Relocation junior year?Answered
We may need to relocate this summer from New England to Texas. Our daughter will be a junior next school year. She currently is a strong student (mostly honors classes with mostly As) and has numerous Extra Curriculars (ECs) and some leadership roles. How negatively will it impact her college applications to move, loose the leadership positions and potentially have a dip in grades as she adjusts to a new school? Wondering if I should send husband and stay put for her to finish, have her re-class and repeat sophomore year, or just deal with the move and losing strong ECs?
Junior year is the most critical year in high school because it is when most high achieving students a.) take their greatest course load and challenge themselves (although some continue through 12th grade even though only 1/2 year's grades count for admissions), b.) the hold higher leadership roles in the school newspaper, student govt. and clubs, and sports, band, etc. c.) Their GPA is the strongest because of weighted coursework like APs and Honors classes. d.) they start to hunker down and power through standardized tests like ACT/SAT and APS and some take SAT 2 subject tests and e.) they start to think about which colleges to attend and set up school info sessions or tours or in some cases informational interviews. I know that if I moved to Texas, I'd be crushed. Personally I'd be crushed if I had to move to a different HS, like 5 miles away.
I asked my dad this question and he didn't recommend moving your daughter to Texas because he moved as an HS Junior from 1 coast to the other and it was terribly complicated because the culture is so different. He had to make new friends, try to fit in, adapt to a completely different teaching style, testing style, homework load, and different college counselors. He missed his friends, teachers, coaches and felt that everything that he worked on at the new school wasn't necessarily additive to his narrative, just different. Also, he felt an obligation to his parents not to apply to schools from their old state and zip codes but to the new states and surrounding areas. I don't think he resents his parents but deep down he wished he could have asked the girls out he had crushes on in HS and go to the prom and do senior activities with friends he really knew well. Plus, he said that Texas has close to 1 million COVID-19 cases is not managing it very well compared to New England states that had taken a huge hit upfront.
If your daughter had hoped to attend college in New England, it would be better for her to stay put because all the campuses are there and she can keep track of which ones to apply to and what their requirements are. Plus she will be able to keep her friends, teachers, admin, and support relationships. She can keep her ECs going and have more personal control over the narrative she wants to present to competitive colleges.
I have nothing against Texas schools or living in Texas. But besides Rice, UT-Austin, maybe Trinity in San Antonio, I don't think you will ever have the depth and breadth of both Top research universities and Top Liberal Arts colleges that exist in New England or rather (from the Mid-Atlantic, Tri-State, to New England corridor). 95% of the best colleges are there. If someone is trying to convince you or your daughter that there is no mental, emotional, physical, or academic cost moving to Texas, I don't think they are thinking through all the ramifications. I don't know what your family's personal circumstances are but I would say that if you take your daughter to Texas, make sure that you have budgeted extra to make sure she can be academically supported to continue the course rigor and make her file look great when she applies to college.
I don't understand the repeating of Sophomore year situation, that sounds more like a punishment to me. Why should she have to repeat a perfectly good sophomore year? The other thing you and your husband should consider is sending your daughter to boarding school in New England for 2 years as an Upper (upper-class person) 11th/12th grade. All the best boarding schools like HADES (Hotchkiss, Andover, Deerfield, Exeter, St. Pauls) and others have excellent financial aid and if she is really smart and you qualify, you might not be paying very much tuition at all. Like the Ivy League schools, they all have a graduating scale for qualifying income and if your family makes say less than 75K, it's practically free. Plus she might be getting a better education during the 2 most important years of her HS career. (if this is something you want to look into, do it now, it's interviewing season, all the applications are due like Jan 15th or something like that).
Good luck to you and your family.