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Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 27 Jun 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 35

01 Jul 2013, 2:41 pm

I go to a private school that is filled mostly with people with Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, and whatnot.
I am going back next year, dispite almost all of my friends leaving. It was the first time I could ever actually say I enjoyed school. In the past I'd be lucky to go through the year with 2 friends. At this school I made a total of 12 new friends.
Next year, only 1 of those friends will be returning. Everyone else is either moving, changing schools, or has graduated. I do have 1 other friend that will be going to this school next year who was not there last year. So 2 friends again.

All of the teachers are great (I do not count the art teacher, because he isn't a teacher. He's more of a dictator. Plus, I'm never taking art at this school...) and a lot of other students are a lot like me.

They even let me skip ahead two years in science and math, because they realized I was smart. In the past, no other school could see my smarts through my aspergers...

But one friend who is leaving brings up an interesting argument:

He is going into 12th grade and has never written a term paper...

I've written a term paper once, in 8th grade. I'll be in 11th next year...

While I'd imagine I could handle it, it isn't something I'm used to.
My grades are meh, I finished the year with straight B's, but I could have gotten all A's if I actually studied.
But how will this look to a college.

I mean, sure I'm smart and stuff. But what will they think when I can't say I've done a term paper through all of High School!?
I'm not really good at anything in particular.
I was on the student council and robotics team this year, but want to set aside more time for study next year.

I'm not sure where I want to go to college and I'm not 100% certain what I want to major in yet, but I want to look good to any college I apply for.

I'm scared that I'm not going to be wanted by any of the colleges that I like.

I want to know what WP thinks of my situation.

Should I look for another school? Am I worrying too much? What? I don't know!



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Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 12,218
Location: northeast US

01 Jul 2013, 5:00 pm

I never wrote a term paper before college and I got a full-tuition scholarship. no interviewers asked about term papers.

i'd study and raise your grades. you can then tell colleges you did better once you decided you wanted to attend college. they will like hearing that. your advanced courses will look good to colleges.

don't worry about knowing your major just yet. the majority of college students change their major at least once. I changed mine the first day of college. I intended to go to med school. I was going to have fun being an english major and take the med school prereq's on the side. I went to the English majors' meeting. everyone was depressed and nasty. no professors showed up. I checked out the biology majors' meeting. professors and upperclassmen were serving coke in beakers to the excited freshman. I changed my major on the spot. I thought at other times about changing to physics, but inertia took over. I ended up taking two writing and two literature courses, so got to enjoy English anyway.


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Joined: 18 Oct 2006
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Posts: 457
Location: Brooklyn NY

03 Jul 2013, 8:27 pm

I don't think you need to worry about any of those things.

Many students don't decide their passion until a year into college. Many state universities allow you to enter without declaring a major. For the first year or two, you often take classes from across the liberal arts that allow you to narrow your focus. When you go on college tours you should ask whether students generally declare their major right away, and whether there is a required general studies/liberal arts curriculum all students must take.

Maybe I am mistaken but the idea of a big "term paper" at the end of year in high school is somewhat outmoded. In my years of high school, I never heard the term thrown around at all. We wrote all kinds of things, but I think the focus has shifted to writing lots of smaller and more thematic things to create a large body of writing amassed over the year/semester.

It also seemed in the schools I went to, there was more of a focus on using writing as a self-reflection tool, as opposed to using writing as a vehicle for student research.

It's more important that you are confident in your ability to write. If you can write a coherent English sentence with a subject and a predicate, you are ahead of many many people, even those at great universities. Also, many universities will make you take a writing class where they teach you the tricks of university-level academic writing, which will transition you into longer-form writing.