As college-bound high school seniors are busy finalizing their essays to meet the November 1st deadlines for their Early Action (EA) and ED (Early Decision) applications, middle schoolers are in the midst of preparing to apply to some magnet high schools. As an Independent Educational Consultant who specializes in College Counseling, this is one of the busiest times of the year for me. However, because of the growing number of phone calls, emails, and text messages I have been receiving from parents of middle schoolers, I have visited the two magnet schools in our town of Edison. My first stop was the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technologies. If you did not get a chance to read my review that I posted last week, or if you would like to read more on the definition of a magnet school, you can read my previous blog post here. If you are ready to proceed, let us explore the Edison High STEM Academy!
I visited the Edison High STEM Academy on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The information session took place in the Auditorium of Edison High School, which is one of the two high schools in Edison Township School District (the other one is J.P. Stevens High School.) The entire session was one-hour long and included a mix of videos and presentations given by the staff and students.
The Admissions Process
The Edison High STEM Academy is looking for the best of the best students in Edison, New Jersey. Students who graduate from the Academy are known to major in Engineering, Computer Science, and Business in some of the best colleges and universities in the nation. Applicants must be Edison residents who have completed 8th grade Honors Geometry with Honor roll achievements in 7th and 8th grades along with the drive and self-motivation to work independently.
What Does It Take to Be Admitted?
- Desire to question, explore, innovate, and create
- Perseverance and grit
- Positive attitude
- Growth mindset
- Willingness to take risks
The entire STEM Academy application can be found here. Some further details regarding the application are as follows:
- The required recommendation letters (3) must be requested and submitted through the online link provided on the application. Two of the letters must be from the student’s current Math and Science teachers. The third one can be the student’s choice.
- The one-page admission essay must be typed. The student’s name, last name, and ID number must appear on the essay. The printed out and signed version of the essay must be attached to the student’s application.
- The completed applications must be submitted to the middle school counselor by December 9, 2019. However, students are strongly advised to check the submission deadlines with their individual counselors since every middle school might have their own deadlines.
- Once middle school counselors make sure the applications are ready, they will submit them to Edison High STEM Academy.
- There is no separate admission test; however, the results of the PSAT that will be administered on December 11, 2019 will be used in the decision process. Although a very small piece of the puzzle, the PSAT scores will complete the first phase of the application process.
- If the Edison High STEM Academy wants to know more about a student, which means if the students passes the first phase, s/he will be invited for an interview to be held in February 2020.
The Edison High STEM Academy offers the most rigorous curriculum possible in the entire state of New Jersey.
Here is the course sequence for each grade level at the Edison High STEM Academy:
US History 1-H
Engineering Graphics Honors
AP US History 2
World Language (This fulfills the World Language requirement!)
Electrical Engineering and Design
AP Physics AB
AP World History
AP Language and Composition
World Language Elective (Since the World Language requirement is fulfilled, a student may take an elective during junior year!)
Senior Design and Capstone Experience Honors
AP Calculus BC OR AP Statistics
AP Physics C OR AP Environmental Science
AP Literature and Composition
Electives: Students must choose 4 from the following:
Social Studies Elective
Please note that all students must adhere to the Edison Township School District’s Placement Criteria to stay in the program. In addition to all of the course offerings, the Academy also offers a dual enrollment program with Middlesex County College. Interested students can enroll in Middlesex County College for a minimal fee and get college credit while taking the above AP classes at the Edison High STEM Academy.
Summer Boot Camps
As can be seen in the above course offerings, the Edison High STEM Academy is not a place to be taken lightly. To prepare the incoming students academically for the challenging AP Biology and AP Chemistry classes, two mandatory Boot Camps are offered to the Academy students in summer. Both of them run from the end of June until the end of July, so Academy parents are urged to make their summer plans accordingly.
- All admitted students (rising freshmen) are required to attend the AP Biology Boot Camp in the summer of 8th grade going into freshman year.
- All rising sophomores are required to attend the AP Chemistry Boot Camp in the summer of 9th grade going into sophomore year.
In addition to these mandatory Boot Camps, STEM Recitation (see course offerings above) gives students a chance to spend extra time on AP Biology and AP Chemistry during the school year. They can use the Recitation as a platform to ask questions, complete homework, and learn from their teachers and/ or peers.
The Edison High STEM Academy employs a cohort model. It basically means that the Academy students stay together in the 4 STEM classes that they are taking. However, they take Social Studies and English classes with the Honors students of Edison High School, and they take Physical Education and Health classes with all other Edison High School students since those two classes are offered at the regular level. Even though the Academy students take some of the mentioned classes with Edison High students, their high school transcript will show “Edison High STEM Academy” as the name of the high school they are attending and/or graduating from.
How far do you want your children to go?
- The strongest foundation possible
- Collaborative and cooperative learning environment
- Diversity in a community
- 21st century learning environment with inquiry and project-based learning
-EHS Marching Band-
There are many clubs and activities to choose from. Sports, the marching band, the National Art Honor Society, and cheerleading are just a few of the comprehensive list of clubs which can be found here. One fun thing to note would be that the Academy has a no-homework weekend once a month, which students love and teachers hate!
-EHS Football Team-
How is the Edison High STEM Academy Different from the Middlesex County Academy?
As far as I understand, there are four main differences between the two academies:
- Residents from all over Middlesex County apply to the Middlesex County Academy for only 44 spots, whereas the Edison High STEM Academy accepts applications only from Edison residents. Although the number of admitted students is not shared with us, I have a feeling that there might be a little more room to be admitted for the right applicants at Edison High STEM Academy.
- Current 8th graders must be in Honors Geometry to be eligible to apply to Edison High STEM Academy, whereas 8th graders taking either Honors Geometry or Algebra 1 are eligible to apply to the Middlesex County Academy.
- The number of AP classes offered is higher in the Edison High STEM Academy than the number offered in the Middlesex County Academy. Please note that AP classes are college-level classes, and they require a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. They are not for everyone, so make sure that taking too many AP classes would be the right choice for your child.
- The Edison High STEM Academy offers a general STEM-curriculum, whereas the Middlesex County Academy is more career-based rather than simply knowledge-based, which means it is preparing students for future careers with a combination of soft skills and hard skills. Both academies are similar in that graduates go on to study Business/Marketing, Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MET), Mathematics, Physics, and even Pre-Med.
The Open House hosted by the Middlesex County Academy was definitely a lot more engaging since visitors had a chance to tour the school. I wish I could have seen more of the Edison High STEM Academy. My personal advice: If you are looking for a STEM education under one Academy, then Middlesex should be your choice! If you want your child to be in a high school environment with Academy courses, then you should go for Edison High. Picking the right school really depends on your child’s academic and social abilities and preferences.
A magnet school education is not right for everyone. Before you even encourage your child to apply, you should be convinced that s/he will not only succeed but also thrive in such a rigorous and competitive environment. Both of the magnet schools that I have been writing about for the past two weeks require extensive study as well as brains that are heavily focused on STEM. If you have the slightest doubt that these schools might not be the right fit for your child, then I would not advise applying. High school is a time that should be remembered with fond memories. Your child will be perfectly fine attending J.P. Stevens High School or Edison High School, both of which can be wonderful opportunities for your child with some extra support. The road to college is a rocky one for sure; however, there is an alternate route for each and every student along the way. Attending a magnet school, although it may be very appealing, is not the one and only way that will lead your child to a successful college experience. At EdMission Possible, we work hard to make sure your child is guided in the right direction to arrive at his/her future college destination. Contact us today via phone at +1(732)640-5550 or via email at info@EdMissionPossible.com to find out how we can help your child make the most of his/her high school years before embarking on the next chapter of his/her life – AKA college!
Happy Diwali and Happy Halloween to those who are celebrating!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Founder and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession, in 2019. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc. Burcak currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.