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To move or not to move - need advice

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Replies to: To move or not to move - need advice

  • KnittergirrlKnittergirrl 212 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    In terms of safety, the Houston area has something along the lines of 'flood codes.' Basically, when you're buying a house, it'll say the chances of that property flooding. So, there's the equivalent of "Once every 100 years," "Once every 500 years," etc. My house (in central Houston) does not even have a flood code since it's on relatively high ground. A lot of very nice homes are in areas near bayous which are very flood-prone. Your realtor can probably give you more information if you decide to move forward with this.

    Like anywhere else, I think the most important thing is to stay off the road when there is flooding. Main roads and highways are prone to flooding (as you can see by some of the road signs in the Houston area). Last June, I saw a ton of abandoned vehicles on and near a main road running through Houston. Even with moderate rain, some roads will start to flood, so use good judgment.
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  • dansmoaustindansmoaustin 172 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    OK....here ya go. My experience. Guess we were the horror story piesquared is referring to. DD was top 4.5% (28 out of 601) at one of the highest ranked High Schools in Texas - Westlake High School. 35 ACT. National Merit Finalist. 11 APs. UWGPA 100 WGPA 109.3 Lots of ECs and lots of leadership. Did summer research, mission work, NASA High school aerospace scholar. Assumed she had great recs and wrote great essays because of where she got in - not easy schools. Accepted EA to ND (Reilly Visit invitee), UVA and my favorite, Rice. TAMU has offered a lot of merit aid. Some grants from the other schools but not renewable. She was auto admit to UT but did not get her first choice major. After considering all the options and visiting some, she has decided just this week to stick with UT and try to move into her major when she can. She has been told she has a good shot. But its risky. It's the best school for her major for the money and she will find a way. And its the best for grad school due to the awesome research that she can get involved in.

    The take away - going to such a competitive HS is challenging - we have 4.0 kids in the 2nd and 3rd quartile. Kids take APs as freshman to make it all work. While its nice to go to a top high school, it can backfire.

    UT is in a state of flux right now. Lots of kids get in holistically. Lots fail out in a year and the kids that got "Capped" transfer in sophomore year. Not sure this is good for anyone but really don't know how else you gain diversity which is really important IMHO. Also, with the fall in Oil prices, PE kids moved into Chem E so that was really hard to get into.
    Advice: Pick a bigger easier major to get into - Mech E or EE I have been told are a little easier but that will change too. It's a big somewhat impersonal school so you have to want that and be able to maneuver in that environment.

    TAMU changed their engineering admissions process in 2014. I had the opportunity to talk to the Dean of Engineering for the TAMU system - Cathryn Banks - about this. She came from Purdue, which does it the same way. While its harder on the students because freshman year is stressful trying to get into your major, it makes sense because the kids are offered seminars, talks etc to really learn about each major and maybe avoid the transfer process later. But there is a good chance you will not get your major. And you have to want to be an Aggie. Its a strong culture and my DD was not feeling it (most of her friends are going there). I am impressed by TAMU and what I heard at National Scholar visit day.

    I loved Rice but neither of my kids chose it. For BME you can't go wrong. Just not sure its worth double UT or more than double of TAMU. I know very little about Houston for living so I won't comment. Spoiled up here in Austin.

    Sorry this is so long. So very glad that this ridiculous process is over and I can focus on more important things like finding her a prom dress : )
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76507 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,172 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    TAMU changed their engineering admissions process in 2014. I had the opportunity to talk to the Dean of Engineering for the TAMU system - Cathryn Banks - about this. She came from Purdue, which does it the same way. While its harder on the students because freshman year is stressful trying to get into your major, it makes sense because the kids are offered seminars, talks etc to really learn about each major and maybe avoid the transfer process later. But there is a good chance you will not get your major.

    Schools whose engineering majors are filled to capacity (which includes many state flagship level schools) need to choose between various methods of admission to the major:

    A. Admit directly to the major. For those rejected from the major, but otherwise admissible to the school, some schools admit as undeclared or a second choice major, while other schools reject entirely. However, getting into the major or changing to another "full" major after enrolling can be very difficult, since the only spaces available come from attrition. UT Austin does it this way for engineering. (Note: in California, in most cases, UCs and CSUs do it this way for engineering majors.)

    B. Admit to undeclared or pre-major status, then compete for admission to the major after enrolling. This is less certain for those who are sure of their intended major, and can increase the stress and cutthroat competition in one's first year, since there is concern about being "weeded out". Admission to the major may be purely by GPA, or it may also include essays. Some schools have an automatic admission to major GPA threshold, below which admission to the major is competitive. Texas A&M does it this way for engineering, with a 3.5 automatic admission to major threshold. Other schools which do it this way include Purdue, Minnesota, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ohio State. Wisconsin has an odd variant where students are admitted to their majors, but must meet a high GPA requirement (as high as 3.5, depending on the major) to stay in their majors.

    C. Combination of A and B. Some students (the top applicants) receive direct admission to the major, but some space in the major is held for competitive admission by enrolled students who are admitted to undeclared or pre-major status. Washington does it this way for at least some majors (notably CS).
    edited April 2016
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  • mom23travelersmom23travelers 478 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 487 Member
    I moved when I was in the middle of 10th grade. I moved my children just before 10th and 11th grade.

    Sometimes you have to move when kids are in high school. They can survive and even thrive. But it is really hard and if you have a choice I'd think pretty hard before doing it.

    You should also look at residency requirements while your child is in high school. You might need to stay in state for the duration of their college.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73310 replies3190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,500 Senior Member
    What are the choices? Staying in CA for the next three years...or moving?

    I'm thinking your overall cost of living will be less in TX than CA. Will this affect the amount you can contribute to college costs?
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  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons 3934 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,959 Senior Member
    Texas has no state income tax, right? That certainly would affect how much one can afford to pay each year if you decide to go that route.
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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and insights. It is helping me better understand my options...
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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Thank you all for all your valuable inputs, help and support! Here's the update..

    After a lot of thought and research, we have decided to continue living where we are until we have to move due to job change etc. This is not going to be easy considering DH's travel but we are going to try it.

    After communicating with the Katy, Cypress/Fairbanks schools, we expanded our search to DFW and surrounding area. But we got the similar response in the GPA adjustments and setting her way back on course selection path. There are not many jobs in H's filed in Austin, so couldn't really try it.

    Some of the contributory factors to this decision were:

    1. The savings, after moving, would not be enough to send the 2 kids to OOS or private colleges in that short time frame.

    2. All the counselors confirmed that the GPA and class rank would be significantly compromised in their SD systems.

    We would never have thought the possibility of the GPA adjustment or the subsequent course selection in this process if this wonderful community would not have pointed it out to us among other things and experiences.

    Thank you so much for that!
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  • wis75wis75 13892 replies62 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,954 Senior Member
    Do not make the number of highly ranked colleges/universities in either state play a part in your decision. Your D can only go to ONE school, the rest are superfluous. Both have schools that will be excellent for your D.

    There is no perfect place to live. Every place will have pros and cons. You need to think about your family's quality of life. This means figuring out a host of factors.

    Finances will certainly be different- remember the state income tax factor and cost of living.

    Schools will be different- check on quality for the area you can afford for her HS.

    Religion and politics matter. You need to be comfortable with the area's demographics. Hard to be in the extreme minority for these two.

    Climates and terrain are different. I'm sure you can come up with pros and cons for each area. Hurricane or earthquake possibilities... Dry/humid.

    Finally- look at this as a move for long after your D is gone. Where will you parents be happier in the long run? Will the work, commute et al be worth leaving your current culture? Again, being instate for your D's public college means you have two excellent states.



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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    That is a great insight @wis75 ! Thanks for sharing it.

    The decision was hard. We found the Texas schools which have similar ECs and coursework to offer. Also, tried to find something for our younger DS who is polar opposite to DD. Luckily, they both make friends easily.

    She is currently in the top 5-10% of her large, fairly competitive school.

    Due to various GPA calculation differences in Texas and CA SDs (6-4points vs 5-4 points, A+ vs A etc), her adjusted GPA lies in the bottom 35-40% range of Texas schools class. 3-4 Texas schools offered to test her to take preAP but not APs while 30-50% Texas students were taking APs in the same class; keeping her back again.

    Texas public University system is largely driven by class rank. We had to consider other options like OOS/ private colleges for her admission in this light.

    After moving to Texas, the saving would not have been in the 40-50k/year range to afford OOS or private college for 2 kids over the short span of 3-6 years.

    We are not very hung up on any one particular public or private college yet. D will see how things pan out and then will know how to proceed.

    If relocation becomes inevitable due to job scenario, we will have to leave our current friendly, adorable neighborhood.

    Both the states offer us many other points to enjoy life.
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  • lcb56787lcb56787 38 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    It seems bizarre that a top 10% kid could go to bottom 40% no matter how the GPA is re-weighted. If the highest grade is an A in her old school, wouldn't that translate to a 4.0 unweighted?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76507 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,172 Senior Member
    lcb56787 wrote:
    It seems bizarre that a top 10% kid could go to bottom 40% no matter how the GPA is re-weighted. If the highest grade is an A in her old school, wouldn't that translate to a 4.0 unweighted?

    It is not unheard of for Texas school districts to reweight grades unfavorably for incoming students from out of district in order to protect the class ranks of existing students, for obvious political reasons.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/15975268#Comment_15975268
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/16383535#Comment_16383535
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  • carachel2carachel2 2952 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,975 Senior Member
    ^^^^ yep. We have a few who moved into district from private schools because they thought the "lower ranked" public school would be favorable on their GPA and rank.

    It did not work out in their favor. If you have to move then you have to move. If it's optional and you have a high stats kid where you currently are... Stay there!
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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    #31

    UCB has explained earlier in the best possible way.

    Most Texas school districts translate A's as 95% making it A and not A+. They give 6 points for APs, 5 for H and preAP and 4 for regular. Many of these schools are very competitive and the students and parents plan the courses since middle school to be able to maximize the GPA in HS.

    All the counselors were very co-operative and clear in their communication about the facts. I can't thank them enough!

    I will second what @carachel2 has mentioned here from my experience.
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