This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science4
Posted October 15, 2014
- a parent
I'm a parent and my biggest concerns were those listed in the previous post. We're from Plano and it was a difficult decision to leave Plano for the unknown TAMS. I'd like to share our experience. It has to be your child's decision. In order to get the most benefit from TAMS, your child has to be self-motivated and excited about going to college early. There are clubs and my kids enjoyed them. It's not the same as high school extracurricular activities. They don't compete in many of the UIL events. Some of them, but not all. There are usually around 30 students at TAMS from Plano. Most of them are well prepared and enjoy TAMS. There are around 200 kids accepted as Juniors. 20-30 of those kids will not come back for Senior year. Some may be lonely, some don't have the grades. TAMS does not rank, so the auto-admit to UT does not apply. However, most of them are accepted at UT. TAMS offers excellent opportunities to do research. My kids benefited greatly from that experience. My kids didn't have problems with the TAMS staff. Most of them were really good with the kids. TAMS is really great for some kids, but not for all kids.
I am a TAMS alumni from the Class of 2013. I have to say that TAMS was really a terrible experience. Student life cannot handle issues, whether it's roommates, extracurriculars, and anything professionally, and a lot of students were very frustrated all year with the incompetence of the entire administration. The entire atmosphere of TAMS was unnecessarily repressive and I felt incredibly lonely. The teachers are also not good. I don't know why there are so many posts lauding the teachers, but the truth is that TAMS professors don't like teaching TAMS students b/c they're UNT professors and teaching high schoolers is humiliating, so recommendations are difficult to get. My advice to all the Plano people is this: if your child is top 2-5%, don't send them to TAMS. They lose autoadmit to UT and a ton of opportunities that Plano offers. TAMS since 2010 has been shutting down a ton of things such as club activities (competitions, volunteering, etc) and organizations dislike TAMS b/c admin is so rigid about a lot of things. I know that we've been banned from DECA and HOSA and TMEA All-region, and a lot of other competitions too. Don't go. I regret it.
I am a TAMS alumni. TAMS was very difficult, but worth every moment. The all of the teachers were above average compared to my high school and most were well above average. Most of the issues with dorm life were dealt with fairly from my perspective, and I'm sure the ones I believe were not, the other party believes the issue was treated fairly. The staff never gave the impression that they did not care. Students must be mature and self motivated, even with all the support they receive. There were children that were expelled because he or she broke a written policy while I was there. Please remember these are young children in a boarding school environment. Some strict rules are needed to maintain the proper environment. Review the rules carefully and make sure you are willing to help the school enforce the rules.
I love the potential and opportunities that school provides for a strong foundation before they choose their degree in college and then gives them 60+ credit before you start your degree. My daughter went there about 9 years ago and now my son is applying.
TAMS is an incredible academic program for mature, high achieving high schoolers. It is NOT high school; therefore, if you have concerns about your student handing the freedoms and responsibilities of a college campus, this is not the right program. TAMS has been the best thing that has ever happened to my son. Yes, he gave up some of the clubs/sports of high school, but between the extremely challenging academic courses, research in a lab with professors, the TAMS clubs, as well as UNT clubs, my son has very little free time. The TAMS staff is supportive of my son, and has addressed any problems promptly and effectively. feel very lucky that my son has been a part of this program. If I had to say something negative, it would be with college admissions after TAMS. If your student is deadset on going to UT or Texas A & M, do not give up his/her guaranteed admission with top 7%/10% of class. Odds are not in their favor at TAMS because their applications go into general admissions pool. UT accepted less than half of TAMS class of 2013. With that being said, my son has some amazing opportunities at top notch universities, and has received ALOT of scholarship $.
The work ethic of TAMS staff is not recommendable. Do not expect any respect, support or consideration from them. Sometimes they even assume your kids- especially Plano kids are their enemies. Get education there is your kid s privilege, not their right as stated on their policy. If your kids are not as mature as 30 years old, keep them home because they can be messed up for no reason. It is all on you the parents or students to control your own academic and life.
I am also a TAMS Alumni. This program was one of the most challenging and also most rewarding things that have ever happened to me. Great students will succeed no matter what situation you put them in, but this program let you experiment college life in a very controlled environment and allowing you to stretch your wings as a young adult. Growing up is inevitable and responsibility will come one way or another, this program might push you to grow up faster than most teenagers would want, but there is no hard in learning to take control of your future and life. I am very young, extremely well educated, and professional successful, I can honestly say that the backbone to my achievements is due to TAMS and supportive parents.
This can be good alternative to high school for the high achiever. It is challenging and focused academically. The one area we had the most problems with and our biggest complaints were about are the way student life issues are handled. Dorms, roommates and problems associated with these weren't always handled in the best way or even fairly. The student life staff can be unprofessional, unreliable, and often unaware of problems - after all most of these are just university students themselves. These kids have a lot of down time because they give up band, sports, etc. that they might have been involved with at home. These are all things to take into consideration along with the academics. Also, remember you are sending your high schooler to a University campus and they will be around and exposed to that 'adult' atmosphere and need to be ready to handle that.