November 14, 2014

College Prep Meeting Notes

Below are the meeting notes from our Nov 4th, College Prep meeting.
They are also online, in printable format. Click here.

DCPC Meeting
November 4, 2014 7:00 pm
Dunwoody High School

DCPC President, Diane Allers: gave brief introduction to DCPC and introduced the Board; we are looking for volunteers for future board members/officers; please speak to one of the Board members if you are interested in helping; stated we are also member of the DeKalb County Parent Councils United.

DCPC Co-Vice President, MaryLea Boatwright Quinn: Parent Councils United formed when DeKalb was in crisis; goal is to have one, united voice for parents; meet quarterly; instrumental in delaying the charter system petition; county had not solicited enough public input and PCU advocated it should be delayed; their strong letter was successful; Michael Thurmond’s term as Superintendent is over in June; search committee has accomplished very little thus far; sent out RFQ to find a search company but only 4 companies responded; were not good companies and none were selected; now the Board is starting over; this is an opportunity for DeKalb to earn our trust; we need to see that the process is open, public input from parents, teachers, community leaders is needed; send emails to Board members; please get the word out and express opinion to school board; there is more info on our DCPC website; you will also be seeing some public information and press releases from PCU out soon so please spread the word.

Panel of Speakers:

Regina Daniels, Admissions Recruiter from GA Perimeter College
  • Largest campus is in Dunwoody; 2 year college; largest in the Univ of GA system; students can earn Associates degree; credits are transferrable in and out of state; known as GPC; multi-functional campus; also in Newton, Clarkston, Decatur and Alpharetta; quality education at affordable price; $86.64/credit; $3000/year; offer TAG – transfer admission guarantee, auto admission to 4 year college of their choice; have to maintain certain GPA and can’t fail a class in your major; largest online system in Univ system in GA; dual enrollment – take college courses while still in high school; need 3.0 GPA and minimum SAT/ACT scores; over 50 different academic programs offered; nursing, business admin, engineering, education are the most popular; there is an appeal process if you don’t get in but most are admitted; application process in easier than other schools; application is online; $20 application fee plus high school transcript; immunization records; 2.0 GPA; does not require SAT or ACT but suggest student submit scores; semester system; submit documents by application deadline; they do accept financial aid.

Ross Hegenwald, Admissions Counselor, Valdosta State
  •  Only18 miles from Florida; 11,500 students total; small select private school feel; a lot of one on one attention from professors; many of the benefits of a 4 year big time school; over 100 majors; biology and all pre-professional programs; founded in 1906; nursing, business, criminal justice are most popular programs; just built a new $32 million health science facility.

Jasmine Garcia, University of West Georgia
  •  Located in Carrolton, GA; 12,000 students; NCAA Division 2 for sports; 86 majors, 30 average class size; college atmosphere but you’re not a number; hands-on opportunity; business, nursing, psychology, criminology (also 100% online) are most popular majors; Advanced Academy – 10th -12 graders stay on campus and do high school and college at the same time; Dual Enrollment – don’t have to live on campus but can’t take classes online; lots of options and majors.

Jacinta Luster, Admissions Counselor Kennesaw State University
  •  3rd largest state college; 24,000 students enrolled, under grad, master and doctorate programs; merging with Marietta, Southern Polytech State Univ which has 31,000 students; partner with Wellstar in DeKalb County for the nursing program; 98% placement rate; nursing is very hands on; College of Business and  Education major are also very popular; concentration based programs – ecology, environmental science, etc; cut and dry admissions; based on GPA and test scores only; 2.5 GPA minimum; 50% acceptance; don’t require letter of recommendation; appeals is the last resort; should be testing 2 or 3 times and excelling in your senior year, make sure you get As and Bs; recommend you challenge yourself, puts you ahead of the game; financial aid based on need; look for small scholarships that not everyone is applying for; tours M-F, tour Marietta campus, too.

Douglass Podoll, PhD, Director of International Education at Univ. System of GA
  • Lives in Brookhaven; 34 years working in public universities; wife is public school elementary school teacher; daughters are graduates of Chamblee High – one magnet, one traditional, now at UGA and GA Tech
  •  His daughters are graduates of West GA – left Chamblee after Sophomore year – thought they would have a better AP experience/teachers at a college level so they sent them to Advanced Academy of GA; 16 when they left home; 1 daughter transferred immediately after 2 years to GA Tech and every credit transferred; Tech daughter took 3 years to finish Bachelors; UGA daughter finished Accounting Bachelors in 2 years and is on 5 year track to get Master’s in accounting.
  • General advice/insight - have students study abroad and/or host a student; GPC is a great option and only a 5 minute walk from Dunwoody; Valdosta also has great programs and is a great choice.
  • Dual Enrollment – high school and college at the same time; fully registered in high school; daughters didn’t miss anything (prom, homecoming, etc); Move On When Ready (link is to GA State example) is also a good program – you’ll need to have the grades and counselor support – they are still a student but move to a college for all your courses.
  • - links to every campus in University system with links to college counselors.
  •  Principals and high school counselors don’t always like these college programs b/c it takes away all their role model students; but the top graduates of the Chamblee/Dunwoody schools still often go off to the ivy leagues; private sector schools tend to not take the transfer credits, costs them too much; you really need to look at that closely before making a decision
  • Link in 411 to GATRACS;; articulation list – course matching from one school to another.
  • GA Tech’s list is short for courses that transfer; UGA and GA Perimeter have long lists; all give you extra bonus points on GPA when it’s a college or AP course. 4.0 = 4.5; makes students more ready for college and they’re not repeating work.
  • At Chamblee, the AP German exam students all got perfect scores; only 2 campuses offer German above that AP level; Germany has no college tuition; sign up for one of the exchange programs; HOPE will wait for you when you come back; cost of living is half; think globally; know that your child will know when they are ready to move on.

Questions for the Panel:

Does the boost received in GPA from Dual Enrollment help qualify for HOPE?

Dual Enrollment – can they get involved in extracurricular activities, particularly music?
Yes, in general, but at a certain point, they would need to be admitted to the music program; some programs require you need to be 18.

Can you take GA Tech class while still in high school?
Yes, though joint enrollment with Tech is very limited; look at GATRAC for courses; GA Tech wants to see that you’ve exhausted all options at your high school first – ex. have you taken advanced calculus; they want to know you are ready for their college courses.

GPC – are any classes taught at the high schools?
No, most of the time they need to travel to the campus.

Is paying people to help your child get into college worth the money?
Chamblee High has a pre-SAT training class and it’s excellent; if professional help makes your child more confident and comfortable then that’s ok; GPA matters more; schools have affordable options available for counseling, etc; dozens of free practice exams on web; if they really need it and are just shy of the points they need for admission, then maybe to learn some tips and tricks but you should exhaust the free options first.

If a student wants to stay in GA, is it better to do AP or Dual Enrollment?
Depends on if they want to go to private or public college; private colleges will usually not accept AP credit but might be open to transfer credits; talk to the specific schools; do your research; in the system of GA, schools don’t have a choice regarding accepting the credits of either; once you start crossing state lines, you need to do more research.

There’s a program for German but is there anything for Spanish or French?
Yes. Britain and France are starting to now charge tuition; Germany still says they won’t; there are good universities in Latin America; contact the Council or Embassy; foreign universities will give you all the information you need; Ashford Park Elementary has dual enrollment for German so they can take the German SAT while in high school.

7th grader was “invited” to take SAT in January – should parents invest in prep course with the test changing?
Through the TIP program; Duke’s Talent Identification Program;; offers enrichment materials; early test opportunities; advertise their summer programs at larger schools; invitation only program, top 5-10% of class

Simple practice tests are great to take and can be done online; the expense of the program and summer camps is phenomenal; taking the tests early makes sense for some students; in general, if you have the opportunity to expose kids to advanced things, you should.

What is cost of Dual Enrollment?
The state pays for it; coordinate with counselors; would have to pay equipment; doesn’t touch your HOPE; doesn’t pay for housing.

What are requirements for Dual Enrollment?
Determined by each school; they have different requirements; GA State: 3.5 GPA, recommendation letter, taken SAT or ACT, close to normal admission, just looking at you early; GPC: 3.0 GPA, SAT 440 in Math and 480 verbal, 18 in Math and 20 in verbal on ACT.

As a Freshman what classes should you to take?
Stay on college prep classes; talk to counselor, take honors or AP classes, stick with 4 years English, math, science, foreign language – take more than required.

What about extracurricular activities; how important are they?
Many schools don’t look at them; you need to call the admission officers to get advice; 10th grade is a good year to start looking at schools; do campus tours, go see a sporting event then go out to lunch, get a feel for the campus, sit in on a class.

As a Freshman student, without much direction, is it a detriment if they have decent grades and extracurricular but don’t have passion and/or want to accelerate?
Valdosta – huge advocate of students going undecided; difficult to know at 18 years old; freshman year they have “learning communities” which allows student to take 2-3 classes with same small group of people; good way to get involved and make friends; feel like you are at a place where you belong; Tech is very difficult; you need to determine your major and stick with it, changing costs time and money (for example, there are difficult calculus courses for different majors); in most cases, the 1st 2 years are all the same courses so not being decided and/or having a passion for something is ok; GPC is great place to get grounded and find yourself; it is absolutely ok to not be hugely driven – just make sure they stay on track with the college prep curriculum.

How do you determine the best option if you want extra rigor?
Best to talk to admissions directors of colleges you are looking at before you take any classes; how do they evaluate out of state students and transfer credits; look at history of Chamblee’s valedictorians – they are in Ivy leagues; you can get a marvelous education in Chamblee and Dunwoody; if you just wanted to take a couple of college classes, you would have to enroll and “pretend” it is Dual Enrollment.

Additional note regarding sports:
If you have a child who loves a sport and is good at it, they should consider playing at one of the smaller, Division II or III schools; they often offer scholarships that are much easier to get and it’s a less intense sports environment; great option for a child who wants to continue playing but can’t or doesn’t want to compete at a Title I school.

November 4, 2014


Dear Board of Education Members,

Thanks to you and Superintendent Thurmond for your stewardship of our school system.  You have given renewed hope and trust to our school district.   We feel the superintendent search process offers the unique opportunity to build on the strong foundation you have laid.  Parent Councils United met on Saturday and would like to offer a recommendation for your superintendent search.  We feel strongly that an independent search and selection committee, in keeping with the ones formed in Atlanta and in Boston, will offer a level of public engagement and transparency needed to establish an inviting environment as we welcome a new superintendent to our DeKalb community.  A respected, independent search and selection committee signals both to the community and to superintendent candidates that DeKalb County is building on the foundation of change seen during the tenure of our most recent superintendent.  


Parent Councils United

CLICK HERE to read the full recommendation.