FAQ

How will I get to school if I don’t live in the KMHS district?

Cobb County provides special transportation for all magnet students. At the beginning of each school year, a roster is sent to Transportation, and they create routes and pick-up locations based on the population. Locations are typically drug stores, fast food restaurants, and food marts at gas stations. This year there are 5 routes, and the earliest pick-up time is 6:30 AM. Obviously, the closer to the school, the later the time. Routes are posted on the front of the school building before school starts.

As parents, how will we know if our child is a good candidate for this program?

Over the years we have found that the quality that best determines a student’s success in this program is curiosity. Does your child ask lots of questions and wonder why things are the way they are and how things work? Doe s/he read a lot? Does s/he look for solutions to puzzles and problems? If so, that’s good. Added to curiosity must be an interest in academics and motivation to get the job done. We have seen several perfectly capable students who choose not to do the work because they are either uninterested or unmotivated. Intelligence without interest and motivation doesn’t work here. The third quality your child needs to possess is organization. Magnet students keep lots of balls in the air at the same time, and while a disorganized student may not necessarily have a difficult time, s/he would certainly be at a disadvantage. Finally, successful magnet students have a thirst for knowledge. They are more than successful honors or gifted students; they have passion in their bellies for math, science and/or technology. They have big dreams and will allow nothing to stand in their way.

Will I have to learn how to study?

One common misconception about the Magnet program is that it is merely a continuation of the gifted or higher level middle school classes. This is not the case. The Magnet program is designed to offer rigorous course work in preparation for college. Some classes, such as the Advanced Placement and Post AP courses, are designed to be equitable to college level courses. Therefore, higher level learning is expected. While some classes are designed to not be overly difficult, others are rather challenging. It is therefore expected for students to study when appropriate, and often it will be necessary for students to prepare heavily for exams.

How is the Magnet program different from middle school?

The biggest adjustment for kids moving from middle to high school is the adjustment to the work load and the necessity for studying differently. A lot of kids never cracked a book in middle school and still made A’s. That’s not the way it is here. Get used to studying every night and not procrastinating. There are short, medium, and long-term assignments that you have to keep up with. And if you’re disorganized, you’ll be doubly challenged.

Magnet students are expected to come into the program ready to work. Expectations are high from the beginning as in having to maintain a B average in your math and science classes. You’ll be in the same English/Tech class all year as freshmen, but you may have different math and science classes depending on the highest math level you completed in middle school. And, of course, your electives may be different than other students.

Is it better to take an easier class in hopes of receiving and ‘A’ or should I take a more challenging class and risk getting a ‘B’ or a ‘C’?

This is a common question at any high school, especially in the Magnet program, but the answer from all colleges is quite empathic and simple: take the most challenging courses available, especially in an academic area that you particularly wish to continue studying in college. Along with each student’s application, every college receives a Magnet profile prepared. These high schools often include what classes are available because colleges value this information. For instance, if a student applies to an engineering school, colleges look at the transcript to see if that student took the most challenging math courses available, regardless of the grade received in the class. Colleges do look at grades, but more importantly, they like to see students who are willing to challenge themselves.

How does the weight system work for Advancement Placement classes, honors classes, gifted classes and Magnet classes work and how do colleges factor these classes into the admissions process?

At Kennesaw Mountain High School, students who elect to take more challenging coursework are rewarded with an extra .5 or 1 quality point which is added to the 4 point GPA scale. Any advanced placement class receives a full quality point. For instance, if a student receives a ‘B’ in AP Chemistry, a 4.0 is included in that student’s cumulative GPA for that class. Most, but not all, honors classes receive an extra .5 quality and therefore a ‘B’ in an honors class contributes 3.5 to the cumulative GPA. Magnet classes that are also an honors class receives an extra .5 quality point while Magnet classes that are not honors receive no quality points. Gifted classes are only available to students who qualify as gifted under Georgia law and therefore do not receive any quality points.

Many colleges alter a student’s GPA to fit their admissions formula because of discrepancies from school district to school district. For instance, some school districts use a 4-point scale, some a 7-point, and some simply use numerical GPA’s. As a result, some, but not all, colleges choose to recalculate a student’s GPA. Every college may recalculate differently, but many schools remove any qualities points added to a class and then recalculate every student’s GPA on a 4-point scale. The importance of rigorous class work, such as AP and honors classes, is not removed from the admissions process; it is simply included elsewhere. Colleges look closely at the specific classes a student takes and look favorably upon those that take the most challenging classes available. Therefore, the Magnet program strongly recommends all its students to take challenging courses, especially in areas that particularly interest the student and may become future college routes.

How much homework will I have?

Just enough to make procrastination a problem. If you can’t budget your time well, you will have problems coping with the homework load. There will be nights you’re completely free, and there will be nights when you spend 8 hours working. The easiest way to combat this is to spread out your assignments. Teachers are generally pretty good about hearing what’s going on in all the classes, so often tests and projects aren’t assigned all at the same time. However, teachers are not perfect, so sometimes you’ll end up with three tests, two projects, and a concert all in one week. You have to be flexible-roll with the punches-and keep a good attitude. How much homework you’re going to have is not the question to ask; the question is rather, How seriously are you willing to take the homework?

The freshman and sophomores years of the Magnet program are the most difficult and therefore are accompanied by the most homework. Fortunately, scheduling for these two years has some flexibility and therefore the amount of homework in largely in each student’s hands. For instance, a student who chooses to take three magnet courses plus a foreign language course in one semester will most likely have more homework than a student who scatters those courses over several semesters and choices to take several electives throughout those two years. Beyond sophomore year, the schedules are highly specialized and therefore have varying degrees of difficulty and amounts of homework, but generally students find these two years to be less stressful than the first two.

What are the qualifications for participating in the Magnet Program’s Advanced Scientific Internship course?

The Advanced Scientific Internship course is required for the completion of the Magnet Program. All Magnet students complete the course in their senior (12th grade) year. The student must successfully complete two AP math/science courses in addition to the core Magnet math and science courses in order to be able to participate in the Internship program. Each student is responsible for arranging his/her internship as well as transportation to and from the internship site each day. The student is also responsible for the expenses of appropriate clothing, food, and transportation. The purpose of the internship is to allow students to experience a work field of interest related to math, science, or technology. Gaining everyday real-life experience in a particular field allows students to determine whether or not they would like to pursue a career in that area. Internship experience enhances the student’s Advanced Scientific Research Project, which is a semester-long experimental research project on a topic related to the student’s internship.

How are middle school credits incorporated in the Magnet program?

The option about electing to take or drop math and foreign language credits from middle school changes frequently, so check with your guidance counselor to determine the rule for your class. If you have a choice and if you’re striving for high class rank, the trend shows it is better to drop the credits from middle school. If a high class rank is not a priority, neither keeping nor dropping the credits has proved beneficial nor detrimental. The main thing to keep in mind is that the middle school credits count only as a 4.0 and can thus raise or lower your GPA. If your desired GPA is greater than a 4.0, dropping the credits will help your GPA. If you desired GPA is lower than a 4.0, keeping the credits will help you.

How difficult is it to adjust to the Magnet program and does the level of difficulty increase or decrease over the four years?

The Magnet program itself is very easy to adjust to. Within the first year, a student will become familiar with the setting that the program provides and get to know the peers that they will have in their Magnet classes. A supportive environment is set up perfectly for Magnet students so that their first year has basic classes that allow the students to adjust to the Magnet program without trouble.

The question of increasing difficulty disturbs many students as they enter the Magnet program. Magnet students receive great instruction and challenge by the freshman and sophomore Magnet teachers. Afterwards, Magnet students find themselves able to tackle difficult courses. The methods and instruction given to them in the first two years enable them to complete their high school education with relative ease.

Can I be in the magnet program if I don’t really like math, science, and technology?

You can, but you won’t enjoy it. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a magnet student who dislikes math, science, and/or technology. You can get by without liking technology, so long as you’re still good at it, but math and science? The entire program is centered around rigorous curriculum in math and science. Rigorous, for you non-verbal kids, means difficult but rewarding. We do not suggest joining magnet unless you really like math, science, and technology.

What is the difference between Advanced Placement classes, honors classes, gifted classes, and magnet classes?

Often, this depends on the teacher and the course. Numerically speaking, for GPA calculation purposes, an “honors class” receives an extra 0.5 quality points, an “AP class” (Advanced Placement) receives an extra 1.0 quality points, and a “magnet” or “gifted” class receives no special GPA considerations. “Magnet” is a distinction given to classes that are predominantly taken by magnet students (surprising, I know). A magnet class is generally more difficult than a non-magnet class, but can be classified as on-level, honors, or AP for GPA purposes. Magnet Honors Biology gets an extra 0.5, Magnet Analysis gets an extra 1.0, and Magnet Intro to Technology gets no special consideration. The “Magnet” title shows up on transcripts, however, and impresses colleges as being more than your run-of-the-mill class. It’s generally considered to be above honors and just below AP. “Gifted” runs in much the same way-by itself, there’s no numerical advantage, but it’s a more difficult class, it’s on a higher level, and it looks better on a transcript. Besides, gifted classes have smaller sizes and more certified teachers, oftentimes. The easiest summary would be to say that honors and AP classes get quality points, and “Magnet” and “Gifted” classes kick it up a notch. Bam!

If I’m going to Kennesaw Mountain anyway, what’s the benefit to being in the magnet program?

Support and preferential treatment. Besides being one big happy family full of kids who share the same experiences, friends, and help strategies, the magnet program is a direct link to the administration. Magnet kids generally get first priority for scheduling and such things. From magnet treats to magnet movie night to magnet schedules to magnet trips, there are numerous activities and “perks” offered to “official magnet students” that are not offered to the rest of the student body. Besides, it’s more fun to say you attend the Academy of Math, Science, and Technology at Kennesaw Mountain (or an equivalent thereof) than to say you go to KMHS.

How is the magnet program different from IB?

The magnet program at Kennesaw Mountain High School is different from Campbell’s International Baccalaureate in a couple of ways. First, Kennesaw Mountain has a large focus on math and science, whereas IB is focused more on the humanities and foreign languages. The IB is also internationally based and the students are only in the IB program during their junior and senior years. Freshman and sophomore years comprise the pre-IB program.

Can I have a social life or be involved in extracurricular activities and still be in the magnet program?

A social life and involvement in extracurriculars are very common themes among magnet students, and it is not always hard to do both. The key is balancing your difficult classes and your other activities. Therefore if you wish to have a social life and participate in extracurriculars (as many magnet students do), it is best to regulate the time that you spend. Also ask other students about how much time activities really take so that you can make intelligent decisions. Finally, while we all might like to do everything, be realistic about how many activities you should try at one time, keeping in mind the academic requirements of this program.

Is the magnet program separated from the main student body?

The magnet program is only separated during special magnet classes, which normally comprise between one and two periods of the day, depending upon the schedule. Any other classes are open to the entire student body, and therefore are not separated.

Is participation in a magnet program important to colleges?

In conversations with admissions representatives around the country, especially here in Georgia (Georgia Tech and UGA), we have learned that taking rigorous courses means a great deal in the college admissions process. They would rather see students challenging themselves than sitting back and taking the easy route. Also, they are well aware that the word “magnet” before the course title indicates that the level is above honors and just below Advanced Placement. Additionally, we include a letter of explanation with every college transcript with a full explanation of our program, including our participation in NCSSSMST (National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Math, Science & Technology), a distinguished association for magnet schools across the country.

What happens if I leave the magnet program at KMHS?

Please go to the academic policy page for specifics, but basically, according to Cobb County policy, if you are zoned for KMHS and leave the magnet program for whatever reason (voluntarily or involuntarily) within the first three years, you are moved from the magnet “house” to the general KMHS population and are assigned a new guidance counselor to assist your scheduling needs. If you are zoned for another high school and leave the magnet program for whatever reason, you may apply to the principal for an administrative transfer to remain at KMHS. The form can be found on the CCSD website. If you choose to return to your home school, you will follow the GHSA rules for transfer.  This generally means that for extracurricular activities, students will lose a full year of eligibility because when you come to KMHS as a freshman, this is considered your “home” school, and if you leave, you then become technically a transfer student to your zoned high school. Obviously, the bottom line is that it’s in the best interest of students (and parents) to make wise choices in the beginning; however, we understand full well that life happens, so we’re here to help if difficult decisions have to be made.

Can I transfer to the KMHS Academy from another school or from out of district?

The Cobb County policy for transfers is very clear. If you are currently a student at a Cobb County magnet school, you are eligible to apply for transfer to another magnet program as a rising sophomore, but approval must be secured from the Magnet Coordinators of both the sending and receiving school. Students currently enrolled in a Cobb County school housing a magnet program may also apply for admissions as rising sophomores if they have not applied previously, i.e. KMHS rising sophomores may apply to our magnet program, but they may not apply to any other magnet program in the county. This application will be considered by the special transfer admissions committee (the KMHS Assistant Principal for Curriculum, the Magnet Coordinator, and the Magnet Guidance Counselor). Because magnet students are accelerated in both math and science, this transfer is often impractical. Students from out of district who are moving to Cobb County may apply for admission as a sophomore also, but the same issues arise when considering if they might be able to complete the program in light of the acceleration. The Coordinator will conference with all students and parents who are considering such transfers, and the Guidance Counselor will carefully scrutinize the student’s transcript to assess the practicability of the transfer before presenting the case to the transfer admissions committee. Transfers are not allowed after the sophomore year.