Monday, January 15, 2018

Senior Year Registration

Thursday is the registration deadline for DD2's senior year of high school class schedule. While it seems early, they like to get this out of the way early as then the administration needs to plan class sizes, teacher needs, and other logistics to have in place  by summer, ready for the following school year. DD2 is a very good student, but unlike her older sister, is not well organized and like her older brother, has a wandering brain. Still, despite this, she manages  mostly A grades, and has all but three honors or AP classes, and has eight hours of classes instead of seven and no study hall. She has been on the fence about taking AP calculus and AP physics or the regular versions. Technically, she needs neither to graduate as she will have completed all the requirements in these areas by the end of her junior year. We though are parents that do not believe in a senior year slide, and while we are letting her make a choice about which math or science, not taking one at all is not an option. 

By taking AP, she will be eligible to test for college credit, saving her time later to graduate early or earn a second bachelors degree, and save her parents, potentially thousands in tuition. Yet, she takes the risk that the subject matter is presented in timeline and detail that will stretch her ability to maintain her high grade point average. She has a couple more days to discuss her capacity and aptitude with her current science and math teachers and her counselor. As her GPA, even if it went down a few  decimal points, is high enough to get into just about any state college in Minnesota, Wisconsin or the surrounding states with reciprocity, she is aware that her first choice school is very competitive academically and accepts less than 50% of applicants. If she decides a private school is a better route, she needs the GPA for potential merit based scholarships to make attending financially feasible. 

It's a lot for a 17 year old to weigh, but this is the first of many decisions she ultimately has to be the one to make. The stakes are high, with no guarantee that any choice is the right choice, and no guarantee that even if the right choice, she will have the career rewards after college she hopes for. Still, she has never been one to shy away from a challenge. If she ends up selecting the AP versions, she most likely will have a second stressful year academically, but in the end, will use her grit and determination, along with a healthy meltdown or two, and find a way to be successful.

12 comments:

  1. Tough decisions for one so young.

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    1. I know-I'm glad that is done for me.

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  2. Those are tough decisions. And nothing is ever guaranteed, except maybe taxes! My daughter was in her 4th year of university french literature when she said to me "I don't think I want to be a teacher!" Oh well, ultimately all we can do as parents is support their choices.

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    1. She really isn't sure what she wants to study in college, so makes it harder to reach a choice now.

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  3. College life is so different in Canada. Often kids take a couple of years off before going and if you apply as an adult often you get in much easier than if you had gone straight from college as they don't look at your grades so much. My Stepson who already has a 2 year degree wants to go back to get a degree in engineering. We are being supportive but as there are 4 kids and each one had a specific amount assigned to them in the education fund and he spent almost all of his on the 2 year degree (plus wrecked a car in college which some was spent on a replacement) he is on the hook this time. Fortunately he will quaify for student loans as has zero to date. We asked him a lot of questions at Christmas...he hasn't thoroughly thought it out yet like where he will live this time round as can't live at his Mom's so likely will have to get a couple of roommates. Lots of tough choices

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    1. We have a specifc amount we can afford-not any more, and we do not want her taking out any loans for her undergrad degree as there are too many options to not have that be the case. If we had worked with my son more on looking at options besides college right out of high school, he would probably be in a better place financially now, as different kids, different paths. He ended up back at school-very pricey planning.

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  4. I am on the fence about Ap courses. All of my sons took them at various times and for various classes. Son3 went to an extremely competitive school (under 10 percent acceptance rate) but all financial assistance was need based (based on the parents income) so the AP classes and GPA did nothing. Sons 1 and 2 both went to a state university where the GPA and AP classes were not used to measure financial aid as much as the entrance exams (ACT and SAT) were. Again the AP classes did not really factor into anything. I guess it just depends on what she wants her college experience to be.
    Son1 has said repeatedly he will discourage his daughter from taking them when the time comes, unless it is a subject she shows serious interest in, and will push her in the direction of diversifying her high school studies and extracurricular activities.

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    1. It's the exams for AP classes that will earn her college credits that is the biggest selling point. Pretty much any state college in Minnesota and the surrounding states accept the credits earned and not just to meet the prerequisites, so it is a potentially huge financial savings. But-GPA and her ACT will matter more for getting accepted in some schools.

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  5. It's such a challenging time to be a high school student. We are five+ years removed, and I'm grateful, because I'm not yet ready for all of the pressure. You and your family sound ready to help, weigh decisions & tradeoffs & support the decisions, which is all you can really do as a parent.

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    1. We trust that she will make the best decision. She needs to pay attention to her own aptitude, and her own stress level.

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  6. My daughter who is a college freshman told me that had she not taken all the AP classes in jr. and sr. years of high school (about 5 total) she would not have survived in college. Besides those classes preparing her so well, they also knocked out quite a few required classes she would have had to take in college (just like you mentioned). She saved us thousands of dollars by taking those classes! When selecting colleges to apply to, she found her "reach" school had a 13% acceptance rate ... eek! Out of the 5 she applied to she was accepted into 2 which had 30-33% acceptance rates (all public colleges in the UC system in Calif.). Because she knew how crazy competitive it is to get into Uni's now, she made sure she did extra-curriculars by starting a club in high school and participating in a couple community service organizations outside of school. So as you know GPA, SAT & ACT test scores (she took both SAT and ACT twice each) are not the only factors to focus on. Then there are the personal essay questions on the applications they have to knock their socks off with. Two of her teachers kindly reviewed draft after draft after draft for her before she finally submitted them.

    As far as merit based scholarships, with a consistent 4.2 GPA my daughter was awarded none! I couldn't believe it. And in fact we got no scholarship/grant monies because our income was too high. Well, we got $1,000 which is barely even worth mentioning considering how much tuition and room & board is.

    I think it's great that your daughter is seeking advice from her counselor and teachers. This is what my daughter did too and it helped tremendously. I know a lot of students don't like to or feel intimidated doing this. It sounds like she is a fantastic student and is already doing everything she can to prepare for college. It's just so much pressure for a 17 year old, it's mind boggling! Don't worry, she'll be fine - and you too :) Good luck!

    D.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your daughters experience. In just 10 years, or the 6 since my older daughter finished college, things have already changed. She may have figured it out, but one more round of conversations the next two days will solidify her choices.

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