Paternal pride

My daughter has posted her ACT scores (if you don’t know what they are, they’re an exam high school kids take; here’s an explanation of the scores). She did very well, especially considering that she took them a year earlier than most kids do. She’s a sophomore in high school, and she wants to go to UMM full time next year, taking advantage of our state’s PSEO program. She’s going to be a full-time college student at the age of 16.

I knew she could do it. I just told her that if she kept her grades up and did well on the exams, I wouldn’t take her to the Purity Ball. What a great motivator for smart young ladies!


  1. Jeremy says

    Is the SAT losing its power in Minnesota? I went to high school in New Jersey and most people I knew only took the SAT.

    Congrats skatje. Is she going to live in dorms or carpool with you?

  2. says

    Nicely done. But only 27 on Science Reasoning?

    Actually, that section is kinda poorly written. Only time in my life that I’ve had to look at the questions and answers on a test before reading the sample text.

  3. says

    Carpool? Dorms? We live across the street from the college. My house is as close to the science buildings as the dorms are…maybe closer.

  4. Lixivium says

    Congratulations to her.

    I take it she’ll be living at home (16 is pretty young), but everyone college student should live on campus for at least one year. Part of the idea of college is to be AWAY from your parents. (In my case, I stayed in the same town and they moved away.)

  5. says

    she whipped me. I took it years ago and can’t remember my score, but it wasn’t a 30. She certainly has a great future. Hope she joins me in the diplomatic corps. We need all the help we can get.

  6. arc_legion says

    Congrats to her. As long as she gets plenty of space, though, I see no reason to leave home.

  7. Jeremy says

    Oh. I was under the impression that you lived at least a short drive away. Never mind.

    Most of my professors probably can’t afford to live in DC, though amazingly my adjunct professor of art history who teaches elsewhere on the weekends and is an artist himself only lives a mile away. And this is in northwest DC.

  8. MJ Memphis says

    Prince Roy,
    “I took it years ago and can’t remember my score, but it wasn’t a 30.”
    Yes, but what was your score on the OA? ;) I took it recently and was one of two passes in my group- we both ended up with 5.5, which seems a little odd. I’d love to see the distribution of those scores- I’m guessing they leave a window at the top to allow for extra points for veteran’s pref and language points.

  9. says

    Congratulations to Skatje! I also took the ACT. My score was considered high for the party college that I went to. It certainly wasn’t 30.

  10. says

    Skatje, some advice for your college life.

    With a couple of beers in them even post grads have a 14 year old’s mentality.

    Your dad is not an incredibly ancient grouch, he’s only a mildly ancient grouch.

    George W. Bush is not a great nephew of Satan. He’s something far worse, a politician.

    Remember when doing your masters that bacteria are always more cooperative than rhinos. (Learned that from my mom.)

    “Don’t work harder, work smarter” Scrooge McDuck.

    No matter what you do when setting up a biology experiment or study, once it begins the organism will do what it damn well feels like.

    Any experiment using cats will teach you much about how people handle frustration.

    College food is worth what you pay for it.

    Never trust a cook with Che on his tee-shirt.

    When dealing with the campus Republicans remember that cookies are more important than pride.

  11. says

    MJ Memphis,
    I got a 5.6, and later on I got vet pref and language added to that. At the time, 5.6 folks were getting offers, but I was happy with an extras I could get…

  12. MJ Memphis says

    Prince Roy,
    Cool! Hopefully 5.5s in my chosen track will get some offers this time around. I doubt my half-remembered Russian is enough to get me any extra points.

  13. says

    [every] college student should live on campus for at least one year

    yeeargh, no. This is one of those zombie myths that just won’t die. There is no logical reason whatsoever for why one has to live in the dorms. Unless for some reason it’s necessary to experience firsthand how much dorms suck.

    SATs=both coasts, ACTs=us country folk.

  14. says

    Congratulations! Wonder where she got her smarts…?

    I lived across the street from college and lived there with my parents and that was just fine. I could wake up at 7:07am and be in the classroom at 7:15am, fully dressed, with a sandwich in my hand (that my Mom threw at me to catch on my run out of the door). Don’t ask about 7:15am classes….

  15. The Amazing Kim says

    A big hooray to Skatje, and her proud parents and siblings.
    I did the university-at-16 thing, most fun I’ve had in my life. Remember:
    – do at least one subject per year outside your chosen field
    – the year level of the average student is inversely proportional to their level of hygiene
    – sometimes they have free muffins in the library on wednesday mornings
    – don’t go near the engineers!
    – move out when you can, but don’t do it in the middle of semester
    – and good luck.

  16. says

    They raised the maximum ACT score, didn’t they? I think the maximum was 30 when I took it in the late 80’s, and I’m pretty sure I got a 27.

    But my AP English score was a 5 out of 5.

  17. Jeremy says

    There is no logical reason whatsoever for why one has to live in the dorms. Unless for some reason it’s necessary to experience firsthand how much dorms suck.

    In my first semester, I was in a special program with about 60 other kids. We all lived on the same floor, took mostly the same classes (this program required a few specific ones that were taught separate from the main campus… oh yeah, this was a satellite campus), and shared most of the same experience. We got to be really tight knit. In the right environment (i.e. an all-freshmen dorm where everyone knows everyone else), dorm living is really cool. On the other hand, if your neighbor is blasting the stereo at all hours with crappy rap music, it can suck royally. DID YOU HEAR THAT PEOPLE IN MCDOWELL ROOM 001? SHUT THAT FUCKING THING OFF!

  18. Matt T. says

    SATs are a mostly East coast thing. The West coast and Midwest uses the ACT.

    I don’t know if it still is, but back in the day (the early ’90s), ACT was the main-most test to get into SEC schools (and in the Deep South, that’s the only schools that count). Most folks from my high school (Itawamba AHS, Fulton, MS) didn’t even bother with the SAT, apart from the handful that were going to school either in the Northeast or out West. So there ya go.

    Congrats to your daughter. I got a 30, but it took me three tries (first two were 29s, and I told Momma I wasn’t messin’ with it anymore). Baby Brother took it as a freshman, first time, and the little bastard got a 31. Momma coulda moved heaven and earth, but he wasn’t gonna even try to make a better score.

  19. Marine Geologist says

    Julie O.

    I took it in 1966, max was 32 then. Got a 32 in science, 31 in math, and 27 in english 31 overall. Don’t know what it is now. Placement tests at U of I (Save the Chief) stuck me in a bunch of honors classes but I declined.

  20. Melissa says

    The science ACT isn’t much about science….it’s more about graphings and inferring information. I learned the hard way. I got a 36 in science and was placed in honors chemistry, which was not my thing. I ended up in my graphical destiny: economics. I’d be very interested to see what the science ACT of people who actually ended up being scientists tends to be.

  21. KidGenius says

    Youre gonna mess her up for life! Dont do it! your robbing her of crucial experiences!

  22. russell says

    Hmmm. Did you really need a standardized test to tell you that you were smart? If you had done poorly would you feel insecure about yourself? Sure, be proud that you’re smart or have a smart kid. Take pride in doing well. But when it comes right down to it a number on a piece of paper from a standardized testing service doesn’t really tell you all that much about someone’s ability to THINK. I’m sure we all know people that test well and yet regularly do dumb stuff (John, why exactly did you autoclave the 100% isopropyl alcohol?)

  23. says

    Congratulations on her ACT scores! Its good for her. But Purity ball- no way. And anyways don’t confuse her. Let her enjoy all the experiences of life.

  24. says

    Congratulations on her ACT scores! Its good for her. But Purity ball- no way. And anyways don’t confuse her. Let her enjoy all the experiences of life.

  25. says

    Matt T: Fulton?! I’m from down the road in Columbus.

    Yeah, the ACT is what the southern schools look at. I took it as a freshman and made a 29, which included a crappy math score. I thought about taking it again…but instead I quit school and went to uni instead.

    I fully recommend going to uni young. The only thing I regret about it was that I lacked the maturity to actually apply myself to some difficult subjects (*cough* math *cough*), so I ended up with a humanities degree. I’m still paying the price for being lazy and stubborn, years later. At least I know now that the things that are easy for you aren’t the ones that are necessarily worth doing.

  26. Matt T. says

    No kiddin’. It’s a small, small world, but I wouldn’t want to lay carpet on it. They ever get around to changing the name of “The W” and, if they did, did anyone pay attention?

    I’ve always been of a couple minds concerning the whole “going to the university level early”. Yeah, lots of kids got the smarts and, yeah, the education system in this country is more interested in churning out workers who don’t bitch rather than critical thinkers and, yeah, high school is hell for, well, basically everyone. Still, I’ve always consider college a mighty big jump in terms of both responsibility (’cause unlike your high school teacher (hopefully), most college professors got more shit to worry about than you) and culture shock. I personally didn’t have the option – cause Momma wouldn’t have it – but it’s definately one of those things that defy blanketization.

    Now, granted…the culture shock thing. Fulton – where I went to school – had less than 3000 people in it. My home town – where I actually lived and which was a 20-mile drive – had 40 people in it. So I imagine it coulda just been me.

    Hey…is the Club 45 still open? Made a butt-first exit from that bar many a time.

  27. David B. says

    Julie O. – I took in in 1986. The maximum score at that time was 36. I got a composite score of 33. Skatje beat me in English (by 1 pt), but I got her in the other subjects :)

  28. J-Dog says

    Congrats – to Skatje and parental units too. The good score proably reflects the perfect blend of nature and nurture.

  29. says

    Oh. My. God.

    Thanks so much for that. Now I know about the “Purity Ball” and I can never unknow it.

    This is one of the most singularly creepy things I have ever heard of. Am I the only one who sees the incestual implications of pledging your virginity to your father?

    Love it or hate it, at least Confirmation is dressed up like a coming of age ritual, complete with smells, bells and gifts. The Purity Ball is just pretend-secular religious porn.

    I am afraid for these children.

  30. HPLC_Sean says

    I just took a look at the “Purity Ball” pledges and it gave me the creeps. Yuck. It’s on the same pseudo-ethical level as beauty pageants for kids.

  31. says

    Man, I wish my state had some PSEO-like program. In my case, I was limited by required HS credits that made it essentially impossible to grad. early because of prereqs and order they were required to be taken.

    And for the commenter above who advised staying away from engineers, some of us are actually quite well-rounded and do not look down on other students (although I know the creeps of whom you speak). My rule of thumb is: if you meet an engineer off-campus hanging out, they’re almost certain to be at least ok. If, however, you meet them in a computer lab or other center of learning, proceed with caution. The really strange ones never ever leave.

  32. Heretyk says

    Our daughter went to college at 16 as well. A few weeks after she started school, she was a helping develop a cabaret show “Safer Sex Sluts”. Peer teaching about safer sex seems much healthier and more socially more useful than that creepy Purity Ball.

  33. csa says

    Congrats on the scores!

    Considered becoming a science teacher? I am, and had almost the same ACT scores (30 composite, 26 math, but 34 science reasoning), and we *desperately* need more students like Katje to get into our profession!

    Sure, there’s political crap and the media to deal with, but the kids themselves are well worth the effort. You’ll get asked ‘why are you wasting your brains with this?’ by those who don’t realize the immense opportunities you’re given to exercise your creativity.

    We especially need more science teachers here in Kansas . . . good ones, anyway!


  34. chuko says

    Max score on the ACT is 36 and has been that way for at least a generation. It’s still the standard test in the West and Midwest, but not on either of the coasts. The Princeton Review thinks it’s a (little) better test than the SAT for college-preparedness, but they’re more or less equivalent.

  35. chuko says

    Could you rural midwesterners quit characterizing the midwest as “country”? Not that there’s anything wrong with rural areas (other than that they’re full of religious nuts and Republicans), but I grew up in Kansas City. I can accept explaining to people that Kansas City is in Missouri, but I’m tired of explaining that, yes, it’s a city. And there’re a couple of other midwestern cities you might have heard of, like Chicago.

    Blah, just crabby this morning, I suppose.

  36. says

    Congratulations to your clever, clever girl! Full-time college for bright high schoolers=one of the best ideas yet to come down the pike. She sounds like she’s got a good head on her shoulders.

  37. says

    It’s really great to know that these programs exist… I definitely adhere to “The earlier, the merrier” when it comes to things like this. The PSEO program means that Skatje will be able to escape from high school completely, right? Even if she doesn’t, it’s good that she can start college when it’s right for her rather than when it was right for the average person a few decades ago.

    By the way, does she know what she wants to major in?

  38. says

    Uh. Way to screw up, post form! That last one was me.

    Anyway. I aced the science part on the PLAN test (the pre-ACT test taken by sophomores, doesn’t count for anything). I thought I’d do well, but I ended up short on time and way over my head. There was a lot of chemistry stuff, which I haven’t taken. I didn’t know most of the words, so I’m just proud of myself for even getting 27. >.>

    I’m planning on getting a BA in theatre arts here at UMM, minoring in English, maybe. Then later get a MA in theatre design.