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High School Transition

High School Transition

Old May 30th 2015, 12:57 am
  #1  
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Default High School Transition

Hi everyone. My husband has recently been offered a job in New York and next Summer we will be moving there, along with my 15-year-old daughter. We have all the visas sorted out with the company (I believe my daughter and I will have L2 visas). My daughter will have taken her GCSE's by next Summer, which I believe to be the equivalent of a U.S. High School Diploma (correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore I've been looking into what will become of her education and I'm a little confused to say the least.

There's the option of an IB, however not many schools seem to offer this in the suburbs of New York (we're mostly looking at moving to Westchester County). Going to a normal, state high school seems to be a flexible plan in that there are more infinitely more schools to choose from. However, her GCSE's declare her to have completed a U.S. High School already, which leaves us the option of a community college but my daughter was not very keen on this suggestion. What about AP's? They seem to be of a similar standard to A levels, could she join High School in eleventh grade and only study these?
I also looked into the general curriculum for high schools in NY, which further confused me because they seem to study about six subjects in eleventh grade alone, then another five in grade 12. That would mean she would have 11 AP's, which can't possible be right if these are equivalent to A Levels. My daughter is very academic, but certainly not enough so to be doing the equivalent of 11 A Levels in two years!

What are your thoughts on this? Any and all advice would be very much appreciated, especially if you've been in a similar situation yourself. Thanks in advance x
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Old May 30th 2015, 1:49 am
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Default Re: High School Transition

GCSE's are not the equivalent of high school diploma. That would be the equivalent of "A" levels.

There really have been loads of threads lately concerning education, especially that for high school kids. Try using the search :-).

The question that you need to think about is where she will go to Uni - in the US or in the UK. The answer to that determines some of your choices.
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Old May 30th 2015, 4:58 am
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Default Re: High School Transition

5 GCSE passes at grade C or higher are considered the rough equivalent of a US High School Diploma (without Honors or 'Advanced Placement' (AP) classes).
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Old May 30th 2015, 8:30 am
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Default Re: High School Transition

I agree with PF ... Make a decision about best choice for college, and then determine exactly what she will need to be accepted there. If college in the US is what she's aiming for, then a year or two at community college might fit the bill, because that could qualify her for graduating from a four year college...
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Old May 30th 2015, 9:40 am
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Default Re: High School Transition

We are moving over this summer with our son who will just have completed his GCSEs. Whilst he will have covered most prerequisites for the High School Diploma, there are a couple of courses he will still need to do, namely US history and a further algebra class. He's now pleased that he did French as GCSE otherwise he would have had to do a year of a World Language.

He's going to High School for the next 2 years and will do a combination of AP classes and a course at the local technology centre in video production (he's an a* media student and that would have been first choice A level). He's also going to be taking the external SAT exams. All of this will then give him the option of studying at universities in either the US or UK.
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Old May 30th 2015, 10:53 am
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Default Re: High School Transition

Sorry for asking questions that may have already been asked in other threads. I'm new here!

As for whether my daughter will go to a U.S. or UK Uni, she hasn't yet decided. Keeping both doors open would be the ideal option.

Thank you Springy6 for the information about your son - it's nice to know someone else is in a similar situation! I am further optimistic she could have her GCSE's translated into a High School Diploma, then join eleventh grade and complete any other graduation requirements (like US History) and also study a few AP's.

The only real concern I still have is whether the transition from GCSE's to AP's will be very difficult or not. Both exams are structured very differently. Obviously I'd like her education to be as academically challenging as possible, but not so that she struggles to keep up.

Also, if she decides to go to a UK Uni, will this be difficult if she only has AP's, not an IB or A Levels? I understand the IB is a more challenging qualification that's more easily recognised in the UK rather than AP's.

Sorry if I've asked any questions already answered on other threads. Thanks
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Old May 30th 2015, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

As with many American parents, you should probably decide what you need for your daughter's education and then look for housing nearby. US school districts are typically totally inflexible, but in any case commuting a significant distance to a school accepting non-local students or to a private school could become a logistical nightmare in greater NYC. That is to say, if you commit to a house first you will have far fewer options to choose from for your daughter's education.
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Old May 30th 2015, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

Originally Posted by girl_that_travels View Post
Hi everyone. My husband has recently been offered a job in New York and next Summer we will be moving there, along with my 15-year-old daughter. We have all the visas sorted out with the company (I believe my daughter and I will have L2 visas). My daughter will have taken her GCSE's by next Summer, which I believe to be the equivalent of a U.S. High School Diploma (correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore I've been looking into what will become of her education and I'm a little confused to say the least.

There's the option of an IB, however not many schools seem to offer this in the suburbs of New York (we're mostly looking at moving to Westchester County). Going to a normal, state high school seems to be a flexible plan in that there are more infinitely more schools to choose from. However, her GCSE's declare her to have completed a U.S. High School already, which leaves us the option of a community college but my daughter was not very keen on this suggestion. What about AP's? They seem to be of a similar standard to A levels, could she join High School in eleventh grade and only study these?
I also looked into the general curriculum for high schools in NY, which further confused me because they seem to study about six subjects in eleventh grade alone, then another five in grade 12. That would mean she would have 11 AP's, which can't possible be right if these are equivalent to A Levels. My daughter is very academic, but certainly not enough so to be doing the equivalent of 11 A Levels in two years!

What are your thoughts on this? Any and all advice would be very much appreciated, especially if you've been in a similar situation yourself. Thanks in advance x
We live in Westchester - no kids but my wife is a teacher (from the US and taught at uni level in the UK). She thinks the Hackley School in Tarrytown offers the IB. It'll be super-expensive though. She does not recommend the EF Academy in Thornwood (who definitely do so the IB)

She says AP classes are broadly equivalent to a UK AS Level in that esch takes one academic year. Students aren't usually expected (unless they're super-bright) to take all the AP classes offered rather they specialize - typically a good student would take 8 over their last two years in HS.

Edit to add: my wife says UK unis will accept an American high school diploma as qualifying for a UK undergraduate course. AP is most useful in the US as each AP class completed counts as a credit towards an undergraduate degree at most US colleges, meaning the student doesn't have to take (and pay for) as many classes at college.

Last edited by rpjs; May 30th 2015 at 1:37 pm.
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Old May 30th 2015, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

It was recommended to us to work out which UK universities my son would have applied to were we in the UK and look at their international student requirements. This has led us to a minimum of 5 AP classes as well as the external SATs scores over the next 2 years - enough to keep him busy!

You'll see from some of the other threads that finding the right school was our number one priority - that's now thrown up some housing challenges but I'm sure we'll get there in the end.
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Old May 30th 2015, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

Originally Posted by girl_that_travels View Post
There's the option of an IB, however not many schools seem to offer this in the suburbs of New York (we're mostly looking at moving to Westchester County).
That's typical. Not every school will offer IB. Sometimes there are special programs like IB and others (sometimes called "magnet" programs) that are offered at a few schools that accept applications from students outside the school's catchment area. You typically have to apply and take a test.

Originally Posted by girl_that_travels View Post
Going to a normal, state high school seems to be a flexible plan in that there are more infinitely more schools to choose from. However, her GCSE's declare her to have completed a U.S. High School already, which leaves us the option of a community college but my daughter was not very keen on this suggestion. What about AP's? They seem to be of a similar standard to A levels, could she join High School in eleventh grade and only study these?
You only get to choose your "normal, state high school" (known as public high school) in as much as you get to choose where you live. Your public high school is determined by where you live. The exception would be if you were accepted into a special program at another high school (e.g. IB) as I mentioned above. An alternative would be to attend a private school.

Originally Posted by girl_that_travels View Post
I also looked into the general curriculum for high schools in NY, which further confused me because they seem to study about six subjects in eleventh grade alone, then another five in grade 12. That would mean she would have 11 AP's, which can't possible be right if these are equivalent to A Levels. My daughter is very academic, but certainly not enough so to be doing the equivalent of 11 A Levels in two years!
You don't have to take every subject to AP level. I doubt that every subject has an AP exam anyway. In addition, AP's are definitely not equivalent to A Levels. I'd say that an AP course is roughly 50% of an A level.
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Old May 30th 2015, 4:00 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

The kids may be classed as international students if they want to go to a UK uni. Several of my daughters US friends went to uni's in the UK...IMO the bar seemed to be a lot lower for IS students than it was for residents of the UK. I know of a couple of US students who got places at the same uni as my daughter's UK friends applied to but didn't get a place. The U.S. Students were by no means academics...in fact one gave up after a year. One of the UK friends is now a doctor...another a high school teacher.
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Old May 30th 2015, 5:22 pm
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Kid would need to have been in the EU for 3 years prior starting uni to get home UK rates, which comes in to play when getting students loans. Difference between paying up front or once earning a threshold after graduating.

Another concern would be on the L2, the kid wouldn't be allowed to work. That can be a issue for some kids who want to do part time work, either for the money or resume building and to fit in with other kids, especially when going to college.
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Old May 30th 2015, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Kid would need to have been in the EU for 3 years prior starting uni to get home UK rates, which comes in to play when getting students loans. Difference between paying up front or once earning a threshold after graduating.

Another concern would be on the L2, the kid wouldn't be allowed to work. That can be a issue for some kids who want to do part time work, either for the money or resume building and to fit in with other kids, especially when going to college.
Not necessarily...there are posts in the MBTTUK forum where some UK uni's have accepted students whose parents are on temp work visas overseas as UK residents for uni fees.
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Old May 30th 2015, 5:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Not necessarily...there are posts in the MBTTUK forum where some UK uni's have accepted students whose parents are on temp work visas overseas as UK residents for uni fees.
Company transfers, sure.

Wouldn't want to rely on it though as it's all hit or miss depending on local authority...and dependent on folks not going for greencards and planning on staying.
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Old May 30th 2015, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: High School Transition

If you're on an L2 then you've a good chance that the kids will be accepted as domestic kids. However, this then throws up "challenges" here.

If you've got a green card, no hope as domestic student in the UK but it does make life easier here....

Also, based on my experience (not good...) make sure that the school district you choose accepts studies done outside the district for GPA credit. Ours didn't and it made life a bit more difficult. ASK!!!
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