Just Wondering

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: Just Wondering
By Maud (Maud) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 05:48 pm: Edit

Hey guys
I was just wondering whether colleges look at the high school you go to and select depending on that as one of their criteria too? Do universities try to take good students from average high schools from cities and counties that are underrepresented in their admissions data?
And also.. is going to a really competitive high school, or an IB program or science/math program a drawback?
Thanks for your help!

By Gianscolere (Gianscolere) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 05:38 pm: Edit

As long as you take the most rigorous courses and "max out" from your school, you'll do fine. That means "maxing out" at an IB or gifted school can be a little bit harder but it's up to you to take the challenge. If you're just in a regular school but there's a gifted program that you have access to just five mins away, maybe colleges will take a second glance. They'll ask themselves why the student take advantage of that opportunity unless of course the student can't pay or something or wasn't accepted.

So, generally you have to "max out" from your school, whether it's magnet, regular, IB, gifted, or whatever. "Maxing out" can mean many things like creating a club, taking all the most rigorous courses then going to a local university to take college courses...things like that.

But as you know, the main thing elite schools look for is a passion for something. If you created a business club but are not interested in it, that does not show passion. But if you like reading and created a book club and became successful with it, that will show passion. Just be sure your passion ties wherever you'll max out. If you're a genius in science, maybe take all the APs then take college courses at an actual university. Do internships to work with a college professor. Stuff like that.

Hope I helped. Please post.

By Maud (Maud) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 05:50 pm: Edit

yea thanx gianscolere that helped alot!
I go to a regular school..I applied for the IB program at a local school but only got waitlisted.
I started a mock trial club at school, but only because I liked having cases and debating on them. However, I like sciences more, especially bio, and want to go into that. But I dont know any bio clubs to start.. my school and the people in it arent really into that.
I did start a chem club with couple of my friends but it didnt go too well...
I was wondering how I could get an internship with a professor. I talked to a couple, but they dont seem interested. Maybe its because Im a sophomore, but i dont think so.
do you have any suggestions?
thanks alot

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 06:15 pm: Edit

I am impressed, Maud, with your interest in learning and with your assertiveness in creating learning opportunities for yourself. That kind of passion is exactly what colleges (particularly elite ones) love, and also rarely see. Most students only do what they are programmed to do. They don't passionately follow their interests.

Do you have any classmates whose parents are doctors, health care practitioners, scientists or professors? If so, you could approach those adults about having some kind of learning experience with them.

If you say "internship," they may fear that they would be making too large a commitment. After all, they don't know you. Instead of saying "internship," I suggest asking professors if you could sit in on one or two of their lectures. Before asking, though, take the time to Google them to learn about their research area.

With health care professionals, ask if you could treat them to lunch and ask them questions about their career. Do take the time beforehand to learn about their specialty.

If you show yourself to be responsible, interested and prepared, they may be willing to create other opportunities for you.

You also could ask your sci teacher for suggestions and for a letter of recommendation that you could use to help introduce yourself to scientists.

Oh and asking for an "internship" also is too vague. It would be better if you figure out something you'd like to research over the summer and then, after reading about that area, you approached a professor in that field for help. Do as much advance work as you can.

Good luck! Do let us know how it goes.

By Maud (Maud) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 07:49 pm: Edit

thanks for your help northstarmom!
I do know some adults who work at NIH...so ill find out what if they can help me.
ill let you know if i find out anything.
Thanks again!

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 08:51 pm: Edit

Northstarmom, you may be able to answer a question for me that I've not been able to get a satisfactory bearing on so far concerning what is construed as "most rigorous." I'll try to be as brief as possible....

D will have taken seven periods of classes for each of four years, including the optional "AM" period. She does not have time to take CC or other supplementary courses in the summer due to ballet commitments (everyone is probably sick of reading about them by now). Junior year (this year) she even got credit for ballet as Independent Study P.E. so that she could avoid losing a schedule slot to the second required year of P.E.

Slot One: She will have taken the toughest Math sequence offered, Honors Geometry through CalcBC AP in senior year.

Slot Two: She will have taken the toughest English sequence, 9 Honors through 11 AP and 12 AP.

Slot Three: She will NOT have AP Foreign Language, missing French 4 because by design she will have taken 5 years of foreign language, 2 of Latin and 3 of French.

Slot 4: She will have taken Humanties (as stupid required frosh course that's a cross between self-esteem and study skills, paired with a one semester Health class), World History, US History AP and Government AP...World History not offered on a tracked basis, the Government AP a full-year course in lieu of regular one-semester courses in Government and Econ.

Slot 5: Bio, Chem, Physics...Honors not available.
Senior year: A Shakespeare elective in addition to English 12 AP.

Slot 6: Orchestra, all four years, making it to the highest level in junior year.

Slot 7: P.E. (freshman), the doubled up foreign language (sophomore), Drawing and Band (junior), another one-semester Art elective and Band (senior). Top wind players are expected to be in Band as well as Orchestra; she doesn't do Fall because it's Marching Band and conflicts with ballet, but she does do Spring.

My question boils down to: does the lack of an AP Science after the Bio/Chem/Physics sequence and/or an extra AP social science like Psychology or Econmics hurt her?

The extra year of language not only keeps her from French 4 Honors but burned an extra slot and the Band/Orchestra combo burns one slot for each of junior and senior years. Then there's the Shakespeare, which she dearly loves but isn't an AP class.

Objectively, it's *not* the most rigorous schedule she could have had but the years of language and extra year of English aren't designed to be shirking.

Finally, I don't think she'd change her schedule no matter what but we'd both like to know just how the highly competitive colleges will look at it.

Thank you for your consideration.

By Gianscolere (Gianscolere) on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 07:29 pm: Edit

My family moved to the suburbs but in the former school I attended, they let us take classes at U of Chicago, Northwestern, and other colleges in the city should students run out of course offerings in our school. It was easy to get internships because my teachers can easily hook us up with college professors. But now that I transfered because my family moved, I am in the same position as you. I have no idea how to get internships on my own. Maybe we can write college professors a brief letter and ask them to write a 3-sentence response...so they won't feel like we're taking so much of their time and to increase their chances of responding. Northstarmom's suggestion of sitting in one of the classes is a good approach. But if that doesn't work out, I don't want to have missed a day of school for nothing....so I don't know what to do. lol. Maybe we can talk to our school counselor. Or MAYBE we can intern with a grad student not necessarily a college professors. Do you think that might be easier? At least we'd feel less nervous and all. lol.

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