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How can parents help their kids get into college?

BocaBum99

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My oldest son is finally in High School. He's always been a bright kid, but his grades haven't really been that good. This summer, I pretty much scared the heck out of him. I told him that if he didn't get good grades in his Freshman year that he could potentially kill his chances of getting into a good University. That fear has worked so far. He is now doing his homework every day and he is already scoring higher on tests like History than ever before. His biggest problem is that his course load is so challenging that he simply forgets to either do or turn in homework. So, what I have been doing is helping him on Sunday nights to plan his week and prepare his daily to do list. Every morning before school, I check that he did his homework and has it in his folder for turning it in. When he gets home, I check with him that he knows what he's got to do and has time to do it given his extracurricular load.

The reason for this post is to find out what others are doing to help their high school kids get into college. It is a LOT harder than it was when I applied and went to school. It is so hard to get in now, I am not sure that I could even get into my alma mater. At a minimum, I would have had to do more to prepare myself for the application process.
 

neash

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I too was very worried for the same reasons as you when my daughter started high school last year. She is a smart girl, but gets easily distracted and is a procrastinator.
What seems to work with her, is that if she is involved in a a lot of extra curricular activities, she has such little time to get things done, that she uses it wisely. Thats worked for us. She is involved in school sports, debate and model UN clubs, and is very happy.
Like you I tried to monitor her assignments initially, but then she started resenting it, so that has stopped. I believe that if she gets a decent GPA and is well rounded, she will end up in a good college.

If you have the money and willingness, you can invest in an academic coach. They will talk to you and your son, understand your objectives and then pretty much plan the rest of high school for you. They recommend summer camps, extra curricular activites, courses to take, SAT prep, etc, even tutor you when your grades are falling. Of course, this kind of coaching is more geared towards Ivy League school admission.
 

ricoba

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I am working with issue with my oldest, this year he is in grade 12.

For the past year or so, he just did not show any interest in anything. I kept pushing, (he would say nagging), for him to start looking at his future options.

Finally this year, he let me know that all his courses except one, are all electives that will help him prep for college. I was glad to hear this, because these were all courses of his choosing.

I am still not sure where he wants to go to school, but that's OK so far, because at least he has begun to think and act on his own future.:)
 

jlr10

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Our son would do his homework and forget to turn it in. So we devised a system, where he had a plastic sleeve notebook (we called them slash pockets) that had sleeves on both sides. In the front sleeve he put homework assignments to be completed, and then put the completed homework in there for the next day. When he got assignments back he put them in the back pocket and then filed them in his binder at the end of the week. Before he left class he would look in the front pocket/sleeve to make sure that there we no assignments left in his book. That, combined with an assignment book where he wrote down his assignments, helped keep him pretty much on track until his final semester his senior year. Then he was pretty much done. He still did okay but would have done much better if he still cared!

Good luck!
 

pjrose

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Give homework help - don't do it, but look over it, make suggestions. Keep vigilant track of assignments, tests, and grades. A low test score if they told you about it and studied with you? ok. A low test score if they hadn't told you about and hadn't studied? not ok. A zero on an assignment that wasn't handed in? not ok. The school may be able to help with homework checks - someone, guidance or teacher, checking his assignment book at the end of school every day. Make this known to the teachers, see if they post assignments online or will email you. You may not need to breathe down his neck - and that could backfire - but you will know if he's keeping up or not, and can dole out the rewards or consequences appropriately.

Organization is a necessity for academic success. Help him figure out what works for him. DD has separate morning/afternoon binders. DS carried one little clipboard for four years; added each assignment to it, came home, and did the work.

Consider buying copies of all of his textbooks - check amazon.com and campusi.com. Having them at home saves trips to school for a forgotten book, helps take weight out of the backpack, and means he will always have the book at home for homework and studying. Sometimes if you just ask, the school or teacher will issue duplicate books. If you need to buy them, get the ISBN from the teacher or department head. You'll also want the publisher, title, edition, and year. We have bought most of our kids' books for under $15 or $20 online, sometimes well under.

Activities - not too many, but 1-2, preferably at least one volunteer or Scouts. Animal shelter? library? special olympics? music?

SAT prep - start right now by signing up at collegeboard.org. You and your son can get a question of the day. I've been doing them for years - it's kind of fun. You will soon both see that the questions fall into several recognizable types, and you can talk to him about how to logically work through them (e.g. look for key words that give clues of which direction to go in). Get the big SAT prep book that's published by college board, probably available at your library. Work through the sample essay together, or ask him to try the sample essay, then score it yourself comparing it to the sample answers. Do practice essays every once in awhile. Learning to direct a written response to a prompt in an organized fashion with examples is a great skill for high school, not just for the SAT!

"Cultural Capital" - all the advantages kids get at home if the parents are involved, can help with homework, can drive to activities, etc - makes a HUGE difference in academic success.
 
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lprstn

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Well this is son's 1st year of HS...woh as me...

Well when my son started we sat down at the computer and did the following..

- I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up
- We looked online for job descriptions and requirements for those jobs
- After that he changed his mind a bit about some of the careers he liked
- We printed out salary ranges (and locations) for the careers left
- Then I asked him about the things he wanted to have when he grew up (like a car? home? vacations?etc?)
- Then we checked prices for those items and put his salary against his desires
- Then we revisited his career goals to see what type of lifestyle he could afford after college with the careers he chose

After that we talked to the school counselor and our schools have what is called "Career Academies" where students who may be going to college or may not can get training and college credits.

My DS liked engineering and medicine. Of the medicine he liked the "EMT" career over the "CNA" so he is taking 1 year in the 11 th grade of Allied Health and 1 year in 12th grade of EMT (which when graduating gets 12 credit hours for).

He also liked software engineering so he is taking those classes as electives.

Lastly --- this summer I sent him to a "Study Skills" class given at the local Community College.

He wants to go away to college and live on campus...after looking at the requirements of a 3.0 for the colleges of choice he realizes that he has to work hard to attain what he wants.

Also, I signed him up for a "SAT" prep course even though he is just going into the 9th grade.

For homework and grades--
- I review all homework
- I email teachers bi-weekly to see how he is progressing
- I check the teacher's website as all homework is posted there
- I pop up at his school to volunteer
- I reward him for being responsible
- He DOES not have a TV / Video game in his bedroom
- He does not have his cellphone until after homework time
- He must be involved with a school activity (he plays sports so has to have a certain gpa to play)

Finally...I pray...cause these kids didn't come with no darn directions :hysterical:
 

BocaBum99

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Well when my son started we sat down at the computer and did the following..

- I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up
- We looked online for job descriptions and requirements for those jobs
- After that he changed his mind a bit about some of the careers he liked
- We printed out salary ranges (and locations) for the careers left
- Then I asked him about the things he wanted to have when he grew up (like a car? home? vacations?etc?)
- Then we checked prices for those items and put his salary against his desires
- Then we revisited his career goals to see what type of lifestyle he could afford after college with the careers he chose

After that we talked to the school counselor and our schools have what is called "Career Academies" where students who may be going to college or may not can get training and college credits.

My DS liked engineering and medicine. Of the medicine he liked the "EMT" career over the "CNA" so he is taking 1 year in the 11 th grade of Allied Health and 1 year in 12th grade of EMT (which when graduating gets 12 credit hours for).

He also liked software engineering so he is taking those classes as electives.

Lastly --- this summer I sent him to a "Study Skills" class given at the local Community College.

He wants to go away to college and live on campus...after looking at the requirements of a 3.0 for the colleges of choice he realizes that he has to work hard to attain what he wants.

Also, I signed him up for a "SAT" prep course even though he is just going into the 9th grade.

For homework and grades--
- I review all homework
- I email teachers bi-weekly to see how he is progressing
- I check the teacher's website as all homework is posted there
- I pop up at his school to volunteer
- I reward him for being responsible
- He DOES not have a TV / Video game in his bedroom
- He does not have his cellphone until after homework time
- He must be involved with a school activity (he plays sports so has to have a certain gpa to play)

Finally...I pray...cause these kids didn't come with no darn directions :hysterical:
Dang, after reading that, I feel like my son is already behind. That's impressive. Fortunately, my wife is doing more than I am.
 

BocaBum99

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Our son would do his homework and forget to turn it in. So we devised a system, where he had a plastic sleeve notebook (we called them slash pockets) that had sleeves on both sides. In the front sleeve he put homework assignments to be completed, and then put the completed homework in there for the next day. When he got assignments back he put them in the back pocket and then filed them in his binder at the end of the week. Before he left class he would look in the front pocket/sleeve to make sure that there we no assignments left in his book. That, combined with an assignment book where he wrote down his assignments, helped keep him pretty much on track until his final semester his senior year. Then he was pretty much done. He still did okay but would have done much better if he still cared!

Good luck!
This sounds like my son. He is now using a similar system.
 

summervaca

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I have some suggestions to offer on this front from the point of view of an educator as opposed to a parent. I am a middle school teacher, not a high school teacher but I believe the same principles apply.

First of all, relax. Your kids will be fine, contributing members of society. How can they not be with parents like you? :clap: Let them enjoy high school. That's their job right now.

Now.....think back. Think back on yourself and your goofy friends and how you can't believe how normal you turned out, let alone that you are alive to talk about it. Think about eighth grade when American History was irrelevant and math was something you were never going to need in the "real world." HA!! That's where your Freshman children are right now, and really, things are not that much harder than they were when you were young. It's just that you can't imagine having to go through it all again. My mother used to say she would never want to be born these days because the world is going to hell. I would remind her that she was born in 1944. The world wasn't looking real good at that point either.:eek:

The kids I work with everyday are bright, funny, regular people and I love them for it. Many of the parents, although basically good, are hovering and making it impossible for their kids to learn to advocate for themselves. No offense intended, but by the time they are in high school, parents should be in a support role. Let them fall on their face a little in tenth grade if you have to. Propping them up artificially is not going to help them when they get to college.

Above all, remember, colleges want your money. If you can pay, you will find a decent college.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck to everyone AND their fabulous kids!

Debbie
 

pjrose

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Well when my son started we sat down at the computer and did the following..
Wow - my kids would NEVER tolerate all that. I know, I'm the parent, they're supposed to do what I tell them - unfortunately that doesn't work too well.



I have some suggestions to offer on this front from the point of view of an educator as opposed to a parent.
This is certainly a very different perspective! It depends on the kid, I guess. Your approach is pretty much what worked with DS. DD needs more intervention, more structure than he did, though if we did as much as lprstn I'm afraid our house would be WWIII.

I still say, provide structure, support, oversight, activities, opportunity for community service, and consequences. It sounds a lot easier than it is, and whether they accept it and do well with it is unfortunately more up to them than to us. It worked with DS, it isn't working so well with DD.
 
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I have to agree with Debbie- chill! You already made it thru HS and college (or not) and survived.

My family tends to be late bloomers. I started college at age 28, with a husband, house, 3 kids, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. Took me 7 years to get a BSN. If my parents had "forced" me to go to college right after HS, it would have been a waste of their money and my time. My husband started college at about the same age, same circumstances except we only had one kid then. When he finished, I started.

DD#1 majored in boys in HS. No way was I paying to send her away to college- she fooled around locally til she was 24, decided she wanted to be a nurse, and there was no stopping her. She graduated at 28. DD#3 had no idea what she wanted to do, so fooled around with community college classes, then she got a job that she loves, and they paid for her to get first her 2nd associates, in fire science, and now they're paying for most of her BS in Fire Science and Public Safety Admin. She'll be 26 or 27 when she's done, working fulltime.

DD#2 was the exception- knew she wanted to get a degree in physics engineering, went right to Embry Riddle, and now works on site at JSC in Houston.

The moral is, when they're ready they'll go and do well. Community college is a wonderful thing- except for DD#2 we all started there, and transferred. Don't you stress while they're off having fun!

Holly
 

EAM

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Is there something your son really loves to do that would make his college application stand out? Something that shows that he is willing to work towards a goal, wants to be of service to others, and so forth? Is he active in a youth group (e.g. church or other place of worship, Scouts, 4-H, etc.) where he would have the opportunity to do something that would earn him recognition for his efforts?

Is he talented artistically or musically? Encourage him to start a portfolio, participate in solo and ensemble contests, perhaps even start his own small group?

Does he like the outdoors? Encourage him to do something adventurous with a group of like-minded guys (like a Scout high adventure trip, organized by the boys not the adults).

Does he like math? Encourage him to participate in math competitions.

I think you get the idea by now. Find things he likes, in which he can excel and gain recognition.

A volunteer job is a good way of getting the experience needed for a paying job later on. There are usually lots of volunteer jobs available for youth, e.g. at a zoo, hospital, museum, or social service organization. When he is older, Habitat for Humanity is another possibility.

IMHO, initially helping him stay organized is helpful if he wants your help. If he doesn't want your help, it might be better to take away privileges (TV, video games, time with friends, etc.) as a consequence for lack of organization. Let him have the choice of either choosing to be organized and getting his homework in on time or choosing to be disorganized and suffering the consequences. There's a book called Making the Grade Janice Gabe and it might be helpful to your son.

All of the above are intended as positive ways to help your child get into college. You also need to think about protecting him from the wrong influences. Listen to the type of music he likes and discuss it with him. Don't let him have a television in his bedroom; monitor what he sees on TV and on the internet. Discuss how what you see on TV supports or conflicts with your family's values. There's a book by Cloud and Townsend called Boundaries with Teens that you might find helpful.

Also, IMHO, do not let him have a cell phone without parental controls, and make sure you get to know any new friends and their parents before your child goes anywhere with them. Other teens with the wrong values, who may introduce your child to alcohol, drugs, or other inappropriate or dangerous behavior, may sabotage your efforts towards getting your child off to a good start in life.
 

Blondie

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As a high school teacher for 36 years I am weighing in. Some very good advice here. I agree with the NO tv or video system in the bedroom. Also, as far as organization goes, and I see TONS of kids who have no organization skills. I have them become list makers and write everything down. I try to model this for my students and EVERY class assignment is written on the board each day at end of class- insist that his teachers do this (but they probably are). Kids are not very auditory and just announcing something does not always work- it must be visual. Also, you can organize, color code and file until you are blue in the face but the system that works for him must be something that he devises. We all organize differently so see what system he thinks he can work with. And, do keep in touch with his teachers at least weekly. Next, do not just drop in to visit/chat/whatever. Make an appointment. I would not dream of dropping in at my kid's dentist so please don't do it to me. Maybe this works in elementary school- but not here. Please show courtesy and respect my time by calling or emailing first. Make him the one accountable for doing and turning in the work. After all, you cannot go to college with him so at some point you have to back off and let him accept what will happen if he does not follow through- that harkens back to that system of organization. Next, ask if teachers will allow him to email assignments. Then, once they are done he can send them electronically. My students do this all the time. First thing I do is check my school email and print out everything before school starts. This works because sometimes kids have computer/printer glitches. Also, have him write down each class assignment for each day and check it every night. This habit will eventually become ingrained, hopefully. Best tip- have him work a minimum wage job weekends to see where he will end up with no college degree. This can be the best jumpstart of all. And finally, to all parents who dream of their kids being successful- DO NOT RUSH THE COLLEGE THING- Really, some kids just are not ready when they graduate. The go through all the stress of the senior year college app thing and many of them are so miserable but they follow the crowd. Taking a year or two off can be the best thing for your kids. Of course, no parent wants to brag, "Gee my kid is not going to college but will work in a supermarket," and so often the parental peer pressure (yes we have it) lands kids in college and the kids flunk out or drop out. And, sometimes parents just want the kid out of the house and that is the catalyst. But, students should be ready academically and emotionally. It is OK for them to wait and experience a bit of life before they go to school. They will not be failures but will, likely, do much better in the long run. Best, Blondie
 
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summervaca

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Blondie,

I am surprised to hear you recommend that parents keep in touch with teachers weekly in high school. We have all homework assignments online with printable attachments as well as our grade books for families to get information. If you are communicating with parents every week, how do you get anything else done?

I agree 100% that if there is a problem or concern, parents should get in touch with the teacher. In fact, if there is a problem, I usually try to contact them first.

Oh, and I'd like to add that whenever I hear about the horrible youth of today, I think about the kids that I see everyday and even in all of their moody, adolescence, they really are great. Even the disorganized, distracted, frustrating ones. Sometimes they are the most fun!!:rofl: :rofl:
 

pjrose

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Agenda, Dates, and phone/computer limits

To add to the tips about organization - be sure he has a planner/agenda. If the school hands one out, great, if not, go shopping and let him pick out the size/color he wants.

Important - have him write down each assignment/test/quiz on the due date, highlighted in some way (highlighter, circled, star) to indicate that's when it's due or happening. Then he should also write down to work on it/study for it the days beforehand.

It drove me CRAZY that my kids' elementary school taught them to write each thing in the block for the day it was being written down - so on Friday they would see "quiz Tuesday" on the blackboard, and write it only in Friday's block! Turn the page for a new week, and who remembers there's a quiz on Tuesday when Tuesday is blank! I don't write down dentist's appointments in the calendar box for the day I call to make them!

Also, I agree strongly with the cell phone controls - and the same goes with Internet. I don't know about other cell companies, but ATT offers "Smart Limits" for $5 a month - well worth it. DD's phone is off between 10pm and 6:30 AM, on again for the bus ride to school, then off during school. There is a list of allowed numbers - always 911, home, our cells, guidance - she can call at any time, even during restricted hours. Some kids' numbers have been blocked from her phone. Texts are also limited. The various limits are all in reaction to problems - 3AM phone calls, boys sending her unprintable texts, use during class.....

And, restrictions on the internet are a good idea too. I'm sure you've heard it all - but please keep an eye on where he's going and what he's doing, and buy something that lets you restrict certain sites, maybe put on a password so he can only use the computer with YOU typing in the password, and preferably do not allow internet in his room. Even the best of kids are often up to things we wouldn't like.

These may seem off-topic, but without these distractions, you are providing more time for positive activities.
 

BocaBum99

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To add to the tips about organization - be sure he has a planner/agenda. If the school hands one out, great, if not, go shopping and let him pick out the size/color he wants.
Actually, I think my sons biggest issue is simply overload. My wife has been a huge advocate of the planner since that is what works for her. He had the planner all last year and he still forgot homework. So, I asked him to try something different. Something much simpler.

After the first day of school, I reviewed all of his course syllabi with him and we talked about what it would take in each class to do well. Homework and class participation are huge parts of his grades.

Then, we just wrote down the homework assignments due every day of the first week and the quizzes/tests he would have for that week. I just asked him create and to review his "turn in" folder every morning with me to make sure he has his homework in a place he can easily access it. Twice in the first week, I caught him not having assignments in his folder that he had indeed completed. This process saved him 2 zeroes in the first week.

So far, his attitude is better since he has fear in the back of his mind. That keeps him on his toes. And, he now has a simple tool for focusing his attention on key deliverables and it allows me to help him keep his mind focused on the immediate future.

As a side benefit of this process, I have a much better feel for what he has to do every week and when he has a time bottleneck. So, when he has a day that seems to be too packed with stuff, I try to get him to think ahead by doing some homework before its due so that he can do his extracurricular function without jeopardizing the assignments he needs to have completed.

This is much harder than when I went to high school. I rarely ever had to study. I was focused more on what I was going to do after school every day than what I had to do while I was in school. The good news is that these planning skills will be useful to him in college and afterwards.
 

lprstn

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Above all, remember, colleges want your money. If you can pay, you will find a decent college.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck to everyone AND their fabulous kids!

Debbie
Thanks Debbie!! Boy that hits the spot....Whew...

Also, we have not ruled out Community College for my kids (my oldest will only be 17 when he graduates from HS). The EMT program he is interested in feeds into the Community Colleges and the State Colleges in a combined registration program. If he is successful in the EMT program he will be able to get a scholarship to finish. If that is the direction he wants to go. He may not like it. If he doesn't like it than he will have also had some of the preliminary coursework for his interest in Software Engineering. I told my kids I will only pay for you to go to college and graduate in a field that will allow you to support yourself and find a job...if you want to do Art History...than take it as a Major and Minor in Math (if that's what you are good at).

As far as the no tv/video games during the week. My kids know no other way, I've always maintained that rule, because as a working mother of 4 the only time I had to really spend with the kids was when I got home from work. Since I had so many I had to organize the time during the week into fun/bonding/and learning...whew.

Anywho...my younger two kids are more rebellious than the older two, so me and DH will just have to devise a system that works for them.

Oh...and by the way if you have younger kids ... check out www.kumon.com which is a great program and helped my kids alot in the development of good solid skills in math/reading/independent learning.
 
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BocaBum99

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Is there something your son really loves to do that would make his college application stand out? Something that shows that he is willing to work towards a goal, wants to be of service to others, and so forth? Is he active in a youth group (e.g. church or other place of worship, Scouts, 4-H, etc.) where he would have the opportunity to do something that would earn him recognition for his efforts?

Is he talented artistically or musically? Encourage him to start a portfolio, participate in solo and ensemble contests, perhaps even start his own small group?

Does he like the outdoors? Encourage him to do something adventurous with a group of like-minded guys (like a Scout high adventure trip, organized by the boys not the adults).

Does he like math? Encourage him to participate in math competitions.

I think you get the idea by now. Find things he likes, in which he can excel and gain recognition.

A volunteer job is a good way of getting the experience needed for a paying job later on. There are usually lots of volunteer jobs available for youth, e.g. at a zoo, hospital, museum, or social service organization. When he is older, Habitat for Humanity is another possibility.

IMHO, initially helping him stay organized is helpful if he wants your help. If he doesn't want your help, it might be better to take away privileges (TV, video games, time with friends, etc.) as a consequence for lack of organization. Let him have the choice of either choosing to be organized and getting his homework in on time or choosing to be disorganized and suffering the consequences. There's a book called Making the Grade Janice Gabe and it might be helpful to your son.

All of the above are intended as positive ways to help your child get into college. You also need to think about protecting him from the wrong influences. Listen to the type of music he likes and discuss it with him. Don't let him have a television in his bedroom; monitor what he sees on TV and on the internet. Discuss how what you see on TV supports or conflicts with your family's values. There's a book by Cloud and Townsend called Boundaries with Teens that you might find helpful.

Also, IMHO, do not let him have a cell phone without parental controls, and make sure you get to know any new friends and their parents before your child goes anywhere with them. Other teens with the wrong values, who may introduce your child to alcohol, drugs, or other inappropriate or dangerous behavior, may sabotage your efforts towards getting your child off to a good start in life.
My son likes to hang out with his friends and play video games. If I let him, that is what he would do 24 hours per day. Fortunately, he is so busy now that his other activities put a natural limit on what he can do.

His extra curricular activities are fairly extensive. He plays on a USTA tennis team, he is on the high school math team, he is heavily involved in community service with the Boy Scouts which is where he is at for this weekend, he is taking Taiko drum lessons and now he is scuba diving with me. And, because a girl he likes and several of his friends are on the debate team, he signed up for that activity, too (sigh).

I was involved in that much stuff when I was a kid, but I never had the type of homework that he has. With all that stuff going on, it's easy to see how a kid can skip doing the homework.

I guess all this does prepare them for what they are going to encounter in the real world. We never seem to have enough time to do everything we want to do or need to do.
 

summervaca

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I hope everyone realizes that that was meant to be a little tongue in cheek, but there is a lot of truth to it. Colleges are in the business of accepting kids, not rejecting them.

Obviously, if you are trying to get into a specific elite program, at a specific elite college, there will be restrictions, but for most college freshman, you do not have to be perfect! Organize and prepare? Absolutely! Obsess? No! Things will work out.
 
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Twinkstarr

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Wow, your district seems to be slow on the planner. My son has been using one since 3rd grade. He's in 6th grade now(Jr. High) and actually his last period class is "effective studying". Working on organizing his binder, homework folders, keeping track of assignments and tests.
 

jlr10

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Is there something your son really loves to do that would make his college application stand out? Something that shows that he is willing to work towards a goal, wants to be of service to others, and so forth? Is he active in a youth group (e.g. church or other place of worship, Scouts, 4-H, etc.) where he would have the opportunity to do something that would earn him recognition for his efforts?
Although the classes and grades are important, I agree this is also key. Our son was a big video gamer and liked to spend time playing with Legos. When they started a robotics club at his school he joined and was able to learn computer animated drawing, as well as mechanics and fabrication. It actually changed his focus from planning to become a video game designer to pursuing a degree as a mechanical engineer. Besides the confidence the team gave him it was something that seemed to attractive colleges. He was able to turn that activity into a small scholarship and many awards at the local fair. His last CAD competition won him engineering software. So he got experience working under pressure, the pleasure of having confirmation that he was on the right track for him, and he saved his parents money by winning the software we would have had to purchase. This was all because, on his own, he decided to try something that sounded like it might go well with what he was already interested in doing. -Not to mention it helped the team as they were able to add to their resume that students go on and win individual awards based on team experience, helping them get scholarships and college entrance. Definately a win-win for all involved.

As a small tangent for those parents who have children who like to work on computers, who like to building things, who are good in science or math, or who have good business skills the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) robotics program is a good program, and offers in excess of $9 million in scholarships and tuition breaks. When it was described to us it sounded like a geek fest but having gone to competitions it is amazing the teamwork and imagination the students show in the competitions. It is also a program where there are no losers. Their motto "Gracious Professionalism," is something that most of the teams show in all parts of the competition. It also is something that looks good on a college application. (The students may strive to altruistic, but I am also realistic!)
 

Blondie

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Summer- my school district is in the process of going online with all grades, etc. so as of now that is not available. But, it is always a good idea to contact teachers at least once in awhile. Sometimes we see things that are important. Recently I sort of felt silly emailing a parent to ask if her daughter had had a hearing test. For two days in a row the student appeard not to hear me as I was speaking to her and it worried me. So, when I emailed Mom to ask about the hearing she immediately emailed back and asked me to call her ASAP. Well, I was worried as I did not know if Mom would blast me for upsetting her or what. It did not seem cricital but clearly she wanted me to call immediately. So, when I called I was told the student had recently gone off her ADD meds- so when I called Mom it set off alarms. I had no idea about the meds so my insight was dead on. Something was wrong. Anyway- it helps us do our jobs if we know what we need to know.
 

stmartinfan

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Depending upon how your child does the first time they take the ACT or SAT test, consider using one of the test study companies, like Kaplan.

Our daughter was a good student in high school, primarily because she was well organized (not something we taught her, just her nature). But she's not a great taker of standardized type tests.

With her HS grades and first ACT score, she got accepted to the schools where she applied. But after taking the course and raising her score a couple of points, she greatly increased her scholarship money. (Several of the schools used a combination of grades and ACTs to set various scholarship levels.) It was an excellent investment of $800 to get several thousand additional scholarship dollars for each of the four years of school.

I'd also echo the idea that kids need to learn how to manage some of this one their own - because they'll need to do it themselves at college. And it's cheaper for them to learn the lessons at the high school level. I was appalled to hear some of the questions from parents during my daughters college orientation session this summer. Like parents asking about how they could talk with their child's college instructors. The dean of students was tactful, but the answer was essentially - that's your child's responsibility now. I'd read about "helicopter parents," but was amazed to see them in action.
 
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If you have younger children, encourage them to read, read, read. Set the example yourself and read- a lot. It helps them build vocabulary skills. And college is all about reading, and reading well.

My DD Manda, the engineer, took Latin in high school as her language, and it helped her immensely.

All my kids took dual credit classes in high school- you got the HS credit as well as community college credit, which all their colleges accepted. They all started out with a semester's worth of credits that I didn't have to pay for.

IMHO, dual credit beats out AP classes anyday!

Holly
 

neash

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What are dual credits?
We have AP classes and the IB program here, never heard of dual credits.
 
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