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    #162163 - 07/14/13 07:38 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I'll also say that a good many C-type parents are stunned to see just how much the landscape has shifted under them since they were applying themselves. They really thought it was mostly talk from hyperventilating helicopter parents and that it would be relatively low-stress for THEM, because, well, they already knew what college admissions were like, having done it themselves once upon a time.

    It wasn't all Kool-Aid then. I'm convinced of that.

    The other horrifying thing is that most institutions now want the value of assets like your residence, your retirement savings, etc. in calculating your child's "need" for assistance in writing checks to the tune of 45-70K annually.

    I don't know too many middle class-- even UMC-- families that can do that. It feels extortive, frankly.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #162165 - 07/14/13 08:32 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics

    As I still have nightmares about college and consider it the absolute worse experience in my entire life (yes, worse than practicing law), I am going to recuse myself from this discussion.

    #162166 - 07/14/13 08:52 PM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    intparent Offline

    Registered: 12/16/09
    Posts: 553
    We have been through the process twice in the past five years (youngest D will be a college freshman in 6 weeks!). Really -- go to College Confidential's discussion area. You won't find enough people on this forum who have successfully navigated it recently to get solid advice. On CC you can really learn the ins and outs of how to maximize your need based and merit based financial aid, hear about how to balance grades vs. test scores vs. ECs when looking at your kids chances for schools, get suggestions on reach/match/safety schools, explore the pros and cons of visiting and what to do on visits, endlessly discuss the pros and cons of Early Action and Early Decision applications, and just about anything else you could ever think to ask regarding college. The landscape HAS changed unbelievably since we went to college, but CC is a fantastic resource to help you navigate through it.

    #162177 - 07/15/13 05:00 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    Wren Offline

    Registered: 01/14/08
    Posts: 1688
    Thanks intparent for the experienced based input. This type of discussion tends to have too much whining about reality and wanting a different scenario.

    The world is different and you gave actionable advice to give your kid advantage in a highly competitive environment.

    Having heared from parents going through the process this year, I heard good stories about fairly easy admissions to USC and Columbia, with good scores, not perfect and not big ECs. The USC stories seem to be generous about scholarships. But these are anecdotal. Good luck.

    #162187 - 07/15/13 07:16 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    epoh Offline

    Registered: 10/31/11
    Posts: 954
    Loc: N. Texas
    At this point I am hoping against hope that Texas's current rule where the top X% of high school students are granted automatic acceptance to state schools sticks around. When I graduated it was 10%, last I heard they'd dropped it to 7% or something.

    #162194 - 07/15/13 07:49 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Another resource that may be helpful is your school counseling staff. That is situational, obviously-- but if your child's school regularly sends it's top 15% (or more) into elite schools, then it's a safe bet that it isn't happening by accident. Ours is mostly not very helpful, but yours may be different.

    Another resource that doesn't provide advice, per se, but just the numbers and admission requirements:

    College Board's College Search feature Be sure to check out the "how do I stack up" tab under each college entry. Don't rely on that as set in stone, however-- colleges can and do shift their admissions requirements periodically-- but it's a good way to plan whether or not your child will want to take subject SAT's or not, for example, or a fourth year of foreign language versus a third year of laboratory science. It also gives you a feel for what kind of percentile your child would be at, achievement-wise, at a particular institution. Consider whether your child wants to be in the middle of the achievement distribution-- for some of our kids in particular, that would be a shock to them. Could be good, could be bad.

    Anyway-- the College Board search tool also tells you about the relative weighting of test scores, transcripts, essay, and EC's in admission decisions.

    Start this process-- at the very latest-- before the child's junior year of high school.

    Ideally, you begin looking ahead to the interlocking steps of testing, academics, and extracurriculars when your child enters high school, if not before. If you haven't, of course, it's not too late at that junior year mark, but it is later than most of their peers will have done.

    It's way better for most schools if the child has at most 2 or 3 extracurriculars that they are passionate and committed about-- not seven or ten. Better still if they are somewhat related to a larger whole that indicates who that child is as a person. This can be something of a problem with HG+ kids who often have high levels of multi-potentiality and NEED many quite diverse EC activities in order to fully explore different facets of who they are.

    If you are low income-- look into QuestBridge and programs like it. My DD has four classmates that have been matched with Ivies via QuestBridge. We also know another bright, but not spectacular, somewhat nontraditional (older-- mid-20's) student who recently received a complete full-ride at Reed College, and another at Stanford. There is merit aid-- just less than was once the case, and more of it is directed at a smaller slice of the top students.

    One other problem that we've noted is that if you have a grade-accelerated student, they may not be fully capable of comprehending the gravity of the situation there. On the one hand, you walk a fine line w/r/t perfectionism, but on the other, yeah, that "B" in Spanish is likely to make at least some difference-- to someone, somewhere.

    Oh, and the other thing that I have both heard-- and seen in print recently as advice to high schoolers and their parents-- getting into an Ivy isn't appreciably harder than it's ever been. That is, if you'd have been a highly competitive candidate to get in at Harvard 30 years ago, you're still likely to get in at an Ivy. The real difference is that you may not get into Harvard now-- could be Yale, could be Princeton instead.

    I'm seeing that this seems anecdotally to be true, from observations of our kids in youth activities and DD's classmates-- about the same number of them are matriculating at the same elite schools as when I was in high school, and it's the same 'slice' of kids in terms of ability/achievement.

    More kids are applying to more schools, though-- this is largely because of Common-App. That does mean that ONLY applying at a particular Ivy is probably unwise, though.

    DD will probably apply at 6 or 7 schools, but she's not interested in an Ivy. Her college list at the moment:

    a) Reed College
    b) UW
    c) a local college, which would likely be a full ride, but is far from prestigious, though reasonably high quality.
    d) USC
    e) Rice
    f) U-Chicago
    g) Carleton
    h) Claremont-McKenna
    i) UVA
    j) Trinity Dublin
    k) UBC or Simon Fraser
    l) ? She's looking into a Swiss one, a Parisian school, and another in Austria.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #162195 - 07/15/13 07:55 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Oh-- and at only a handful of those does she fall in the "middle" of the green bars at College Board's site-- mostly, she's well above the middle 50% of students at the institutions.

    Another tip:

    look into what reciprocity agreements exist regionally if you are worried about out-of-state tuition.

    MOST elite institutions, this isn't an issue since they are private, but that's a big reason why DD's list is mostly private schools, to start with-- often out of state tuition rates are 200-250% of in-state. Who wants to pay that for an "adequate" college when it elevates tuition into the same range that one would be paying at a place like Rice or Harvey Mudd, anyway??

    International college used to be "too expensive" to really be worth considering seriously for most people. That has changed, but it is more complicated to live internationally as a student.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #162201 - 07/15/13 08:22 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    HK, are you concerned about your dd being grade accelerated (2 grades?) and how her scores will look on paper compared to the other applicants? Or is she still out-performing them?

    The reason I ask, of course, is that ds11 is about to skip 6th grade and so everything from here on out, ACT, SAT, etc, will be harder for him to do exceptionally well on. Or maybe that's my misconception. Making the kind of decision we did feels like a huge leap of faith and I hope we haven't hurt his chances for choices later in his life.

    The alternative is status quo, and that didn't really work for my older HG son, whose focus and grades slipped now and then because he never really learned to work at something.

    Edited by KADmom (07/15/13 08:23 AM)

    #162206 - 07/15/13 08:56 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: 22B]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    It already has been a factor, unfortunately. DD isn't a kid that (apparently) does College Board tests exceptionally well-- I'm not sure if it's the format, or if she still has safety concerns that ramp up her anxiety to performance-attenuating levels, or what. It seems quite probable, now that we have an N of two.

    Anyway, she certainly scored 99th percentile on the PSAT, but because of the timing of her 3rd skip, she didn't get a 'practice' run at that one, and therefore that was her very first out-of-home, formal testing experience. She missed the cut-line in our state by about a single question, and there is NO question that if she'd made that cut, she'd be a major contender for NMS, given the rest of her resume and her transcripts. Most of her practice tests had been VERY comfortably above the cut line. Interestingly, at home, when she's been tested by teachers from school, her scores are stellar relative to practice, so I do think that unfamiliar environment and disability-related anxiety is a major part of the performance attenuation happening. I am not entirely sure what the acceleration has done there.

    As you note, the alternative to having that additional acceleration is virtually unthinkable either way.

    Her scores are high enough for all but a tiny handful of institutions, and I'm not so sure that she wouldn't be competitive there, too,

    The short answer is that yes, there MAY be some impact on test scores, but it's hard to say what it is. In practice that seems to have meant that on any given day, DD's SAT scores are "above 700" rather than higher. She has only taken the SAT once, and honestly, her endurance is part of the problem with that one. In light of that, we've determined that having her take the SAT again probably wouldn't matter. Sure, her math and writing scores might be higher, but she's unlikely to top the reading score that she has, since it's already near 800. On any given day, though, the math or writing COULD be higher quite easily. She's definitely hit repeated home-runs on the writing, scoring 800's routinely in practice exams. The SAT is a grind-- maintaining your focus on something that is inherently not that challenging or absorbing, but IS that stressful, over the course of 5 hours is-- a bummer, to say the least. Especially when you're done with each section in about 1/3 the allotted time, and just get to SIT there doing NOTHING while time runs out, which is what happens. Even if you test with accommodations or individually-- you sit for the full time allotment in each section.

    Given how HG+ kids read multiple choice exams that are written for bright but NT people, 'perfect' scores are not necessarily a given no matter how capable the individual is, anyway, and so it may be that waiting to take them as an older student wouldn't really be helpful anyway. DD did a lot better on SAT practice done for fun a few years ago than she has in the past 6 months, when they 'counted.' As she grows cognitively, it gets harder to read those questions as-intended.

    In my opinion, and this may only apply to kids who are EG+, I don't know-- it's probably a wash whether acceleration helps them or hurts them in terms of SAT performance. The further they go "past" NT for that cohort, the harder it may be to read superficially enough to get near-perfect scores. On the other hand, more life-experience means better executive skills, etc. which improves that 'on-demand' focus and ability to get inside the internal logic of the test.

    We're thinking that the ACT probably would have showcased her better, being both shorter and not as choppy, as well as having a science subsection, but seeking accommodations complicates things substantially for her and frankly I'm not able to do it again just for the ACT-- too much energy output. If she does take the ACT, I've already told her that she'll have to do it without accommodations and hope for the best. Not ideal.

    That brings up another really good point, though, and that is that for 2e parents-- you MUST make sure that your IEP/504 is both current and adequate to gain your child the accommodations that s/he needs in order to take those standardized tests. Do not assume that it's a given just because the school has been doing them, and allow at least 3 months to get them squared away with College Board or ACT either one.

    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #162211 - 07/15/13 09:25 AM Re: Ivy League Admissions. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    KADmom Offline

    Registered: 03/11/13
    Posts: 690
    Thank you, for all of this detailed information. I guess we'll have to wait and see what challenges the new school year brings for ds.

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