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MST Program FAQ

  1. What are the requirements for admissions?  For all admissions related questions, please visit the admissions page.
  2. Will I be able to see my non-Magnet friends if I’m accepted into the Magnet program?  Yes, absolutely.  In your freshmen year, only 1/2 of your day is blocked together with your grade level Magnet peers.  The other half of the day you’re mixed into the regular schedule based on your curricular needs.  Your sophomore year is only two classes.  By your junior year, you branch off almost completely away from the Magnet cohorts, though you’ll still likely be in many of the same classes with those fellow Magnet students you’ve come to know over the past two years.  To see a typical schedule of a Magnet student with all the options available, visit the schedule page.
  3. What is different about the Magnet curriculum? Unlike in other classes, Magnet students do a yearlong project on a scientific question of their interest that is integrated with their Magnet coursework. They will also do more group projects in the Principles of Tech class.
  4. How is a Magnet AP class different than a regular AP class? The curriculum for AP classes is prescribed by the College Board and tested on in the spring. The results from this determine eligibility for potential college credit, depending on the AP credit policy articulated by each institution. Because of that, there’s not much difference in terms of curriculum. The main difference is the grouping of the students, but that’s only true for AP Biology and AP Environmental Science.  This grouping allows for us to sometimes use parts of class periods or entire periods for creating blocks of time for Magnet projects and activities. AP Environmental Science is also currently only available to Magnet students, who take this in their freshmen year. The Magnet Pre-AP English classes, however, do tend to be more unique than the regular Pre-AP classes since there’s more flexibility with their curriculum and no final assessment aligned with a prescribed curriculum. The main differences are the research component, focus on APA vs. MLA, and the inclusion of different reading material and activities. But they tend to cover many of the same anchor assignments and readings.
  5. Will Magnet mean that I’ll have more homework than if I just took non-Magnet classes? Not necessarily. If you are expecting to take advanced classes at Camas High School, then you’re going to have a greater workload that won’t really differ between Magnet and non-Magnet. Bottom line is that high school is more work and all students experience a “culture shock” and period of acclimation around this. One of the main differences with Magnet work load is the research project you’ll do that is drawn out over the course of the year.  Some of the work for these projects will require you to work with your project team outside of the school day, which will potentially generate “more” work for you, but it’s work based on a topic that you’ve selected, and likely with a team that you’ve selected, too. There’s not as many of these larger, extended, extra-curricular projects in regular advanced classes.
  6. Who are the teachers for the Magnet program? Please visit the staff page for more information.
  7. What sorts of project study will I get to do? Students will get to do yearlong projects on a scientific question or topic of their interest. Students can enter these projects into science fairs like Imagine Tomorrow or the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair. Students will also get to do a project study during their senior year for their internships.
  8. Can I still participate in sports? Of course. Many Magnet students participate in sports like cross country, track, soccer, football, tennis, and many of them are on varsity. Extracurricular activities and Magnet or AP coursework can be balanced if the student manages his or her time wisely.
  9. What if I decide the Magnet isn’t the right fit for me? If Magnet isn’t the best fit for you, then you have other great options at Camas High School. You can still take advanced classes without being in Magnet.
  10. Can I do Running Start and still be in the Magnet? The rigors of running back and forth between the Running Start and Magnet have almost universally been proven to be too tough to overcome. In short, it’s best to choose one or the other.
  11. How does the Magnet help students prepare for college? We are still figuring out ways to track this with our first groups of graduates, but many of our alumni have been asked that question.  To see some of their answers, visit the graduate profiles.  In a nutshell, though, learning and practicing the research process very well, working on a team, doing internships, getting lots of practice speaking on your feet, and working with such an academically minded and concentrated group of peers all seems to have impacted our students and their work/success in college in a positive way.
  12. How will Camas High School help colleges understand the work I’ve done in the Magnet program? In your senior year, you can ask your Magnet teachers to write letters of recommendation for you. They will mention your involvement in the program in their letters of recommendation.  Also, Camas High School sends outs a letter of information about the program with transcript requests.
  13. Which colleges do Magnet students attend after high school? After high school, the vast majority of the Magnet students attend 4-year universities. We have graduates who are attending big name schools like California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and the Naval Academy, but most of our graduates stay in the Pacific Northwest, largely for financial reasons, and attend in-state schools like the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University. Check the graduates page for more information, including some profiles of recent alums.
  14. Are there any social activities for the Magnet students?  Absolutely!  Every two years, Magnet students have the opportunity to go to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Magnet students also organize lock-ins and overnighters at the school where they get to play games and watch movies together. We also take field trips to Portland to see plays, hear guest lectures, visit Powell’s, and eat out.  About once or twice a semester, the parents put on a Magnet PLC breakfast for the students and staff. We are a very social group, and that helps build a culture of friendship, support, and trust, one of the strongest aspects of our program.
  15. How can I be involved as a Magnet parent? Magnet parents can chaperone at Magnet overnighters or on field trips like the Ashland trip. Once or twice a semester, we have breakfast for the Magnet students on a Friday PLC morning. Parents can help out by bringing food. And we’re always interested in bringing in parent professionals who’d like to help share their career wisdom with us.

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