Won lived in Northern Virginia almost all of his life and was educated in the Fairfax County Public School system. Early in his childhood, he faced many academic challenges, including mild disciplinary and attention deficit problems. However, with much help from friends and family, he was able to rise above his inadequacies and succeed on the academic frontier: he attended the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST or TJ); went on graduate from Georgetown University in 2005 with a degree in Mathematics; and is currently set to graduate from the George Mason University School of Law in the May of 2009 with his Juris Doctor, after having been admitted as a scholarship student. Currently, aside from his legal studies, Won is serving as a tutor for Annandale Noonnoppi, a learning center which addresses the academic and educational needs of students from Grades K-12. Won primarily focuses on SAT and TJ admissions prep for middle and high school students. However, he also works as a private tutor to help students with many different subject matters, including English, math, science, and computer science. He is quite passionate about what he does, and his greatest desire is to see students everywhere succeed so that the global educational standards can be improved.
Applying Thomas Jefferson School1. What is TJ?TJ is the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), and obviously TJ for short. It's the Governor's School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia. To attend, students must apply and take an entrance exam. The application process mirrors college admissions to a large extent.
2. Where can I obtain information about TJ?Go straight to the source:http://www.tjhsst.edu, the school's website. There, you'll be able to take a glimpse at TJ's academic programs and curriculum and the admissions process (http://www.tjhsst.edu/academics and http://www.tjhsst.edu/admissions respectively)
3. Should I make my kid try out for TJ? I think he's smart, and he gets straight As at school, but he really doesn't want to go to TJ.I believe that it is integral to the success of your child, both in his academics and his relationship with you, that you are able to communicate honestly and effectively with him.
Personally, I encourage gifted students to apply. In the worst case scenario, he won't make it, and he'll have nothing to fear, since he wouldn't be able to attend anyway. But there's absolutely no harm in trying.
I have noticed over the years, as I've tutored, that even some students who claim that they do not want to attend TJ actually do have an ambitious desire to be admitted. After all, it's an honor to be invited to attend what has been ranked as the #1 public high school in America for two years in a row.
And, thinking about the situation in another way, if your now reluctant son is admitted to TJ, does he really lose much by attending? I know that a lot of students don't want to attend TJ because they don't want to leave their friends, but I don't really see too much of a loss for him because: 1) he's attending the best public school in the area; 2) his friends are in school during the day as well, and the only substantial time he'll lose with them is a few hours a day, since TJ gets out later; and 3) kids choose to communicate electronically nowadays anyway, through instant messages, emails, and text messages, so he'll be able to maintain his friendships. Besides, he'll be able to see his friends on weekends.
I think the potential benefits far outweigh the potential cons. But, if he's adamant about refusing to go, I think that you should take his opinion into consideration, unless you want to risk spoiling your relationship with him.
4. What benefit does going to TJ have? It's not like you can't go to a great college if you don't go to TJ.The benefits of attending TJ are innumerable and often intangible, from the courses it offers to the teachers and overall environment. I won't deny that other schools don't have great courses and teachers; I particularly admire the IB curriculum's difficulty and rigor.
But, it is also true that TJ offers courses other schools don't have the resources or connections to offer. For instance, TJ requires a senior research project in which you may be mentored by a professional scientist at a private or government entity. Additionally, where else are you going to see a school that offers Organic Chemistry and Neuroscience?
However, a school's not just made up of its courses and teachers. The student dynamic is important as well. You'll make great friends at TJ, and you'll learn that the real world is filled with people of amazing talent and integrity. You'll learn about teamwork and about competition
In the end, though, you determine your own fate. You determine how hard you'll work, what colleges you'll get into. Not going to TJ is fine, too, for a lot of kids. My sister's friend didn't make TJ but ended up at Stanford from Lake Braddock. Is anyone going to say that she didn't succeed? So always keep in mind what your goals are and what you'll need to do to achieve them. TJ's not a miracle school, but it is a great place to be.
SAT and Colleges1. Where can I find out information about the SAT?Most of your basic SAT questions can be satisfied by going to www.collegeboard.com2. How important is the SAT to college admissions?Technically, they’re essential, because most colleges require it. But, aside from this technicality, the more proper question is how influential the SAT is to the college admissions committee looking over your application. While colleges will definitely consider your SAT score when you apply, I don’t think that they focus on your SAT as much as people may think they do. I think they consider the applicant’s GPA and coursework, first and foremost, in addition to other data that your school may submit, such as how it calculates grades and what its GPA scale is. Because colleges also have to consider your application essay(s) (which are optional at some schools), your teacher and counselor recommendations, and extracurricular activities, I think that your SAT score plays a relatively minor role. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying that your SAT score is trivial. Far from it. You should try to do as well as you can on the SAT, and a score falling outside of the middle 25-50% median range of the incoming freshman class’s scores will likely jeopardize your chances of getting in. How much your chances will be jeopardized, though, is nothing set in stone.
3. What are the best SAT preparation books out there?There are many good companies and many good preparation materials. You could literally spend hundreds of dollars on SAT prep books, if you wanted to buy them all. If you had to buy one book, and one book only, it should be Princeton Review’s 11 Practice Tests for the SAT and PSAT, because? while The Official SAT Study Guide authored and published by the College Board is perhaps the best book out there in terms of study and practice questions, it doesn’t have answer explanations for its practice tests?it provides answer explanations for its practice tests and the practice tests themselves are of a very high caliber. Ask Question, Get Your Answer