BS Class of 2020 Thread

Created by a clueless @GoatMama egged on by @AppleNotFar, and that’s not the first thing GoatMama has ever done against her best judgement.

This should be a safe place for parents of BS 2020 students to communicate, support each other, and share information about all aspects of the college application process.

Happy 2017 to everyone! According to Apple, 2020 is around the corner…

Nicely put @GoatMama

Best not to blink :slight_smile:

With one just done with college applications I can’t really think about college for DS2.

One piece of advice for parents - have your kids think about standardized testing when appropriate with their courses. For example Math subject test is recommended after Pre-Calculus. DS1 spread out his testing and was done by the end of 11th grade. He had time to study/retake SAT or ACT in senior fall if necessary.

That’s very helpful @MA2012 thanks! What’s the suggested timeline for the other tests? And I imagine we need to look at some admissions requirements to figure out how many need to be taken?

I was also wondering if kids study for the PSAT prior to taking it or do they just prepare by doing SAT prep? I struck up a conversation with another parent in a BS admissions waiting room when DC was applying last year and she told me that her 8th grader had begun SAT prep right after her kid had taken the SSAT. Back in my day I did a few practice tests and took the SAT once.

And here is a list of colleges that require or recommend subject tests:

If asterisks appear in a sentence, then the word/website is not allowed, and should be edited. Link deleted.

Postive peer pressure :wink:

Due to the “****” in the link above I ran a search for “complete list of colleges that require sat subject tests” and found the referenced page. Thanks!

Looks like 3 subject tests to be on the safe side.

No college, other than Georgetown, requires/requests 3 Subject Tests. If kid is happy with the scores on 2, no need to take a third. This is a case where more does not equal better.

Most that mine applied to asked for 2 subject tests, if any. He took 4 total and self reported where asked on the common app. If applying for a STEM field, many schools prefer Math and a science. Math 2 is only specified at MIT and Cal Tech - others will take either Math 1 or 2. Some schools say send subject tests if you have them, but if money is a factor don’t feel that you have to take Subject tests. Some schools say ACT OR SAT and 2 subject tests.

DS1 did minimal prep - none before 10th grade PSAT and once he saw his scores, none for 11th grade PSAT either. He took the SAT in 7th grade for JHU CTY, and had a very good baseline score. He took a practice mock SAT and ACT at a local test prep center and that was about it for prep. His school offered PrepWorks access for free, but he watched one video and didn’t like the format. Khan Academy now has SAT prep. Many people do prep more and DS2 will probably do some prep work. DS2 had a few English tutoring sessions before SSAT at local test prep center and we might use them for SAT prep, but I’m not thinking too much about that now.

My kids did ZERO test prep. They both got into great colleges. Not Ivy but that wasn’t what interested them anyway. You don’t have to feed that machine nor focus all the high school years on college prep/process to get a good education. Just want to throw a different approach out there. :slight_smile:

Thanks a bunch @skieurope @MA2012 and @doschicos !

Georgetown is on “the list” for the time being but based on the above I’m thinking that kid should wait to see if it stays on the list as it gets shortened before planning that 3rd subject area test.

Am I correct in assuming that the science tests should be taken after the AP course and not just after the regular course? For example, kid is taking chemistry right now, but not AP so kid needs to wait until the AP course is completed to take the test, right?

And for the Math 1 test if kid needs to wait until after the pre-calc sequence has been completed, when would kid take the Math 2? Would a good Math 2 score help applications to STEM programs at schools other than MIT (on the list for now) and Cal Tech (not on the list)?

So so so glad I never had to do this!

One of my kids took Math 2 after precalc and did fine, not near perfect but definitely a solid score, without any prep. The BS recommends Math 2 for students decent at math. Other child who isn’t friends with math only took Math 1.

One of my kids had Georgetown on the long list. When it came down to culling out some schools for the short list, it got the axe partially due to that 3rd subject test and it having its own application.

@AppleNotFar S1 took Math 2 after Precalc, June of Sophomore year and again in December of Junior year while in the middle of BC Calc. Got 800 the second time.

He is taking AP Physics C this Senior year but he took Physics Subject test after Honors Physics, June of Junior year. He did well enough, 760, so there was no need to wait for after AP for that one, which would have been late for college purposes.
He took Chemistry Subject test during AP exam week in May of Junior year. He did not do well in either exam for Chem.
I took along S2 to take Physics subject test after freshman Physics 1. Both boys and I took the Physics subject test last June. I know, I am a crazy mom physicist. A week before the test, I realized S2’s freshman physics did not cover much. Not even projectile motions nor vectors. S2 slogged through a few problem sets (Princeton Review, Kaplan, etc) and got 680. Not so great but okay. So if one wants to take it before AP it is possible. I got 800. So me-800, S1-760, S2-680 were the physics outcomes. Mom wins :smiley: Having Physics PhD helps there. :wink:

May and June of Junior year is good time to take Subject tests for any of the subjects.

Many many thanks @payn4ward !

No, you are incorrect. But you are not alone; many students here on CC think the same thing.

Subject Tests test HS material; AP tests test college material. I can’t speak for bio, since I never took. However, there are huge gaps in any combination of AP Physics courses (1/2/C:Mech/C: E&M) and what appears on the Subject Test. Similarly, AP Chem is more depth than breadth vis a vis the Subject test.

Any Subject Test is designed to be taken after the appropriate college-prep course, although there will always be students who feel more comfortable taking it after AP.

From personal experience, I probably could have received a higher score after AP Chem, but I decided that the time and effort needed to prep for the additional few potential points was not worth it. For Physics, there is no way I could have surpassed my score if I took it again after AP Physics; the material gap was just too wide.

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.

My understanding is that so many kids do well (800) on Math 1 that you’re better off doing Math 2 if you’re math-y. A good score on Math 2 is better than a perfect one one Math 1. (And if you’re not math-y, you can find other tests.)

I think one of the best things you can do with your freshman, in conjunction with their advisor, is figure out what you think the next 3 years will look like for classes. Take a couple AP exams sophomore year, and where there’s a choice, don’t take your hardest classes (don’t play to your strengths) junior year. That year is really visible in the admissions process , so taking a couple of particularly challenging (for the student - no need to avoid rigor where it is exciting ), classes can take so much time and energy that it’s impossible to shine where you normally would. 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. DS did not and there was much to regret by the end of junior year. (Not that he didn’t end up at a great LAC in spite of it) but it was a rough year and a stressful college admissions cycle.

@payn4ward , thanks for your post. I needed that!

@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… :wink:

I am still on break after going through this with 2017 kid. LOL
Tomorrow is another day. :wink:

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.

Much good info! I’ve got some follow-up comments and questions:

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:

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.