Friday, January 15, 2010

Katie and College

For years, Katie has vacillated about what she wants to do for college. Or if she even wants to go.  She liked the idea of Conservatories. And really liked the idea of living in New York.  She would read the bios on the playbills, see where the actors studied, and explore their option online.

Katie is still 18 but has spent most of her teen years pursuing acting, dance and voice. She has coaches and teachers and an agent. She drives all over Central Texas honing her craft. So we were in no big rush to "do college." She just didn't feel like it was a good fit.

She hadn't studied traditional subjects, so she felt like she'd be pretty far behind, if she tried to test for college placement. But last year, she started looking at other universities, like NYU or Carnegie Melon.  Since neither of these options are inexpensive, we decided she might want to take community college to knock out the basics and then she could just take the upper level courses at the university that fits her.  After all, who needs Carnegie Melon's College Algebra? or NYU's U.S. History?  Unsure of what plan to pursue, she thought it would be wise to keep all doors open. So she took the College Placement Test for community college.

The Compass Test, as it is called, has 3 sections: Reading, Writing, Math. She started with the Essay. She had to write a persuasive essay about whether freshmen college students should live in the dorm or be allowed to live off campus. Weird topic, right? But it just so happened her brother had JUST started college and had the exact dilemma when he found that all the dorms were full! So, she passed the essay with flying colors.  She didn't pass the questions section for writing, however. Nor did she pass all of the parts of the Reading section. And she didn't pass any of the Math - but we didn't expect much differently in this area. Actually, by the time she got to the math, she kind of blew it off expecting she'd need developmental classes for it anyway.

So, a less than stellar performance on the Compass. However, she was glad that her online writing had given her enough practice to do well on the essay portion.

Time passed. She worked on more shows, took more lessons. She back-burnered the whole "college thing." But this year, over Christmas, she decided she wanted to look at it again. It turns out, she was dreading the whole re-test option. When we saw a counselor at the school, she said Katie could retest, or she could just accept what she tested at and take Developmental courses. This option really made Katie happy.

The Developmental courses are each broken down into 3 parts. For instance, Fundamentals Reading, Dev.Reading I and Dev Reading II. She would need all three parts of the Math. But she would only need the last section of Reading and 2 of the 3 for Writing. If she completes the Reading soon, she can take other classes while continuing to work her way through the Math courses.  So she signed up for Developmental Reading and Writing. (By the time we got there, most of the developmental classes were full.) She will only need one more Writing after this, and her 3 Developmental Math courses.

I think it's interesting that you can complete all of the high school reading, math and writing in 3 semesters at Community College. It seems like a much better use of time. At least it has been for Katie and Michael.

So, Spring 2010, Katie is enrolled in College. She starts mid-February.
She's excited.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Just to comment on how Katie's first semester went. She aced the reading class. She only needed the one.
She took the writing and did very well with it. So much so that the teacher asked her to consider retesting JUST the writing portion of the Compass exam to see if she could now edge her score up high enough to pass. She did retest and she did pass. So this summer she was able to just take regular English Comp for credit.
She has started her Developmental Math class as well.
Time management is a little bit of an issue, but she's working through it. Nothing ever goes as quickly as she hopes (homework-wise). But she does all her homework, and her teachers love that she is really interested in learning.