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BS Class of 2020 Thread


Replies to: BS Class of 2020 Thread

  • GoatMamaGoatMama Registered User Posts: 1,035 Senior Member
    @payn4ward Ha! My kid was just saying that she would actually enjoy majoring in physics, but she wouldn't know what to do with such a degree. Insights?

    The kid has already established that she doesn't want to work for NASA, become an engineer, a computer programmer, or anything to do with technology or applied science. She is more into basic research, discovery, writing, philosophy - you get the picture. Just the things you wouldn't want to do for a living.... ;)
  • carpoolingmacarpoolingma Registered User Posts: 573 Member
    I am still on break after going through this with 2017 kid. LOL
    Tomorrow is another day. ;)
  • MA2012MA2012 Registered User Posts: 1,202 Senior Member
    edited January 2017
    I wrote 3 posts yesterday, but my phone was not cooperating.

    Actually, many kids do well on Math 2 (15-20% get an 800, so the % falls off a lot - 750 is in the 60s% for Math 2, but 90% for Math 1).

    Both my math kids took Math 2 -one May at the end of pre-calc, the other in November during Calc.

    DS1 took subject/APs at about the same time (except Math). He ended up taking math, language and 2 science subject test, same for AP.

    @GoatMama - physics is a good foundation - there is lots one can do. Plus many kids change their major when they get to college, so I wouldn't worry too much about that at this time. DS1 wants to major in math but has no idea what he wants to do - just that he doesn't want to teach.
  • AppleNotFarAppleNotFar Registered User Posts: 1,046 Senior Member
    edited January 2017
    Much good info! I've got some follow-up comments and questions:
    Remember that your kids are at PREP school so they can get an education and the rest can fall into place. I'm guessing your school will send out something sophomore year saying "here's what you should think about now" and it will include subject test guidance.

    DH said basically the same thing, plus "Isn't this part of why we let DC go to BS? I'm betting they've got this all figured out pretty well." Ok, yes, but just in case...

    Does it make sense for AppleKid to ask the chemistry teacher about the timing of taking the test? Theoretically the June sitting this year may make the most sense. Particularly if AP Chem isn't taken until 11th grade -- more on that below. (If nothing else, whether the kid takes the test or not in June will affect our summer travel plans, and I'd like to get a handle on that as soon as is reasonable. B-) )

    And now on to this:
    Your child can be strategic in when classes are taken to keep the load reasonable for him/her. You can always adjust the plan as you move forward, but thinking about the balance can help a lot.

    I've just spent WAY more time than I care to admit reading through the school's course requirements and drafting a preliminary course of study. It actually matters right now because the kid needs to be strategic about the elective that is taken in the spring. Anyhow, more importantly:

    1) I've read that selective colleges and universities are looking for applicants that have completed 4 years each of english, math, natural science, social science and language. Kid's school doesn't require 4 years of anything for graduation. My kid is a STEM kid and the 4 years of each of these 5 subjects will not allow my kid to take more than 4 courses each in math and science because the school seems to be strict about restricting kids to a five-course maximum load per academic year. The kid would just as soon NOT take the 4th year of English and Social Science in favor of additional math and natural science courses but would this jeopardize college admissions? Or is it good enough in senior year to take one semester each of math and social science in order to add an additional course in either math or science (prob science in this case--AP Physics)? And if my kid finishing the 4th level of language in 3 years does the kid still need to do a 4th year?

    2) And to focus on a more specific concern, in talking with AppleKid over break it's clear that chemistry is preferred over physics (but both are greatly preferred over biology). Given the advice above, and assuming that the kid will only take one science course per year, should the kid "save" AP Chem (which is a class AppleKid is very much looking forward to taking) for 11th grade and take physics next year in 10th grade or should the kid take AP Chem in 10th and then Physics in 11th? Under either scenario the kid would not take biology until 12th grade; would that be ok?

    3) How many AP courses should the kid plan on trying to take? With the assumptions above the kid would take AP Chem, AP Language and AP Calc plus possibly an AP History.
  • carpoolingmacarpoolingma Registered User Posts: 573 Member
    Excellent questions, @AppleNotFar ! I am looking forward to the answers as carpoolingkid would like to drop foreign language for more STEM asap!
  • payn4wardpayn4ward Registered User Posts: 3,065 Senior Member
    @GoatMama @MA2012 "physics is a good foundation - there is lots one can do." Exactly. My fellow physics major friends went on to earn graduate degrees and became professors in physics, astronomy, math, law, medicine, economics, computer science, materials science, environmental engineering, and electrical engineering. Others became lawyers, pharmacists, medical doctors, stock traders, journalists, business owners, actors, and teachers.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 4,555 Senior Member
    So here is my two cents worth. If your kid gets to the 4th level of a language, more is optional. Especially if said kid has other things that excite him/her. Like STEM. For many kids, this can free up a block of time as early as junior year. If your kid isn't a STEM kid and wants to stop language, consider taking the subject test at the end of the last year not for college admissions but for placement if he/she ends up at a college with a language requirement.

    If your kid took chemistry freshman year, there is a lot to be gained from continuing straight to AP chem sophomore year. First, the rest of the course load will be lighter that year and second, the basic material is still fresh. If your kid wants to double up on sciences in that year or later, it's easier if one is a first year class rather than 2 AP classes. And at many schools, a higher level of math is needed for physics, so it's a natural one to push off. (Although many BS kids are far enough along in math that it's not necessary to wait.)

    Again, without knowing the kid, I would think that 3 good APS to do sophomore year (using the rationale above) would be Chem, US History, and English language. The latter can be done with basic sophomore BS English, and the other 2 will be challenging but in different ways. The first 2 will require choosing a class that assumes they'll take the test. Note that both those 2 would allow them to knock off the subject tests in those at year end. And yes, plan on June tests unless your school year and AP exams are over by the May date. Of course, if your kid is ready for an AP calculus exam sophomore year, that'd be easy to add, but most aren't there before junior year.

    I don't think there's an ideal number of AP exams, and at many prep schools, more interesting and rigorous classes will not follow the AP curriculum. Colleges know this. AP exams are useful in college applications when the scores are good (particularly when the course grade was not). And they are useful for college students who use them to get out of core requirements outside their major. (It seems that many kids will take Chem 101 if they are pre med even if they got a 5 on the exam, but such a kid might be happy to use a hIstory or econ AP to skip social science requirements. ) With that said, many schools don't have required classes.

    As for staring at the course catalog, your kid will probably do this exercise with his/her advisor, who knows your kid and the general difficulty of the classes at your school better than you ever will. (Okay, @AppleNotFar , I can probably still recite the prerequisites for most of the classes at DS school. I had it committed to memory!) The best thing you can do is ask about balance, gaps between a first and second year course, etc. YMMV of course.

    The main thing is to have these conversations with your kid and his/her advisor and current teachers, but not to pick for them. You want to help them make the best decisions, not make them for them.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 38,409 Super Moderator
    I've read that selective colleges and universities are looking for applicants that have completed 4 years each of english, math, natural science, social science and language.
    One other thing to keep in mind - these suggestions apply to most, but not all applicants. Many BS's on a trimester system allow a student to take 5 classes per term. So if the school also has, as mine did, a music, art, PE, religion requirement, it is impossible to do 4 years of English, math, natural science, social science and language without requesting a course overload. Colleges understand that.
  • payn4wardpayn4ward Registered User Posts: 3,065 Senior Member
    S2 will likely take 4 years of English, math, science, and social studies. His boarding school requires only 2 years of language. I'm working hard to get him to do 3rd year of language, but we will see. He is thinking of Engineering so I don't think 3rd year of language is required. He might skip it junior year and take the language in senior year.

    I was glad to discover that he has been talking with his friends, uppers, and his advisor about course plans since Fall of freshman year. I never had to bring it up. Whenever he talks about courses, either I approve or give gentle no - No, I don't think you should skip US History. It doesn't satisfy "rigorous curriculum."

    Students in his school do double up in math and science, meaning take two math or science classes in a year. Some take summer classes to accelerate. This needs to be well coordinated with school ahead.
    S2 is doubling up in science this sophomore year. His school has a block system, so he has taken Honors Chemistry in Fall and will take AP Chem in Spring. He postponed sophomore religion (required) to next year to do that. He will take his first AP exam in May.
    He wants to take AP Physics C in junior year but it doesn't align well with his math sequence as he is still in PreCalculus. He plans to request to take Calculus BC and Physics C concurrently in junior year and take Biology (required) in senior year. If that doesn't work out, he will take Biology junior year and Physics C senior year. Either seems fine to me. He says he should have doubled up in math this year and keeps asking me if he should double up in math further. I keep saying no. I'm not convinced of his math maturity. I would rather have him slow down for mastery than rush through it. (We are pretty mathy family and S2 is the least mathy.)

    At local public schools, doubling up and GPA/rank boost game has become insane. Kids have no time for lunch as they take 7-8 periods of classes in a day to double up. Kids take PE, health, etc in summer paying $$ to avoid getting GPA hit by those unweighted classes. They only take Honors or AP/IB classes during school year. No art no music unless Honors are offered. S1 at local public school did not play that game but did double up in science junior year. He still ended up taking 9 AP classes. That is $900+ in AP exam fees to CollegeBoard. :-&
    I'm glad to avoid all that frenzy with S2. He will take 3-4 APs total.
  • AppleNotFarAppleNotFar Registered User Posts: 1,046 Senior Member
    @gardenstategal I had to look up YMMV, I'm so not with it! @payn4ward I never realized what was up with the green emoticon--that one could be very useful, love it.

    Now that I have satisfied the initial itch by creating that preliminary college list, my enthusiasm for the effort has waned. A couple of nights ago we went out to dinner with my FIL who posed the question to DC: "So, what are you looking for in colleges?" Awkward silence ensued. I mentioned something about some of the larger LACs looking like good fits and DC gave me the "huh?" look. Then to make a bad turn in the conversation worse, my FIL asked what I had been looking for in a college. And before I could answer he says "to get married, right?" Oy! The man is 90 and generally lovely so I bit my tongue. Later DH did confirm with our kids that mom was NOT looking to get married out of college. Thanks honey. (My main objective had been to be in as little debt possible coming out of undergrad knowing that I would probably need a lot in loans for grad school which ended up being the case.)

    Yesterday we had a talk with the kid about goal setting in the near- and mid-terms, with course planning a big part of the discussion. Kid reported that conversations around the topic have been had with the advisor and teammates, so that was encouraging. But we also set the expectation that kid would develop a draft plan with the help of the advisor by the end of the school year with answers to questions like which sequence of science made the most sense, whether language was recommended after the AP course, and if not, would computer science courses be a possibility. We also decided that kid would wait until the beginning of 10th grade to talk with someone in college counseling about the best approach for engaging with college coaches. But we do plan to make an informal tour of campuses on our way home from school in June. Just maybe not any LACs... ;)
  • AppleNotFarAppleNotFar Registered User Posts: 1,046 Senior Member
    Great perspectives and advice @gardenstategal ! And I sure wish I was quick-witted enough to have come up with that response to my FIL :)
  • infinityprep1234infinityprep1234 Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    Dear Child (19) is taking two APs in sophomore year. One in Science and one in History. Not sure what is SAT II subject test. DC wants to take two SAT II subject tests. What is the difference between AP and SAT II?
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 38,409 Super Moderator
    What is the difference between AP and SAT II?
    AP courses are the equivalent to 1st year college courses, so the exams are tantamount to college exams. Subject Tests test HS material.

    In history, very few schools require a student to take USH before APUSH or WH before APWH, so the AP versions of those classes may (and I stress may) be aligned with the Subject Tests as well as the AP test. But that's really a question for the teacher, who may or may not teach to the test.

    In science, the major AP courses (Bio/Chem/Physics C) usually require an intro course. In most cases, the intro course is better aligned to the Subject Test, as the AP courses cover less breadth and more depth. There is some debate among students as to whether one should take the Subject Test after AP. I did not; I took chem and physics after the corresponding intro classes, and I was happy with the results. Other kids might have a different experience.
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