First off, sorry if this is in the wrong forum, or if College Confidential is the wrong place for this question. I am still very new to the site and trying to learn the ropes!
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology is a competitive public magnet high school in Northern Virginia. It has a focus in STEM fields but claims it excels in all academic pursuits. I have the choice to apply next autumn and am trying to find out whether or not the school would be a good fit for me.
- I have an extremely strong interest in both science & math. The combination of rigorous classes not available at my neighborhood school. In addition, the senior lab would be, while challenging, very engaging and enriching.
- I am not athletic but am interested in getting into a sport or two to take care of my body. The process of getting into sports at TJ is not as competitive as it would be at my neighborhood school, but I would still be encouraged to push myself to my limits.
- The eighth period would be greatly beneficial in expanding my knowledge in my two favorite academic pursuits: science and Latin. I could join the Latin Club & Science Olympiad, while my home school would have neither.
- TJ has an incredibly large body of Latin students. At Virginia Junior Latin Convention, they won countless awards, including the "extra-large group spirit contest," This leads me to believe that not only is the Latin program exceptional, but the students are also driven to educate themselves outside of the classroom.
- The countless science labs on campus might allow me to engage in science research before senior year, although I have heard that TJ has had a hard time starting students with research before senior year.
- The commute. I don't know exactly how long it would be, but I am sure it wouldn't be as long as most of the student body. Still longer than my neighborhood school, though.
- The choral & theatre programs. Both seem close to non-existent. These are the extracurriculars I'm most invested in, but it seems as if TJ has no chorus at all, and a very small theatre program.
- The stress. While I got all A's in 6th grade and my lowest quarter grade was a 94.8 this year, at TJ, this would probably go down drastically. My mental health might take a hit, despite usually being manageable. However, I feel as if I could jump through almost any hurdle life throws at me.
- The technology and computer science classes. I love math and science, but engineering and tech don't inspire me. There are requirements for courses in these fields at TJ. To be fair, I haven't taken a single course, but my father (a computer scientist) has tried to teach me to code multiple times, and every single time, I've been left bored out of my mind. We don't mesh as well as I do with my mom, though, and this could attribute to it. While my dad is great at math, he can't help me with my math homework when I'm struggling. My mom looks up some Khan Academy videos and she can make it second nature.
- Not so much a con, but my neighborhood high school is still very good compared to the nation, and I would receive an excellent education there, as well.
It definitely helped to write everything down, and there are probably more items I haven’t yet considered. Any thoughts?