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High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Old Sep 29th 2009, 12:58 pm
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Default High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Is it just me or is anyone else a little jittery over this? We've got a high school junior and after meeting with the school's college counselor yesterday I've realized this college stuff is rushing towards us way too fast and we are ill prepared. College visits, SAT's ACT's, GPA's .... my head is spinning. For those of you who have already crossed this bridge what words of advice can you impart? Any do's or don'ts? Anything you wish you had done differently?
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Is it just me or is anyone else a little jittery over this? We've got a high school junior and after meeting with the school's college counselor yesterday I've realized this college stuff is rushing towards us way too fast and we are ill prepared. College visits, SAT's ACT's, GPA's .... my head is spinning. For those of you who have already crossed this bridge what words or advice can you impart? Any do's or don'ts? Anything you wish you had done differently?
For the schools we were looking at, ACT was pointless, so we just concentrated on the SAT. Get one of those SAT preparation books to prepare for the test. Most students take junior SAT in their junior year and the real SAT at least twice in their senior year.

In addition there are the subject SATs. Most colleges require at least 2 or 3 of those.

Then there's AP classes/exams. Again, the 'good' colleges will require a bunch of those.

The important thing is to check out the requirements of the colleges you are considering and check their requirements, which may be different (read: more arduous) than what is required for high school graduation.

I would also suggest reading some of the books aimed at helping with college preparation that are available from the library.

It can become an all-consuming process, but I think it makes sense to focus on a limited number of colleges that represent realistic options. If you are thinking Ivy League, it gets much, much more complicated.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Is it just me or is anyone else a little jittery over this? We've got a high school junior and after meeting with the school's college counselor yesterday I've realized this college stuff is rushing towards us way too fast and we are ill prepared. College visits, SAT's ACT's, GPA's .... my head is spinning. For those of you who have already crossed this bridge what words of advice can you impart? Any do's or don'ts? Anything you wish you had done differently?
Your post made me smile, we have a son in Junior high this year, hubby said to me last night, we need to start looking online at scholarships/colleges etc (with Son) to find out where he needs to go/do to get the courses he wants to do I was thinking we could leave it all till next year, but no! Hubbs says JH is the time to start getting all our ducks in a row

Advice would be very helpful here too
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
For the schools we were looking at, ACT was pointless, so we just concentrated on the SAT. Get one of those SAT preparation books to prepare for the test. Most students take junior SAT in their junior year and the real SAT at least twice in their senior year.

In addition there are the subject SATs. Most colleges require at least 2 or 3 of those.

Then there's AP classes/exams. Again, the 'good' colleges will require a bunch of those.
That's one of things that is in our area of "whoops". Son isn't taking any of those presently. He was planning on taking a couple in his senior year but apparently (according to the college counselor) that won't really help his college application because they look more at the AP's and GPA from their Junior year. Feel like we've dropped the ball on that one.

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
The important thing is to check out the requirements of the colleges you are considering and check their requirements, which may be different (read: more arduous) than what is required for high school graduation.

I would also suggest reading some of the books aimed at helping with college preparation that are available from the library.

It can become an all-consuming process, but I think it makes sense to focus on a limited number of colleges that represent realistic options. If you are thinking Ivy League, it gets much, much more complicated.
So you suggest narrowing down possible colleges and then looking closely at what the entry requirements are?
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Englishtart View Post
Your post made me smile, we have a son in Junior high this year, hubby said to me last night, we need to start looking online at scholarships/colleges etc (with Son) to find out where he needs to go/do to get the courses he wants to do I was thinking we could leave it all till next year, but no! Hubbs says JH is the time to start getting all our ducks in a row

Advice would be very helpful here too
Definitely don't leave it till senior year!!!

I think the Junior SAT is usually taken in October or November of junior year. This is also how they select the National Merit Scholars. (We were very pi$$ed off because one of our little darlings qualified through his score but did not get it because at the time he was not a LPR :curse
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
That's one of things that is in our area of "whoops". Son isn't taking any of those presently. He was planning on taking a couple in his senior year but apparently (according to the college counselor) that won't really help his college application because they look more at the AP's and GPA from their Junior year. Feel like we've dropped the ball on that one.

So you suggest narrowing down possible colleges and then looking closely at what the entry requirements are?
That is correct re. the APs. However, I think it will still be helpful if he takes them in his senior year because the AOs will at least see that he is committed. Is he taking any Honors classes - those are useful too.

Does your son know what he may want to major in? This could help narrow down the selection of colleges. For us it was easy - being based in California, we just limited ourselves to UC campuses. (Briefly looked at some private schools but seeing that we probably would not qualify for FA we quickly dismissed that idea...)

NB: It's important to have a 'safety school' - just in case the preferred options don't pan out.

Be aware that each college will require an application fee - was about $50 each a few years ago.)

And it's never too soon to start drafting that Statement
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Definitely don't leave it till senior year!!!

I think the Junior SAT is usually taken in October or November of junior year. This is also how they select the National Merit Scholars. (We were very pi$$ed off because one of our little darlings qualified through his score but did not get it because at the time he was not a LPR :curse
Yep, our son is scheduled to take his PSAT in October. The thing that freaked me out was when the school sent out an email to remind parents to schedule testing for the SAT and ACT. I wasn't prepared for that. I just thought the schools arranged it all, like the exams at UK schools. Hence my appointment with the college counselor yesterday .... I realised I didn't really understand all this college stuff and that I needed to go find out what was what. Trouble is once you start asking questions it all seems a little overwhelming and confusing.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Is it just me or is anyone else a little jittery over this? We've got a high school junior and after meeting with the school's college counselor yesterday I've realized this college stuff is rushing towards us way too fast and we are ill prepared. College visits, SAT's ACT's, GPA's .... my head is spinning. For those of you who have already crossed this bridge what words of advice can you impart? Any do's or don'ts? Anything you wish you had done differently?
What Elvira said.

My daughter's school started the college process early...visiting colleges in the Junior year or earlier. SAT's were out of the way by the first few weeks of the Senior year and college applications followed.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
That is correct re. the APs. However, I think it will still be helpful if he takes them in his senior year because the AOs will at least see that he is committed. Is he taking any Honors classes - those are useful too.

Does your son know what he may want to major in? This could help narrow down the selection of colleges. For us it was easy - being based in California, we just limited ourselves to UC campuses. (Briefly looked at some private schools but seeing that we probably would not qualify for FA we quickly dismissed that idea...)

NB: It's important to have a 'safety school' - just in case the preferred options don't pan out.

Be aware that each college will require an application fee - was about $50 each a few years ago.)

And it's never too soon to start drafting that Statement
He is taking an honors class this year. No idea what he wants to major in at all. He keeps changing his mind from one week to the next. He had his eye on one state university, but I found out yesterday that his GPA isn't high enough and they won't even look at his application, so he was gutted about that. Still it may make him buck his ideas up.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Yep, our son is scheduled to take his PSAT in October. The thing that freaked me out was when the school sent out an email to remind parents to schedule testing for the SAT and ACT. I wasn't prepared for that. I just thought the schools arranged it all, like the exams at UK schools. Hence my appointment with the college counselor yesterday .... I realised I didn't really understand all this college stuff and that I needed to go find out what was what. Trouble is once you start asking questions it all seems a little overwhelming and confusing.
Start by having your son register at the College Board site:

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/...g/sat/reg.html

(Make sure you use the official site as there are some private ones that charge you $$$ just for registering)

NB: All the testing costs $$$ too. Your CC will be worn to shreds by the end of it all...

On the site you will see the dates and locations for SAT testing. It is a good idea to book one for the spring, as a kind of practise run. Then he can do 1 or 2 more in the autumn. Book early because some dates/locations get filled very quickly. Also note that the final SAT - the one that the colleges accept - needs to be done by a certain date. IIRC it is early October in the senior year, though I'm a bit hazy on that. Again, I would look at the application process of one college to get an idea, as the process is pretty similar for most public colleges.

Last edited by Elvira; Sep 29th 2009 at 1:43 pm. Reason: typing in the dark...
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Oh - and expect little or no help with any of this from the high-school or the counsellors...
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
Oh - and expect little or no help with any of this from the high-school or the counsellors...
We got that too...very little help and absolutely no help preparing for the SATs.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
He is taking an honors class this year. No idea what he wants to major in at all. He keeps changing his mind from one week to the next. He had his eye on one state university, but I found out yesterday that his GPA isn't high enough and they won't even look at his application, so he was gutted about that. Still it may make him buck his ideas up.
You have to be realistic: with a lowish GPA, no APs and just one Honors class, his options for college may be somewhat limited. Particularly if he has no clear idea of what he wants the study. (Hint: a purposeful Statement that shows that the student has thought deeply about his academic future can greatly enhance the chances of admission!)

Have you considered Community College for the first 2 years, and then transfer to a proper college? A lot of colleges have an established path for accepting transfers from CCs.

CC is also a lot cheaper/
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Guiding a teenager toward college

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
He is taking an honors class this year. No idea what he wants to major in at all. He keeps changing his mind from one week to the next. He had his eye on one state university, but I found out yesterday that his GPA isn't high enough and they won't even look at his application, so he was gutted about that. Still it may make him buck his ideas up.
IMO it's worth visiting the colleges he's interested in and making an appointment to see the admissions director. I found most of the American parents had strategies worked out...usually before the child could even walk. They knew where they wanted their child to go and focused in on it. They would following the sports teams around the country to make their child known to the athletics coach...same with musical events.
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Old Sep 29th 2009, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: High School Junior + College = Head Spinning

Originally Posted by Sue View Post
Is it just me or is anyone else a little jittery over this? We've got a high school junior and after meeting with the school's college counselor yesterday I've realized this college stuff is rushing towards us way too fast and we are ill prepared. College visits, SAT's ACT's, GPA's .... my head is spinning. For those of you who have already crossed this bridge what words of advice can you impart? Any do's or don'ts? Anything you wish you had done differently?
In Ohio, kids take the SATs and ACTs....sometimes 2X each. Different schools want different scores. In the Midwest, the ACT is the way to go, but it is gaining popularity on the coasts (esp. East Coast). Many schools are now taking either score or considering the ACT alongside the SAT. Being in NC, I would definately take both....the school guidance counselor is the best source for this info though. Better to take them than to find out later that the school you really want to go to requires the one you didn't take.

Nice article at http://www.fastweb.com/college-searc...at-alternative

"Historically, the ACT has been popular with students in the Midwest, while the SAT has been the favored exam on the East and West coasts. But in 2006the number of students taking the ACT on the East Coast increased by nine percent, with some states, like New Jersey, seeing increases of up to 33 percent."

My kids took both. My son's ACT score kept him from having to take a remedial math course in college even though entrance was based on SAT scores. My daughter took the ACT 2X and the SAT one time. She is at Ohio State and they wanted her ACT scores (as does most other Ohio schools).

As for AP courses/exams, colleges cannot require these as all high school are not able to offer them. AP courses/exams look good on your transcript, though. My daughter chose to take only one AP course, German, but graduated in the top of her class. She scored extremely high in math on the SAT and ACT and had a great GPA from a high school with a good academic reputation. She had no probs getting in to the school of her choice. She did a bit of volunteering throughout HS also.

Last edited by tamms_1965; Sep 29th 2009 at 1:50 pm.
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