Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A Restart on the College Question

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    A Restart on the College Question

    Ok guys, we are going to ease our way into school starting next week (2 high schoolers still finishing summer school; four younger kids eager to get going); so I still have a couple of days to leisurely drink coffee and order tennis shoes now that all my planning part is done. Since the other posts about colleges have gotten to be multiple pages, I thought I would restart with a slightly different question so that I am prepared with what to mull on in the coming year.

    In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we were talking about colleges for our boys. She shared an anecdote about her husband having attended a "small ivy" but at one point needing to take a semester at a college closer to home to recover from an illness. The difference of the semester was one that made a big impression on him. At the "small ivy" school, they were expected to cover a massive amount of material very quickly with little mastery, whereas the temporary school he attended (which was still a reputably great school) had a more mastery-focused approach.

    This got me thinking. Anyone have suggestions on how to find out THIS type of information about a school? How to move beyond reputation, rankings for various fields, size of the student population and whatnot? Because from what others have shared about their visits to colleges, this isn't the sort of info that's covered or presented to the general population of visitors. Another part of this question is do you think the average SAT scores of the students attending a given school is an accurate indicator of the level of challenge the school actually offers?

    I am just really struggling this time around to know how to narrow things down appropriately for this next child. He struggles so much to find peers and to feel challenged. I don't want college to be for him what it was for me - which was basically a time-filler box to be checked.

    Any and all suggestions very much appreciated!
    AMDG,
    Sarah


    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
    DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
    DS, 16
    DD, 14
    DD, 12
    DD, 10
    DD, 7.5
    DD, 5.5
    +DS+
    DS, 18 months

    #2
    Sarah,
    Very good question. I don’t have an answer, but a very good question. When you say “small ivy”, what does that mean?

    I think the schools that accept almost everyone will be disappointing in their intellectual expectations and general student motivation. A more selective school doesn’t guarantee students will go to class, but at least they have put in effort at some point along the line. Honestly, my gut says this might be where there is more of an effort to make sure there is understanding. I doubt a bit that this gentleman’s comment about mastery learning is really what most of us would constitute mastery learning as much as a slower pace than what he was used to. My guess is his college experience is similar to several of the top tier private schools around here. They cover so much in order to make the parents happy and justify their tuition costs. Most of those high schools self select the kids who can handle it alone or whose parents can hire a tutor to do it for them. Colleges and universities in the ivy and near ivy range are almost certainly going to fall in that pattern - most kids there are driven, brilliant or pretty close, or are so rich it doesn’t matter. Of course the pace of their classes is going to be faster and deeper than the school that takes normal kids. I would expect calculus at MIT to move at a pace that would leave me without mastery, but the kid who has won math awards to be bored.

    Ivy League isn’t our goal, so that isn’t a concern. I just wish I could find and afford the schools where the kids care about learning.
    Dorinda

    For 2019-2020
    DD 16 - 11th with MPOA(AP Latin), Lukeion (Greek4 & Adv. NT Greek), Thinkwell (Economics and Chemistry), plus Pre-Calculus, American G’ment, Early Church History set, and British Lit
    DS 14 - 8th with MPOA(Fourth Form), CLRC(Intro Lit and Comp), plus Algebra, Field Biology, Classical Studies 1
    DS 11 - 6th with Right Start Level G online class
    DS 6 - 1st with Prima Latina

    Comment


      #3
      Dorinda,
      Thank you so much for responding. Your comments are helpful, and good to think about. We share your same concern - wanting to find the fit of “desire for learning” and also not giving two hoots about prestige and whatnot. But I am realizing that was probably something I did not truly understand when I chose where to go. I did the “complete dismissal” of there being any real difference in caliber and did what seemed most practical at the time. But if there is an actual difference of caliber, that would actually offer the kind of challenge he craves, with kids that would “get him” then I want to help him find that, you know? So again, I think what you are saying is that there is - and the test scores/selectivity of the school will reflect that.

      He’s so much like me - give him too many choices and he shuts down and doesn’t know where to begin. So I can’t even hand this over to him to figure out - it’s a team effort. But it’s the blind leading the blind right now!

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
      DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 7.5
      DD, 5.5
      +DS+
      DS, 18 months

      Comment


        #4
        So Sarah? Are we still focusing on engineering schools? I think there is going to be plenty of challenge in any abet accredited engineering program. Unlike generic liberal arts or business programs, engineering has very specific content standards (not saying some place like MIT isn’t going to exceed them). The total slackers aren’t going to succeed long in the environment.
        Dorinda

        For 2019-2020
        DD 16 - 11th with MPOA(AP Latin), Lukeion (Greek4 & Adv. NT Greek), Thinkwell (Economics and Chemistry), plus Pre-Calculus, American G’ment, Early Church History set, and British Lit
        DS 14 - 8th with MPOA(Fourth Form), CLRC(Intro Lit and Comp), plus Algebra, Field Biology, Classical Studies 1
        DS 11 - 6th with Right Start Level G online class
        DS 6 - 1st with Prima Latina

        Comment


          #5
          I talked with a young woman who teaches and works at HLS during teacher training about her college experience and she made an interesting point. What many of us are looking for in college is likely most available in an "honors college" or "honors cohort" at smaller universities. In her case (Western Kentucky in Bowling Green) it was like going to a small school inside a larger one and made all the difference in the world. My neice (a freshly minted CP) had this same experience at Samford. Their honors program was a tiny school unto itself. They had a different curriculum, different teachers, knew each other well, did study abroad together. This later two years before breaking into their majors.

          This can't answer your mastery question, but I think it's something to look for at smaller liberal arts schools that might come closer to what college used to be when they all were smaller.
          Festina lentē,
          Jessica P

          SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
          @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
          S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
          D · 8th
          D · 5th
          S · 2nd

          Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
            So Sarah? Are we still focusing on engineering schools? I think there is going to be plenty of challenge in any abet accredited engineering program. Unlike generic liberal arts or business programs, engineering has very specific content standards (not saying some place like MIT isn’t going to exceed them). The total slackers aren’t going to succeed long in the environment.
            Again, not sure. ??? Part of the discernment. If he had only one driving interest that consumed him - I think it would be easier. But he will pursue anything to the Nth degree. The discussion we had before about having “expensive hobbies” sticks in my mind because I feel like that’s what could happen here - areas of talent above the norm, but nothing that is HIS driving interest. He’s had freedom to pursue things, within the realm of what we can provide and afford. But it’s tough. Every program I look at to try to help him explore in more focus is at least several hundred to a couple thousand dollars, and that’s just not possible. I see discouragement setting in, and that’s the opposite of what I want at this stage, you know?

            AMDG,
            Sarah
            2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
            DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
            DS, 16
            DD, 14
            DD, 12
            DD, 10
            DD, 7.5
            DD, 5.5
            +DS+
            DS, 18 months

            Comment


              #7
              We're a few years away from this, but I think it would be a good idea to try to get to know a bit about the teachers. I know that many big names are put out there, but then it turns out they don't actually teach that much. Still, they set the tone for their department, I would expect. If you're thinking about engineering, though, I'm not sure this approach is all that useful. My boy (who's not quite 14, so all is in flux) is currently suspended between engineering and architecture, so for architecture we've been looking with him at the schools that offer more of a classical, traditional approach: and while in theory we would have NEVER considered a school like Notre Dame, the fact that someone like Duncan Stroik is head of the Architecture school there is a super important factor. I don't know if he actually does any teaching, but his influence is everywhere, and that means not only that the students will approach architecture a certain way, but also that my son would be surrounded by peers who love such an approach, and for me that counts more than SAT scores and school size.
              But honestly, I don't know how this could work when looking at an engineering school: I just don't know enough yet! UVA and Virginia Tech are very near us, and I think they are considered pretty decent schools when it comes to engineering: we have a friend who's studying electrical engineering at VT after getting a degree from Christendom! My heart sinks a little at the idea of sending my kids to schools with less than desirable campus cultures, but when it comes to engineering, what can one do? And for me it just means another transitional phase of motherhood is looming, learning about trusting and letting go... ask me how much I look forward to that...

              Comment


                #8
                I think the best way to get this kind of information is from the students themselves. If a school offers an opportunity for visiting students to spend a day shadowing an existing student, that's the best opportunity. I was nerdly (not suggesting this describes your son), craved intellectual challenge and stimulating discussions, and peers that "got me". One university that I was interested in offered an opportunity for an overnight visit and a day of class attendance with a current freshman. (From a parent's perspective, not sure of how wise the overnight part is for a high schooler staying with a college student, but I was a kid at the time and didn't think about such things.) A couple of hours in, I knew I had found my tribe. The kids were highly intelligent, obviously worked their tails off, and were all varieties of quirky in a way that appealed to me. I was able to ask questions about classes and the full college experience outside of a formal tour and test out the "fit".

                Every college works hard to be appealing on paper and in the tour. If they permit actual class visits and/or time with a current student host, my feeling is that this is where kids can see if they can envision themselves getting what they're truly seeking.
                DD 12 - MP6A

                Comment


                  #9
                  Such a good suggestion. And it would be totally up our alley to simply go to every single school to do that until we found a fit. But of course the realistic thing is to have a short list to do that with. Make that, a very short list to do that with.

                  But we’re stuck at actual step one - starting a list at all.

                  AMDG,
                  Sarah
                  2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                  DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 7.5
                  DD, 5.5
                  +DS+
                  DS, 18 months

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sarah,
                    I second the idea of shadowing and spending a day visiting classes. That's the one thing my oldest wishes he had done. He would have known instantly that school wasn't for him.
                    For starting the list:
                    • Rose-Hulman
                    • Wabash
                    should both go on the list. They have a reputation for professors who actually teach and care about the students and their growth.
                    Other colleges from the 40 colleges that change lives (Loren Pope) should be considered.
                    And Jessica's suggestion about the honors college within the university is excellent. My daughter rooms with 2 honors college students at Indiana Wesleyan University and they are getting a superb education - fantastic reading list! My daughter and I plan to work through that list together after she finishes nursing school, but of course it won't be the same as being in class with stimulating peers and professors.
                    Cindy Davis
                    Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
                    ds-25 college graduate: autodidact, working to pay the bills
                    ds-23 college graduate: 1st year med school
                    dd-21 college senior: Nursing

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks, Cindy. One of my brothers-in-law went to Rose-Hulman, and the other went to Indiana Wesleyan. Funny you mentioned those in the same post! Good ones to look at, and I will look for that book at the library.

                      I have been reading more articles while waiting for our day to start, and one perspective on honors colleges is that it can create the same sense of being an outlier that kids already face when they can’t find peers easily. They are part of a small subset within a larger community - which looked at one way is good - but that continues the experience of being in a subset rather than being in a place where talent is the norm. Thoughts on that perspective?

                      AMDG,
                      Sarah
                      Last edited by KF2000; 08-02-2019, 10:57 AM.
                      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                      DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                      DS, 16
                      DD, 14
                      DD, 12
                      DD, 10
                      DD, 7.5
                      DD, 5.5
                      +DS+
                      DS, 18 months

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Maybe have him make a list of everything that interests him (anything and everything) and then have him go back through it to prioritize interests. He could prioritize by groups: "These are SUPER INTERESTING," "These are pretty interesting," and "These are interesting but I can live without knowing more about them."
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        DS16
                        MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II
                        HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                        DS15
                        MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                        MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                        HSC: Modern European History

                        DS12
                        7M with:
                        Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                        DS11
                        SC Level 4

                        DD9
                        3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                        DD7/8
                        Still in SC Level 2

                        DD 4/5
                        SC Level C

                        Comment


                          #13
                          He could then take those groups and place the items in them into two categories: "Can make a reasonable living" "and Can't make a reasonable living; can be a hobby"
                          In the "Can make a reasonable living" category, he should then think: will I enjoy this as much if it's a job? If not, move it to the hobby side.
                          Jennifer
                          Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                          DS16
                          MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
                          MPOA: High School Comp. II
                          HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

                          DS15
                          MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
                          MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
                          HSC: Modern European History

                          DS12
                          7M with:
                          Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

                          DS11
                          SC Level 4

                          DD9
                          3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

                          DD7/8
                          Still in SC Level 2

                          DD 4/5
                          SC Level C

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by KF2000 View Post

                            I have been reading more articles while waiting for our day to start, and one perspective on honors colleges is that it can create the same sense of being an outlier that kids already face when they can’t find peers easily. They are part of a small subset within a larger community - which looked at one way is good - but that continues the experience of being in a subset rather than being in a place where talent is the norm. Thoughts on that perspective?

                            AMDG,
                            Sarah
                            Another book you should check out is Frank Bruni's Where You Go Is Not Who'll You'll Be. I think it is the best book on college admissions and finding the right school. He completely exposes the racket that is current higher education and elite college admissions. Main thesis: It's not where you go to school; it's what you make of it. Seriously good advice in this book.
                            Cindy Davis
                            Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School - Indianapolis
                            ds-25 college graduate: autodidact, working to pay the bills
                            ds-23 college graduate: 1st year med school
                            dd-21 college senior: Nursing

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Ooh, great! Thank you!

                              Update: I guess my dh needed data - actual numbers to process what I have been discussing with him. We had time today so I had A take the practice PSAT cold - no prep, nothing. I showed the results to my dh when he got home (summer Friday’s) and suddenly the topic of CC classes became back on the table. Hoping for progress to ease the need for a bigger plan right now!!!

                              thanks so much for all of this you guys!
                              I have taken notes and am going to keep working on these ideas.

                              AMDG,
                              Sarah
                              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                              DS, 16
                              DD, 14
                              DD, 12
                              DD, 10
                              DD, 7.5
                              DD, 5.5
                              +DS+
                              DS, 18 months

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X