RE: DSM: borrowing some material

Mary Ryan Thorup (
Tue, 27 Feb 2001 17:37:35 -0500

Dear All:

Just want to add in my bit about grades and letters of recommendation. I
was a homseschooler for the latter part of my education, and ended-up at
Oxford studying Tibetan medicine, my passion. They also rely almost solely
on letters of recommendation and the interview. When I came back to the
U.S. (I am applying to become a Nurse Practitioner so as to open an
integrative medical practice, and bring acupuncture to the poor), Oxford
could not make a transcript which was satisfactory for UMass: could not
explain, exactly, what courses I had taken! It did cause problems for
wanting to, say, avoid taking statistics again. I am now faced with
testing out of a lot of things which I know, but cannot prove that I know.
Bit annoying. I think if teachers at SVS could list subjects that the
student definitely knows, this could be helpful in certain trade degrees
which require competency.

That said, homeschoolers and SVS graduates seem to be a different species
of home sapiens altogether!

Anyway, please send SVS graduates to Oxford. I think it is a supportive
environment for self-directed learners. And cheaper than Harvard or Yale!



From: Todd Robinson[]
Reply To:
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 1:15 AM
Subject: RE: DSM: borrowing some material

My understanding, from reading the literature, is that an SV model school
does not produce any official evaluation of a student, but that a student
may ask a staff member to write a letter for the student. The letter is a
personal recommendation, not an official one from the school, but I am
assuming the staff member is free to air his or her complete opinion of the

Am I correct in my understanding? If so, does this sort of thing
frequently occur? Does it seem to help?

Todd Robinson

> ------------ Original Message -----------
> From: Joe Jackson <>
> Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 22:04:21 -0500
> Hi, folks!
> Here's my take on the "grades" issue.
> As recently as ten years ago, a case could be made that not having a GPA
> or
> a class ranking constitutes at the very least an impediment when applying
> to
> college admissions departments. That being said, all of the Sudbury
> Valley
> literature states unequivocally and repeatedly that no SVS grad has ever
> been unsuccessful in gaining admission to any college they wish.
> The reason this is so is that colleges (especially good ones) have
> *always*
> placed more weight on personal interviews and essays than any mechanical
> measurement like grades and ranking, and interviews and essays are
> precisely
> the parts of the admissions process in which Sudbury students shine the
> most
> in comparison to their conventionally-schooled counterparts. And having
> gotten to know people like SVS/Yale University Grads Ken Pruitt and Josh
> White, I can see how the admissions officers would be overwhelmed by the
> utter self-possesed competency these people practically have oozing out
> their ears.
> Now, the reason I said "ten years ago" is because nowadays admissions
> departments are no longer the least bit surprised at a lack of GPA or
> ranking, because so many incoming students, much of them homeschoolers,
> don't have them.
> The ways Sudbury grads have consistently had a better time getting into
> the
> schools of their choice are SATs, interviews and essays.
> Regarding the transcripting question, this is not my area.
> Joe Jackson
> Fairhaven School
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of sara
> woodall
> Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 5:19 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: DSM: borrowing some material
> One area I am very interested in is how "grades" are established and used
> to
> get
> into institutions of higher education and gain grants or scholarship, or
> if
> grades are not used just how does one get into a university and get
> I wonder if this could be responded to online as I also have a powerful
> interest in this area. Actually, not so much in translating the work
> grades, but in putting it into transcript form.
> Sara

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