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African American parents....

NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom Registered User Posts: 2,022 Senior Member
edited December 2012 in Parents Forum
I have been here on CC for a few months now and I have become curious about the # of African American parents here on CC... I would love to hear your experiences as a parent of an AA student and how you are navigating your way through the whole high school/collge selection/college admission process. As the issues we face can be different from others..

Another issue for me is that there are few AA parents who are as concerned/involved as I at her school/in my neighborhood(she sticks out like a sore thumb where we live).

Issues that I/she faces:

My dd14's inner city magnet hs guidance counselor who is apathetic/overworked and is not too fond of this knowledgeable/involved parent. I can say that there may be just a handful of parents at the school that have high expectations for their children... so I think they see me as an anamoly....she only met with my dd14 in January of her freshman year b/c my dtr went to her and requested a meeting... and her response to my daughter was "for what?"

A school that was once a power house in this city, but now faces issues of lazy teachers/administrators, throngs of kids who are underachievers putting kids like my DD14 in the minority. Almost 1/3 of her class is in jeopardy of repeating 9th grade unless they complete summer school...

Ensuring that my dd will be ready/prepared for the college admission process in 2 years 3 weeks(I am sure the common app is available on 8/1 every year?).. and by ready, I mean being able to apply to/be a contender @ highly selective schools... as far as grades, ec's, SAT scores, LOR's etc. I NEVER want it said that the only reason she got in is b/c she is URM. I want her package to speak for itself...

I am very thankful that I stumbled upon CC... its a place where other parents share my thirst for knowledge in all things college! Which has been lacking in my life up to this point!!!
Post edited by NewHavenCTmom on

Replies to: African American parents....

  • momof3sonsmomof3sons Registered User Posts: 5,116 Senior Member
    NewHavenCTmom, this was a very lively thread and might help you reach out to other like-minded parents


    edit-when I copied and pasted that thread, certain words were highlighted in red-sorry, but I have no idea why-I am semi-technologically challenged. :)
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member
    That's because your link contained your search parameters:

    To avoid the highlights, simply remove the part that follows the .html.

  • NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom Registered User Posts: 2,022 Senior Member
    Thanks guys... much appreciated... and XIGGI... you rock! :)
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Registered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    You might want to visit this sub forum.
    African-American Students - College Confidential
  • TriguenaTriguena Registered User Posts: 161 Junior Member
    Hey there NewHavenCTmom. There was a very active group of parents when my son was applying to college. I found this group to be a welcome source of support and information. You are starting early in the game which is a good idea. It is scary how quickly fall of senior year sneaks up. If your DD has Ivy dreams watch that she is in the most rigorous classes available at your school. Unfortunately students don't enter that track their freshman year and by the time senior roll around it is too late for change. If she is at all a STEM student make sure she is on the track for at the very least AB calculus her senior year.

    Also watch out for foreign language. Four years is the standard for Ivy like schools.

    Not all kids are Ivy kids so familiarize yourself with the dizzying array of LACs out there. These schools somehow don't hit the radar of many URMs.

    Also, summer before senior year make it count by doing a summer program. My son did LEAD (a summer business program) and not only did he have a great learning experience but it punched up his college application.

    Feel free to PM me if you have questions. My son is a junior in college now so I don't hit this board much anymore. Just on a boring Friday night............
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Registered User Posts: 11,788 Senior Member
    "African American parents....'

    I am one, but hope to do a twelve step program, and let it go, since my youngest just graduated. Not an Ivy OR LAC kid, not even a typical CC kid (btw, CC kids are different from the parents of CC kids). Sort of regular as college applicants are concerned, but in some ways a hot commodity. My D is a different story, and is a rising senior at a more "CC type" school.

    the original...


    ...but don't tell Fabrizio ( jk!!)
  • reeinazreeinaz Registered User Posts: 1,531 Senior Member
    My son is a rising junior and we have no ivy aspirations here :) He attends a good magnet school in a mediocre, urban school district. He's a B student and completely fine with that. I'm learning to be fine with that. :)
  • poetsheartpoetsheart Registered User Posts: 5,503 Senior Member
    Twelve step program---too funny shrinkwrap! I surely must need one, in that my D graduated college in '08!:eek: We never qualified for the "upper middle-class black posters" thread, though. Unless just over 70 grand a year qualifies---a financial milestone we recently reached.:p
  • GA2012MOMGA2012MOM Registered User Posts: 5,440 Senior Member
    I would love to hear your experiences as a parent of an AA student and how you are navigating your way through the whole high school/collge selection/college admission process. As the issues we face can be different from others..

    I am not AA myself, but I have a rising senior AA daughter who is at a top LAC. I know my daughters school as well as other top LAC's go all out to attract URM's with diversity weekends, usually early fall in the HS students senior year. I second triguena regarding the math track and 4 years of a foriegn language, that is assuming your child is aiming for a top tier school. You are so lucky to have found CC so early in your daughters HS years!
  • NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom Registered User Posts: 2,022 Senior Member

    Let me start by saying thank you!! For your suggestions/input... We are FAR from middle class(that changed upon divorce) but I have still had high expectations of my children and expect model behavior/respect/decency for all those they come in contact with. My son is at UNH here in CT and did EVERYTHING by himself when he applied to college 3 years ago... he wanted NO input and looking back, he probably should have accepted my assistance...his stubborness has gotten him into some tight spots but he is a good kid, his sister has more maturity in her left pinky than he has in his whole body!

    My dd14 has her eyes set on the ivies and she has the grades thus far to be a contender..she is a serious/motivated/bright/poised student and I always wonder if I brought the wrong baby home from the hospital...

    @Triguena, the majority of her classes last year were honors(she got into the school 3 days before school started and many of the honors classes were filled!! Much to my dismay)... she came from a catholic school and the public school system automatically puts private school kids on the honors track. without placement testing.. She breezed through ALL of the classes and was high honors all year.. so i had to push for more rigor next year and insist on adding an AP class into the mix... which the gc's AND principal frown upon... they feel that kids arent ready for AP's til Jr year... so after much debate/struggle.. it was allowed.

    She does have interest in the ivies and I have made it clear that if thats the direction she is heading in, she has to look a certain way when her app hits the desks of the adcoms.. and if she isnt going to consisitently work towards that distinction, then don't waste her time or my $ to send an app. She has to have certain test scores, grades, LOR's, ec's, and her summers have to be interesting... no hanging around on the couch/hanging out with friends who are not as focused as she is.... she is currently @ Choate Rosemary Hall for a 5week residential academic program... which she was not happy about attending and wanted to do a program that is held 6 blocks away... she was accepted to a residential program that her school sponsors with Yale U. but this program is taught by her teachers and the other students are from her school. I didnt think that she would grow from this experience and needed to be taken out of her comfort zone...I also wanted her away from New Haven...our streets/neighborhoods are filled with far too many babies having babies and gun viloence. Next summer she will be applying to study abroad in Spain, TASS, or do a program that focuses on ocean conservation in Costa Rica, Bahamas etc... wherever she gets $, she will go... her apps are waiting for her on her desk and ready to be filled out when she comes home in August... those who apply early get the $!

    She has taken spanish since 7th grade, so freshman spanish class was a joke to her...her teacher felt that in her sophomore year, she should take a Jr level spanish class and DD was open to that! She is excited at the thought of being challenged. She also took Latin last year and did extremely well. She will take Honors Latin II in the fall along with Honors Alegebra II and Honors Geometry... I am thinking that one of her SAT II's will be Spanish which she will take next June.

    Ironically, when she applied to the Choate program, she signed up to take Geometry, Biolgy and Conversational Spanish... way before picking her classes for next year. I am now thinking that she will have too much of a heads up on these classes and whiz right through as she did last year. Her AP pysch class should have some meatiness which will be good... I haven't seen her sweat at all during her time @ her public school.

    She is also a docent @ an aquarium about an hour away because of her interest in marine biology/sciences...she has learned so much on the academic side but has also learned a great deal about public speaking, professionalism and dealing with others from different backgrounds/age groups.

    We visited Harvard on April break and we got to sit in on Henry Louis Gates lecture.. which was very cool for me! LOL She tends to be on the aloof side so I couldnt get a read on her.. she said she enjoyed it, but I wanted to see fireworks in her eyes....but all I got was "yeah, it was nice" We also went to a college workshop @ a local hotel in May UPENN, Georgetown, DUKE, Harvard, and Stanford were in attendance... she liked Stanford, but that is on the other side of the continent and can't imagine her deciding to go that far.

    I tend to ramble and apologize! I look forward to posters who have any suggestions, thoughts, complaints.. etc! Again, thanks so much!

    We will be visiting Vassar, Temple, UCONN, Georgetown, just to name a few... I doubt that any HBCU's will be on that list as I can't afford to send her and they have no $ to give. So my thought is.. why bother applying?
  • lacrossemomlacrossemom Registered User Posts: 630 Member
    NewHaven, congrats on a great freshman year for your daughter.

    In terms of colleges, I wouldn't rule out HBCUs if you are looking for money. Howard and Hampton are generous especially if you have high ACT score. She should also check out LEAD for the summer. They have three programs, but the business one is more well known.

    I have a son entering UIUC in the Fall and a daughter entering junior year in high school. My S was originally planning to go into engineering, however doing the LEAD business program at UIUC, he fell in love with the College of Business. He was accepted in many other schools and ended up turning down a ton of scholarships in order to go to UIUC. Sometimes it isn't about the money, but where the child wants to go.

    Good luck!
  • twomulestwomules - Posts: 1,207 Senior Member
    If you would be willing to let her go away to boarding school, look at A Better Chance:
    Application Information
    "Opening the doors to greater educational opportunities since 1963.

    A Better Chance is the oldest and only national organization of its kind changing the life trajectory for academically talented youth of color via access to rigorous and prestigious educational opportunities for students in grades 6-12. Our mission is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society. We carry out our mission through our signature College Preparatory Schools Program, which annually recruits, refers and supports about 500 Scholars at more than 300 Member Schools in 27 states. We have been opening the doors to greater educational opportunities since 1963 and more than 12,000 Alumni have now gone on to distinguished careers as physicians, artists, educators, lawyers, politicians and corporate executives."

    They also have day programs where kids live at home but it looks like the closest is in Hamden and I don't remember how close that is to New Haven.
    Independent Day Schools

    My husband's high school education was through ABC and it really was life changing.

    Another program to keep in mind if money is tight is Questbridge. They run a program to help the summer after junior year and then a scholarship program during the application cycle. There is a special forum for Questbridge in the Financial Aid section on CC.
    College Prep Scholarship Overview

    For help visiting colleges check out this list. Start reading at the end as the list was updated often at one point:
  • LonghaulLonghaul Registered User Posts: 2,512 Senior Member
    I am not an AA parent, but I wanted to advise on 2 issues.

    1. Have your daughter keep on open mind for LACs everywhere and southern Unis, like Rice, in addition to her Ivy dreams. You may also want to add some large merit schools, like Bama, for her to consider now. IMO this keeps the big picture open and will not result in feeling like she is settling if the Ivy dream does not come through.

    2. I agree with Twomules -- Look into Questbridge! Questbridge definitely gives kids a bump in the admission process by acting as a college counselor and arrange students to visit schools across the country.

    If your daughter enjoys STEM, the Navy has the most programs available. From 1 week "glossy intro" in Annapolis to full summer paid research internships (SEAP).

    I think you will find much great info here! In my limited experience, intellectural URMs will only be limited by their own insecurities. I have met some wonderful kids who did not have the confidence to aim higher and instead choose regional colleges with a more friendly URM ratio. I believe sending her to Choate for the summer is a huge step in the direction of building her confidence and letting her see she can hold her own in a different environment.

    Good luck and enjoy the process!
  • 29happymom2629happymom26 Registered User Posts: 273 Junior Member
    I have a son in the class of '14 also. We are in an average suburban school and he isn't really aware of the crap that he will get as he continues to get good grades. (I have a coworker that constantly says "my kids wish that they were black when they were applying to college" He knows that I am on CC but I have never told him to check it out. There are no African American kids in his honors classes.

    3 years ago I think there were 2 kids that were National Achievement scholars (commended) I am not sure if that is correct terminology. His PLAN test showed above average but NOT stellar and he will take PSAT this fall.

    I also follow the Parents of HS2014 kids.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member
    NewHavenCTmom, as others have said, you have come to the right place to find both information and support. Suggestions such as "checking out" Questbridge and similar programs are very good. Since there is so much on this site, I would also suggest to let all the information seep a bit at a time and remember that every applicant is an individual. Not all experiences duplicate in the same manner.

    Regarding the activities and the development of a compelling application, I would encourage you to look at quality over quantity. It is important to do a few things very well, as opposed to attempt to do too many things. Students have a limited number of hours in a day, and it is crucial to maintain a positive balance. The journey to a successful application should be as pleasant as the outcome.

    As far as activities, I would be especially cautious about trips abroad, unless they directly and specifically correspond to your child's interests. For instance, being part of a group of URM who are traveling to Costa Rica to foster exchanges or contribute to a project is a good idea. Getting the financial support to participate in one of those programs that equates to a fancy trip with a few activities peppered on to justify the trip is not so good. Again, the trip abroad should fit in one activity that is done locally and for an extended time. You mentioned Spanish ... and there is no need to travel to Honduras or Costa Rica to meet people who speak Spanish. Developing a program that brings together AfAm and other minorities in your community is much more powerful than bringing supplies to a foreign country.

    Lastly, remember that ECs should not be developed with the college admissions in mind; they should reflect the genuine interests of the applicants.

    Best of luck to you.
This discussion has been closed.