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Old 09-20-2012, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,728 posts, read 22,813,762 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbmolly View Post
Regarding DA it is really hard to determine how to evaluate a graduating class who in large part go to Duke and UNC when a lot of other threads on this site repeatedly mention most kids at DA have parents who teach at these universities! We are not teachers ...have to wonder whether our child would have an experience there equal to many of the other students. I have looked briefly at living in Durham and my concern there is the soaring crime rate folks talk about. How bad is it really?
For a 9-year-old, I would not obsess over what colleges people from the high schools go to. She's got years before she's in HS and who knows what changes will come along in the curricula before then? All of the schools mentioned above are very good, especially elementary school level. You can always move her to a different school before high school once you get a better feel for the "landscape" and her own adaptation. I personally went to both public and private schools and, while that was the dark ages, am glad I had the experience in both--private for the academics and public for the exposure to all different socioeconomic groups.

Don't fret over the "reputation" Durham has for crime, one of the most common misconceptions you'll read on this board. Yes, in the 1990s, it was getting bad there, but Durham really took the bull (ha! It's the "Bull City", you know...) by the horns and has had an amazing "renaissance" in the downtown area and nearby, plus Southwestern Durham is mostly new suburbs just like you'll find in Cary, Wake Forst, or the other "hot and trendy" places. There are crime stats posted online to be studied, and you'll see that outside a few areas (the Southeastern quadrant, to put it in simple terms) Durham's crime is no different than any city its size. I am involved in lots of performing arts activities and while I live in Raleigh, I am always going to Durham to participate in them because I find Durham's offerings better than Raleigh's, not to mention the still-pretty-new Durham Performing Arts Center (2009) which had the #1 ticket sales in the US last year and is a real jewel in the area's Arts crown. And of course, Duke University is there.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:50 PM
 
3,239 posts, read 3,537,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois View Post
For a 9-year-old, I would not obsess over what colleges people from the high schools go to. She's got years before she's in HS and who knows what changes will come along in the curricula before then? All of the schools mentioned above are very good, especially elementary school level. You can always move her to a different school before high school once you get a better feel for the "landscape" and her own adaptation. I personally went to both public and private schools and, while that was the dark ages, am glad I had the experience in both--private for the academics and public for the exposure to all different socioeconomic groups.
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I echo this 100%. Worrying about what college a 9 yr old gets admitted to seems like putting the cart before the horse. Just because a child is academically gifted at age 9 does not mean they will be a high achiever at 18. And that is assuming that going to a premier university is a requirement to having a successful career (which I think is Madison avenue spin used to justify padding university budgets with ever increasing tuition).

Some children thrive under the pressure of being in a highly competitve academic environment, others like being the big fish in a smaller pond and all children need to learn there is more to education than book learning. The triangle offers all of that in both public and private settings.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
12,799 posts, read 16,321,421 times
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Well, I think it's true that in some other countries you do really get into a track with primary and secondary education and if you don't go to the "right" schools you can't get into the elite colleges and universities, so I can see where Gbmolly is coming from. That just isn't the case in the States, though. If your child performs well and has an excellent grade point average, excellent test scores (SAT, ACT) and excellent extra curriculars, it really doesn't matter if she went to the "best" high school, usually, if she's got the grades and scores she can get into an excellent university. It's all about performance.

However, many universities try to balance out their student body and going to a super high performing school could actually lessen your child's chances of admission. Some universities will only take a certain number of students from one area of the state and even if a large percentage of students at that particular high school otherwise qualify for admission certain universities will cap the admissions from that high school so that they can balance their student body. For example, I have heard that it is harder for a student at Chapel Hill/Carrboro high schools to get into UNC than a student with equivalent grades and scores from a high school in another part of the state. Similarly I have heard that it is harder for a high school student at Fairfax county schools in Virginia (similar high performing school system in Va) to get into UVa than it is for an equivalent student elsewhere in Va.

That said, top performing students at Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools do get into many excellent colleges like UNC and Duke, and Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, etc.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Containment Area for Relocated Yankees
1,054 posts, read 1,984,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppydog View Post
Well, I think it's true that in some other countries you do really get into a track with primary and secondary education and if you don't go to the "right" schools you can't get into the elite colleges and universities, so I can see where Gbmolly is coming from. That just isn't the case in the States, though. If your child performs well and has an excellent grade point average, excellent test scores (SAT, ACT) and excellent extra curriculars, it really doesn't matter if she went to the "best" high school, usually, if she's got the grades and scores she can get into an excellent university. It's all about performance.
I don't know that it's not true in the US. Just check out the utter panic and competitiveness of parents in Manhattan trying to enroll their 3-4 year olds in the "right" pre-schools. Because if your kid doesn't get into a good pre-school, they won't be considered by the right private schools. And the pre-schools actually keep track of (and market) their exmissions (where their "graduates" go to to primary/secondary schools). The primary/secondary schools then market their exmissions to the Ivy League. Because apparently, that's all that matters. So you have these parents of 2-3 year olds freaking out because they didn't get their kid on the wait list for the right pre-school, so there's no way they'll get into an Ivy. Doomed to a public university before they're even out of diapers.

In all seriousness, while I'd like to think that college admissions are all "equal", I don't think they are. I do believe that, if you're a good student with good test scores, you have a better chance of getting into elite universities if you go to certain high schools.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Ehhh.. I dunno. I grew up in Fayetteville and had a couple of extremely smart, high achieving classmates in my year and the years surrounding me who ended up at Princeton and other Ivies. It was just public high school. It was certainly not an elite high school. I think that the Manhattanites are an exception to the rule rather than the way things usually work.

Did you hear the story of the girl from Catawba County who was homeless, but worked her butt off and ended up at Harvard?
Homeless girl makes it to Harvard | north, carolina, college - Gaston Gazette

I'm sure that all things aren't equal with respect to college admissions, but I certainly don't think you need to go to private school to get admitted to the best colleges and universities in the country. You do need good grades and good scores. That's all I was trying to point out to MollyGB. The playing field is not exactly level in the US, but it's more level than the systems in some other countries.

Last edited by poppydog; 09-21-2012 at 09:36 PM..
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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I agree that kids can make it into top schools from anywhere. I am one of them. I went to a crap public school..but I will say that I struggled next to my peers as they had a better educational foundation. They went to better schools,,,period. They were not smarter, they were more prepared. I had to play catch up. Universities are well aware that certain schools provide better foundations.. I have a niece in public school in Florida , she is thirteen and her writing is atrocious, she recieved a failing mark on her final math exam and yet she still made honor roll! It all comes out in the wash eventually..and that wash is university. Ivy League schools most certainly do not guarantee success, that is individual drive . However , great universities do get you better jobs..period. Anyone that wants to claim coming out of a third rate university is equal to MIT for an interview with any company is smoking the funny stuff. University does not matter as much for the entrepreneur or the guy who hop scotches the board of luck well. Hate to say this but the days of working your way up from the mail room have been over for decades. It all depends what you want in life...I can't know what my child will want..my job is to provide her with the best opportunities I can...thereafter she will do whatever she will do. Who knows, she may become the tiniest sumo wrestler in the world..but she will do that by choice..not because she had no options. Okay, I gotta tell you picturing this tiny blond blue eyed girl in the outfit is too funny ! �� That all being said...if you had to choose between the two schools...which would you pick?
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:16 AM
 
1,155 posts, read 2,235,896 times
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I would choose Cary Academy if I were making the choice. I just like the things I hear about Cary Academy. It feels like it's the sort of the place that lots of different types of kids could find their spot. I'm considering it for my own kids, but they aren't old enough yet!
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Well, kids who are riding the grade inflation curve and not getting the best education are also unlikely to score well on the SAT. If you're really concerned about colleges and admissions, check out College Admissions, Search, and Financial Aid Help from College Confidential .

As for private schools, I don't know anything about Cary Academy beyond what's been posted on this thread. I had actually never heard of it before, but I am in Chapel Hill. It sounds like a nice school, though. I do know many people who went thru DA and even in Chapel Hill I've heard of other private schools in Raleigh like Cardinal Gibbons and Ravenscroft for years, and Carolina Friends of course. They all have longstanding, excellent reputations. It sounds like Cary Academy is much newer and just hasn't had the chance to build up quite the reputation that those schools have.

All that said I'm not sure that any of the privates provide better academics than public schools like Enloe, Raleigh Charter, Broughton, Woods Charter or Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools. Plus there's always NC School of Science and Math for high school.

For my money, though, it's all about fit for the individual child. What works for one kid does not necessarily work for another kid. I'd much rather have my child in the school that best meets their needs where they are. Sometimes that's a private school, sometimes it's a charter, sometimes it's public. And there are so many flavors of private available in our area — traditional, progressive, Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Waldorf — so many different philosophies to choose from.

I'm not worried about my kids going to an Ivy at all (just not a big deal in our family), but I definitely don't feel like I'm shortchanging my almost 9 yr old daughter by having her in Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools. If she ends up wanting to go to an Ivy League school, she'll certainly be very well prepared.
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:01 PM
 
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I think you should first pick where you want to live, then the school. As others have said, Chapel Hill and Cary are very, very different. It's just a different crowd, with some external similarities, perhaps. Different attitudes, though.

Once you know where you want to live you can look for schools.

There are other private schools in the area. Others have mentioned Duke School, there is also a relatively new Triangle Day, I think. Indeed, as others have said, Chapel Hill/Carrboro have an excellent school system. Every year kids from there go to top universities. In fact, I'd say that the Chapel Hill high schools do as good of a job at preparing their kids for the best colleges as the private schools, and possibly better. Let me know if you want me to elaborate.

The entire Chapel Hill public schools system is possibly more similar to sending to a top ranking, outstanding, UK comprehensive, if that makes sense. There is a range of kids, but the top kids get into the top colleges. I had no kids at the time, but it seemed to me like in London going to the right school was a huge deal. In the US it's important to go to a good school, but there isn't that kind of direct route from high school to elite university that you see in the UK. The college application process is very different, as is high school. No GCSEs and A levels. You'll get to know it. It is a very different system.

Another option to consider, if you decide to live within the CH school district, is to send to private at first and consider public for high school, when you get there. I can elaborate on that too, but it's too late now.

In the meanwhile I'd say start with the town that fits you bests and pick a school after. Even the preppy private schools will be different and not what you are used to, and I think you may be pleasantly surprised.

Finally, I don't know where you lived in London, but please plan for a shorter commute! Sure, people drive pretty far in America, but don't plan on it if you don't have to.
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:52 AM
 
10 posts, read 68,890 times
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Yummy 2 mom: thanks for your imput. I see you get where I am coming from! Wits really hard to drop the " wrong school , poor prospects" system that is very much a reality here. The really good comprehensives are far and dew between now. Not that it was ever an option. We live in Kensington . I am familiar with the states as I am American . However I haven't been a student for more years than I care to count! I'm sure the American system has been tweaked a bit since my days. However I do remember going to a crap public school and I do remember having to work twice as hard my freshman year than those who attended better primary and secondary schools. Lots of threads here by Americans fretting over good schools as well I might add! But both you and poppy dog make a great point regarding where to live as a primary consideration. I have family I adore that live in wake forest and this is why I am relocating to the area. We have both been fortunate in our careers and have retired.
So commuting to work is not an issue. Price range also not an issue. What I would like for our child is to have a normal childhood. This we want a neighborhood full of kids that is safe and not far from her school. Thus if we were going to put her in cary academy or st. Michaels etc..we would live in cary and move somewhere like Wessex or Preston . I want my daughter to have a yard that is a " runnable" I can say that southern village in chapel hill might have fit the bill but there is no property and the houses are just a tad too close.but I can see how it would be nirvana for kids. The summer before last I stayed in chapel hill for a few weeks and sent our daughter to ID tech camp at unc..she loved it. But I was not at all impressed with the crowds wandering the town streets at early evening. I found some of the neighborhoods with large homes lovely but saw no children out and about. My real estate agent smelled a large fee and and kept kept changing her opinions like jello moving through a slowly tightening grip! Every time I expressed a concern about an area that was " the best" ..a new area became better..quite confusing. So I currently possess no clear understanding of how chapel hill is set up . It is much easier to get a handle on cary..probably because it is more sterile. But it does have a fantastic country country club that has an amazing amount of program's for kids. Chapel hill country club is a bit dated and I saw very little offerings for kids other than summer camp. My daughter loves golf. I do agree that the chapel hill public schools look to be very good and I do agree that the school should fit the child and not the child fit the school. But that is actually what i am trying to do. Yummy mom if you truly are familiar with London, then you are aware that children in top private prep school are about two years ahead of American kids. I know this because we have had friends move back to the states. Also, some people take their kids traveling for a year before going back to the states. I know that is hard for a lot of Americans to hear but my freind who is an American doctor living here with a son in my daughters school has remarked that the level of biology in 8 th grade was the same she had in med school. My daughters vocabulary and writing skills are far beyond a primary school student. Now having said all that, I have to say is that the English system pushes them fast and young. My daughter had to read 60 pages of chapter books every night at the age of five. This is of course only at top schools here and of course the kids are tested to get in...the term gifted here will get you a big yawn.
So now I have a kid who has been an academic car travelling at 100 miles per hour...what do I do..I have to make sure I don't plunk her down in a school that is teaching kids what a decimal point is when she is doing algebra. She would be bored and frustrated. I am not keen to move her up two grades because academic abilities don't correspond to emotional and pyhysical development. So I was advised to find a tough academic school and put her up a grade. So I hope you get a better understanding about my goals here. Really bright kid..at a different level than peers in the usa( I have reviewed the ciriculum at most if the schools in car and chapel hill) and lord knows that a bored child in school spells trouble. Again, all of you that help the clueless such as myself on this thread are more helpful than you can ever realise. Really when I get there I am gonna invite all of you out for a dinner ( my cooking is crap)...it would be kinda cool to see what a poppy dog looks like
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