usually nicer or better located on campus. The Honors classes also tend to be smaller and more conversations in them.  Older is in Honors, Second has also scored well enough for automatic admittance to Honors.  I doubt either will actually go through the whole program, but its nice to start there!  

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3 hours ago, ScoutTN said:

Sorry y'all in CA have it so rough!! 

My Dd will not be applying to selective schools, so we are on a different path. So far we have two regional publics and two private Christian schools on her list. She will be accepted and in the honors college at both of the publics; both are affordable for us. She will get in and be honors college at one of the privates, but money is an unknown. The other private is smaller and more selective than the other schools and hard to predict. I will need more work - hoping for a big PT job - in order to afford the private schools. 
 

She is not interested in our state flagship, but Dh will take her to see it anyway...


 

We’re also focusing on less selective schools and hoping for a higher SAT score to get scholarships.

31 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

The May and June SAT dates would have results out in time for college applications. My junior has a decent SAT score to fall back on and is taking the June SAT. That is the best timing for him as AP exams would be done and dual enrollment classes exams are in late June.

@Roadrunner@crazyforlatin my husband is reading college confidential and people who are getting rejections from UCs are getting out of state acceptances including at Georgia Tech.

Dd is signed up for the June SAT, but it’ll be the first one since 7th grade. Not much time to study due to APs.  Will she have enough time for the next test (August?) for college apps? She does better on practice tests than on the PSAT ( no semi finalist in CA) so she needs a 1500 if we have any chance at all (scholarship) for the local school. I canceled the May exam because I didn’t want her to feel the pressure of SAT and APs. Was that a mistake? 

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29 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

The May and June SAT dates would have results out in time for college applications. My junior has a decent SAT score to fall back on and is taking the June SAT. That is the best timing for him as AP exams would be done and dual enrollment classes exams are in late June.

She’s not a natural test taker, so I think she’d have to prepare for months. When she took the PSAT, she did really well on the verbal, but she approached the math like it was AOPS—she sat there reasoning through everything and taking forever.

If I could do things all over again, I think I would have used the Aleks SAT math program and had her do one lesson per week over the last year or more.

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I have 3 HS juniors, so I needed a jump on this college thing.  Here’s things I’ve learned or done. 
 

I joined College Confidential to read the stories and concerns- things I found out: —Have the financial conversation early with your kid.  many people think the schools or government will provide the money for their kid to go and are shocked at the lack of financial aid.  Meanwhile, they’ve promised their kid their ‘dream’ school.  Our kids don’t have dream schools- they have schools they can afford. Get them excited for those.

-learn now what automatic merit scholarships are out there.  What gpa does your kid need, SAT score etc. Prep and retake the SAT if needed for a better score.  There’s a lot of mo ey attached to that score at some schools.  While some schools have gone TO, many have not or folks are seeing an imbalance with admissions and scholarships. TO kids are not eligible for those automatic merit scholarships.

- it is competitive out there! Our state schools are not safety schools for anyone.  They are just way too competitive.  Have several safety schools you can afford

- the stress folks have because admissions decisions and FA aren’t coming until March, April etc is real.  Some are accepting at their lesser schools because housing and other things have already started.  Watch the timelines! The schools we are looking at have rolling admissions. Our plan is to apply early, get their acceptances and merit, and be done. Then we can relax doing admitted students days etc and they can enjoy their senior year

-some schools with rolling admissions give out their merit aid early and it may run out.  Watch your timelines!

-we’ve been visiting the likely schools.  We’ve been twice to one of them, once to two others, and have a trip planned for the last. Some kids have applied to a dozen schools, haven’t visited, and now are cramming to try and make decisions the last semester of senior year.  Get a lot of that done at a leisurely pace.

- consider travel costs and distance and those realities in considering colleges.

- don’t discount a large school. One that I had thought no way to is our favorite. It has a small honors college within the school, awesome perks for elite students, and various leadership type programs that again make the huge college very intimate. Visit and read online.

-limit!! While it’s okay to cast a wide net now and visit a variety of schools, I suggest narrow it down before applying.  You have more time now to think about pros and cons and how to narrow it down, than you will in March or April trying to make a decision before May 1.

 

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5 minutes ago, crazyforlatin said:

Dd is signed up for the June SAT, but it’ll be the first one since 7th grade. Not much time to study due to APs.  Will she have enough time for the next test (August?) for college apps? She does better on practice tests than on the PSAT ( no semi finalist in CA) so she needs a 1500 if we have any chance at all for the local school. I canceled the May exam because I didn’t want her to feel the pressure of SAT and APs. Was that a mistake? 

DS16 once took a SAT subject test in August and got the results on the second week of test results released. The August SAT results would typically all be released by October.

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And adding: check out now what AP credits transfer for their intended major.  It guided my kids decisions in selecting their senior year courses. I told they could still take an AP course because they were interested in it, but just know that it wouldn’t replace a course at college because they already had those GE courses covered with other APs. Or they could take an AP course that would replace a required freshman or sophomore level course at college. It was at least helpful knowing what the academic track looked like at various colleges and how generous with credit they were

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1 hour ago, SusanC said:

Can you tell me how you know that she will be accepted? This is my first time through the process and I would love to get a better feel for likelihood of acceptance. 

I don’t absolutely know, but the schools are not selective and her scores and grades are easily in the top tier and well above the honor college cutoffs. Dd has strong ECs and is interested in a not-massively-competitive major. 

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Just to add, for those filing or have filed their income tax, keep the documents handy as you would need them for FAFSA. We didn’t apply for FAFSA but the first page of our state universities applications ask for the household income. One of our state university system specifically say to key in the AGI on the 1040 tax form for the household income.

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One thing I haven’t been able to figure out for the life of me. I’ve seen folks on here mention that some universities count a P/F grade as a 0. How do you figure out which universities do that???

I put my junior in a homeschool charter this year so that she could apply as a public school kid, it’s been pretty fantastic, but they do use P/F for PE, work study, and I think maybe a few electives.

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16 minutes ago, rzberrymom said:

One thing I haven’t been able to figure out for the life of me. I’ve seen folks on here mention that some universities count a P/F grade as a 0. How do you figure out which universities do that???

I put my junior in a homeschool charter this year so that she could apply as a public school kid, it’s been pretty fantastic, but they do use P/F for PE, work study, and I think maybe a few electives.

I have no idea about the P/F thing. However, local colleges are well aware that some public high schools were giving out P/F for Spring 2020 to Spring 2021. My friend’s public school junior studied at home from March 2020 to June 2021. 
 

Specifically for UCs https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/response-covid-19.html

How will UC calculate my GPA if I received Pass/No Pass (Credit/No Credit) grades in some A-G courses?

UC will continue to calculate the GPA for admission purposes using all A-G courses passed with letter grades in grades 10 and 11, including summer terms following grades 9, 10 and 11. Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades earned in spring 2020 through summer 2021 will meet A-G subject requirements but will not be calculated in the GPA. Extra points in honors-level coursework will continue to be capped at 8 semesters of honors points in A-G courses completed with letter grades of A, B and C in grades 10 and 11.”

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1 minute ago, Arcadia said:

I have no idea about the P/F thing. However, local colleges are well aware that some public high schools were giving out P/F for Spring 2020 to Spring 2021. My friend’s public school junior studied at home from March 2020 to June 2021. 
 

Specifically for UCs https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/response-covid-19.html

How will UC calculate my GPA if I received Pass/No Pass (Credit/No Credit) grades in some A-G courses?

UC will continue to calculate the GPA for admission purposes using all A-G courses passed with letter grades in grades 10 and 11, including summer terms following grades 9, 10 and 11. Pass (P) or Credit (CR) grades earned in spring 2020 through summer 2021 will meet A-G subject requirements but will not be calculated in the GPA. Extra points in honors-level coursework will continue to be capped at 8 semesters of honors points in A-G courses completed with letter grades of A, B and C in grades 10 and 11.”

I believe the homeschool charter uses P/F for PE and work study specifically so that it doesn’t screw up the UC GPA (not the UC capped, but the unweighted and weighted). So I know we’re ok there.

But, I wasn’t sure how to figure out which private schools may give her a zero for the P/F grades. I’ve seen it mentioned here several times but could never figure it out.

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1 hour ago, crazyforlatin said:

We’re also focusing on less selective schools and hoping for a higher SAT score to get scholarships.

Dd is signed up for the June SAT, but it’ll be the first one since 7th grade. Not much time to study due to APs.  Will she have enough time for the next test (August?) for college apps? She does better on practice tests than on the PSAT ( no semi finalist in CA) so she needs a 1500 if we have any chance at all (scholarship) for the local school. I canceled the May exam because I didn’t want her to feel the pressure of SAT and APs. Was that a mistake? 

Mine took an SAT without studying at all. Why? No time. We had every intention of studying for the English section (he can take the math part sleeping) but alas we could find no time. I thought about cancelling it last minute, but then gave him an option to decide for himself. He opted to take it. A friend of mine keeps telling me reading all of those books IS the preparation, and DS agrees. He feels his Great Books course is a better prep than any prep book. 

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When schools recalculate with their own GPA methodology, they're going to remove classes like PE. I wouldn't worry about a pass for a course like PE. I've given my kids pass for PE simply because they had to have it according to state law. And I've never heard 0 for the states that we've lived in but calculated as a C for academic courses.

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

And why, oh why, would anybody put themselves through College Confidential torture? 

No way!

It is a lot easier to read when you don't have goals of a tippy-top school. I learned a lot from College Confidential. But, I took what I learned and applied it to schools where I knew my kids would be incredibly competitive. That knowledge is why my kids have attended college for free. It is also where I learned how to predict fairly accurately where students would be admitted and where they wouldn't.

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3 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

It is a lot easier to read when you don't have goals of a tippy-top school. I learned a lot from College Confidential. But, I took what I learned and applied it to schools where I knew my kids would be incredibly competitive. That knowledge is why my kids have attended college for free. It is also where I learned how to predict fairly accurately where students would be admitted and where they wouldn't.

I find that forum to be virtually impossible to navigate. A couple of threads I read about UCs when my friend's DD was applying were so unpleasant that I had a bad taste in my mouth. I don't consider UCs like UCSD to be tippy top, yet.... I don't know. I would rather come here and ask here than ever look at CC again. 

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25 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

And I've never heard 0 for the states that we've lived in but calculated as a C for academic courses.

You’re right, that’s what I meant. I’ve seen it mentioned that they calculate a P/F as a C, but I’ve never been able to figure out who does this. Is it something you only find out after the fact? Or can you find it on the schools’ websites?

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@Roadrunner@Arcadia@rzberrymom  and anyone else in CA -- I found some data that breaks down UC admissions by GPA by high school (along with other data like ethnicity, transfer gpa, etc)  which I found interesting.  It goes back to the 90's.  https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/about-us/information-center/admissions-source-school

I am pretty sure it is the UC weighted GPA too -- there were no GPA's over 4.25, which would be the highest possible with the way UC's weight them.  

I think the most interesting thing is that it breaks it down (by school)between the average gpa of the applicants, of the admitted, and of the enrolled, and for some of the campuses the gpa of the enrolled was lower than of the admitted. Not by a lot overall, but it did make me realize that the schools will give their "admitted" student statistics instead of their enrolled statistics.  

 

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28 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

And why, oh why, would anybody put themselves through College Confidential torture? 

No way!

My husband is bored and since we came from a country where we are guaranteed a seat in engineering school if we aced the Cambridge ’A’ levels exams in Math and Physics. 
Reading College Confidential and Reddit  has been useful in finding out about potential financial “discounts” from private colleges. For example, my local not as selective private college tends to give a $10k discount to locals. That means that we can let our teens apply as transfers there because we could afford them taking 3 years to finish as we could commute there. They require 6 months of dorm living so that’s affordable. We did the college tour pre-pandemic and my kids don’t mind going there. 

17 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I don't consider UCs like UCSD to be tippy top, yet.... I don't know. I would rather come here and ask here than ever look at CC again. 

My friend’s public school child who got into UCSD a few years ago didn’t get the first choice major. The child has very high class ranking, awards, good ECs, working experience (as Target cashier), more than the required hours of volunteer work, 8 great AP scores.  So while not tippy top, it is still very competitive.

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55 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

And why, oh why, would anybody put themselves through College Confidential torture? 

No way!

Because you learn a lot.  The timelines and information that people have shared, both good and bad, have been eye opening.  

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19 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

@Roadrunner@Arcadia@rzberrymom  and anyone else in CA -- I found some data that breaks down UC admissions by GPA by high school (along with other data like ethnicity, transfer gpa, etc)  which I found interesting.  It goes back to the 90's.  https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/about-us/information-center/admissions-source-school

I am pretty sure it is the UC weighted GPA too -- there were no GPA's over 4.25, which would be the highest possible with the way UC's weight them.  

 

@crazyforlatin For the not as selective UC which my kid is waitlisted at, the GPA for admitted from my city is already high for 2021

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5 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

@Roadrunner@Arcadia@rzberrymom  and anyone else in CA -- I found some data that breaks down UC admissions by GPA by high school (along with other data like ethnicity, transfer gpa, etc)  which I found interesting.  It goes back to the 90's.  https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/about-us/information-center/admissions-source-school

I am pretty sure it is the UC weighted GPA too -- there were no GPA's over 4.25, which would be the highest possible with the way UC's weight them.  

I think the most interesting thing is that it breaks it down (by school)between the average gpa of the applicants, of the admitted, and of the enrolled, and for some of the campuses the gpa of the enrolled was lower than of the admitted. Not by a lot overall, but it did make me realize that the schools will give their "admitted" student statistics instead of their enrolled statistics.  

I saw that! One of those really helpful nuggets from otherwise crazy CC!!

My DD and I found it fascinating to look through—relatives go to one of the best public HS in the state, where the kids are in a horrific pressure cooker for 4 years, and only 8% of applicants from the school got into UCLA last year. At my local public school, which I thought was supposed to be pretty good, only 3% of applicants got into UCLA last year. At our local very expensive private school, the numbers that got into the selective UCs were 5-6 times higher than at our local public school. So much for equity.

Another thing I found helpful was figure 4 on this link: https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/may21/a1.pdf

I posted that on another thread, but basically it shows that about 83% of UCLA’s freshman admits last year and about 74% of Berkeley’s were ELC kids (eligibility in the local context), which doesn’t apply to anyone with a homeschool PSA. ELC used to be only the top 3% at each high school, but recently it’s gone up to 9% of each high school. And 84% of CA high schools are now ELC schools. When you also factor in the 9% that are UC-eligible state-wide (those that are not ELC) plus the huge number of out-of-state kids that they let in, it seems like there must be barely any room left.

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16 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

Another CA junior here. I don’t know what is wrong with my kid, but he has no interest in visiting any colleges or researching any of them. He just seems to tell us what he doesn’t want, which is less helpful as one might imagine. Nope. I refuse to live in southern CA is as far as we have gotten. 
I think he will end up somewhere in the Midwest. 

Mine aren’t exactly leading the charge 🙂. They’re overwhelmed with junior year and college seems so far off.  I get it. So I’ve done a lot of the research, talking, making appointments for college visits.  I introduce ideas in small chunks, print out stuff, a little conversation here and there.

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

Mine took an SAT without studying at all. Why? No time. We had every intention of studying for the English section (he can take the math part sleeping) but alas we could find no time. I thought about cancelling it last minute, but then gave him an option to decide for himself. He opted to take it. A friend of mine keeps telling me reading all of those books IS the preparation, and DS agrees. He feels his Great Books course is a better prep than any prep book. 

So true, reading so much means DD’s reading/verbal is high but the math is approached just like what the previous poster said. I know there are some tricks to the math section, so we’ll have to work on that. And there are no seats offered in the city, we’ll have to drive far, which is one of the reasons I canceled because I’m not good at driving to places unfamiliar on the highway. 

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GPAs are very tricky business though. CA schools give honors courses the same weight as AP and DE courses, so you can get a very high GPA by not even taking what we on this board consider advance courses. My high school counselor says kids who get into top CUs have GPAs around 4.6 to 4.8

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6 minutes ago, rzberrymom said:

I saw that! One of those really helpful nuggets from otherwise crazy CC!!

My DD and I found it fascinating to look through—relatives go to one of the best public HS in the state, where the kids are in a horrific pressure cooker for 4 years, and only 8% of applicants from the school got into UCLA last year. At my local public school, which I thought was supposed to be pretty good, only 3% of applicants got into UCLA last year. At our local very expensive private school, the numbers that got into the selective UCs were 5-6 times higher than at our local public school. So much for equity.

Another thing I found helpful was figure 4 on this link: https://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/regmeet/may21/a1.pdf

I posted that on another thread, but basically it shows that about 83% of UCLA’s freshman admits last year and about 74% of Berkeley’s were ELC kids (eligibility in the local context), which doesn’t apply to anyone with a homeschool PSA. ELC used to be only the top 3% at each high school, but recently it’s gone up to 9% of each high school. And 84% of CA high schools are now ELC schools. When you also factor in the 9% that are UC-eligible state-wide (those that are not ELC) plus the huge number of out-of-state kids that they let in, it seems like there must be barely any room left.

Exactly. I think if you want a UC, you are so much better off in public school, and those include public charters. I think a lot of homeschoolers who argue how homeschooling isn't a big deal for UCs are in reality public schoolers through charters.

I will say though that our local private school has a very hard time placing kids into top UCs and much easier time placing them into top privates for the same reasons PSA kids have trouble. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

Exactly. I think if you want a UC, you are so much better off in public school, and those include public charters. I think a lot of homeschoolers who argue how homeschooling isn't a big deal for UCs are in reality public schoolers through charters.

I will say though that our local private school has a very hard time placing kids into top UCs and much easier time placing them into top privates for the same reasons PSA kids have trouble. 

I’ve noticed this too about private schools and UCs here, though we’re actually not that far from you. I’m not sure if private school kids are that interested in UCs; we’ve talked to some who haven’t bothered applying. Most of them are in top 20 private schools.  And of course most of them can pay the full price of private schools.

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4 minutes ago, crazyforlatin said:

I’ve noticed this too about private schools and UCs here, though we’re actually not that far from you. I’m not sure if private school kids are that interested in UCs; we’ve talked to some who haven’t bothered applying. Most of them are in top 20 private schools.  And of course most of them can pay the full price of private schools.

Maybe. I know this from the (now retired) private school counselor, a friend of a friend. 

I think you have nothing to worry about because you aren't PSA. You made a smart decision. 

 

Just editing to add, you have nothing to worry about legitimacy issues, not that you don't have to worry at all. I think PSA kids, real homeschool kids who have home grades (and sadly we have more than I should), have a very different mountain to climb in CA. 

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