High school honors courses?

Re: High school honors courses?

Postby Sue » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:37 pm

cathie wrote:Do the college admissions people know all the different high schools?

In our experience they do. Admissions people have an assigned area and they know how prepared the students are, in general, from each school.
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby mobetsy » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:43 pm

Esther, FWIW, I know two high school calculus teachers, one the head of the department. Despite the primary class they teach being calc, both say they think students are better off taking statistics than calculus unless they absolutely know that they are planning to head into engineering. Just something to think about!

Cathie, your kids don't need to max out grades to get into a decent college; they need to be challenged and well-rounded. There are many, many fabulous colleges and universities in this country, with all different sizes and specialties, and the vast majority do not look solely for students with a high GPA; there are many factors involved. Our neighbor had straight A's with an extremely demanding schedule, was a leader in band, captain of both the water polo and swim teams (and actively recruited by top schools as a water polo player), had all sorts of good volunteer experiences, and is a super nice guy...and he was turned down by Stanford. Good grades help widen options--believe me, no one preaches this more than me because I watch my eldest narrow his short term possibilities because of bad grades--but there is a lot more to it than that, and so many great places for students who have a 3.0 or 3.5 rather than a 4.5
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby Esther » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:01 pm

Betsy, interesting. Ryan's teacher actually recommended the opposite! She said if you don't know what you are going to do in college (and Ryan doesn't) you're better off with AP Calculus... Since Calculus can help with business, finance, science, math, etc... I am hoping Ryan will try an accounting class next year for an elective, as well. Something I think he'd be good at, we're definitely exploring some colleges with solid business departments this spring.

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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby Tara » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:12 pm

In middle school here, they do honors or merit for 6th grade LA and Math. Honors = 7th grade general math and merit is 6th grade math. In 7th the Honors splits to High honors (Algebra) or Honors (pre-algebra), and merit is 7th grade level math. In 8th grade High Honors does geometry, honors does algebra and merit does 8th grade math. Not sure of the differences for LA. Since our HS is block system, it is easy for the kids to double up on a math to "catch" up even if you did merit all through middle school. We just did Abby's schedule for 9th grade next year and she will do French 2 and 3 (in French 1 now), geometry, Biology (honors), History (honors), dance (elective), LA (honors) and gym/health (this is for the whole year so if History in the fall then Science in the spring, etc).
Starting in 10th grade they can do honors or AP for some classes and the amount of AP classes increases in 11th grade.
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:17 pm

Wanda's description of AP classes is like ours except I'm not sure you have to pass the AP class, just the test with a (4 or 5) to have it possibly qualify for colleges. But I have heard that if you get an A in the class and a 3 on the AP exam that some colleges will consider taking the credit. Our high school has the regular level classes, honors level, and then AP. In order to get into an Honors or AP class you need a teacher recommendation. We've also noticed, like Wanda mentioned, that the caliber of kids in the honor and AP classes is much better.

Some of Sarah's teachers said that you only needed to get a 3 or above on the AP test to have colleges accept them. ALL the colleges Sarah checked out last summer required a 4 or 5 on the test except 1 that mentioned that an A grade in the AP class could substitute for a 3.

Sarah was set to take all AP classes this year but we talked her into only taking 3 plus 2 regular since she had cheer and wanted to get a part-time job. She's taking AP Physics, AP Calc, AP Psych and switched an AP Lit/Lang class for a regular English Lit/Lang and switched AP Economics for a regular Marketing class. Her 2 regular classes are a joke. It's evident that the majority of the kids in the regular classes are just doing their time.
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby WorkingMomx3 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:59 pm

Sandy wrote:It's evident that the majority of the kids in the regular classes are just doing their time.

That is exactly what Colin said about his senior English class. He was taking AP Euro, AP Physics, Calc (couldn't fit AP Calc into his schedule), Civil and Architectural Engineering (Project lead the Way course for engineering). He wanted an honors English class but the only options were AP English or regular Engilsh. The AP didn't fit his schedule. He said the class was awful.
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby erin » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:53 pm

Vincent really enjoys his regular english class and his history class. Two kids just switched from AP history to regular and they both said they feel like they are learning something now rather then just reciting something they learned for like 5 days before a test then the info was flushed out of their minds for the next one.
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Re: High school honors courses?

Postby SherrieM. » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:56 pm

Do the college admissions people know all the different high schools?

To some extent, they do. As Sue and Betsy said, they each are assigned an area and they are expected to know the level of student coming out of each school, as well as counselors and teachers to quiz for additional information if needed.

I've watched counselors at work in decision time at both a private school and a large public school, and they have parameters (test scores/grades) to help narrow the field, but then they look at how well-rounded a student is from the classes that they took, the volunteer work they do, the extracirruculars that they are in (both in school and out of school). They are also looking to some extent for kids who are a good fit for the culture of the school. So grades are not everything. I've seen counselors turn down students with amazing grades who just didn't seem like they'd be happy at the school. They keep track of every email, FB query, response or mailing, how many visits the kids make, what events they go to. The level of interest plays a role, too. I've seen someone who seemed marginal grade-wise be enrolled because the kid truly wanted to be there -- visited multiple times, went to sporting events, talked with professors.

So try not to stress on where she is placed right now. It isn't an end-sum game. It just seems like it is sometimes.
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