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College Counselor info needed

annie212annie212 2 replies1 threads New Member
My daughter will be in 8th grade this fall. She is a very hard working and a bright student who is highly interested in STEM. With that said she wants to pursue education in an Ivy league in STEM . Money is not a problem. We are looking for a counselor who can direct her about the choices that she is making not only about school but extracurricular wise as well. I have been going thru here but I get confused as admission process where I am from is different.
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Replies to: College Counselor info needed

  • annie212annie212 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you so much Lindagaf. As i mentioned she is very focussed and knows what she wants. I being her parent just wan to help her . College names are not on her list yet. Also we are not prestige hunting but believe that if the child wants and is capable of should reach for it. Also to be in stem she needs help with her summer programs.

    Also please no bashing up for asking out here. I am an ardent follower of this site.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 896 replies8 threads Member
    Forget about college, if STEM is her passion, I would help her pursue that. Find interesting exciting opportunities. For example Cold Spring Harbor Lab has several DNA learning centers, and summer programs (might need to be in high school, not sure). One thing will lead to another, if she is truly interested. And when college rolls around, she will be an interesting candidate. There is no magic formula for Ivy admissions, if there was, someone would be selling it and making (multi)millions.

    My own two cents is that top schools want kids that will make an impact, will lead, will make a difference.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10171 replies564 threads Senior Member
    You said she doesn’t know names of colleges but she knows she wants Ivies. I don’t understand that.

    If you are on this site regularly, you will know that longtime users would never encourage a 7th grade child, who is probably not yet a teenager, or her parents to try to do stuff with a goal to getting into top colleges.

    Your child has the best chance of getting into a top school by getting good grades and pursuing whatever genuinely interests her, whether that is knitting or studying insects. There are many summer programs for science and you don’t need a private advisor to find them, especially not for a 7th grader.

    I’m sure Ivy Coach or whoever would be happy to take your money, but it’s my opinion that she is far too young for you to be thinking of that. I would also say that a large number of kids who get into top colleges are self motivated and do things for themselves that get them into top colleges.

    You have a few years in which to do research about how to best help your child get into a top school. If you are intent on getting started, google private college advisors. Be prepared to spend around $20k, I’m guessing. Good luck.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3913 replies71 threads Senior Member
    edited March 4
    At a minimum, I would wait until your D is going into HS to retain a college counselor. Ask around your local area (maybe nextdoor or HS parent facebook page?) for referrals, or check the IECA or NACAC sites for names of certified counselors in your area.

    As mentioned above, there is no secret formula to getting into top schools. Have your D take a rigorous curriculum, allow her to explore courses where possible, and have her do ECs that she is interested in. *Don't* do something because you think it will look good to colleges...that tends to not work out well.

    Good luck.
    edited March 4
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7468 replies76 threads Senior Member
    From the admissions office at MIT (as top-tier STEM as you can get):

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  • mom517mom517 118 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Ivy league schools are generally not known for STEM. Your high guidance counselor will be able to guide your child on her 4 year path on the classes she needs for the most rigor possible. It is not rocket science. They can probably plan her 4 years with their eyes closed for free and next year! You can google (for free) some summer programming for her but that is not going to play into any IVY college acceptances.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7468 replies76 threads Senior Member
    For about the same money as a college counselor you could just put her into Andover / Exeter / Choate / Trinity / Deerfield / Brearly / Horace Mann. If she is in the top cohort (say 15/20% of the class) at any of those she will do well in college admissions.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 896 replies8 threads Member
    For about the same money as a college counselor you could just put her into Andover / Exeter / Choate / Trinity / Deerfield / Brearly / Horace Mann. If she is in the top cohort (say 15/20% of the class) at any of those she will do well in college admissions.

    Plus, boarding school, if it is the right fit, will set a child up for life. They will get SO much more out of the experience than working with some college counselor.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 947 replies7 threads Member
    My nephew in 7th grade was doing who knows what but nothing special. Come 12th grade he suddenly decided he wanted to apply to ivy league - he knew the names of top schools by then, knew what ivy league meant etc. However he didn't plan it. Yet he still got accepted as a STEM major in an ivy league school. Even without knowing he was able to demostrate passion/dedication/leadership in ecs and get decent grades and test scores. His ecs were simply stuff he enjoyed but he didn't win awards, play sports etc.

    If you want her to do a science summer program see what is in your area etc but dont' do it in terms of ivy league - do it because she might enjoy it even if she doesn't end of in a top school. However also give her options to have fun that aren't necessarily academic - that is also important at her age. Remember colleges don't care what she does before she starts high school.
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  • mathmommathmom 32896 replies160 threads Senior Member
    My older son would have told you as an 8th grader that he wanted to go to MIT (or an equally good school) for computer science. But MIT was on his radar because he was already familiar with stuff coming out of their Media Lab and from Open courseware. It was still his first choice when he was a senior, but he didn't get in. He ended up at Carnegie Mellon which he had not heard of at the time, and was a fabulous place for him.

    We were never aiming at particular schools, but we did look for opportunities for my kid to pursue his interests. He did some weekend courses for kids at Columbia University - you had to be nominated by a teacher and there was a test to get in. He got invited to a lecture series at IBM which he went to. He got involved in Science Olympiad and his school's academic team. He did a lot of stuff online from Game Mods to learning new programs. We didn't push him to do anything.

    In middle school he did CTY summer programs, In high school he did a Columbia University comp sci course and then worked in CS the other summers.

    There are any number of science and engineering programs out there, some specifically for girls. We were lucky because of our proximity to NYC to have some opportunities that people in other parts of the country might not have.

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  • LindagafLindagaf 10171 replies564 threads Senior Member
    Re the Applying Sideways essay, yes, be a nice person! That’s one thing that so many people forget. Colleges want to admit people they like.

    There is a college out there for your daughter. Not when she’s twelve though.
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14379 replies103 threads Forum Champion

    Check out "How to be a High School Superstar" by Cal Newport.

    "The basic message of the book is this: Don't wear yourself out taking as many classes as you can and being involved in every club and sport. Instead, leave yourself enough free time to explore your interests. Cultivate one interest and make it into something special that will make you stand out among the other applicants and get you into the toughest schools, even if your grades and scores aren't stellar. Newport calls this the “relaxed superstar approach,” and he shows you how to really do this, breaking the process down into three principles, explained and illustrated with real life examples of students who got into top schools: (1) underscheduling—making sure you have copious amounts of free time to pursue interesting things, (2) focusing on one or two pursuits instead of trying to be a “jack of all trades,” and (3) innovation—developing an interesting and important activity or project in your area of interest. This fruit yielded by this strategy, an interesting life and real, meaningful achievements, is sure to help not only with college admissions, but getting a job, starting a business, or whatever your goals."

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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2719 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "Ivy league schools are generally not known for STEM."

    Well a lot depends on major, e.g. Penn and Cornell are known for engineering, while Princeton and Harvard are known for Physics, Brown for math etc..
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  • annie212annie212 2 replies1 threads New Member
    This is the kind of information I am looking for consolidated at one place.
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  • jym626jym626 56991 replies2989 threads Senior Member
    Your child should pursue extra curricular they are interested in, not what will look food on an application.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77175 replies3429 threads Senior Member

    Your rising 8th grade does not need a college counselor...at all. Not yet,

    I think it’s fine to nurture middle school interests. I think it’s not fine to hyperfocus on them.

    My kid is a STEM kid. The kid NEVER did a summer stem program. She never did research before she went to college. She never took calculus in high school.

    She has a bachelors double major in bio-engineering and biology...imagine that.

    So what did the kid do in summers? Went to a great music camp for three years. Worked as a lifeguard. Worked in a snack bar.

    Did the kid have STEM related ECs in high school? That would be a NO. Kid was in a precollege orchestra and wind ensemble, studied two musical instruments, was in a prestigious auditioned children’s choir, was on the swim team, skied, volunteered at the elementary school.

    My point is...you need to encourage a broad range of things with a rising 8th grader. They need to experience things both within and outside of their comfort zone. They need to explore many areas...because you never know what might actually pique their interest.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2205 replies14 threads Senior Member
    I will chime in to support all those who are saying that you should support her interest in STEM, have her engage in different STEM ECs, including summer programs like those if Northwestern or Johns Hopkins.

    Your daughter wants to study science? That's excellent. Do your best to provide her with the best opportunities to explore science, and engage in activities related to science.

    However, it is, like everybody says here, way to early to think about which college she should attend, or even what she will do at the end.

    Here is a reality check - it is unlikely that your daughter will attend an Ivy League university. That is simply a fact of college applications today - the vast majority of the top academically performing students who apply to Ivy League colleges are rejected. So to spend her next 5 years on plans for something which is highly unlikely is not the best use of your time, money, and energy.

    You and your child should be focused on creating the best plan for her to succeed and thrive in high school. THAT should be the goal of your planning, not admission to colleges with very low acceptance rates.

    Your kid is in 7th grade, and is going through enormous physical, emotional, and mental upheaval. It is likely difficult enough for her to simply get through the week or even day, and perform well in school, without adding the burden of expectations that she will achieve something that is unlikely, at best.

    Making college plans for a 7th grader not only puts unneeded pressure and adds unneeded anxiety in the life of a kid in the middle of puberty, but is also an exercise in futility. You are making plans for a person you do not know yet, based on a person who is in the middle of major changes.

    Your kid is going through, or will go through, a process in which her amygdala will grow, while her prefrontal cortex will not, and her entire brain will rewire. That is besides the fact that her body is growing and maturing. It is similar to the process that happens in toddlers, but with a kid who is much larger, and knows where you hide the alcohol.

    Between her seventh grade and the time she started college, my daughter went through so many dramatic changes in her life and personality, that I look at what we were thinking in 7th grade and what is happening now, and I can only shake my head.

    In middle school, my daughter was a shy girl who avoided the spotlight, and who was highly engaged in math and robotics - multiple math competitions and awards, robotics competitions and awards, etc. However, in HS her ECs were dance, LGBTQ and anti gun violence activism, and stuff related to performing arts. A large part of her classes were studio and creative arts, and her HS awards were for writing, activism, and dance. She was also outspoken, a leader, and was gender non-conforming.

    Ask yourself "what does my daughter need NOW, and for the next few years?", not "what will help my daughter be accepted to this or that college in five years?"

    PS. my daughter is happily majoring in neuroscience now, something in which she had no interest in 7th grade.
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