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Old 10-10-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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I would appreciate advice on what high school we should send our son to.

The choices we are considering include:

-- Thomas Jefferson, the Governor's S&T magnet school

-- The IB program at Washington and Lee

-- The AP magnet program at Wakefield

TJ has great rep and curriculum but we are concerned about too much homework and my son is deeply concerned about giving up his friends in Arlington. We also wondered if the the culture of achievement at TJ was a bit much.

The IB at W&L has a good rep and a brand new, beautiful building -- and most of my friends sons are planning to go there

The AP program at Wakefield also appears to provide access to many advanced courses, has a great and friendly staff, and is the school my son would go to if he does not transfer to one of the other two. We were unsure, however, if the culture of achievement at Wakefield was deep enough.

Please provide any insight you have regarding the choices we are considering.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:33 PM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,041,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Dolliff View Post
I would appreciate advice on what high school we should send our son to.

The choices we are considering include:

-- Thomas Jefferson, the Governor's S&T magnet school

-- The IB program at Washington and Lee

-- The AP magnet program at Wakefield

TJ has great rep and curriculum but we are concerned about too much homework and my son is deeply concerned about giving up his friends in Arlington. We also wondered if the the culture of achievement at TJ was a bit much.

The IB at W&L has a good rep and a brand new, beautiful building -- and most of my friends sons are planning to go there

The AP program at Wakefield also appears to provide access to many advanced courses, has a great and friendly staff, and is the school my son would go to if he does not transfer to one of the other two. We were unsure, however, if the culture of achievement at Wakefield was deep enough.

Please provide any insight you have regarding the choices we are considering.
In case that you are not already aware, you should know that there is quite a competitive process to get into TJ that includes a rather challenging exam. So there's no guarantee that your son will be able to enroll there.

I'll let others more knowledgeable expound on that experience as well the programs at the other schools you're considering.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Dolliff View Post
....we are concerned about too much homework and my son is deeply concerned about giving up his friends in Arlington. We also wondered if the the culture of achievement at TJ was a bit much...

That statement right there indicates that he's not TJ material.

Acceptance at TJ is a long shot for kids that crave homework and eschew "hangin' out". Most of them begin their quest for TJ in elementary school.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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I know its a bit early but I would ask him to consider what he wants to do after high school.

Thomas Jefferson is a science and technology school so if he doesn't want to go into anything that has to do with those subjects, then that may not be the best option.

IB is a very well-rounded program. The emphasis is certainly on the humanities (languages, literature, history, philosophy, various types of arts, etc) but the IB curriculum also has a strong math and science (and tech, depending on school) foundation as well.

AP is kind of a mixed bag. There are AP courses in just about every subject.

I will say that in the college selection process, having a full IB diploma is kind of a big deal. So is graduating from TJ (from what I understand). AP is great for college credit but its not necessarily seen on the same level as obtaining an IB diploma. (IB tests can earn college credit as well).

I would say the most important thing is to look at the curriculum and extra-curricular activities and see what your son may be interested in as well as taking into account his desire to be with his friends (which can be a very important factor in his HS experience).
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Dolliff View Post
TJ has great rep and curriculum but we are concerned about too much homework and my son is deeply concerned about giving up his friends in Arlington. We also wondered if the the culture of achievement at TJ was a bit much.
TJ does require an application and admissions test. The applicant must be taking algebra or have completed it. They admit around 480 students for the freshman class.

As a freshman parent of a TJ student, my child was the only one who was accepted at TJ and it was a difficult decision for him to leave his friends behind (they all went to our base high school). However, he has no regrets and has made lots of new friends at TJ. One of the reasons he chose to attend TJ was because of the advance computing courses that is only available at TJ. At our base high school, he would not be able to take AP Computer Science until junior/senior year and there was nothing else offered beyond that. I would say he spends about an hour each day doing homework (as he can do it during lunch, on the bus or during the 8th period). His time management skills will definitely be refined and ready to go for college
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
722 posts, read 1,751,852 times
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I would not make "going to TJ" the plan for your son. It's a long shot, unless he's the best of the best. Be open to it if he wishes to apply, but don't ever think it's set in stone until he gets in.

That said, going to TJ is an incredible opportunity, and if he is accepted, he'd be a fool to turn it down. Keep in mind that all of the students at TJ come from all over the region and are all leaving their friends behind, so everyone is going to be looking to make new friends at once.

Otherwise, I graduated from an IB school (not in NoVA) and highly recommend it. I was far more prepared for college than most of my peers, even though I came from a poor background. My mother didn't even finish high school, but I went on to college with a scholarship thanks to my IB education. W-L has a lot of upsides and few downsides, as I see it, especially if your son will also feel comfortable there on a social level. Faced with your decision, I would choose W-L if my child did not get admitted to TJ. But obviously, I have a handful of biases when it comes to IB!
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffy62 View Post
TJ does require an application and admissions test. The applicant must be taking algebra or have completed it. They admit around 480 students for the freshman class.

As a freshman parent of a TJ student, my child was the only one who was accepted at TJ and it was a difficult decision for him to leave his friends behind (they all went to our base high school). However, he has no regrets and has made lots of new friends at TJ. One of the reasons he chose to attend TJ was because of the advance computing courses that is only available at TJ. At our base high school, he would not be able to take AP Computer Science until junior/senior year and there was nothing else offered beyond that. I would say he spends about an hour each day doing homework (as he can do it during lunch, on the bus or during the 8th period). His time management skills will definitely be refined and ready to go for college
Only an hour each day doing homework?
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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Hey, do y'all think that a TJ applicant from out-of-county has an edge on an in-county applicant?

Could be....as it's my understanding that the home county pays FCPS for the students that it sends to TJ. In these trying fiscal times...these out-of-county students are "paying customers", so to speak.

Or is the competition for TJ in these other counties so fierce that it's moot?
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by live_strong28 View Post
Only an hour each day doing homework?
Yes, it hasn't been as horrible as people have said. This is the daily homework not the assigned projects which he works on during the weekend. Some of the homework is what I would consider fluff. His math teacher insists upon them writing out every question versus just answering the problems. It takes him longer to write out the questions than to answer them. Time management is a MUST due to the long commute. I hear it gets worse during sophomore and junior year.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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No, it's something of a disadvantage to be from other counties because the other counties only pay for a handful of their students to attend TJ. Some places, like Alexandria, won't pay for any of their students to go to TJ. 81% of the students come from Fairfax county. You can look at the stats by county, by clicking on the table on the bottom of his page: FCPS - News Releases TJ admitted 22 students from Arlington and only 15 from Prince William.
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