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Old 06-05-2008, 06:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennquaker09 View Post
That is false, GPA and class rank (or the decile) are extremely important. There are no two factors that are more important than these.
From a fellow college counselor, agreed that they are important but disagree that they are the two MOST important. The quality of the curriculum is by far the most important thing in college admissions. I have worked with college admissions officers for years and they will tell you the same thing. Now, of course, to get into a competitive college, you need both the high GPA and great classes but a 4.0 with no honors or AP courses is not going to get you into these schools.

As far as rank, not really important since many schools are going away from it. Working in Fairfax County Public Schools for several years, and that being one of the top school districts in the country, we did not rank. Rank means nothing, look at the example about, a student with a 4.0 and crap classes next to a student with a 3.7 and 10 AP classes and 5 honors classes. We all know who the best student is here and the rank tells us what??
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:46 AM
 
59,955 posts, read 26,377,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novanative75 View Post
Rank means nothing, look at the example about, a student with a 4.0 and crap classes next to a student with a 3.7 and 10 AP classes and 5 honors classes. We all know who the best student is here and the rank tells us what??
100% correct. Thank you for that!

My concern is that with the huge numbers of applications colleges are processing these days, that the primary admissions screeners don't resort to a quick glance at GPA and rank without putting those in the context of which classes the student has taken - regular, honors, or AP.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InformedConsent View Post
100% correct. Thank you for that!

My concern is that with the huge numbers of applications colleges are processing these days, that the primary admissions screeners don't resort to a quick glance at GPA and rank without putting those in the context of which classes the student has taken - regular, honors, or AP.
Most colleges, especially large colleges, have people that will sit down with applications when they come in and make cheat sheets for each one, so that the committee can look at one sheet and see GPA, number of AP courses, number of honors courses, number of years taking foreign language, etc.

I have worked with many students who have applied to Virginia Tech, and they receive a lot of applications, the most in Virginia. I am very confident that they find ways to take all of this into account as I have never seen an acceptance or rejection that did not make sense based on curriculum.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:19 AM
 
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After going through the college process twice and gearing up for child #3, I have to say it doesn't matter how your HS calculates the GPA. The goal should always be for the student to take the most challenging class where they can succeed, make sure the High School has an accurate profile (the sheet that describes the gpa calculations and rigor of the classes), and then look for a college that fits your child academically, financially and socially.

I've also been a poster on a college bb for a long time (hmmm 7 years?) and there is always alot discussion from the parents about how colleges translate the gpa and the answer is that colleges are aware that the HS's are not all equal but numbers are sometimes more of a cut-off in the big colleges then the small ones. The smaller colleges will look more at EC's.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:12 AM
 
3,073 posts, read 6,363,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennquaker09 View Post
That is false, GPA and class rank (or the decile) are extremely important. There are no two factors that are more important than these.
Perhaps in your experience, however, not from what I've learned in the last
4+ years. There are students admitted to schools that are high reach schools due to their community service devotion and projects or due to their artistic portfolio for a couple of examples, in spite of not being in the top 10% or having a high GPA. It all depends on what that college is looking for to add to their student body.

I've seen students who had high GPA's and rankings get turned away from a top college because they had NO community service/volunteer on their resume. It was a requirement of that particular college.

I've also seen students get turned away because they exhibited very poor communications skills during their interviews. Their high stats didn't override their weaknesses.

So, again, GPA and high rankings are not THE most important issues in all schools. The are among many things considered.

The only thing I would have added to my original post is for students and parents to research their target schools and find out what they consider the most important and focus on the students areas that are lacking.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
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My opinion is that the states should be uniform in high school curricula. In California, there is a college calculation used for each student it is that calculation that is the main predictor of admission.

Although my daughter was admitted to her college of choice, I still felt that the eligibility index calculation was a bit uneven. If a student worked really hard at volunteer work, or did creative activities outside of school, that was not looked at. As for AP classes, I think high schools shouldn't even have to offer them all high school classes should have the same content at the AP level. My reasoning is that in the past (okay, very distant past for someone like me who is older), these AP classes are equal to what I had in high school with "regular" classes there were no AP classes then.

Yes, my daughter took a few AP classes I did not push her to take all of them because the colleges only took a certain number of them, so it didn't seem worth all the stress and time to do them, if the colleges didn't even use them all in their calculations. I can't remember the exact number now, but I think it was about 2 AP classes and an Honor class that was included in the "weighted" GPA -- the rest were not used.

My daughter is not the Valedictorian or Salutatorian, although one of her friends tried to be the Valedictorian and only received Salutatorian, and it was very emotional for her because she thought she had "failed" herself! My daughter was one of the top 15 students in her graduating class, with honors, but I just wanted her to get her required classes, and get into college that was the goal.

When I saw the content of the AP classes, as compared to the regular classes (i.e. English Literature), I was surprised to see that the AP class was merely what I had had decades before it was not a difficult class in fact, it was more interesting but not more challenging because it had better literature and more writing and analytical thinking. That's how I feel all classes should be. I get very frustrated with the dumbed-down schools nowadays. So, I don't really give a lot of credence to AP or IB classes yes, I know they can get college credit (which is the main benefit), but in terms of educational content, they are really what my generation had in high school in all classes.

Quite honestly, I had my kid take all the required classes (including the maximum years of Science, Math and Foreign Language), and if she got a B in one, that was fine she normally got A's, but that was only because she was self-disciplined and enjoyed getting good grades (or maybe because I didn't pressure her so much, like other parents did).

A standard curriculum throughout all the states and standardized rankings would be helpful, in my opinion. People move frequently now from place to place, and one state can be considerably different in quality education than another. It's not fair to either have a student who is way ahead of a class when they move to a new state, or another in a different state who has to struggle to catch up. Uniformity would help with this mobile society.

I'm not a strong advocate of our current educational system. I advocate raising the quality of education, going back to the basics, and thoroughly covering the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. This self-esteem educational system we have now, to me, is worthless in terms of learning material. I know I sound awfully old-fashioned, however, I don't know of anyone in my generation who suffered ill effects from having harder content and no AP classes. Ironically, we're the generation that is very literate, compared to those graduating now.

I am glad my daughter is out of high school in a week and starting college this fall. Hopefully, her college classes will be more difficult and challenging. I guess taking Chinese will certainly help with the challenging part!

It's a strong issue of debate, and I hope that in the near future this educational system becomes strong again. Just IMHO.
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisteria View Post
Although my daughter was admitted to her college of choice, I still felt that the eligibility index calculation was a bit uneven. If a student worked really hard at volunteer work, or did creative activities outside of school, that was not looked at.

As for AP classes, I think high schools shouldn't even have to offer them all high school classes should have the same content at the AP level.

Yes, my daughter took a few AP classes I did not push her to take all of them because the colleges only took a certain number of them, so it didn't seem worth all the stress and time to do them, if the colleges didn't even use them all in their calculations. I can't remember the exact number now, but I think it was about 2 AP classes and an Honor class that was included in the "weighted" GPA -- the rest were not used.



So, I don't really give a lot of credence to AP or IB classes yes, I know they can get college credit (which is the main benefit), but in terms of educational content, they are really what my generation had in high school in all classes.

I can not figure out how to multi-quote so, in response to your first comment. Not true, colleges do look at other things such as volunteer work and activities. Some colleges look at it more than others, it depends on the school. Sure, they do not put as much importance on these things but they are looked at especially at your smaller schools.

In response to your second comment about all high school classes having the same content. ummmm, When was the last time you were in a high school and worked with the WIDE VARIETY of educational abilites? It will be a cold day in hell before my special ed student is expected to perform at the same level as a non-special ed student or the flipside, a high achieving student is forced to dumb down his or her curriculum in order to level the playing field. That is so unrealistic and not really even worth talking about because it will never happen. The beauty of eduction today is that it can be specific to certain students and their talents. You are good in English, great, take some advanced courses but math is not your strong point so we will put you in the regular classes for that. No solid minded professional in the education field would have it any other way. Unless, of course, we go back to the one room schoolhouse?

In response to your third and fourth comments, colleges count all AP classes, period. I am not sure where you get your information that they only count two? Can you site that source, because in my 7 years in counseling and college counseling, I have never heard something so crazy. There are several schools in this country that you will not get into unless you have at least 5-7 AP courses on your schedule and they are all calculated into the weighted GPA. I am afraid you are getting some poor information from your sources.
IMO, the MAIN reason to take an AP course in high school is to strengthen your transcript. Of course, when you are smart enough and qualified enough to take the courses, you do so because that is where you are supposed to be but with college always in mind, the more AP's the better.

There is nothing more sad and awful then to see a student not challenging themselves and taking appropriate classes. I continually challenge my students to ensure that they are doing all that they can to make their future as bright as it can be and AP classes are a big part of that.
Talk to any college admissions person and they will tell you the same thing.
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Chesterfield, VA
1,218 posts, read 4,376,353 times
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Okay, so after reading all of the postings, it seems as if the weighting, in relation to college admissions, has both supporters and opponents. But what about in regards to financial aid/scholarships? How will that come into play?
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:59 PM
 
847 posts, read 3,147,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onevthoki View Post
Okay, so after reading all of the postings, it seems as if the weighting, in relation to college admissions, has both supporters and opponents. But what about in regards to financial aid/scholarships? How will that come into play?
Financial aid and scholarships are based on different things. Government based aid, given to you by way of filing the FAFSA, is simply based on family income and things such as GPA and AP courses will not effect that at all. The money there is also first come, first serve to some extent as well. Basically a 2.5 student going to no-name university has the same opportunity for government aid as a 4.0 student going to Harvard or Yale, barring family income status.
Now, scholarships are a different story and, academic scholarships, FOR SURE, depend on the strength of your curriculum and your GPA. Now, there are also art scholarships, athletic scholarships and the like but when you are applying for scholarships, you want to have a strong resume and that includes a strong curriculum.

The bottom line is this. You must go through the four years of high school doing everything that you can do to leave the maximum amount of doors open when it comes to college admissions and financial aid and scholarships. That means, taking a strong curriculum, getting good grades, participating in activities and being a good citizen. Those are the goals that I set for all of my students. There is not sitting around and saying, 'what if?' and 'do I really need to?'. You do not know what the future holds so you do the best you can in all areas throughout the four important years of high school.
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Old 06-05-2008, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
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Quote:
Novanative75: In response to your third and fourth comments, colleges count all AP classes, period. I am not sure where you get your information that they only count two? Can you site that source, because in my 7 years in counseling and college counseling, I have never heard something so crazy.
I'm not into arguing, I was just pointing out our reality -- that simple. And, unfortunately, for us, it is not as you have stated. Yes, I realize there are colleges that do accept the other criteria (letters, all AP classes, etc.) but there are those who only go by one very strict standard.

I am going by the California State University system, in particular San Diego State University, which has an outstanding International Business program, which is not offered as comprehensively at other schools. (We had to go to where the specific programs were.) I'm not a college counselor, nor a high school counselor -- so, I went directly to the sources. (I have an M.S.W. not a M.Ed.) To say I was surprised that only up to two IB or AP courses were included in the GPA was a big disappointment. We had already targeted specific schools for her specific major. She was a very, very diligent and outstanding student -- but you can see by the below, this is how they calculated the GPA -- I repeatedly asked about other classes, more APs, why weren't they accepted, what about community service, etc. They said it was the "fair" way to calculate a student's school performance without bias. I didn't like it, but that is how they did it. Not only that, no gender or race was looked at. It was merely a compilation of SAT scores, GPA, a limited amount of AP classes, and that was that. You don't have to believe me, but it's all free information. I wasn't trying to start anything -- I'm really not in an arguing mood -- I was merely pointing out my own disappointment at the requirements that had to be met (which did not take personal attributes into consideration -- Equal Opportunity).

I know that other schools do it differently -- and I was surprised to learn about this "calculation system." But it was what we dealt with. That's not to say the the college she will be entering would not accept those AP classes for credit -- they will -- however, as eligibility into the college, only those two classes were considered -- they did not want heavily weighted GPAs for those who did not take the AP classes.
Here is a portion of what their site (paraphrased) says:

Quote:
How do I calculate my college prep GPA?

Honors points for grades of “A,” “B” and “C” will be awarded for a maximum of eight semester courses taken in 11th and 12th grades, including up to two IB or AP courses.

Does the college consider extra-curricular activities, letters of recommendation or personal statements?

Freshman applicants are ranked using an eligibility index which is based on a combination of the grade point average and scores on either the College Board’s Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) or the ACT. We do not accept letters of recommendation or a personal statement during the undergraduate application process.
I thought it unfair for us, but on the other hand, as you expressed, there are kids who do not take AP classes, and this gives them a fairer chance. I would think that would be something you would agree with. Actually, I don't like the system, but I agree it does seem fair -- it is truly based on merit.

As for Ex. Ed. students -- that's different. I wasn't talking about them. I realize that schools have different programs, and I think that is good. You're getting upset with me without trying to communicate with me. I gave a very quick reply to the OP, and that was that. It wasn't meant to denigrate those students who do need special services. I have taught in Alternative Schools, so I absolutely understand that not all students are alike. (In fact, I have worked with many special needs kids, especially with mental diagnoses -- that is very challenging, but very rewarding when they succeed. ) However, I do think that many students are capable of much more than what they now get, and I think many kids are cheated by the dumbed down system. I recall when they changed textbooks -- what a shock to see a high school textbook go from what is now a good university text to a 7th grade level!

But then again, I'm over 60, so my education was way, way in the past, and they really pushed us. That is my comparison because I had to supplement my daughter's education so much. I see both sides of the coin -- when schools were very challenging, and when they're not. But unless you have experienced both sides, it's hard to see them. I feel grateful that I learned a lot in high school. By the way, my mother DID attend a one-room school house and DID skip three grades because she was very bright and learned the "other" grades' (rows') course work while she was doing her own! She graduated high school at 15!

By the way, one reason I was so disappointed about the school's requirement of not looking at extra-curricular activities was that my daughter spent a semester in a South American country going to high school there and came back bilingual. She took a huge array of classes there, and she wasn't even allowed to submit something that showed her initiative, independence, language skills, cultural understanding, etc., for her college application. She wanted to stay in California, so we only chose California schools that had a strong International Business program -- yes, she got into all her schools, however, I did not like the fact that her going to a high school in a foreign country and fluently learning that language -- and none of the classes there were given credit here -- were not taken into consideration. So, yes, I know that there are colleges that do not take all that we'd like into the application process.

My daughter also took college classes at night while attending high school -- it's not like she did not challenge herself. My main complaint was that because she did challenge herself, that it was not taken into consideration. Believe me, I had so many in-person talks with the admissions counselors at these schools, that I had to accept that is how it is. I understand this process began in about 1999.

I'm glad you are encouraging your students to push themselves -- that is commendable. Unfortunately, I had to be my own child's advocate at her high school because the school counselor did NOT challenge her students. My daughter's first AP class was when the AP teacher, whom I commend for his caring, looked through all the students', in that grade's, GPAs, and then contacted my daughter and wanted to know why she wasn't signed up for his AP class the next year. The counselor had said not to take it -- I wanted her to take it -- the counselor didn't bother. The teacher said, "I saw your GPA and it is a 3.87, and why aren't you in my class?" When I found out that he had tracked my daughter down to get her in his class, I contacted him and thanked him for being so diligent. I also went in and complained about the counselor. My kid is not dumb -- but she had been abroad the semester before, so I guess they just figured she'd go into the regular classes (plus, she's in the Gifted Program, so it made no sense to not put her in AP).

I see your points, and they are duly noted. I have no gripe with helping kids with special needs -- certainly that is necessary. My main gripe is the dumbing down of schools, and no uniform national standards. That's it.

I'm just glad high school is over. I have been an extremely involved parent, and I'm just tired out from advocating for my child. At least next year she can start on building towards a career.

I was not talking about all colleges or all counselors, so please accept my apology if I was misunderstood. Generally, I explain in more detail, but I did not have the time when I originally posted. I will quietly bow out because I think that maybe my experiences are just not relevant nowadays, although the college criteria I cited is true. Not all students are the same, not all high schools are the same, and not all colleges are the same.

I am sorry for not being clearer, and joining a thread that I should not be a part of because my experiences are very different than what most of you are stating. I realize that I am old, however, my daughter is young, so I thought it was okay to state our recent personal experiences (just several months ago). I'll leave now (but what I related is true, and please feel free to check it out -- it was an awful experience for us, and I wanted to just share that not all applications and schools are the same). Sorry again.

Last edited by Wisteria; 06-05-2008 at 09:43 PM.. Reason: Clarity
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