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High School Counselor's Mixed Messages

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Replies to: High School Counselor's Mixed Messages

  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 1,858 Senior Member
    if you are in California and are not gonna qualify for aid at a top private IMO the top UCs are an excellent and probably better choice.
  • MaterSMaterS Registered User Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    edited October 12
  • pickledgingerpickledginger Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    @ccprofandmomof2 , you're getting some great advice on this thread.

    I would add that this process is really one of those opportunities to remember that life (and getting your child/ren through college admissions) is a marathon, not a sprint. Try to pace yourself, because you have a way to go and plenty of time to gather information. Wishing you an exciting, but not too exciting, ride!
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,084 Senior Member
    You're daughter is only a 9th grader so you have plenty of time to learn and help guide the process. Don't obsess about it too much, IMO, because that can stress out the kids, which we see often here. Right now, the best thing your daughter can do is focus on her academics and develop involvement in extra-curricular activities that interest her and align with any passions she might have. For you, I'd say the homework would be to pinpoint what you can afford and what you may or may not qualify for in terms of need based aid at a range of colleges and universities.
  • InfoQuestMomInfoQuestMom Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    If you are not aiming at the expensive elite universities, you need to have a frank and clear conversation with your daughter. She will need to have confidence in her choices, because it seems clear the a great number of her peers will be aiming for a place in one of the top privates. She will need to know that a UC can be as good as where her peers will be going. Emphasize that what matters is what you do in college, not where you go to college.

    A friend of mine just survived her daughter's senior year, and it wasn't pretty. So much pressure when all your classmates are applying without care about cost.

    All the best!
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 18,557 Senior Member
    My kids are fortunate to attend a rigorous private high school. ..... We are lucky to have what I assume is good college counseling .... For instance, the counselor mentioned that she wouldn't let a kid apply as a math or science major unless they had done an internship in high school

    If your daughter was in public school, you wouldn't be thearing nonsense like that.

    For competitive admissions, then it is important that the student profile "matches" their proposed major -- so it is important for prospective STEM majors to take appropriate STEM AP courses, and have strong test scores and grades in math & science courses. Ideally the kid also participated in STEM-related EC's -- for example, a math team or science club.
    The only reason she did private HS is because she really, really wanted an all-female HS experience.

    I am wondering whether your daughter has chosen a private school that is more humanities-focused and is weaker in terms of its math and science offerings. Perhaps the counselor's comments are a refelction of the school's own limitation -- do they offer a full array of AP Physics and AP Calc courses? Her comment may reflect a lack of on-campus opportunities for STEM-oriented students. "Private" doesn't always mean better.

    For ultracompetitive admissions (like Ivies), students don't necessarily have internships, but many participate in activities like math or science competitions -- and it could be that the private school doesn't have the resources to support those fully. Sometimes "resources" depend on number of students, not just how much money their parents are paying - so if it is a smaller high school, that could be a limitation. So in that case, the counselor would be looking for "internship" because "Robotics Team" isn't an option.

    I do think that as your daughter is only a 9th grader, all she should be worrying about this year is her grades. Make sure you are aware of the UC A-G course requirements for admission -- I don't know if it is a problem nowadays, but I remember years ago that some California private schools weren't adequately preparing their students for UC admissions when UC first instituted the arts requirements (so STEM kids who were shut out of UC admissions because they hadn't taken a year's worth of visual or performing art classes). See http://ucop.edu/agguide/a-g-requirements/

    And no, it is not your job to form connections to find your daughter an internship in any case.

  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 2,865 Senior Member
    For many colleges you do not apply by major, so the GC comment doesn't even apply in a lot of cases.
    If I were you, I would set up an appointment with her or send an email and ask for clarity on the internship comment. Perhaps she meant some type of science program outside of school. Ask for specific examples of internships or programs that students were involved in.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,716 Senior Member
    @ccprofandmomof2 , you have plenty of time to learn what you need to know, so you're not behind or missing anything. Your daughter is only a freshman. Right now, you need to make sure she is taking classes at the appropriate level and has time to do her homework well. That's it. The other stuff will follow.

    Your GC told that story only as a cautionary tale to tailor your college lists well. It wasn't the lack of internships that shut the kid out, it was the fact that he/she only applied to reach schools. GCs these days are nervous about parents whose ambition for their children outstrips their child's talent or resume, or who think that their brilliant kid is the only one--you know, the Stanford-or-bust parents.

    If your child is an excellent student, it's easy to dream big. You see only your child's accomplishments and don't really have a sense of how other kids compare, so you think, wow, my kid really should be shooting for the Ivies. It is this that the counselor was warning parents to guard against. A valedictorian with perfect SATs isn't a shoo-in anywhere, although she is certainly competitive everywhere.

    When the time comes, your daughter should have a list of easy, moderate, and difficult to get into schools, and she will be fine.
  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Thank you! This is exactly what I need--a place to start! You all are so helpful!!!
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 2,158 Senior Member
    You're daughter is only a 9th grader so you have plenty of time to learn and help guide the process. Don't obsess about it too much, IMO, because that can stress out the kids, which we see often here. Right now, the best thing your daughter can do is focus on her academics and develop involvement in extra-curricular activities that interest her and align with any passions she might have. For you, I'd say the homework would be to pinpoint what you can afford and what you may or may not qualify for in terms of need based aid at a range of colleges and universities.

    This. Very much this. We were fortunate to have very good individual counselors for both our kids, although I understand where you are coming from because the head of the guidance department at my daughter's school (who did all the presentations/sent home all the information) really came up with some head scratchers. I would urge you to remember that statements don't become true simply because they are made from a podium, and everyone has their own biases and preferences. If something strikes you as dissonant, invest the time and do some research. This is a very good source, but like most internet sources you need to put in the effort to figure out which voices to heed on any given topic. There are a number of regular posters here who clearly spend a good amount of time in the college admissions thicket, and I personally am very grateful for the knowledge I stole from them over the past 4-5 years. Another great source of basic info are the college's web sites themselves. Lots of schools put out information as to what types of things are required, what kinds of things are recommended, etc. Once you get some knowledge under your belt, the common data set for each school that publishes it is a tremendous resource for comparing how various colleges weight certain factors. Parents of kids from your daughter's high school with kids attending colleges you are considering can also be a great source of information.

    Personally, I have two kids, both STEM majors or prospective majors (the oldest is a declared bio/chem guy, the youngest is a freshman planning on neuro science). Both are at very good schools. Neither had a science-y internship in high school. The older kid worked landscaping in the summer when he wasn't running into people at football camp, and the younger one waited tables and worked at theater camps for little kids when she wasn't performing or marching in the band. My daughter's best friend is a prospective physics major at a well regarded LAC. Her only jobs in high school was working with my daughter at theater camp and banging the cash register at the local drug store. Come to think of it, the only kid in either of my kids' friend groups who I know had a legit "science" internship (worked at the local NASA facility) is now a classics major, lol.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 24,183 Senior Member
    She specifically said, "I would never have let her apply in Physics without an Internship."

    And you are paying private school tuition for this type of counseling? (I'd ask for a refund.)

    fwiw: Physics majors better have strong math skills, as evidenced by SAT and SAT II-M. Physics at some of the UC's is offered in the College of Arts and Sciences where intended major is NOT an admissions criteria.
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