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Admission To High School

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by amalady, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. amalady

    amalady New IL'ite

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    We have just moved to the US, enrolled my younger one to the elementary school. The elder one is coming to US by mid May and we need to get her enrolled into grade 9- high school. We spoke to the school office and the county’s International Welcome center and got to know that enrollment would be possible only after she moves here.
    We spoke to a friend recently and got to know that admissions to high schools is a convoluted process and it might be difficult to get admission to the advanced courses now. My daughter has been a good performer all through in India. Can someone please help me with the kind of assessments she would have to go through and whether it might be able to seek admission? Thank you in advance
     
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  2. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Schools don't end till early June in most districts that I know of. Every district has a different enrolment policy. Before she comes, make sure you have her transcripts or marks card from the school in India. I suggest you get syllabus copies of important subjects(especially Maths, Science, English). Algebra 1/2, pre calc etc can be confusing to connect to Maths in India.

    Some districts allow advanced placements based on middle school academic performance. Some places, the child needs to test to enter into advanced classes. I would call your high school and find a counselor to talk to and about the enrolment process and the documents required for international students. Also, ask them about advanced placements (honors classes/ pre-AP/ AP). Each district has a different name for their honors classes. AP classes are college-level courses offered in HS.

    Most of the Indian kids are in honors or pre-AP level courses(or IH if taking IB). Your district's website should have a comprehensive list of all courses offered and available to Jr high schoolers Vs Sr High schoolers. Lots of districts need teacher recommendations for placement in honors courses. Do check with the counselors if that is required from teachers in India and you could ask her current teachers for letters if it is a district requirement.

    Math levels yearly are - Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calc, Calc(two levels). I believe kids are ready to be in honors Geometry at least when they complete 8th grade from India(ICSE/CBSE). Some districts place them below at the Algebra 1 level. That becomes a problem because then they cannot do a calculus course in 12th grade which is desired. If you agree to the Alg 1 placement then it gets hard to fix it later. Best to know what level she can handle and put her in the right class. I have seen one kid even placed higher in the Algebra 2 level and she did fine too. She did do a summer crash course in Geometry from a tutor around here to get caught up.

    If you can find an acquaintance or coworker with a kid her age and if she can hang out with the said kid during the summer, she will have at least one friend when school starts in the fall. You can also get some school-related info from the other parents if you get lucky enough to find someone willing to share the info.

    Good Luck! I hope your child adjusts well to HS life in the US.
     
  3. jskls

    jskls Finest Post Winner

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    Adding to what is said above do contact your high school counselor as each school district has different set of requirements and if they need any documentation or need the kid to take any test they can let you know.
     
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  4. amalady

    amalady New IL'ite

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    Thanks a ton for taking time to write a response in detail. We are in Atlanta; will approach the school for a counselor to speak to. She has her marksheets, TC and some certificates from the school in India, but I understand I would need to get it from them if she needs to bring recommendations from her teachers to be able to get into honors.
    One of my colleagues has his kid going to the same school in August. They’ve been here for me while now, but they have been quite reluctant to share much details than just asking us to call up the school.
    I am only worried that she must not lose out on an opportunity because of a delay. And I understand the importance of a right starting.
    Pardon me but I might return here with more questions if I may have.
     
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Your friend is partly right. Getting admission itself is quite straight-forward with needing some forms filled out, proof of residence, maybe some medical records. Unless it is an impacted school with overflow being bused to another high school. Choosing the right courses, electives and getting into them can be a bit challenging.
    Like Laks and jskls said, this part you can find out by speaking with a school counselor.

    About school counselors: Some will not make it their business to help your daughter get into the highest appropriate level for her each subject. They'll tell you things like let her settle down in high school, get used to the education system, "9th grade is for discovering and exploring interests" and so on. What I'd suggest is keep your questions simple. Such as, "What are the math/english/other subject levels that incoming freshmen can enroll in. What is the highest level of math a freshman can take? What is the requirement? Don't confuse them (yet) with your daughter's India courses syllabus-es.

    Getting information: Friends with same age children might not be willing to share. That is a topic by itself. : ) Post a few specific queries in a local social media group such as nextdoor.com or FB groups. There will be one or two enthusiastic responders. If they have a kid in 11th or 12th grade, ask if the kid can spare an hour or two to talk with you about the school. Meet in Starbucks or other public place. It should be a paid meeting but the idea of payment put forth tactfully. Something like: "We were going to meet with an admissions counselor, but feel a student will know more and give us more first-hand candid feedback. Would appreciate if Joe can make time to talk with us. As a small token of appreciation, I'd like to offer a $50 Amazon gift card."

    I would even go a step further and post the offer as a separate thread. In such post, don't mention gift card/amount of $$. Say, "will be compensated for your time." Always meet child after parent knows about it and in a public place. If you email child, always cc parent. Do not talk with child on phone unless parent is near the child and you know that for sure.

    Two steps further : ) and a couple hundred dollars expensive would be this: Find a college admissions counselor familiar with the school and school district, and meet them once. Ask them what child can do in this summer, and how to choose courses. Usually, there are desi people who researched all this a lot for kid and end up becoming college admission counselors.

    Things to watch out for:
    Foreign language:
    Check how many years of each FL school has. Sometimes, due to low demand, they do not have level 4 or AP level of a particular language. Choose an easier language. If Mandarin, Korean, Japanese etc are offered, try to avoid. Opt for one with an English based script.

    Math levels: Get to know the school's math levels and possible pathways very well. Usually the math department will have a page or flowchart on school website. Most likely your daughter can do some math course in community college this summer that will either help her skip that in school or give her a head-start.

    Science courses and pre-reqs: Look up the school's course catalog. Get to know what are the various science subjects offered. There are more beyond physics, chemistry, biology. In particular, get to know the pre-reqs for advanced level of each course. This is needed so you can plan which science to do in 9th grade and whether to do any science course in this summer (before 9th grade).

    Elective: Ask which electives need practice time outside of school hours. Drama and sometimes orchestra have after-school practice. These will be good ways to socialize but do take up lot of weekday evenings hours.

    Online course providers: Find out which online high school course providers are approved and accepted by school, district and most Georgia colleges.

    Medical records: Get official record of all shots she has taken in India.

    General suggestions for this summer (mid-May - school opening): Enroll in courses that other 9th graders do over summer. Check whether the school will add the course credit to high school transcript. At home, she can start getting familiar with the textbooks used in U.S. schools. I'd say find out the ISBN numbers of 9th grade textbooks and buy them used in amazon.com or other used book sites like bookfinder4u.com (don't spend too much. older edition of same book is good enough). Find out what fiction books are used in local schools 8th/9th grades and read those over the summer. Look at sites like sparknotes.com and shmoop.com and get familiar with essays/paragraphs written in response to fiction books. Would not hurt to read up a little of U.S. history and world history as it is covered in school textbooks here. Ask school counselor if 9th graders take the PSAT. If they do, buy some prep books from amazon.

    If she has not been to the U.S. ever or recently, find ways for her to meet other children of her age. Volunteer at the library. The next suggestion is kind of personal, but my friend's kid who also came in 9th grade from India had a bad time related to it, so: Spend time in mid to late summer setting up a fall wardrobe. Find clothes that she is comfortable wearing and that will help her fit in the high school crowd. Wear clothes bought in India only if they don't stand out. For P.E. they usually wear shorts and t-shirt. If she is not used to wearing gym shorts, try them out in summer. Also, find out when they will do swimming in P.E. Buy a swimsuit in summer itself for more buying choice if they do swimming in 9th grade.

    Here's the best thing: all this information is overkill. Even if you don't know any of this, high schools are very organized and information is given to students as and when required by in-person assemblies and in the school portal/ messaging system. Don't let "oh my god what all is there to find out/ what all we do not know..." kind of panic to set in.

    Your daughter could start privately blogging or noting down small things and incidents related to her transition this summer and over 9th grade. Just two-three lines when something happens, someone helps her, she overcomes a challenge and so on. It will be useful later as well as a nice record of a big change in her life.

    One last thing: course selection can depend on college plans. Will she go to college in U.S., India or not sure yet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
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  6. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Of course. There are others here who probably have better inputs. There have been similar posts in the past. Do try searching them. I’m not sure if those posters came back with updates but those posts can help you.

    Btw, there is a general reluctance from parents to share details of courses, tutors, classes, SAT, college apps, internships etc. I get all more info from moms here and reading old posts.

    Good luck!
     

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