Parenting quandary(s) Need input

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    As someone who did the Ivy thing, and got a Ph.D:
    If he can get an internship with a well known high-tech company, that will have some impact on college admissions, but much greater impact on job prospects when he hits the market.
    When it comes to getting a Ph.D., unless he's a superstar, jobs prospects in academia are pretty sparse. Depending on the field, they are very sparse outside of academia as well. High tech is littered with Ph.D.s that are working at the same level of seniority as people who spent those years working, earning money, and avoiding the stress of the graduate student life.

    To be very clear, the only valid reason in my mind to get a Ph.D. is that you are absolutely in love with the field, and would consider it worthwhile even if you had to start a career from scratch when you finished. A passion that burns. If you do it in the hopes of getting a job, you will be disappointed.
     
  2. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    I believe I may have already passed on this advice earlier, but I highly recommend:
    Jacques Steinberg, The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
    -->Fabulous book. Journalist goes behind the scenes at Wesleyan.

    David L Marcus, Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges--And Find Themselves
    -->Another great read, and one that helps remind parents that not every kid is best served by going to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, MIT, Hopkins, Stanford, Amherst, Swarthmore, Cal Tech, etc. Fit is important.

    Loren Pope, Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools that Will Change the Way You Think About College.
    -->Makes a powerful case that the biggest names are not always the best education for every kid.
     
  3. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Thank you for using this correctly! So many times I see some moron say "a hard road to hoe," as if that made any sense whatsoever.
     
    j_alexandra and fascination like this.
  4. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    this. in spades. and now, my crankypants self goes away.
     
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    My Dad's Dad was a share cropper who could tell a mean tall tale. I KNOW about hoeing rows. Just sayin. ;)



    I have had that conversation with the ex more times than I can count. I agree. Mostly. I think a lot depends on what you intend to do for a living and where.

    Some of the R&D orgs I've worked in or with have had a very specific degree they were looking for on a resume. One org preferred PhDs from Stanford, for example. The "sister" org on the manufacturing side of the same company wanted Masters degrees from Georgia Tech. Etc.

    This goes back to what sami said earlier about being an insider. In the R&D org that preferred folks from Stanford, it just so happened that the head of the lab was from Stanford. Coincidentally, all of the department heads he hired happened to be from Stanford. So, even though there were a handful of MIT folks in that lab, there were far more people from Stanford. Who knew there'd be a place out there where a PhD in one of the hard sciences could be anything other than preferred in a world-class R&D organization? But MIT was NOT preferred in that organization, because of people and their connections. *shrug*

    But, just in general yes. I agree. A lot of times, a PhD can be a liability. People can be perceived as overpriced and/or overly specialized.
     
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    There is a really interesting story on All Things Considered (NPR) tonight that is tangentially related to this discussion.

    The story was about the dearth of skilled craftsmen** in the US, which is attributed to our insistence, as a society, on sending all kids to college. According to this story, the old training model, in which there were journeymen who trained under skilled craftsmen, is almost nonexistent in the US labor market, these days.

    The story reminded me of what bia said yesterday about "that's all he knows" not being a good reason for DS to pursue a PhD. Similarly, "everybody should go to college" might not be a good reason for everybody to go to college, particularly if people are going to waste time and money changing majors, dropping out or failing out.

    I actually like the system that is in place in some countries, where people are required to do national service or work for a while before attending post secondary school. In one country I know of, people are required to do two years of national service between high school and college. When you account for the fact that "high school" there is more like a US associates degree than a US HS diploma then add a couple years of national service, people there are often in their early twenties and have some real world experience before they go to college. Not necessarily a bad thing, IMV.




    ** Sorry. I don't know of a gender neutral alternative for the words craftsman or journeyman.
     
    singndance likes this.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and the other thing I wanted to post is this. I am very, very uncomfortable with the idea that 4.0 is a given for admission to some colleges. Seriously. GPA Perfection is required to get into college? Especially when I consider the studies I've read about the relatively poor correlation between grades and success, it just plain bugs me that kids who are less than perfect can get weeded out before they get in the door. There's gotta be a better way.

    To be honest, I don't think I want DS going to a school where those are the standards -- not because he can't achieve to those standards; he pretty much rises to the level of the expectations expressed to him. I just think that a college that doesn't weigh things other than grades is getting it wrong, especially now that many schools are so focused on teaching standardized tests, rather than teaching concepts and thought processes.
     
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think that the schools that consider the GPA a given actually have even more perogative to go beyond that and look at both the standardized tests as well as all of the other depth to the student's record ...
     
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as to philosophy of a school and the tone; I think this is where visits are crucial.....my dtr had very distinct impressions after her visits... same with my son...they knew where they would not appreciate the atmosphere
     
  10. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Just another thought. I really do believe some kids are better served not going to one of the big name schools, as CCM pointed out. My two engineers did not go to an Ivy (they really were not that calibre of student, and when they visited MIT and Princeton they were both very emphatic that those were not the schools for them), but they did attend a polytechnic institute that is considered the next tier down. When we attended the parent/student orientation, the presenters told the kids to look to their left and right. One of those kids wouldn't be there by the end of the four years. And they told them to get used to getting grades lower than an A. Almost every kid in the room was in the top 20% of their high school class, and a big percentage in the top 10%. They were very used to getting mostly A's and the occasional B. Well, guess what, when you compete with the top tier, some kids are going to be better than others.....and most classes are graded on a curve, which means lots of C's and the occasional D are coming your way even if you do work hard.......it was a wakeup call for kids and parents alike. And my kids don't know their professors, only their teaching assistants......

    While they were/are happy there (or so they tell me, but would they admit otherwise???), there were plenty of schools we visited that were not as competitive but where they could have obtained a really good education for less investment, gotten some great co-op experience, and really could have gotten to know their professors because they are teachers first, not researchers....and probably graduated with a higher GPA that would have looked better to prospective employers....many companies just throw your resume out if you are not at least 3.5, or won't even let you file the resume online without this kind of GPA. It would have been easier to get those grades at a less competitive school, and would the education or the experience really have been less?
     
    pygmalion likes this.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Sure. Of course they do. They have to find things to differentiate one student from another. But I just think that we, as a society, are making people crazy for no reason.

    My take, having been a straight A middle and high schooler in the US educational system and knowing a lot of folks who came up in other educational systems is this. What does an A really say about you? In some (Not all. Some.) schools in the US, it means that you can regurgitate facts and that you know how to work a standardized test. Add in the wildly varying quality of educational systems, state to state or district to district within the US and what does an A really say? Not necessarily enough to let it weigh so heavily on our kids, IMO.
     
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This. Back when I was in R&D, I was also a certified recruiter for the then Fortune 100 company I worked for. No one with a GPA under 3.5 was even considered. Period.
     
  13. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Yep, my baby is finding this out the hard way right now.....
     
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    agree...had my kids stayed at their local high school they could have graduated 4.0 with half of their brain tied behind their back, so to speak...the calibre of the high school matters as do the other factors...
     
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Hmm. What can I remember that might help?

    Honestly, if she/he's going the job fair/formal recruiting route, the resume is going to end up in the trash can. Networking in is probably the approach to take, that and playing up any relevant internships or relevant job experience. That and going for smaller companies.

    The company I recruited for was huge and a household name. Everybody wanted to work there, so almost everybody got weeded out, just because the company could call the shots.
     
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes ma'am. This is why I am less than thrilled with the state college systems who shall remain nameless that arbitrarily pick a top percentage of students to get automatic admission. I understand why they do it -- so that a kid from a crappy high school has as good a shot at college admission as a kid from the country's best school. But the kid from a crappy school still comes in with a disadvantage.

    I've said it before. I'll say it again. There's gotta be a better way.
     
  17. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    I love the Australian education system...

    In high school, only years 11 and 12 really matter in terms of grades, and year 11 only as a prerequisite for year 12 classes. At the end of your final year 12 exams, you get an averaged score...a tertiary entrance ranking...based on your grades. Anywhere from about 45 to 99.95. 99.95 is pretty much your perfect score.

    At a university level, they set a maximum number of participants for each course. You apply for the course you want, and your second, third, etc. preferences. Uni looks at the number of people who want to do their course, and rank them from highest to lowest score. Then they take the top 400 (or however many their course cut-off is) and offer them that course. They use last year's cut-off score as an aiming point.

    I applied for teaching/arts at a couple of the state's universities (we only realy have 3). In the year before I applied, it had a cut-off of about 72. That's, in grade terms, probably mostly Bs with a few Cs thrown in, and maybe an A. It's pretty hard to get anything under 60. I ended up with a score of 90. I got my first preference of course, and would've been able to get any of my other preferences too. That was with mostly As, a couple of Bs, and a high C (thanks Chemistry...).

    Highly competitive programs like Law have a higher TER, while medicine has a high TER and a whole bunch of other tests and interviews. But no-one takes into account your extra-curricular activities. I don't know why...but I don't really see them as relevant to your program of study. I want to study teaching...extra-curricular activities at a high school level shouldn't be a prerequisite for that, IMO. I'd rather my future kids split time between study, play, and a part-time job that will get them experience...all of my friends who never had part-time jobs during high school are finding it very hard to get part-time jobs to support them through Uni.
     
  18. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member


    Thank you. He is a solid 3.2 from an excellent school, and honestly that is better than I expected. But he is finding that it just isn't enough. I like your idea of searching out the smaller companies. He is willing to go pretty much anywhere in the country, so at least he is being flexible there.
     
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    and THAT is why my daughter is in the school of education and social policy...when she is not writing poems and novels, she plans on being the next education czar :)
     
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    One more thing I'll add (but probably shouldn't. Recruiter secrets and whatnot. lol) We had to fill out a four page form for each interview subject. The one thing that got weighed most heavily was the check box on the front page. "Would you hire this person?" Yes or no. If the recruiter checked no, the candidate was out, no questions asked. Interpersonal skills make a huge difference.
     

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