A parent, correct guidance

<p>I'm the mother of a 15 year old girl that shows great promise. When she was in 7th grade, she was selected to try for the DUKE TIP (Talent Identification Program). This is DUKE's way of seeking out the academically talented in our region, which includes many southern, eastern and surrounding states. To try out, you take the SAT (same one the HS students take), and according to what they make, they either make state recognition, or grand recognition. (I'm sure many of you are familiar with this, and/or have children that have done the same thing). She took the test in 7th grade and made a total of 1150 (old SAT). This gave her state recognition. One of the things they do is offer summer enrichment courses (unfortunately ALL were so expensive at these schools, we could not do it....nor do we qualify for financial aide). But they do send out very helpful booklets, pamphlets, etc. regularly which are very helpful with many things.</p>

<p>So now, here she is, a sophomore in HS, top of her class of 250, took the new SAT with a score of 2160. gpa 4.0, and the whole 9 yards, very gifted in math and science, and the list goes on and on.</p>

<p>Ok...you think I'm bragging by now, right? LOL, well I am very proud, but that's not the reason for my post. I need advice from other parents of children who also show much promise. How do I, as a parent, make sure I guide her in the right way without putting too much pressure on her? I'm torn between feeling like I'm not doing enough, but not wanting to put too much pressure on her.</p>

<p>Her dream is to go to MIT and do something in the math and science field. She's not sure yet exactly what she wants to do with her life, perhaps a scientist, physicist, engineer, etc.....there's so much she's interested in, she's having trouble pinning down exactly what she wants. But, she is still a sophomore yet.</p>

<p>But maybe I worry too much. In her words, "mom, leave me to my own devices....it has worked so far" might be what I need to do. Just offer love, encouragement, and understanding, and plenty of support....which is what I do with her very well. Is this enough?</p>

<p>MIT offers a summer program: <a href="http://wtp.mit.edu/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://wtp.mit.edu/&lt;/a> for HS girls interested in science and engineering; so does Smith <a href="http://www.smith.edu/summerprograms/ssep/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.smith.edu/summerprograms/ssep/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Both of these programs would put her in with her intellectual peers, as well as offering her more information about possibilities in the fields that intrigue her.</p>

<p>This can be quite a balancing act. You might want to read these threads. Many parents and students here have the same questions. These have some suggestions for summer and other programs, some of which are free. There are many more you can find with a search for "gifted."<br>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=26515&highlight=gifted+summer%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=26515&highlight=gifted+summer&lt;/a>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=108708&highlight=gifted+summer%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=108708&highlight=gifted+summer&lt;/a>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=84547&highlight=gifted+summer%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=84547&highlight=gifted+summer&lt;/a>
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=76239&highlight=gifted+summer%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=76239&highlight=gifted+summer&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>You can also do a google search for summer programs. There are several that are for girls interested in engineering/science and some are free. You can start a search here: <a href="http://tbp-highschool.mit.edu/highschool/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://tbp-highschool.mit.edu/highschool/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"Just offer love, encouragement, and understanding, and plenty of support....which is what I do with her very well. Is this enough?"</p>

<p>Thats the most important part, of course.</p>

<p>Under the support part - you can do a little work on making sure eduational resources (and these don't have to be pricey) are available if she needs them. For example, does the math department at her hs know about the AMC mathematics competition - </p>

<p><a href="http://www.unl.edu/amc/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.unl.edu/amc/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>If organizations such as FIRST or LEGO Robotics, Envirothon or Science Olympiad are active, supporting them (without pressuring your D) is a good thing. These groups and a lot of fun, and give kids the chance to work together in problem-solving situations.</p>

<p>Does she have any interests outside of math and science? MIT seems to be looking at the "whole" applicant, not just the math and science scores/activities. Are you able to visit MIT? In addition, several MIT admissions officers have blogs (including the director of financial aid), which are quite helpful/interesting - go to <a href="http://matt.mitblogs.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://matt.mitblogs.com/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I agree with the suggestions above. She could also visit the artof
problemsolving.com site. There are lots of resources available there for math-lovers.</p>

<p>cmu.edu . 60/40, boy/girl total ratio and greater imbalance in the technical fields.</p>

<p>hey, she's only soph. I'd worry about it next summer. Let her enjoy her youth.</p>

<p>You should take a look at the links from the Johns Hopkins CTY program
<a href="http://www.jhu.edu/%7Egifted/imagine/linkA.htm%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.jhu.edu/~gifted/imagine/linkA.htm&lt;/a>
and in particular the Summer Science Program, whose students have great success getting into top universities MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford etc.
<a href="http://www.summerscience.org/home/index.php%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.summerscience.org/home/index.php&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"MIT offers a summer program: <a href="http://wtp.mit.edu/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://wtp.mit.edu/&lt;/a> for HS girls interested in science and engineering; so does Smith <a href="http://www.smith.edu/summerprograms/ssep/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.smith.edu/summerprograms/ssep/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Both of these programs would put her in with her intellectual peers, as well as offering her more information about possibilities in the fields that intrigue her."</p>

<p>Thank you so much for the information!! However, both of these are around $3-4K for the session and give aide to only financially needy. We wouldn't qualify for the aide, but can't really put out the money for this either. (just got my eldest married with big wedding, new job, and all of that). However, we do have the chance for her to apply to a program in our state that is free and is a very good program in the summer. She will probably apply to it. Also, she has been nominated for Governor's school this summer. (can't do both, but perhaps she'll get into one).</p>

<p>Thanks for your help!</p>

<p>Someone recently asked on the MIT forum (thread here</a>) about tips for getting into MIT, so I suppose I'll quote myself for a moment. ;)</p>



<p>Thank you all for the replies! Each and every one has been very helpful. The links are fantastic!</p>

<p>But I do want to clarify one thing. I know I said my daughter would love to and dreams of going to MIT, BUT she and I are both aware that it's an incredibly hard to get into college. Some of the best of the best don't even get in. Though her dream is to go there, if she does not get in, we have several state universities that she can go to (some also highly competitive to get into) that would certainly give her a great education in the field of study she is interested in and has talent for. Still, it is good for her to dream, and to strive to get into one of the best tech schools in the USA, as long as she knows that if she does not get accepted, it's not the end of the world. She knows this, but I still try to remind her of this once in awhile, just in case she forgets.</p>

<p>That being said, just doing all I need to do to ensure that all her bases are covered, and doing all the things she needs to do, when she needs to do it, and getting to know all we need to know in planning for college is what I want. I want to be an very well informed parent. I wouldn't want to ever feel the sadness of her not having every opportunity to reach her potential because I was NOT a well informed parent.</p>

<p>Please keep the info coming! I'm learning so much from you all!</p>

<p>Apply for the MIT summer program. If she is accepted, she will get a feel for what it would be like to attend MIT. Attending the summer program could be a big extra when it comes time for admission decisions.</p>

<p>Come college application time, have your daughter look into Harvey Mudd, in southern Calif. This is a science/ math oriented college, part of the Claremont college consortium. It is a small [700 students] college that gives big scholarships to high scoring applicants. Students get the benefit of being able to take liberal arts classes at one of the four other colleges all located together [Pomona. Claremont, Scripps, Pfitzer-total student population 5000], and get as much of the geeky science/math classes as they want.</p>

<p>Some concrete suggestions:</p>

<p>She should take the PSAT next October when she is a junior. When she has completed a class in a subject, she should take the SAT-II in that subject. Make sure that her class covered the whole curriculum. Some teachers do not manage to do so. Depending on the classes she is taking now, she could take one or two SAT-II tests at the end of the school year, when the materials are still fresh; otherwise, wait until the end of junior year. There is no sense retaking the SAT this year as she scored high already. She may want to take the SAT again at the end of junior year or at the beginning of senior year. Stringing out the various tests makes for less stressful experiences.</p>

<p>Suggest that she get involved in some academic ECs such as AMC competitions, Robotics, ROV (Remote Oceanic Vehicle), Science Bowl, Debate or Mock Trial but also make sure that she balances these activities with sports, arts or community service.</p>

<p>You are right that there are many great colleges that have strong math science offerings and where your D could get good merit/financial aid. During spring break, you might consider taking her to visit a college or two to get a feel for what it's like when there are students around. Over the summer and next year, you can visit more. </p>

<p>She could consider participating in RSI in the summer of junior year. It's a free program, very prestigious, now held at two locations, Caltech and MIT. It's very competitive. Do a search for criteria. For this coming summer, Governors school sounds good.</p>


<p>The love and support are great - that is what good parenting is really all about. But it may take more than good parenting to get her into MIT. For that you may also need to have a plan. </p>

<p>Fairly early on my science-minded daughter expressed an interest in attending a high end school, and eventually she succeed in getting admitted to several, including MIT (although she ultimately chose to go elsewhere). With respect to covering all the bases, here is my simplified formula for travelling that path:</p>

<li><p>Start with a very bright and motivated great kid, who has near straight As and shows every promise of continuing to get top grades. Without this basic ingredient it's going to be a huge struggle, but in any case it certainly sounds like you already have one.</p></li>
<li><p>Then one by one, she needs to "deliver the goods" on all or nearly all the hurdles ahead of her: PSAT, NMSF, APs, ECs, SAT I, EC awards and leadership, SAT IIs, Summer research at local Univ, More APs, NMF, Essay drafts, Recs, Essay rewrites, Apps in the mail on time, and finally Interviews. </p></li>
<li><p>Then to all this, add a stiff dose of good luck, and it just might happen for her.</p></li>
<li><p>And love your safeties. Build the college list from the bottom up. Don't lose sight of MIT, but make SURE she also applies to several safeties where she would be perfectly happy to attend.</p></li>

<p>Are you in FL? They have a summer program at FL state for 36 HS students. Its free for those accepted. Kids stay together in a dorm, have classes and lab work in a field of interest. Good social life in evenings and field trips on weekends. YSP</p>

<p>What did I find to be most important with my D in HS? Support. And not being too directive. </p>

<p>What does support mean? Listen to her, and help her to find more information. Send her web links, for example. If she is reluctant to do any hunting on her own, she has sent you a message. </p>

<p>Directive? It is her life. It is a time to explore - and maybe sit back and let the neurons grow on their own. Adolescence is also a time for kids to start making their own decisions and setting their own path. Please let her.</p>

<p>Its important for kids to find their own path - forcing them one way or another is bad in any number of ways.</p>

<p>What we can do - and what the college counselors at pricey prep schools do - is provide a roadmap of sorts. There are many ways of getting to the top of the mountain, but as coureur and marite have noted, there are are a certain number of mileposts one has to traverse in some way. </p>

<p>The SAT II's are a case in point - if it is not part of the school culture that kids take these things, they won't know about them until it is too late to do a proper job on them.</p>

<p>The competitions and clubs are important for more than just admissions. They give kids a taste of working together in science and technology - and a clue if this is really for them or not. </p>

<p>One of the things to remember when looking at the tech schools is that girls are typically admitted at a higher rate than boys. This means that it is all the more important for your D to visit and investigate - and be really sure that this is what she wants to get herself into!</p>

<p>Salem, you've been getting a lot of posts that say something along the lines of "just be supportive." I worry that may be insufficient IF (not when) your daughter decides that being smart in math and science is a problem... IF she meets boys who are scared by a girl who's "too smart" and IF that matters to her. I've taught for years and there are always a few girls who are afraid of appearing to be "nerds." High school can be very rough on those who aren't following that careful middle ground.</p>

<p>I hope your daughter is not likely to run into such pressure. </p>

<p>You've been given excellent advice about getting into MIT. I will add that MIT does like to see students (of both sexes) who are outgoing and passionate about something (usually something in math/science/engineering/computers) and that being quiet and unsure is NOT going to help her get into MIT. She needs to be ACTIVELY exploring the science/math world.</p>

<p>Salem, you seem to be fortunate in that you have a self-motivated, bright and accomplished daughter. I'm puzzled why the bulk of the reponses seem to suggest you need to get more involved and provide more guidance and structure. She is doing wonderfully. Maybe a summer sitting on the beach with a good book would not be the worst thing. Someone with her abilities is going to be working hard the rest of her life. Don't burn her out this young. I don' think she sounds like she need to be taken under a firm hand. Let her breathe. (That was my approach with my oldest son, much to his mother's chagrin I admit - and it worked out quite well.) Good luck.</p>