Are AP classes really needed to get into a decent state college?

Discussion in 'High School' started by thesub, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Mar 7, 2017

    Like Rutgers, in NJ? My son is only in grade 8 and is hearing-impaired. He makes honor roll only if we constantly monitor his grades, nag him to do homework etc. If we back off, I'm sure his grades will go down and the worse case scenario is: he will not do any honors/AP classes later. With a B/B+ average in regular subjects -- with no honors or AP -- can he get into a good college?

    We keep feeling that school work -- even in a self-contained classroom -- is too much for him. He has an IEP, has modifications (more time in tests, preferential seating close to teacher so that he can hear better etc) and yet he sometimes has no clue what's going on in class. So I am just thinking about his options in getting into a good college. He does not play any sport.

    Thank you so much,
    thesub
     
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  3. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I can't speak for NJ, but where I'm at B students get in somewhere without a problem. Unless you're trying to get in somewhere extremely selective, you don't need APs. APs don't get you in a state school; they come into play with scholarships. What APs are good for is getting some college credits out of the way and boosting GPA if they're weighted. As long as his test scores are ok, he'll get in. (you can find median test scores for each school online to get an idea) -sidenote- make sure his IEP team does a college transition plan for him and you meet with the accommodations office wherever he applies to make sure they'll provide what he needs.
     
  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    This may not be a popular opinion, but here it is. If he struggles with course work now, in the 8th grade, even when his IEP is being followed, would he be able to handle the work load and be successful at a more selective state school? Schools like Rutgers, which is usually ranked in the top 50 in the country, have strong academic requirements. Is he willing to do the work needed not only to get in to the college, but to be successful once he gets there, especially without you there to encourage him to do so? A better plan might be to encourage him to figure out what he wants to study and find a smaller, regional school with a strong program in that field that may be a better fit for him. There are many "good colleges" that are not ranked, but have individual programs that are really strong.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Mar 8, 2017

    Much depends on the school your child attends. Colleges compare students to other students in the school.

    On another note, you need to determine with the school the reason for your chold's confusion. Is it related to the hearing or lack of understanding? Just because an IEP is being followed doesn't mean it is sufficient. Accommodation and modifications you listed may not be enough for him to catch everything he needs.

    Rutgers might be a stretch. I do agree if he can't hold his own in regular classes it will be difficult to do well in college. However, he has a few years to put it together.
     
  6. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Thank you all for your feedback. Since we have some time, that's why I posted here to find out what we can do. Thanks again.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If you want brutal honesty, a student who only makes honor roll if the parents stay on top of his grades is not an ideal match for a school like Rutgers, which is too big and impersonal to meet your son's needs. Something that would be better for you to think about is that "Rutgers" is not a magic word that will open all doors for your son, especially if he struggles and does poorly. He will grow up a lot in the next four years, but you can help take immeasurable pressure off of his shoulders by actually understanding that there are a lot of ways to get a great education without going to Rutgers. He needs to know that he has choices, and if Rutgers isn't one of them, that he isn't disappointing you. If he pulls his act together and takes charge of his own self motivation in the next four years, revisit the subject then. Between now and then, really look into other universities that are smaller, where his chance of success could be much greater. It also matters what he wants to major in (what he wants, not what you want). In all honesty, it is so much less about where you go and so much more about being highly successful at whatever college he goes to. Our son didn't feel like he could handle the size of Rutgers (accepted but he declined), and ended up attending the University of Kansas. 1200 miles seemed hard, but it was a three hour plane ride, and we used our ff miles to make visits common. It was small enough for his professors to know him well, and understand his LD. Best choice he ever made, best choice we ever let him make on his own. His degree is respected, and he did well enough to attain his MEd here in NJ later on without any difficulty. His father went to Rutgers, so some early pressure, but he soon realized that our son was not a carbon copy of himself, and he supported our son's decision.

    Oh, and our son did take multiple Honor's courses, but no AP courses. He still had his choice of several universities.
     
  8. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Mar 9, 2017

    Thank you so much, Vickilyn - Rutgers is the closest to us and I am terrified of letting my son go off to a faraway college with his hearing issues but you raise valid points. He seems to enjoy history but will he get a decent job with a history major???
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    NJ is rich in universities, both big and small. A smaller school will allow your son to get more personalized attention, which is crucial for students with any kind of disability. Your son is in 8th grade - unless he is passionate about some career or line of study, give him time to grow and find what he is interested in. The truth is that there are great careers that don't require college, but do require additional training, which may or may not be something to be considered. What do you think you will be able to do about his hearing difficulties, even if he does go to Rutgers? College students are notoriously independent, even if the parents are just down the street. By the time he finishes HS, he should have some idea of what his true interests are and how his hearing issues play into the equation. My son had vision deficits, but was passionate about music. He became a music teacher, then went into ESL. Here's the kicker - my son, who struggled in math with dyscalcula, is coteaching HS math to ESL students. Not his planned career, but one he is very happy with. You, and your son, should embrace my strongest belief - EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. The wonder of that is that change becomes a lot less scary, increasing acceptance of the twists and turns of life. I wish your son good luck, and I wish for you the belief that time will make your son's chosen course more clear and easy to accept.

    If he wants to take AP courses in HS, let him try it. If he doesn't, it's OK, there is life without AP courses. Honor's courses will give your son a good taste of rigor; he will need to be successful to build his confidence and expectation of success in college. Let him try things that are hard for him, allow him to succeed or fail. If anything can be done to improve his hearing (changes happen all the time), see if it works for him and/or you. Consider, realistically, how much support your son will need to be successful if college is his goal. The good news is that you still have four years to figure it all out. A lot can happen in four years!
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    A friend of mine suffered a brain injury our senior year of high school and had an IEP for some accommodations. The university we attended had a department dedicated toward helping her. They had tutoring sessions and helped monitor her progress in classes. As far as I know, she had to complete the same assignments, but had some accessibility assistance.

    You've got several years to research schools. I'd call the counselor of the high school he will be attending (but check for local testing dates as counselors here are in charge of testing and may be slammed at test time) to ask if he/she knows of any schools that offer students who had IEPs in HS extra help.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If regular school work is too much for him, then you shouldn't be worried about AP classes. Make sure he is doing his work and check in with his teachers every couple of weeks. It's better for him to have a solid understanding of the basics than no understanding of anything (which is what will happen if you push him too far too fast).
     
  12. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    .
    Thank you, VIckilyn, for sharing your son's story and your philosophy of expecting the unexpected:)). I guess your son is a very patient teacher since he has struggled himself?

    If my son does try AP classes in HS and drops them, will they be a part of the college application record or can they be "hidden"??? Since my son was born deaf, nothing can be done to change his hearing but his cochlear implants are working very well for him. He does miss conversational cues in group discussions and hearing in noise is hard for him. There is a microphone that can be passed around (in noise like restaurants etc) but my son is not ready to try this out yet! I'm hoping he comes up with creative solutions to these hearing problems as he goes to college instead of me getting worked up.
     
  13. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Yes, I agree..it's just that my older daughter took a few AP classes for college and I have been hearing the AP buzz for a long time, so I have no idea what non-AP kids so.
     
  14. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Thank you. I posted here as the first step in my research for college options:)).
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It probably will depend on when he drops the course. Most districts have rules about seat time. If he drops after a certain date, if they even allow him to drop after a certain date, he will likely receive an automatic F in the course and it will remain on his transcript. Not only will it appear in the list of courses he has taken, but it will also be calculated into his GPA. In my experience, high school isn't really the place to be adding and dropping courses willy nilly or just to see. Once you're enrolled, you stay enrolled for at least the entire semester.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I mean this gently. Maybe it's time for you to step back and let him handle researching college options. He is only in middle school, first of all, so he has quite a while to make decisions. Besides that, he needs to learn some skills to be self-sufficient, especially if he plans to go to college. Now is the time to start loosening the reins.
     
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  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I want to give you the same advice I have given to the parents of many of my grade 7 and 8 students over the years. Now is the time to focus on a smooth transition to high school, developing independence and self-advocacy skills, and learning where your son's interests lie. He is too young for there to be worries about what will happen after high school; he will be a completely different person in 4 years. Pushing our children in a specific direction isn't the best thing for them; helping them to develop the skills they will need to be independent is.
     
  18. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    OK..thank you.
     
  19. thesub

    thesub Comrade

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    Thank you, Mrs C...I just worry that if my son is not self-motivated to do well in school, are HS junior and senior years to too late to figure out a plan B??
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Instead of worrying about AP courses, how about giving him that first year to acclimate and figure out the work load? You had one child who sounds like she did all of the work and ran the show - you have one who is very different. All of your planning for his college career will count for nothing if he isn't buying into the program you want for him. You can continue to be his motivation, or you can give him a chance to become self motivated. Trust me, self motivation will ultimately be more rewarding. I think you are still thinking Rutgers, which isn't just any state college, instead of truly seeing that there are alternatives that no one should be ashamed of. Would you be mortified if he did a year or two of Junior College? He may need that extra time to mature - boys tend to take longer than girls. The hard truth is that you are planning, not him. We all want what is best for our children, but what we want may be very different from what they want. He's halfway through his last year of MS, not highly motivated, but being pushed to make "life decisions" that sound like life or death decisions. Kids with marginal grades who matured later get into college later all the time. Don't make this a struggle of "do this or you'll never go to college." Have you asked him if he wants to go to college? What he wants to study, or how he sees college preparing him to be a successful adult? I suspect he is still more interested in what's for dinner. Push hard enough and he will push back eventually. Back off and he will eventually let you in on his plans or aspirations.

    I work with ESL and SPED students who you would never think could qualify for college, but there seems to be ways to work yourself into college if motivated, even if HS wasn't stellar. Motivation is something your son needs to find for himself.
     
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  21. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    I got into a top State University with a B average and zero AP classes... So I would say no. But this was a LONG TIME AGO!
     
  22. Numberspell

    Numberspell Rookie

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    AP/Honors classes prepare students for the rigor of college coursework. Does that mean that only AP students will go to and succeed in college? Not in the slightest. It all comes down to drive and habits. I was the kind of kid that did not necessarily test well but I knew the material and ALWAYS did my homework which always saved me in the end. As I got older and had a better living situation, I became a better test taker. I also excelled in graduate school.

    The student must have the drive. In this case focus on instilling a love of learning and the rest will come naturally. My parents weren't on me about my academics but they sure supported education. As a family we spent time in libraries and bookstores. My parents were dedicated to being informed, voting citizens and as a result I turned out the same.

    P.S. College is too expensive these days to insist someone to pursue that route if it is not their own idea. Talk to your child and see if a trade is something that would be a better fit.
     
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