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Lesley

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Reply with quote  #26 
Some of you have hit on issues that I wasn't really intending to include, but yes, she has some mental health issues, though I would prefer not to specify them. I will say that she seems at times like she has ADHD but does not meet all the diagnostic criteria. These issues are a major factor in the schoolwork problems, but the demands of dance make it worse. Despite that her therapist has encouraged us to keep her dancing as best as we can, because the combination of the physical activity and feelings of accomplishment she gets from dance are important to her overall mental health. The tricky bit is finding the correct balance, especially not knowing her teacher next year and how the teacher will assign homework.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesley
Some of you have hit on issues that I wasn't really intending to include, but yes, she has some mental health issues, though I would prefer not to specify them. I will say that she seems at times like she has ADHD but does not meet all the diagnostic criteria. These issues are a major factor in the schoolwork problems, but the demands of dance make it worse. Despite that her therapist has encouraged us to keep her dancing as best as we can, because the combination of the physical activity and feelings of accomplishment she gets from dance are important to her overall mental health. The tricky bit is finding the correct balance, especially not knowing her teacher next year and how the teacher will assign homework.


Oh, go slow then.  I think it is really stressful for kids to manage school and dance and it is okay to say no when presented with a too big dance schedule.  I think we feel pressured by everyone around us (parents and kids alike) who put on 'the good face' about how their kid is able to handle it all.  Except, we don't see that kid crying from exhaustion at midnight or getting failing grades in math.  It's all a bunch of self important BS perpetuated through social media.  Trust yourself.  You know your kid better than anyone.  Learning to know your limits is a great lesson to learn early on.

I know that in the past that I struggled with an ever increasing dance schedule and reconciling that in my own head.  My kid is uber responsible and while that sounds like a great thing, it can very often kick her in the butt because she will push herself to the point of physical harm in order to meet her responsibilities.  Her best friend's mom even gave me a little lecture (with love, of course) about letting her get overstressed because she is unable to say no and she believes she can do it all...all the time.
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #28 
I am concerned about the same thing as DD8 (almost 9) took till November to get used to dancing 3 days after school. She was exhausted and impossible to deal with. Some days she woke up early to finish her homework but at least that was willingly. She really wants to do well in school but it's hard for her because she has some learning disabilities IMO. She was just tested and we will hear soon if she has a true disability.
And this year she will almost double her hours of dance and will be going 5 days a week. One of which will be a Saturday thankfully.
She will be so upset if she can't manage all the dance classes this year. I will have to talk to her in advance about having to skip a dance class when school work gets in the way. She didn't miss a single dance class last year. She will be hard to convince.
I feel your pain and I'm there with you.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #29 
If your DD was struggling last year with the dance hours and completing homework I personally wouldn't allow her to add more hours until she can show she can complete her homework without complaint and maintain the grades you have established.

DS danced between 15-20 hours/week from the time he was 8 years old.  When that started we sat him down and set expectations.  He had to maintain a certain grade level, complete all homework before classes or he didn't go and not complain about homework or dance.  He worked it out that he did homework during recess, on the bus and after school and always got it done because he knew what the expectations were.  He continued this through high school with no issues but he knew if grades ever dropped or we got attitude about school work he would not be going to dance.  I am the first one to say that school is important but it is a little less important here in Canada than in the US.  Canadian schools have less rules about time missed and I have pulled DS from school approximately 15-20 days a year for dance related activities and it hasn't been an issue.  That also factored in that he couldn't miss school for dance unless he got the homework ahead of time and made up the work he was going to miss.  Every child is different but it worked for us.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom

School does come first. It's not even a question. Of course the child likes dance more. I think it's highly likely all of our children in this group like dance more than school. At 11 a child lacks the maturity to prioritize her obligations to school and dance so that's what her mom is doing for her. From the description of her personality and frustration with homework I think it's possible she has an attention disorder. I have a son with ADHD and your dd's experience sounds very familiar. He really struggled with time management and with setting an efficient order to do what needed to be done. Those were the things I did for him until he developed those skills for himself. I really think you'll both be happier in the long run if you get her into the habit of getting through homework before doing any dance. Write out a schedule and see where homework can happen if she takes on these extra hours and if you can't see it working in a real life school week then don't burden her with an impossible task.


Why should school come first?

I had this debate with a number of moms at school today, and not one parent felt that school should come first in their kids life. Everyone had different priorities as to what comes first.

But all agreed that health, faith, family and happiness were more important than doing well in school.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacaranda
Why should school come first? I had this debate with a number of moms at school today, and not one parent felt that school should come first in their kids life. Everyone had different priorities as to what comes first. But all agreed that health, faith, family and happiness were more important than doing well in school.


I don't think anyone on this thread said that school came before health, faith, family, or happiness! The question was comparing dance to school and for 99% of us, yes school comes before dance.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle


I don't think anyone on this thread said that school came before health, faith, family, or happiness! The question was comparing dance to school and for 99% of us, yes school comes before dance.


Agree. We are saying school comes before dance. Jacaranda you're twisting words and the moms you are speaking to are Australian. Different education system. Apples to oranges.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacaranda
Why should school come first? I had this debate with a number of moms at school today, and not one parent felt that school should come first in their kids life. Everyone had different priorities as to what comes first. But all agreed that health, faith, family and happiness were more important than doing well in school.


Because school dictates your ability to have options in the future which directly effects their future happiness, health and family of your child.  Because even the most talented dancer can have a career ending injury at twenty. 
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #34 
Lesley, if your child has mental health issues that is all the more reason to back off on too many hours of dance. No one is saying you need to cut it out completely. But it's been proven to you in the past she is not able to handle this level of commitment. 
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meatball77


Because school dictates your ability to have options in the future which directly effects their future happiness, health and family of your child.  Because even the most talented dancer can have a career ending injury at twenty. 


And, I think school has become one of the biggest stress points in kids lives these days as a result, when the difference in your average of just a decimal point means getting into a particular school or not.  We've created an environment in which our kids are stressed to be kids, with far more pressure than they should have at that age.  

My own 15 year old feels it.  A very strong student with 2 years to go before she enters university, she'll carry such a heavy academic load this coming year just to qualify for half the programs she wants to enter that there's no way she'll have much of a life outside a limited dance schedule and homework.  She's FIFTEEN!  She should be getting a part-time job, going to the movies, having a boyfriend, giggling with friends, sleeping in, not stressing.  But instead its all about chasing that elusive university placement.  

At some point this madness has to stop. Yes, absolutely, her schoolwork is important but as parents we have to keep a very watchful eye.  "Adulthood" will come soon enough and guess what ...it never goes away.  Let them be kids. Education is a requirement, must be dealt with seriously, and must be prioritized.  But let's stopping making it the be-all and end all of their existence.  That's just too much pressure on these kids.
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dancedaughters

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Reply with quote  #36 
Just following up to say that while I agree that overall education is a much higher priority than dance, I think some of the ways that people choose to enforce the "school comes first" rule are not beneficial to all kids.  I think it's important to establish the priorities and make sure kids don't throw away educational opportunities for something that is, for most of them, a recreational hobby.  I just think not all kids respond to all incentive systems.

Our high school has a rule that a student has to attend all of her classes in order to participate in any extracurricular activities that day.  So if your kid misses first period class, she can't run in the track meet or perform in the choir concert or even go to play rehearsal or the newspaper meeting.  The rule is not always rigorously enforced - the kid would probably get to go to the meeting or rehearsal but not the performance or competition.  While I appreciate the spirit of the rule, I think it's somewhat misguided.  There are quite a few kids whose main incentive to go to school is the sport or art or activity that they are looking forward to.  If those kids are struggling with attendance to the point that they have to drop the activity, there's really, from their POV, no reason to bother going at all anymore.

One person's way of putting school/education first might not look like someone else's.  I have made decisions about my kids that are very different from the rules I lived by growing up - not because those rules didn't work for me, but because they don't work the same way for my kids.  I think it's really important to look at what's actually working and what's not.


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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #37 
IDK... I'm going to add, after reading how this thread is playing out, that I think we've lost a little bit of perspective when it comes to academics too.  Homework is important and most certainly does have an impact on grades, yes.  I've supported that point in other discussions before. But this notion that a child's whole future is at stake if they don't do extremely well in school and go on to some prestigious university is very misguided. Quite a large percentage of mediocre K-12 students end up being very very successful adults.  They may not get into Harvard or Princeton, no, but contrary to what many have been led to believe, a Harvard or Princeton education is not necessary to do well in life.  Higher education, if that is what you desire, is available to everyone, even those who did not take a boatload of AP classes, did not get all A's, were not in the National Honor Society, etc etc  Ultimately, it's who you are...what you're made of.  Not your class ranking or where you went to school.  And we, parents, need to start to understand that and share that  message with our children if we truly do expect anything to change.  Sure, homework is important.  Grades are important.  But at the end of the day, neither will be what defines your future.  You will.


eta:  here's a link to a great book for anyone whose interested in getting off the crazy train.  Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be... An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania  http://www.frankbrunibooks.com/
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4boysmom

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpmom


And, I think school has become one of the biggest stress points in kids lives these days as a result, when the difference in your average of just a decimal point means getting into a particular school or not.  We've created an environment in which our kids are stressed to be kids, with far more pressure than they should have at that age.  

My own 15 year old feels it.  A very strong student with 2 years to go before she enters university, she'll carry such a heavy academic load this coming year just to qualify for half the programs she wants to enter that there's no way she'll have much of a life outside a limited dance schedule and homework.  She's FIFTEEN!  She should be getting a part-time job, going to the movies, having a boyfriend, giggling with friends, sleeping in, not stressing.  But instead its all about chasing that elusive university placement.  

At some point this madness has to stop. Yes, absolutely, her schoolwork is important but as parents we have to keep a very watchful eye.  "Adulthood" will come soon enough and guess what ...it never goes away.  Let them be kids. Education is a requirement, must be dealt with seriously, and must be prioritized.  But let's stopping making it the be-all and end all of their existence.  That's just too much pressure on these kids.

These very issues have become a worry for me as a mother as my children have become older. There are 10 years between my oldest and my youngest son's, and the pressure placed on kids to go on to university and have 90s in everything has become so much greater even in that relatively short time period. North American society in general, is geared towards a college education, and people are perceived as less than if they don't, or can't take that route. A majority of students in the UK and Australia do not go to university, but there are strong apprenticeship programs, and opportunities to enter the work force without that almighty degree. Requirements for college entrance in North America are not only for the high academic scores, but also extra-curricular participation, volunteer work, AP or IB classes, we are soon going to have very burned out kids. Personally, I feel the whole system needs an overhaul.
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tinydancers

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpmom
I do think 15 hours a week is a lot for an 11 year old, even though it's probably in the range of what my DD did when she was that age.  BUT ... two thirds of them were on the weekend (3+ hours Friday nights, long hours Saturday, and her solo on Sunday).  She only did 2 other week nights and it was only for 2- 3 hours.

It leads me to my standard question ...where does it go from here, and what are we trying to create? 


This is exactly my question, especially after reading that a kid has 2.5 hours of privates a week. What's the goal? I truly can't comprehend what some parents are trying to achieve.
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ChelleB70

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
I'm sorry but it sounds a bit like you're letting the inmates run the asylum for lack of a better way to put it. 15 hours of dance at that age doesn't concern me as much as the fact that you have a child who is flipping out over homework on a regular basis. Extra curricular activities are a privilege bottom line. I would tell my child in no uncertain terms that unless the work was getting done with a very minimal amount of complaining, the dance lessons would stop. Period. I would not care at that point about going back on my word. She needs to learn that if she wants to dance that much, there will be very little free time. That's the sacrifice, not the school work. My daughter was able to get through her junior year with a full dance schedule and never had to miss a class due to excellent time management. But it did mean sacrificing a social life and a significant amount of downtime. No crying, no tantrums, just hard work. If your child is having that tough of a time than she's not ready. Which is fine, she's young. But in my opinion, she needs to prove to you that she can do it and if she can't then dance (or at least some of it) needs to end.


This 100%.
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ChelleB70

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4boysmom
These very issues have become a worry for me as a mother as my children have become older. There are 10 years between my oldest and my youngest son's, and the pressure placed on kids to go on to university and have 90s in everything has become so much greater even in that relatively short time period. North American society in general, is geared towards a college education, and people are perceived as less than if they don't, or can't take that route. A majority of students in the UK and Australia do not go to university, but there are strong apprenticeship programs, and opportunities to enter the work force without that almighty degree. Requirements for college entrance in North America are not only for the high academic scores, but also extra-curricular participation, volunteer work, AP or IB classes, we are soon going to have very burned out kids. Personally, I feel the whole system needs an overhaul.


It's also up to parents to put the whole thing in perspective.  Yes, there's a huge push for everyone to go to college.  Why?  The reality of it is to make our country look good and money.  Period.  I really don't care what other people think as to whether my children go to college or which one they go to.  My son definitely will.  My 13 yo dd has no idea yet and no matter what she chooses to do is fine with us as long as she does something.  I've made sure my kids know there are other options and to not be ashamed of whatever path they take bc every job has merit.  Yes, there's a huge push for kids to go highly competitive colleges that require the highest grades and loads of extra curriculars etc but we know plenty of kids who aren't the top students that only had 1 thing they did outside of school get into colleges they chose.  No, not Yale, Princeton, Vanderbilt or the like but I actually prefer my kids NOT go to those kinds of schools bc I don't want the debt for us or them! LOL  I've also told my kids there is nothing wrong w going to community college for the 1st 2 yrs to get your prereqs out of the way and transferring.  In our state our local CCs have a deal where if students maintain a B average they get automatic transfer into our state colleges and university...guaranteed.  And we have very good state schools.

We know of kids in our town who have already started visiting colleges (top ones, of course) in their Freshman year!  Frankly, I think it's absurd.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinydancers


This is exactly my question, especially after reading that a kid has 2.5 hours of privates a week. What's the goal? I truly can't comprehend what some parents are trying to achieve.


*I* am not trying to achieve anything.

In the pre-pro ballet world, it's not uncommon for a dancer preparing for YAGP to have a private every week to practice her variation.  When you compete at YAGP, many of the dancers do 2 classical variations and one contemporary.  It's not the same teacher for all of the pieces.  Her one classical was practiced with one teacher once a week, and the other two pieces were with another teacher once a week.

The improvement in one year from those privates was huge.  Nothing beats individual attention and corrections.

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DanceMomLaura

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Reply with quote  #43 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee


It's all a bunch of self important BS perpetuated through social media. 

Love this line ...
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ChelleB70

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Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpmom


And, I think school has become one of the biggest stress points in kids lives these days as a result, when the difference in your average of just a decimal point means getting into a particular school or not.  We've created an environment in which our kids are stressed to be kids, with far more pressure than they should have at that age.  

My own 15 year old feels it.  A very strong student with 2 years to go before she enters university, she'll carry such a heavy academic load this coming year just to qualify for half the programs she wants to enter that there's no way she'll have much of a life outside a limited dance schedule and homework.  She's FIFTEEN!  She should be getting a part-time job, going to the movies, having a boyfriend, giggling with friends, sleeping in, not stressing.  But instead its all about chasing that elusive university placement.  

At some point this madness has to stop. Yes, absolutely, her schoolwork is important but as parents we have to keep a very watchful eye.  "Adulthood" will come soon enough and guess what ...it never goes away.  Let them be kids. Education is a requirement, must be dealt with seriously, and must be prioritized.  But let's stopping making it the be-all and end all of their existence.  That's just too much pressure on these kids.


Just because school is  important doesn't mean it should be made stressful and I believe 100% that it comes "from the top" so to speak.  As in the parents.  Not saying kids aren't subject to the pressure of the school system but speaking as someone who lives in a high pressure school system area I've always spoken to my kids about OUR expectations of them academically and made sure they understand where the school's motivation comes from and that is NOT our concern.  Don't allow yourself to buy into the "elusive university placement" crap bc that's exactly what it is. Unless YOU want your child to go Ivy League it's all bull.  We know several kids who weren't in the top tier of their grade, didn't take all AP or college level courses or a dozen extra curriculars that they were #1 at and they STILL got into the colleges of their choice.  I've heard it all around here and none of it holds substance except for parental bragging rights.

My 15 yo son is exceptionally smart.  He took all honors classes last yr and did very well.  However, I also don't expect him to get As on everything.  There's nothing wrong with Bs even if he gets those Bs bc he's not studying.  I've told him and the school that I refuse to turn him into a stressed out head case over a B.  This coming yr he's taking college level Bio.  I've already told him if it has a negative impact on him I'm pulling the plug.

My 13 yo dd has been going to a PA magnet school that is MUCH less competitive academically. (And imagine people's shock when even those kids get into good colleges! ) She's thinking of returning to our town for HS.  She has already said she doesn't want to take honors or AP classes which is what she's being recommended for at her PA school.  If she comes home she wants to take CP classes (which are referred to as "slacker" classes by parents in town).  I told her she could start off w CP and we'll go from there, that she can take what she's comfortable taking.  I was told by parents to not do that.  Why?  Because I should be turning my kid into a stress case like their kids who end up crying over school and grades frequently?  No, not happening.  And I can guarantee my kids will get into college. Kids taking Standard classes have even gotten into college.  Mental health is huge to me, school is most important over hobbies.  I feel we're teaching our kids both and not letting them become victims of the system....a system that both school and parents perpetuate.

I'll get down off my soap box now.  Lol  This is just something I'm pretty passionate about.  School is still most important.  It's their future.  But they don't have to be stressed about it.  That teaches them nothing.
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #45 
My daughter struggled terribly with school so we did not put it first. We didn't necessarily put dance first either but for a time, I felt it was important because it made her feel better about herself. Until it didn't. She also struggled with illness and injury and wound up quitting dance. The in her Jr. year of high school, she switched to online school. What a difference that made! Yes, she did struggle at times but most of the time she did not. She was actually learning things and her grades were very much improved.
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emmymom

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Reply with quote  #46 

I have been all around this area in my 30 years of parenting. Each of my four children was very (often times, overly) involved in extra-curricular activities during their childhoods through high school. My oldest son is a classically trained musician, now earning his PhD. in conducting on a fellowship at the University of Illinois. Son #2 is a practicing Physician Assistant, and son #3 will begin his fourth year of med school next month. DD is heading off to college for the first year this fall.

At one time or another, I have had the exact concerns as the poster with each of my children. It's a hard balance to keep sometimes. I admit to far too many really late night homework sessions after practices, swim meets, dance rehearsals, orchestra rehearsals, games and the like. But, each of my children always knew that their activities were essentially "privileges" and not rights. Each knew that with those privileges came responsibilities. First and foremost were their grades. I'm sorry it's true, I admit it. However, through understanding their responsibilities, life lessons and real learning took place and I believe that each of them grew exponentially.

When a child is young, it's a parents' responsibility to help their child understand their own limits and to help them realize what their responsibilities are and how to manage them.  Some children at 11 are able to compartmentalize and manage busy schedules very well, most are not. Giving a child (who is not ready) too much responsibility can be overwhelming for them and I would warn against that in this case.  Your DD's actions are speaking to you, listen very carefully.  I don't think she is saying "increase my dance hours" with her behavior or attitude toward school.  Children look to their parents for wisdom and guidance. With our guidance, we should always be helping our child to earn their own wings so they can fly themselves as they get older.

You will always find people who will say what you want to hear, that doesn't mean its the correct thing to do.

I think to say that school or academics should be the most important thing in her life at 11 is an over reach, but school should be more important than dance.  Again, there are so many great lessons she can learn about time management and organization, I don't think it's wrong to tie one to the other.  

However, what I will say though is that academics are very important (at least here in the U.S.), overly important and getting worse.  The college application process has changed dramatically from my first to my last (11 years span).  Competition is so fierce and many good, qualified applicants are deferred at institutions like never before.  Michigan State alone had over 80,000 applicants this year for around 8500 spots!  Around here, it's very normal and quite frankly almost expected that students (even those who are 4.0s) as young as freshmen in high school begin ACT/SAT tutoring, only driving up those test scores for the "average" applicant.  It's really out-of-hand now.  Extra curricular activities seem to have less and less influence and appreciation in the whole process.  We are happy DD had a list of colleges to choose from, but she will recite a fairly long list of students who weren't accepted at their first or even second choice schools; yes all found a school, but they settled more or less for an option they weren't excited about.  I'm not sure where it's all leading, but I don't like the direction and I'm happy we are at the end of this road!


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