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Old 03-27-2013, 02:25 PM
 
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We are talking about Plano vs Allen for most kids, not Plao vs Paris or 1 of 300 good students vs only living creature in district.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EducaCat View Post
This was very helpful. Thank you!

(The reason why NMSF is not that important to me is because I've heard that most of the kids obtaining this achievement in Plano are prepping a lot for the PSAT outside of school. Thus, if true, one can't really attribute a high numbers of qualifiers to the schools. By contrast, most of the kids that achieve NMSF at the top high schools in the Northeast that I am familiar with do no outside prep. They are already very bright and get what they need to excel on the test from their school studies.)
BINGO!

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Originally Posted by GreyDay View Post
I don't understand listing where the TOP kid at each school went. It was the top kid. Now- the kids in the middle, that's where a school earns its merit. Do the kids in the middle get into good colleges or not. So if your kid is that top 1-2-3 in the whole school kinda guy/girl- they will be fine anywhere. If you kid is just top 25% material, it really becomes an issue of the quality of the school.
In all honesty, knowing where kids went to college from each high school is much more complicated than some make it to appear. I'll explain later.


This is all coming from a parent with a HS senior that is in all IB and AP courses. Visited all of the schools D was remotely interested in: Stanford, Pepperdine, UCLA, Duke, Baylor, Alabama and more. Went to all of the info sessions that came thru town for all of the HYP, blah, blah, blah. Heard what each and every single one of them had to say about IB, AP, Honors, NM, Dual Credit, etc. Keep in mind every persons circumstances are different even in the same school but this is what most colleges have to say and what we took away from the visits.

As for the NMSF, you are right to not take that into consideration nor put much stock into your kid acheiving NM. Why? Unless your child is aiming for a school that gives out full rides to NM kids, why spend so much time prepping for a test that can only be taken once. If your child is aiming for top tier privates, they do not give out scholarships for NMF or NMSF. Sure, you do get the scholarship money from the NM organization but it pales in comparison to the scholarships one can get if they put all of their effort into their GPA, ACT and SAT (as well as those EC's). We always thought D would nail the PSAT no problem. The day came and as all of them are sitting taking that test guess what happens? A fire drill and the power goes out. Room they were all in still had light and they had to keep on testing. There are no retakes of the PSAT. You spend a bunch of money on the likes of Karen Dillard and your kid is voilently ill that one day, it is all down the drain. Focus on rigor of courses, GPA, ACT, SAT, EC's and if they are doing well then the PSAT turning into a NM will be icing on the cake.

Dual Credit: AVOID! End of story! Unless your son only hopes to achieve an Associates.

AP: GREAT! The schools know the rigor of AP courses. Keep in mind that AP courses are not the same from school to school. There are schools that push all kids to take AP and it can end up being watered down in order for those students to pass. Top kids, bubble kids may not do so well come AP subject test time if this happens. This is when it is time to pay attention to what the kids in each school are doing after HS as well as the % that pass those AP tests. Are they prepared for them.

IB: Even better! Nice things about IB are that most college courses at your top schools are oriented the same as IB courses in HS. Secondly, IB courses are more inline with each other from school to school. Colleges know that IB English at HS A covered the same subject matter as HS B. IB kids can take the IB tests and the AP tests.

AP & IB tests: Here is what we have found out. D will major in Biology while also working on a Masters in Business on the pre-med track thru the schools Presidential Scholars program. Head of the dept and advisor have stated multiple times that one should not test out of the courses related to their major field of study. Yes, use those AP and IB credits for English and History. Not for sciences and math. This is contrary to what we were all told going into HS that one can graduate HS and enter college as a soph and some a jr if they do all of these IB/AP courses and score high enough on the tests. Yes, they are prepared for college by taking these advanced courses with more rigor and the colleges love it. They just warn that it is best for most kids to take those first year courses in their area of study at college in order to have a more successfull college experience.

SAT/ACT: Start taking these tests the spring of soph year or summer before jr year. Get an idea of how they are and how you feel about these tests. Find the one that is your strength. Kids involved in hs EC's may not be able to take these tests in the Fall. College apps start opening up August 1. Some colleges the deadline for all scores to be submitted for consideration of scholarships can be as early as November 1. It does not hurt to take these tests 20 times. You can only hurt yourself by limiting how many times you are giving yourself to take these in order to improve. The other reason to start so early taking these is to allow time for the subject tests if the schools your student is interested in requires them.


TAMS: This is the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas. It is open to high school juniors and seniors. D has a classmate/friend since kindergarten attending TAMS that will be going onto MIT. If your son is highly motivated and would benefit from this environment then I do suggest you check into the program. It is not for everyone. They do forgo the high school experience like prom, homecoming, high school sports, etc. He does come back for some occassions.

D does not attend a PISD school, AISD or DISD. We are in another district that most on here snub their nose towards. However, the students do very well and considering the background of the district, we can beat out some of the other schools some deem "superior" to ours. She has classmates that will be going to: Columbia, NYU, Duke, Emory, Vanderbilt. The "hot" school with this years seniors seems to be Texas A&M. A smattering to UofTexas, TTech and a few to UTD. D was adament no schools in Texas. Which school did she pick? After visiting all of the schools previously listed............. we went as a family to a football game back in the Fall, toured the school on that Monday, met with advisor, head of dept, etc and she fell head over heels in love with................. Bama. We were highly impressed with their academics, Honors College and the overall caring nature of the entire staff and student body. She has been accepted into the Scholars Program and she will graduate with a Bachelors and Masters. The scholarship offer was not bad either . Her dream is to attend UCLA for med school. So we are saving our pennies for that instead of spending a fortune on a bachelors. D is not the "top kid" in her class. She did however stand a chance of getting into every school on her list. Her class rigor, GPA and ACT/SAT scores were there for her to get into every single school she was interested in. This is what it boils down to and why what GreyDay is saying is important. Where did those top 25% go for college? My top 25% kid was accepted into some great schools. In the end she picked the one she felt was the best fit for her.

Now, as I said earlier about it is not really fair to judge a high school or district based on where their students went onto college. Why? Too many factors in play.
For starters, say you have family 1 that is diehard UT (Texas) and everyone must attend that school. Jr or suzy have grown up wearing nothing but burnt orange. Jr/Suzy might be the Valedictorian and offers from top ivies all over. Jr/Suzy just can not see being so far from home and loves going to every football game since they were in the womb. They are going to pass up those ivies thousands of miles from home in unfamiliar territory and stay with the familiar.

Second, there are families that do not want their kids so far from home no matter what. I have run into this especially from single moms. Super bright kids, top of the class. They could get great scholarship offers but mom can't see their baby so far away.

Third, this one I explain often. No, it is not more expensive to go out of state (OOS) . With the top 10% rule it has changed the course of many of our state colleges, imo. Several have stopped offering any scholarships for NM students. Schools like OU, Ark, Bama, etc still give full rides to these kids to build up their academics and have done a tremendous job of doing so. Kids that don't make NM but have great GPA's, ACT/SAT scores get great offers as well. Including in state tuition. When it comes to those top kids that did receive NM they may not get an offer that covers as much as they need from the HYP's of the world. But those other OOS schools are handing them some very nice packages. Like us, I'd rather save my money for post-grad studies as most of these kids are going to go onto after their bachelors.

Fourth, those top kids may have visited the HYP's and did not "click". It just was not them. Our top kid is going to UT. Trust me, I'm shell shocked over that one. Knowing the parents and their background, shocked! Mom went to UT for undergrad so they do not hate the school (she went to the NE for masters and met dad). It is just not the school I would have pegged for this kid in a million years.

Lastly, you do have the families that come he** or high water their kid will attend HYP. No exceptions. Kid could hate the environment, does not matter. Kid could attend class, do thier work and nothing else. I am not picking the school my kid will attend. I am not the one that will be there for 4 years doing the work and making lasting memories. They are the ones that have to graduate and use what they have learned and taught in order to make living.

Basically, we have no clue what goes on at home or within a kid to pick the schools they end up attending unless we know them firsthand and were told.

I am sure some will not agree with what I've said. It is what I have seen firsthand. Our experiences and what we have come away with after going thru high school and the whole college search for the past 2 years.


FYI, if the OP does desire to be in "the best" district in the Dallas area. Highland Park.

Last edited by gymrat; 03-27-2013 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:50 PM
 
297 posts, read 406,773 times
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Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
I'd love to find that, but just finding the top few was relatively difficult. I'm not sure it's online in any reasonable-to-compare kind of way. Each school's guidance counselor might have a list, but I'm not sure they put copies online.

Also notice the top kid in Princeton went to Stephen F Austin (not knocking, just comparing), so it's not like you can just get valedictorian and that's the ticket to go to any school you want.
The only list that is available pretty much is just for the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. After that the only way to know is if you personally know each kid and ask.

FYI, kid that was valedictorian could have gotten into any state school in Texas, including UT. He may have fallen in love with SFA or some other family ties and his/her heart was set there. No way to know unless you personally know them or such.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:47 PM
 
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He may have fallen in love with SFA or some other family ties and his/her heart was set there
I have no doubt about that, I'm not judging schools directly. But if your kid is driven to want to be on 'top', well they aint' taking the 'top' from SFA.

It seems odd to me to be driven to be the best in HS (or take the SAT 20 times -whoa) and then go to a marginally ranked university. SFA wouldn't even have the breadth of majors offered by UT for example, much less the degree cache.

Last edited by TheOverdog; 03-27-2013 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:12 PM
 
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They are both great school districts. Plano might be better, but Allen is good as well. This board seems to have more posters from Plano, and I think that's one reason you read more about it than Allen. Honestly, I don't think you could go wrong with either district, so it just depends what you are looking for in a city and a school district.

Here is some information on DFW school districts that might be useful to you. He uses other criteria (not just SAT scores) to compile his school district and high school rankings.

http://www.davedowns.com/dfwschools.htm

http://www.davedowns.com/dfwhighschools.htm

Here is another thread that might also be useful to you.

http://www.dfwareamoms.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148198


FYI - There are is also a section of the Allen city limits that are zoned to Plano schools. Good luck!

Last edited by Gvn2Fly; 03-27-2013 at 04:22 PM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:16 PM
 
297 posts, read 406,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
I have no doubt about that, I'm not judging schools directly. But if your kid is driven to want to be on 'top', well they aint' taking the 'top' from SFA.

It seems odd to me to be driven to be the best in HS (or take the SAT 20 times -whoa) and then go to a marginally ranked university. SFA wouldn't even have the breadth of majors offered by UT for example, much less the degree cache.

I agree. Which is why I also do not understand why the Valedictorian at my D's school has chosen the school she will attend next year. Yes, it is a notch up there higher than SFA. Not knocking SFA, know plenty of people that went there that have done very well for themselves. This kid going to SFA may have easily obtained that distinction with little to no effort, taken the SAT once and nailed it or scored enough to make him happy. There may be a path at SFA that is up this kids alley and it is where they see themselves happy. We just flat out do not know what is or has been going on for this kid to pick that school.

Now, if it were my kid and we would have seen years ago this kiddo was constantly ranked #1-10 in their class.............Oh, you better believe we would be searching every single open door. We did and our kiddo was not #1. Or #2.

I'm going to throw another wrentch into this topic on how some of these kids pick the schools they do.
Misinformed or uninformed parents and high school counselors. I've seen it. I've heard it. If they do not realize the potential investment of their child attending a school with more cache and how these schools do throw money their way to make it very affordable, they just do not know. Flat out do not know. Just like I mentioned earlier with the OOS issue. No, it is not always more expensive to send your kid off to an OOS school. But, if these parents do not start early enough in the game by visiting these schools with their kids, asking questions, investigating, taking the ACT/SAT, etc. then they are behind and their only decent option may be a school that some consider lackluster.

My own D has some very bright classmates that just decided in January where they wanted to apply . Our housing deposit was made in October! One very bright friend was even upset when everyone was talking about their future roommates as she was still waiting on her acceptance. Friends going to that school already had their acceptances, deposits made and roommates selected. This girl had only finally submitted her app at the end of December. Yes, most of these are the eldest child in the family and applying to college is drastically different and more competitive than it was for us. Parents just don't know that you need to start this whole game much earlier.

Good informed high school counselors and informed parents that start getting the kids to look at schools early on are going to make a difference.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:17 PM
 
350 posts, read 618,415 times
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Originally Posted by gymrat View Post

TAMS: This is the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas. It is open to high school juniors and seniors. D has a classmate/friend since kindergarten attending TAMS that will be going onto MIT. If your son is highly motivated and would benefit from this environment then I do suggest you check into the program. It is not for everyone. They do forgo the high school experience like prom, homecoming, high school sports, etc. He does come back for some occassions.
Just picking slightly with your post, TAMS does have a prom and homecoming. But yes, I agree, it isn't the full high school experience. That having been said, it is a phenomenal program (I have a lot of very close friends there, many of whom are also going to MIT), and if you have a kid who is really talented in math/science, definitely consider it when the time comes.

The rest of this post is some good information; I personally think that it's really important that kids from any school are getting into top schools, but yes, that information is hard to find. If you happen to know people who interview in the area for a college, they normally get the lists of area kids who get in and their high schools, but other than that, it's hard to get your hands on that stuff. Tomorrow happens to be decision notification day for the Ivy League, so I'll soon have some fresh numbers, but so far, kids over at Plano West have been doing quite well (based on Early Decision/Action and other colleges that have come out).
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PISDstudent View Post
The rest of this post is some good information; I personally think that it's really important that kids from any school are getting into top schools, but yes, that information is hard to find. If you happen to know people who interview in the area for a college, they normally get the lists of area kids who get in and their high schools, but other than that, it's hard to get your hands on that stuff. Tomorrow happens to be decision notification day for the Ivy League, so I'll soon have some fresh numbers, but so far, kids over at Plano West have been doing quite well (based on Early Decision/Action and other colleges that have come out).

Typically, those letters/notifications arrive April 1st. Cruel. Just flat cruel.
When this came up on our visit to Stanfod the guide even said they get many calls wanting to know
if it is a April Fools prank.


Ah, ED and EA. A whole nother area that parents and kids really need to understand. Again, why I highly suggest start looking early on in high school at colleges to get an idea of what is going on with the whole college acceptance ball game.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by gymrat View Post
Typically, those letters/notifications arrive April 1st. Cruel. Just flat cruel.
When this came up on our visit to Stanfod the guide even said they get many calls wanting to know
if it is a April Fools prank.


Ah, ED and EA. A whole nother area that parents and kids really need to understand.
Agree with both of these points.

Last year, I remember reading about Vassar sending out acceptance letters to a bunch of kids who were actually rejected. They all went out to celebrate with their families, and then when they came back, found a less-happy email in their inbox. I can't imagine how awful that would feel...
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
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You don't even get a thin envelope anymore, just an online "Sorry". Times have changed.
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