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Schools with a Variety of Electives?

mondaydevilmondaydevil 280 replies12 threads Junior Member
I'm planning on applying as a repeat 9th grader for a boarding school next year and am beginning to look at schools. Since my current school is very STEM focused (doubling up on chemistry and physics is required) I'll fulfill most science prerequisites by freshman year. Are there any schools that have a variety of electives that I could use to fill those empty spots? I'm particularly interested in cognitive science (neuroscience, linguistics, ai, etc.) but I'd like to go to a boarding school for the exploration, so any variety is good to be honest.

Thanks!
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Replies to: Schools with a Variety of Electives?

  • buuzn03buuzn03 1848 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Look into St Mark’s- they have tons of upper math and science electives, especially engineering and robotics. Many kids there start math at calculus level (several per year per DS) so they are good at accommodating higher level STEM classes.
    They also offer a classics diploma, so you could double up on languages, too, to fill your schedule, should there be room.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6565 replies10 threads Senior Member
    George has quite a bit as well, especially in AI. As a word of warning, many schools may not consider the work you have already done as a means to get an exemption/placement. You may be able to take a placement exam at some but I suspect that at many, there will be an expectation that you do their curriculum.
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  • buuzn03buuzn03 1848 replies16 threads Senior Member
    ^yes, @gardenstategal is correct. Many schools may offer higher level classes but still expect you to start at the base courses per their set curriculum. Which is why I mentioned that SMS is not that way.
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  • CateCAParentCateCAParent 536 replies6 threads Member
    This is where bigger schools will serve you better. Cate doesn’t provide a ton of options for electives. I know you can take sciences out of order if you transfer in, and there are a few kids starting with calculus as ninth graders. But they don’t have a ton of repeats (not sure about that, but they don’t recruit for sports, don’t have a pg program, and I never hear about students repeating grades).

    Cate has one or two years of math post calc bc, and can custom make coursework. It has some great science options. They are going to add more computer science. But kiddo has mentioned that at least one extremely advanced math kid ran out of options.

    I know some schools have relationships with nearby universities - eg Choate. That might be something to consider.
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  • southernfemmomsouthernfemmom 43 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Not sure if you have any interest in girls schools, but Grier has a lot of STEM electives, and they have been great about accepting credit for courses already taken.
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  • mondaydevilmondaydevil 280 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I am somewhat interested in girls' schools, but Grier is out of the area my parents are allowing me to apply to (within three hours of my current school in southern NH) @southernfemmom

    @buuzn03 I applied to St. Mark's this year and got waitlisted, but I'm not sure if I liked the school enough to apply again.

    @gardenstategal George is also out of my range and I will definitely keep that in mind, thank you.

    @CateCAParent I'll start looking into bigger schools. I applied to Exeter, Andover, and Choate last year and got waitlisted at Exeter and Choate, rejected at Andover. Reconsidering, I'm not sure I want to attend any of them, but if there are any exceptional large schools, please let me know (:
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1961 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Not all small schools have limited electives. You really have to check the electives, curriculum and kick the tires. Does the school allow independent classes? Do you have to jump thru hoops to get them? With Math and STEM there are several schools that accommodate kids going in with Calc in 9th grade ( full 4 years of great math options). Talk to the AO and math head if needed. You need to have a handful of other kids to keep it interesting. IF there are 4 or five others starting Calc in 9th than your kid won't be taking math alone for 3 years. I think some schools are more or less flexible. Some were very rigid about their approach to math. Often kids working at a higher level might be able to test out of things or into things :). And kids who skip grades might be missing a small piece, for example trig. Some schools just love having kids who dive deep into any subject and will accommodate. Others operate more along the lines of this is what we have this year. Chose a place that fits your needs.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1572 replies24 threads Senior Member
    OK - here is my take on Electives for you novice parents/students out there in CC-land:

    * Be skeptical of marketing ploys that use “hooks” or catchy course titles for basically a course that at another school would have a basic name.

    * Read the course catalogue carefully! There are some electives that are only offered to students once they have completed one-two-three previous courses OR who have been recommended for the course by a teacher.

    * Some courses are SO popular (eg glass blowing, build your own Tesla, the physics of Formula One racing), that you may not actually get to take the course or they give priority to Seniors.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1961 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Yes, agree with above. You also have to check if the "best" electives are only available to Juniors/Seniors.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5728 replies268 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    Those BS course catalogs are weighty, but the curriculum is quite prescriptive. It is possible to start at BS further along in the curriculum stream based on previous course work and placement tests, but each student will still be required to take four years of math, language, etc. In our son's twelve trimesters at Choate, he had time and room in his schedule to take exactly two electives outside his required course stream. Many (most?) of those amazing, eclectic courses are listed because they were taught a few times in the school's history but have no sections in any given period due to no enrollment. It's not that there is no interest, there just aren't enough students with space in their schedules.

    Moral of the story: Don’t evaluate or choose any BS based on the electives listed in any catalog. Electives are largely irrelevant, and I concur with @Happytimes2001 that many of the most desired are available only to upperclassmen and, even then, may not fit into a given student’s schedule.
    edited April 2
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 896 replies17 threads Member
    My take on electives - there often isn't as much time to take electives as there are electives in the school. It is likely that there will be enough electives for the limited number of slots you have to fill. Required courses are going to take up most of your time.
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