Camp Report

27 Jul

We picked my son up from “Extreme Math and Science” camp at the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA). He was there for a week learning to program in Perl and learning about radioactivity, sound, liquid nitrogen, you name it – they covered it.

A little background for those not familiar with IMSA. IMSA is a residential high school supported by the tax dollars of the citizens of Illinois. They teach 10th-12th graders only. You must live in the dorms to attend. It’s very difficult to be accepted into IMSA. Each year they receive about 750 applicants. They take only 200 into the 10th grade class. They only take 10th graders. If some one drops it, they don’t replace them in the 11th and 12th grades.

The school held an informal meeting for parents and students about admissions. DJ is very interested in being considered for admissions next year. To qualify, the student must taken the college SAT as a 9th grader and receive a minimum of 675 on the math portion. I can’t remember the score needed for the reading comprehension. They need to send in their transcripts from the last two years and have teacher recommendations. They need to answer 4 essay questions.

The presenter was very blunt. Chances are that you will not be accepted. You’re the valedictorian of your class? So is everyone else applying. You are taking high school AP classes? So is everyone else. You’re a straight A student at your school? You won’t be at IMSA. The students who graduate from here go to Harvard, MIT, etc.

So how much does this elite education cost? Since it’s a publicly funded school, it costs about $1000-$3000 a year. The cost is based on what you can afford according to your tax returns. The private school DJ is attending next year is 2 times that! And his school is just tuition – no room and board!

So…. Is DJ going to apply? Yes. Will he get accepted? I have no idea. He’s bright but is he that bright? We think so but being rural without much competition, I don’t know how he measures up against others his age. If he gets accepted, will we allow him to attend? I don’t know that either. What’s holding me back is the fact that he will be a 15yo boy leaving home like he’s going to college. He will only be home every other weekend or so. I want to be able to look him it the eye and make sure he’s mentally okay every day. You know what I mean? On the plus side, the school understands this concern. They deal with it every day and have very strict study rules and curfews and guidance counselors. They understand that bright kids are often socially backwards.

So we will take it one step at a time. DJ will begin to study for the SAT exam and take it this fall sometime. He will apply. Then we will wait to see if he gets in and go from there.


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