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College professor called

tom1944tom1944 5820 replies198 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,018 Senior Member
edited November 2007 in Parents Forum
Last night a college professor called my D and left a voicemail asking if she had any questions and letting her know she qualified for the Honors program at the school. I believe she would have to apply for Honors and there was no guarantee of acceptance. My D will be calling him back but not until next week so I told her to send him an e-mail letting him know that she received his call and will be in contact.

She is nervous about what to ask him- I think the process just became "real" when he called. Any suggestions- I said she should ask him for possible recommendations of classes to sit in on when she visits. After she looks over the course catalog so she has some idea of the courses offered.

Any other suggestions?
edited November 2007
5 replies
Post edited by tom1944 on
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Replies to: College professor called

  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    It sounds very promising!

    The weekend is a good opportunity to mull about the questions to ask. For example, she might ask about AP credits and placing out of certain classes; the frequency with which certain classes are offered; research opportunities and funding; study abroad; how many students are in her intended major; class size and type of classes (mostly lectures? small discussion classes? tutorials?)
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  • midmomidmo 3715 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    marite's suggestions cover just about all the bases, I think. Since the professor's message specifically mentioned the Honors program, perhaps a question or two about that would be a good idea. Not all Honors programs are created equal. Some offer just a smattering of introductory courses, while others have special courses throughout an undergraduate program. Some will require a senior project in order to attach an Honors label to the undergraduate degree, but others will not. You might ask who teaches the Honors courses; in my husband's department, full professors teach honors sections, so it is a good way to get to know professors who have research money and undergraduate research opportunities.

    I think you are fortunate to have a "heads up" before returning the call, so your daughter as time to think about what she wants to ask.
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  • katliamomkatliamom 12723 replies167 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,890 Senior Member
    Another thing to ask is -- sounds strange, I know -- is housing options for the Honors program. In some schools, Honors College students have their own dorms (on D's campus, they're brand new & state-of-the-art) to help foster a close community of students. This may be an especially nice option to have if you're looking at a very large school. And congrats to your D!
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions 12571 replies759 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,330 Senior Member
    Ask how many students take the honors program each year. Are the honors courses in any way open to others to attend?

    This is actually a social question. One of my kids was excited he could be in Honors in a huge private university.. until he found out they only granted this status to 30 students each year. For four years they'd have intensive seminars (just them), great access to professors..but he didn't like it as a social context.

    Doing the math, and assuming half were of his gender, he imagined the same 15 girls, year after year. (I'm embarrassed to describe this thinking, but we're talking about a l7 year old male..). At that time, he depended upon ideas to make his social connections. As it turned out, he grew way beyond that once he got onto a campus, but at the time it was his reality. From h.s. vantage point, he couldn't imagine finding friendships outside of class, and didn't want to only know the same thinking of the same 30 kids for 4 years.

    He said (rightly or wrongly): The program sounds great, but why should I going to a big university only to know the same kids year after year. He felt his high school experience was like that--hunkering down with a few kids and having blinders on for all the rest, because he came from a very mediocre and troubled public h.s. that siphoned off a handful of good students to protect them from bodily harm!

    Later his perception was confirmed by a family friend (female) who transferred out of this honors program as a sophomore into an LAC, where she was much happier. It was all about not having enough guys to date within the honors program, she said. Plus of the 15, some are gay, so that narrowed the field for her even more.

    Instead he went to a small LAC (1800 kids, not 40,000) where he felt everyone was honor-worthy. Then he felt he could socialize, left and right, with a larger number of bright kids to see if he LIKED them and vice-versa.

    In her phone call, just ask the prof for the numerical data; she shouldn't process all these social/emotional thoughts with him! That's a later conversation between you and your child afte3r the phone call. You and she know her personality well. If your kid is now more of a social butterfly, who could join many activities outside of classes, then this is less of a hindrance. My own kid turned down Honor Program and went elsewhere, even though he was honored to be asked. He was determined to expand intellectually but also emotionally/socially at college. For him, he made the right choice -- although I did drool at the programmatic offering he declined ;)
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions 12571 replies759 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,330 Senior Member
    Also see if she wants to role-play practice the phone call with you beforehand (you play the Professor). Try it with you sitting in a way she can't see your face, since it'll be by phone.

    At her age, I was afraid to speak up on the phone and got tongue-tied with adults when I was very impressed with their position. You and she have a safe space to practice over the weekend. Throw her a surprise question, too, so she can experience that. I once blew a phone interview because I thought I'd be asking all the questions; not so!

    My H is of the opinion that "every interaction is a chance for them to evaluate you." For this call, I think just be sure she can get her questions out smoothly, even if he interrupts her a bit. I doubt he's judging her, but you want this to be a positive first experience for her.

    As you said: now it feels "real" to her! How wonderful is that :)
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