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My 11th grade son

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Replies to: My 11th grade son

  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 2172 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,186 Senior Member
    Campus visits to a variety of schools. We found that the special "preview" or "open house" days were the most valuable, because generally there were lots more faculty around, and you often get fed which can cut down on costs! Common app opens up on Aug 1st; it is very worth it to get the essay (s) done early. And last, our D found overnight visits very helpful.

    As for getting ready, he/she should learn to do laundry. And a student at Earlham told us that success in college was all about managing your schedule well.
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  • MarianMarian 13172 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,255 Senior Member
    Why are people telling OP that her son is headed to CC or vocational school because they haven't made specific college plans by mid junior year? That's just absurd.

    I think people are saying it because this student may have made irrevocable choices that would now prevent him from being a candidate for many four-year schools. Some people assume that if a student fulfills the high school graduation requirements, that student has also fulfilled college admissions requirements, but this is not always true.

    For example, in my state, Maryland, our flagship state university requires students to have two years of a foreign language and four years of math to be eligible for admission. But the high school graduation requirements call for only three years of math, and foreign language is not required at all.
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  • Tperry1982Tperry1982 1568 replies6 discussionsForum Champion Yale Posts: 1,574 Forum Champion
    @Marian - you are so right (BTW - we live in the same state!!). There are, of course lots of 4 year options for students at any level. So, they will have to look at schools based upon his specific situation. I see so many parents who are aiming for the tippy top schools for their kids and, like you said, it is way too late in the game for their kid to catch up on what is required.

    I have also seen kids wait until late first semester senior year to even get their heads in the college game and they found schools that fit their needs because it is obvious at that point they are not YHPS bound, which is a good thing because those schools are not right for most students. My high stress, high achieving D was always astonished about how laid back some of her friends were about the process. Despite all this, all of them are now happy where they are and just finished their freshman year.

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  • emilybeeemilybee 13138 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,173 Senior Member
    Only in CollegeConfidentalWorld do people think you are getting a late start.

    I assume your S has taken PSAT or PLAN already - so if you think his scores could stand improvement - signing up for test prep or private tutor might be of some benefit before he takes SAT/ACT this spring. That is what we did and S took the ACT in March, iirc, and SAT in June - then both again in fall of his senior year. He sent the fall scores to the schools where he applied.

    I also recommend doing a tour or two (or just walk through on your own) of some local colleges just to get an idea of what type of school he likes (big,small, urban, suburban, rural, etc.) A copy of Petersons or Fiske (or whatever guide appeals) to aid in helping him build a list of schools. Spring break would be a good time to tour as many schools on his list as possible. We spent the whole vacation week touring colleges.

    Then, depending on his test scores, list can be revised, and if needed tours planned for fall of Senior year, if possible.

    My son's school had a special class just for getting into college which started in January of his junior year - but I assume your son's doesn't (most schools don't) so you probably will want to be more involved than I was in crafting his list. Also, while doing that, think about what your budget is and if he will need to target schools where he would need to get merit aid and/or institutional aid to attend. If he is interested in a specific program of study you can also gear his list to schools around that - keeping in mind that many kids change their minds and many kids go to college undecided about what they want to study - which is perfectly fine, also.

    Run NPC's on all schools on his list before he applies to them. Also, if your son's school has Naviance you can look at that to see scores/gpa of accepted students from his high school.

    In addition, if you have any limits on how far he can go away from home - make sure he knows that while working on his list.

    He can start working on his essay over the summer and into the fall.

    My son's school had a specific deadline all apps had to be in by - but if your son's doesn't you can set your own deadline (for eg. Dec, 15th) so he has a firm end date.

    My S didn't even have the school he is at on his list initially. It was a late add on in Oct. of his senior year and we squeaked in a visit at the end of Oct.

    He also scheduled all of his interviews during fall of senior year. Some he had on campus but most were by alums of the school in our area. Some schools will also do interviews over skype if you are too far away to go for an interview.

    And try not to make every conservation for the next nine months about college.



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  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40,494 Senior Member
    I agree that it is nuts to suggest that the OP's son is headed to CC or vocational school because they haven't made specific college plans by mid junior year. Get a grip - only in CC-world. I'm a jump-the-gun type and I'd already started thinking by junior year (which is when we did college visits) but really - in the real world, there are plenty of kids who don't even start thinking about this til the end of junior year, and they wind up going to perfectly fine and respectable four year colleges and having a perfectly fine life.

    In hindsight, both the financial discussions as to what you can afford and the "develop life skills" are as important, if not more important, than the actual college choice / discussions.
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  • flinqueflinque 16 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16 New Member
    NOTHING!! Having been through the process several times now, they will get interested in colleges when they see their friends around them getting interested. That's typically how 11th graders get interested and motivated. A parent trying to direct their interest usually won't have much of an affect unless this is typically how your child is motivated to do anything - mainly by your instigation. Otherwise just sit back, don't hover and stop worrying about it. In reality what will but them in the absolute best position for college admission is to have the best grades, test scores, etc. All the positive motivation in the world won't make up for an academic record which is lacking. The better the record the more choices they will have.
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  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1520 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,538 Senior Member
    Why are people telling OP that her son is headed to CC or vocational school because they haven't made specific college plans by mid junior year?
    Don't let others scare you. You're not too late

    OP posted “What should I be doing to prepare my 11th grade son for college?”

    As I read this post I saw ONLY 2 facts (S and 11th grade) and question about what should OP do now about college. Nothing else was included, nada, zilch, zero. Although I respect OP and S’s privacy, with this extremely limited info, the fact of the matter is everything under the sun could be on the table as to OP's S. Everything! Many people responded with great info (e.g. talk to counselors, take SAT, visit colleges, workshops, net price calculators, college trips, life skills, etc.) I did not intend to scare OP or go off on OP by telling her to send her S to community college. I am simply not as wise as others by being able to draw conclusions from 2 extremely limited facts which is why I posted started by “adding alternatives.”

    To OP, I did not intend to scare you or suggest that your S needs to go to a community college (which by the way could still be a viable solution as MORE facts are known). Good luck to you and your S. If I did scare you, I apologize.

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  • MarianMarian 13172 replies83 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,255 Senior Member
    Having been through the process several times now, they will get interested in colleges when they see their friends around them getting interested

    Interested or not, they need to take the SAT or ACT in the second half of junior year. If necessary, the parents should tell them to do it or even sign them up.
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  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1520 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,538 Senior Member
    Although I would agree about that the quality of info coming from high school counselors can range from excellent to downright poor, before signing up for any SAT/ACT, I’d start with a visit to counselor. At least the counselor would have more info than male, junior in high school at his/her fingertips.
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  • saintfansaintfan 8182 replies92 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,274 Senior Member
    Another thing that @mom2collegekids has been good about reminding people is that many, many schools use December 1st as the application cut off for the larger merit scholarships. If you start getting an idea of what your financial profile is RE "need" vs ability to pay and what your son's stats are likely to be you can start mentally lining up some financial safety options. There are many schools out there with pretty reasonable benchmarks for academic merit. Some OOS public schools award in-state status to kids who meet certain benchmarks as well. If you do some of that back channel work now it will be easier to put viable options in front of him. December 1st comes fast, though.

    My DS who is now a senior had some roller coaster grades and needed a strong 2nd semester junior year. I had some schools in mind for the program that he is interested in and just made several spread sheets calculating his GPA in all the different ways that those schools figure it. It made an impression on him to see where he was and where he needed to be to meet the benchmarks for the different levels of merit $$$. It really is the easiest money that a kid will ever earn. He found that motivational enough to really push hard through 2nd semester and it is turning out well for him now. He needed to see the options in a really concrete way, though.
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  • saintfansaintfan 8182 replies92 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,274 Senior Member
    It can also be tricky if your kid plays a sport which conflicts with college visits. We did a round of visits with our D over mid-winter break her Junior year because she wasn't able to get away spring break as their sports season played through the break.
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  • saintfansaintfan 8182 replies92 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,274 Senior Member
    Each kid has their own way of sorting out schools so it can also help just to get a feel for what he might like. I know someone whose first priority was PAC-10 football (back in the day). That was the one thing she felt she needed. My D sorted by size (small but not too small) and eliminated all the states that she didn't want to go to (most of them). After that we were left with a manageable list of target schools to research. DS identified his program of interest plus urban and we worked from there.
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  • TheDidacticTheDidactic 2092 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,113 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    I didn't get my LOR's until senior year, so I wouldn't worry about that part. If your son is at least a decent student, he should be fine.

    Also, you're not THAT late. Maybe you're like a month late but it's not a big deal. I'd sit your son down and ask him what he would like to do, where he'd like to go...all that fun stuff. He may not know everything right away and that's okay, but you guys can still have an idea of what you're looking for. Next step is to prepare him for SAT and ACT testing. Get some test prep books and register now. The earlier in the spring he take it the better. Don't worry about being rushed too much. I took most of my SAT's in the spring (March and May) so I could have plenty of time to bring it up in the fall of my senior year.

    Did he take the PSAT at all? He should have done that if he were interested in NMSF and just at least getting a good idea of how he would do on the exams. If not, it's okay and you can move on straight to the exams but you should get moving on that by January and February. The deadline to register for the next SAT is the 9th but I think you'll have to pay extra for it. If you don't think it's worth the effort and you would like him to prepare for it, you can wait for February.

    Following step is to talk finances, scholarships and all that jazz. Depending on how he does on the SAT and ACT, he might be able to earn some merit scholarships. Those really help out in a pinch and make it easier for many families. Run some numbers through colleges' net price calculators so you guys have a good idea of what you can afford. That heavily affects the college selection process.

    I wish you the best of luck! Once you proceeded through these steps, you can start visiting schools, going to college fairs, talking with the guidance counselor, and requesting more information from college reps.
    edited December 2014
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  • MassmommMassmomm 3842 replies79 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,921 Senior Member
    For starters, avoid this site. Your normal kid will never measure up to the amazingly gifted people who frequent CC and this will lead you to conclude that he is unlikely to be accepted to your local, for-profit, debt-incurring, Storefront College of Higher Learning and you will go away terribly sad. ;)

    But seriously, if he's not motivated about college, don't panic. Lots of juniors, especially boys, just aren't ready at this point to talk about the college search process.

    In the spring, have him set up a meeting with his GC (assuming yours is decent) to talk about beginning the search.

    Get a copy of the Fiske Guide (do not get him any of the ones that rank schools, such as US News and World Report--those are worthless to a person looking for fit, and they are terrifying!) Leave the guide on his desk or wherever he does his schoolwork. Leave little sticky notes to mark pages of schools you think he'd like. (He will reflexively hate them all, but at least he will open the book and look a bit for himself.)

    If he says anything funny or brilliant in the next month or two, say "You know, MelodyA3's Son, that sounds like a great topic for your Common App essay..."

    Ask him what date he'd like to take the SAT or ask him if he'd prefer the ACT. Sign him up, then buy one of those study guides. Leave it on his desk next to the Fiske Guide. Also leave out some super sharp pencils.

    Good luck.
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