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Junior year planning and breadth vs depth – very long, sorry

hs2015momhs2015mom 4 replies4 discussions Forum Champion
I’m looking for advice/ideas/reactions to our planning dilemma for my d’s junior year.

She’s homeschooled, gifted artist and math kid, put art on the back burner for a few years while blasting through a bunch of AoPS courses. Now she wants to get back to art seriously, and do a double major or dual degree in art and applied math. She’s at this point interested in a range of schools – universities, LACs and engineering schools with cool high-tech art programs. (a few from the current - long - list are Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Rice, Vanderbilt, Carleton, Oberlin, RPI, Rochester)

Her education has been a little idiosyncratic and we’d planned to have junior year be time to fill in a bunch of gaps and get some neglected boxes checked off. But now that she also wants to play catch-up in art and spend a lot of time on it, and it doesn’t seem possible to do it all. So we’re trying to figure out what should stay , what should go, what should be emphasized.

I understand that colleges are more interested in depth than breadth, but I’m not sure quite how literally or how far to take that. And for homeschoolers, some colleges say explicitly that since you had a chance to do something different, they expect you to have done so, and not just replicated the bricks-and-mortar high school experience at home.

Superscoring her 8th and 9th grade SATs, scores are 760M/660CR/690W. 8th grade ACT composite 30 (34 in math; clunkers in usage mechanics and the annoying science section). I’m assuming that these will improve with the help of age and Princeton Review, but won’t end up as perfect scores.

APs 9th grade: Psych-5, Bio-5, Calc BC-4, AB subscore-5. APs 10th grade: Physics C Mechanics, Micro, Macro.

She doesn’t like straight history and is planning to do a self-study APUSH next year; it’ll be her only history. Senior year she’ll take a semester of sociology and one of anthropology at the local branch of the state univ; she likes social sciences, just not history. She took linguistics and psychology last year, and this year economics and a course on Negotiations and Diplomatic Theory.

For English she’s planning on a writing course at same state univ in the fall and AP Eng Lit prep with a tutor in the spring. She’s not planning on doing AP Lang. The teacher for the Lit prep is truly extraordinary, and the work in close analytical reading and essay writing should be help with her SATs, ACTs, and application essays.

She’s done all the work for AP Music Theory this year, but needs time to practice her aural skills, so will be doing that practice on her own next year, with some small group work.

For science, she’s got credits for Bio, AP Bio, a semester of ninth-grade physical science and the first semester of community college physics w/calculus (taking Physics C mechanics exam next week). So she’ll be taking AP Chemistry (respected distance learning program with reasonable workload). She’s planning to take Anatomy and Physiology at the cc in senior year.

We have a day of homeschool high school classes that’s an important social thing, at which there’s an incredible teacher for statistics, who’ll cover the bases for the AP exam but make it ever so much more interesting. There will also be an art history course that won’t be specifically AP but could be so if supplemented with self- study. And music composition, something she’s done on her own but never studied, and been wanting to.

She’ll finish Multivariable Calculus in November, and then would take a break from math for the rest of junior year and take either Linear Algebra or Ordinary Differential Equations her senior year.

Language study has been scattershot. She has credit for a year of high school French and a year of Chinese. But then she wanted to switch to German. It’s a self-paced class that keeps getting clobbered by things with hard deadlines, so she’s completed only one full year’s study between this year and last. Getting four years in is obviously a no-can-do at this point. The question is how hard to push to complete three years worth of German.

All of these sacrifices to the recommended-preparation gods don’t leave her a lot of time to do…art, which was supposed to be her main thing these days.

She’s pretty serious about music (advanced pianist, intermediate guitarist, beginning vocalist) and heavily involved in Model UN. Semi-retired from figure skating but will teach special-needs skaters next year and maybe take some beginning coaching courses. Bakes for a soup kitchen every week, and has some service-project fundraiser/public awareness ideas using her artwork.

If you’re still reading at this point, thanks much, and I look forward to any advice and suggestions.
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Replies to: Junior year planning and breadth vs depth – very long, sorry

  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo 9 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    hs2015mom,

    First, is your daughter high energy and does she need little sleep? If so, I think all her ideas are very doable. Because it appears to be a very, very busy schedule, I would want to know that she can do it all and get great grades (As) and great test scores while doing her ECs.

    Also, is she self-motivated? I would say if she wants to do it all and is motivated, she can do it all! If she doesn't have any challenges to learning, the sky's the limit, as they say.

    Probably a good thing to do would be to prioritize. What's most important to her? And what's most important to get on her transcripts? After that, she can prioritize based on level of interest.

    Also, is she an excellent test taker or will she need time to study and bump up those scores? That's something to think about.

    Has she looked into Cooper Union? Might give that a look, too. Welcome | Cooper Union

    Re. foreign language: I've told this story before but I can repeat it. My son took two semesters of Arabic only (and one year of ASL with me but I hardly count that) and he did just fine in college admissions because everything else on his application was good, I guess. He got straight As in all his college classes, so that probably helped. Can she just do two semesters of college German and be done with that?
    edited May 2013
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