Advice for my son

<p>S3 is a high school Junior. He is interested in Economics/Finance. His stats and EC's are as follows:</p>

<p>1) GPA (UW) = 4.0 after the 5th semester; (Weighted) #2/over 800 in his grade. His rank may drop since he only takes 4 AP courses this year.
2) SAT = 2300 after the 1st try.
3) AP 5's for Micro/Macro Econ, Human Geo, Biology; he is taking AP Chem, Stats, English, and Calc AB and hoping to become a National AP Scholar by May this year.
4) PSAT ~ 2270
5) Tennis Varsity - competed in state finals; team captain next year.
6) Team leader for Euro Challenges last year and will be a mentor for this year's team.
7) State Regional Econ Challenge #2; will compete in Fed Challenge this semester
8) Sophomore Class president and assistant School Board Ambassador; He is a member of the Student Council, NJHS, Habitat for Humanity club, and student tutor for Biology. He planned to campaign for election of the Junior year class president. But, the school picked the officers. So, he lost interest in the student council activities.
9) He is recruiting officers/members and is discussing with teachers to form an investment/economics club.
10) Debate team varsity member
11) Tennis tutor for city ‘s summer camp; Volunteer in a local hospital</p>

<p>He likes to read (Economists, Times, Newsweek, SI) and writes well. His essay was used by his AP Lang teacher as a master piece. </p>

<p>His problems are that he is not very serious. He likes to party and enjoy life. His school is OK but not a difficult one. He seldom spends more than two hours a day for study. His routine is to play tennis for 3 hours (or other EC activities), have his dinner, watch Cudlow on CNBC, study for one hour, take a long bath while reading, do some research on investment and debate topics, take a nap and do some more research before going to bed. During weekend, he probably will go to party and sleep over. He has not been very diligent about his HW either. He had skipped some since they were only worth 10 points out of 800 points total. He is not very organized and even studied the wrong sections in one of his AP Calc tests. And, he has little patience. </p>

<p>What is his chance of being accepted into Wharton, his #1 target school? Even if he is lucky to get in, I am concerned that if he can survive the competition and thrive since his background is not solid enough. He intends to apply to Wharton, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and IU (our state school). IU Kelley is pretty good except that he may party too much. Is there something he should do, during 2012, to give himself a better chance to be accepted by Penn? Your advice is greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>
[quote]
His problems are that he is not very serious. He likes to party and enjoy life.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I think it's okay if your son is not drilling SAT words 24/7. </p>

<p>Anyways... he looks like an exceptional Wharton candidate. I think his interest in business will work wonders if he expresses it well in his essays. Your son sounds like he's already busy enough, I don't think he needs to add anymore to his extraordinary list of activities. It seems that you think he can be doing more simply because he has free time, but his free time is probably keeping him sane enough to handle all of his work. Statistically he can't do any better (retaking a 2300 is pointless), just make sure he writes excellent essays that are specific to Penn/Wharton when it comes time for him to apply.</p>

<p>I don't know how different it is for Wharton kids but there are lots of parties at Penn, hence its "social Ivy" title. Fair warning if it worries you.</p>

<p>Hi ace550,</p>

<p>As a current junior at Wharton, I think the best thing he can do during his 2012 year is take a hold of his own college application process without the overbearing control of parental pressures. From the looks of his extracurriculars and grades, he will be able to do well wherever he goes. However, the thing that separates the good students from the great ones here is intrinsic motivation. The must well-rounded, successful, and happy students are the ones who push forward not because their parents have been hovering over them monitoring their progress, but because it is something they genuinely want to do.</p>

<p>Even in terms of getting in, I suspect that admissions officers can tell the difference between someone who wants to go to Penn and someone who's pushed to do it. And even for the students who are intrinsically motivated, parental pressures can be seen as a persuasion attempt and even undermine that intrinsic motivation. (Thanks Organizational Behavior! Take MGMT238 if you can.)</p>

<p>All in all, I sympathize with your concern for your son's success, but I wanted to point out that when you're the parent that keeps raising their hand for their kid during the college tours, you can actually undermine your child's future success.</p>

<p>Regards,
A Concerned Wharton Student</p>

<p>Hello ace550,</p>

<p>I am also a junior here at Wharton. After long consideration about your son's situation, I think it would be valuable to consider the importance of socializing and of knowing how to socialize well in a variety settings. Assuming that you or son are planning on him entering the IBanking/Hedge Fund career path, you should know that there are two key elements in the internship/employment route. One of these, as you seem to have determined, is the resume. Yes, a full and illustrious resume reads well to the hiring banks and firms and helps in getting students hired. However, the other element is just as, and some would argue, more important: socialization. </p>

<p>Socialization in this isolated case has several sides to it. There is of course the meeting, greeting, and knowledge-showing of recruitment sessions; smile, hand-shake, and state your name to the dozens of recruiters who stop by Penn. However, these professionals meet hundreds of Wharton kids and can pick up on disingenuous attitudes with astounding accuracy. So, then comes the other side of this: know other people at Wharton. Don't go after them like a hunter; Wharton kids know when they're being used and hate it. But, they LOVE helping out their friends and people they consider down to earth, people with whom they...well, there's really no other word for it...party. I've gotten countless business cards from some incredible people while talking around a beer keg. And, many of my friends have gotten job offers while at a party. If your son plans to go into business, then his knowledge of partying and enjoying life is pretty important if he hopes to be successful. </p>

<p>Best,
BOS</p>

<p>BluOceanStrategy, GnothiSeauton, Excavalier, dfree124,</p>

<p>Really appreciate your advice, for me and for him. I will find a good time to show him your comments. </p>

<p>As a parent, I probably pushed him to some degree. Most students in his school pay more attention to sports than their grades. He is embarrassed to tell his friends that he is taking four AP courses. When my wife asked him to take one more to secure his #2 spot, he refused, “I do not want to be you guys’ AP horse.” We backed away from that and just reminded him, from time to time, of his goals. As of today, his Econ teachers may have a hard time to form the Fed Challenge team. Most seniors are not in the mood. No other juniors have taken the Econ course. Even if hey can form a team, he will have to do most the ground work similar to what he had done for the EURO Challenges. He did not really like the topic in DECA. The Investment/Econ Challenges club may motivate him to do something for himself and for the school. </p>

<p>The advice on social/human/interview skill is right on the mark. He attended the HOBY camp last summer. The campers had a chance to dine with volunteers - leaders from various fields. A bank president was at his table. I asked him if he tried to impress the banker with a question about the exchanges between Dimon and Bernanke on the bank regulation. (He and I were watching Kudlow’s discussion one week before the camp.) He apparently missed the chance. I still do not know if he just forgot or felt that it might be awkward trying to show off his knowledge in front of other campers. But, he will have to sharpen his human/interview skill for sure.</p>

<p>Again, your advice is very valuable even if he can’t make into Penn.</p>

<p>He sounds very diligent to me.</p>

<p>Don't forget, he is only 16-17 years old.</p>

<p>He is not a study robot.</p>

<p>Nothing wrong with liking tennis.</p>

<p>If he sacrifices his studies to some extent to excel in tennis, that is not the end of the world.</p>

<p>Since ECs are important, the tennis might actually be more important than higher grades at this point.</p>

<p>Perhaps the best thing you can do as a parent is ease off right now. You've already pointed him in the "right" direction and expressed your thoughts as to what he should be doing and what he should achieve, but it comes off as if you're overdoing it. Not to overstep boundaries, but your parenting seems off-balance. By over-emphasizing the importance of his academics and career, you're suppressing him socially and emotionally - he may suffer on the long-term from your actions. I'd take a second to step back and re-evaluate his true priorities in life and your role in guiding him there.</p>

<p>Your son sounds like a very competitive student for Wharton. One thing to remember is that after an admission, he has to be able to excel at Wharton where courses are curved to a B. My son was a stellar student in a competitive private HS but when he went to Wharton, he found he was only average and had to work several times harder/smarter than in HS. There are lots of very intelligent students who also work very hard and some had gone to those HS where they are much more prepared than the average HS students. Grades are important at Wharton. You are advised to put your GPA at the top of your resume for jobs offered at the career office.</p>

<p>I find that most colleges, including Penn, like scholar/athletes. If your son wins a few state level titles in tennis while maintaining stellar grades, ECs, he will be a very strong candidate.</p>

<p>floridadad55, Snappy, and cbreeze,</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice and reminder. It is going to be embarrassing to go over this thread with him now. </p>

<p>One correction, he is just one of the top seven players on the school's varsity team which competed in the state final. He actually likes basketball more. He is OK in tennis; but, he is not anywhere near the level I might have misled you to believe. It would be a small factor in the admission. </p>

<p>My other two boys went to the state school. It was not "easy" for them there even they work hard. For a top school like Penn, it will be much more difficult. Getting in one is no guarantee for success. </p>

<p>Just an interesting note: He found out that the #1 girl got 2390 in SAT on the 1st try. A very smart girl we knew since the elementary school. Her mom made her take it again to get that perfect score.</p>

<p>May I toss something in? The underlying stuff that your son demonstrates (lack of dedication to HW, doing the minimum but still getting good grades) will be communicated to Penn admissions via rec letters and such. Given the competitiveness of applicants, you (and he) should not be shocked if he gets bypassed -- despite his good metrics. I interview for another Ivy and I see kids like him a lot who, given the current pool numbers, have very tough chances of being admitted. </p>

<p>I'm not trying to sound elitist. I don't doubt these kids (and yours as well) won't be successful in college and afteward. But the extreme quality of the applicant pool at Ivies and such can not be underestimated. I can guarantee you that there are hundreds of kids with the exact same scores and GPA who are fiery scholars, who have already broken down doors with their motivation and determination to do the next best thing, learn the next material -- and have super social skills, are great athletes, etc.</p>

<p>Finally, your 2390 SAT scorer? Her mom is an idiot and the epitome of what top schools view as absurdity.</p>

<p>T26E4,</p>

<p>Good points except the comments about the #1 girl. Her mom is a math professor in a pretty decent university. I would not doubt that she got her Ph.D from one of the top schools.</p>

<p>Seriously, these are exactly the points I have been telling my son. We visited Penn two years ago. It was a Saturday and the library was full. I did not know if it was just a snap shot. Regardless, the competition would be tough there. If he gets the chance, I hope that he can elevate himself with all other students. If he does not, I hope that he gets the wake-up call for his life. Perhaps, I get to retire early if he goes to the state school.</p>

<p>ace550, T26E4 didn't mean that literally. Re-taking a 2390 for a 2400 is just a waste of time/effort. SAT's are just one benchmark of many. </p>

<p>You clearly have a very smart child, so I think you should let him figure things out. If he really wants to get into Penn, he'll come around during college apps season. The worst thing you can do is continue being overbearing to him.</p>

<p>About the mom who pushed her daughter to retake the 2390, her actions are what were idiotic -- I can't comment on her personally, of course. </p>

<p>Colleges expressly want their applicants NOT to focus on something as trivial as the difference between a 2390 and 2400. This is the kind of eyes-rolling behavior one attributes to "tiger-moms" -- not from some spontaneously brilliant kid who wants to go out into the world and conquer it in all forms and fashions. These are the ones that really sparkle on college applications.</p>

<p>BTW: my fingers crossed for you and early retirement! I'll be in that position in a few years!</p>

<p>loldanielol, T26E4, and All,</p>

<p>Fair enough. It turns out that he has read your comments since I forgot logging out from CC. He takes your advice seriously and appreciates your spending the time to share your viewpoints. In the meantime, I will also lesson my interference with his activities. Thank you all very much.</p>