For the people that don’t know, CROEM is the specialized in Science and Math high school that I currently attend. In order to attend CROEM, every student has to compete for 150 spots against many more applications. This sometimes makes students anxious. In this post I will answer some questions from a prospective student about the school. I hope that my answers are useful for her and any other student applying.
1. How is the school? How does it look like?
CROEM used to be a military base before it became a school in 1968. Most of the buildings are original, which means that you will notice the Military Style. The buildings aren’t that pretty, they are very practical. There are some students that don’t like the environment and by October they decide to get out of the school, but the majority will stay and keep studying because of the opportunities that are only found at CROEM in Puerto Rico.
You can know more about the school if you visit it! For this the only thing you have to do is arrange a visit with the school counselor. Just call 787-832-0854 and ask to talk with Mrs. Magaly HernÃ¡ndez, which is the school counselor. You can also e-mail me and I can personally arrange a visit for you with her. Just contact us! Groups visits are encouraged because when students come in groups we can give the whole group a more thorough tour and orientation at the school library. You can talk to your teachers so they arrange a group visit for you and your classmates. If that isn’t possible, you can always visit on your own and we’ll do the best in showing you all of the facilities.
I will post pictures later when I can. You can see some pictures taken at CROEM in my May 2005 entries.
2. What courses are offered?
The courses offered are:
– Human Anatomy*
– Organic Chemistry*
– Environmental Chemistry*
– UET (Uses of Energy into Transportation)
– Environmental Sciences*
– Earth Sciences*
– Elemental Algebra
– Algebra and Trigonometry
– Integrated Math III
– Analytical Geometry*
– Linear Algebra*
– Mathematics Topics (Investigation and reasoning)*
– United States History
– Puerto Rico History
– Universal History
– Puerto Rican Geography*
– Puerto Rican Government*
– Electoral Process*
– English 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and Advanced English
– Spanish 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and Advanced Spanish
– Online French (given online) *
– Manual Arts*
– Graphic Design*
– Engineering Pre-Graphics*
– Applied Arts*
Domestic Economy:(that’s like cooking and stuff!)
– Gourmet Cooking*
– Responsible Paternity*
– Some others!
Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are electives with are taken only for one semester and have a 1/2 credits value.
CROEM students have the opportunity of choosing their curriculums and the courses they want to take as long as they can fulfill the graduation requirements, which are the following:
Three of the following:
Biology, Chemistry, Physics and/or Environmental Sciences
3 credits, including Geometry
3 credits including:
U.S. and P.R. History
Domestic Economy (that’s like cooking and stuff)
1 credit including Paternal Responsibility
Students have to fulfill the requirements above to be able to graduate from High School; all of the students are oriented the first week about the different ways of fulfilling those requirements while still taking all of the courses they want to take. The requirements I posted above are the High School requirements, but if you come since 9th grade you’ll have to add the following: Earth Sciences, one math credit, Spanish 9th, English 9th, Universal History, 1/2 credit in health, 1 credit in art, 1 credit in Physical Education and 1 credit in Domestic Economy. If you already have those courses from grades 7th and 8th then you might choose other courses. It is a requirement by CROEM standards that you take AT LEAST 9 credits per year, including 1/2 credits in art, 1/2 credits in Domestic Economy, 2 credits of Sciences and 2 credits of Math.
3. How are the rooms?
The rooms are big, I don’t know the exact measures but I do know that there is enough space. If you are a girl, you will have to share your room with 3 more girls (there are 4 girls per room). If you are a guy, you’ll have to share the room with 5 more guys (yup, six guys per room). At the beginning those numbers sounds too big! I mean, I was used to have my OWN room. But you’ll realize that having many roommates is a key part in your development as a CROEM student and you will probably not mind having 3 or 5 more persons in your room after you get to know them. Those roommates will probably become like your brothers/sisters.
There are 3 residences, two for the girls and one for the guys. Girls’ residences have 10 rooms each, and every two rooms share one bathroom. The guys’ residence has 12 rooms and only one HUGE community bathroom. The residences are cleaned by the students (us) every night and they stay clean most of the time.
4. Which are the responsibilities with your roommates?
The most important thing is not to bother your roommates. Don’t be noisy if your roommate is trying to sleep or studying! There are residential teachers all the time. Those residential teachers are in each of the residences to make sure that the students behave properly and respect every other student. They are also there to inspect if the students have done their daily tasks.
Each room has to do a community task and a room task. Community task might include cleaning the residence halls, the study room, the outdoors (picking up some papers), and in the guys case the bathroom. Room tasks might include sweep, mop, clean the doors, or in the girls case the bathroom. Those task combined usually take no more than 30 minutes and are done from 8:30 pm – 9:00 pm.
5. Which activities are available in the school?
The school has a variety of activities including baseball, basketball, volleyball and even soccer teams. You can also play those sports with friends in the school facilities and other sports like chess and table tennis. The school also has a Gym available for all of the students. Some students also play different types of card games and board games.
The school also has different clubs that you might join since your first year including the Counseling Club, Chemistry Society, Future Medical Society, GLOBE (hosted by NASA), Literature and Art Association, Math Club, National Honor Society, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Jr. (first chapter founded in PR and the Caribbean!), and the Solar Team among others. You might find yourself joining a couple of these clubs since they have many different activities for its members. If you know about a club that is not here and want to make one, you just have to talk a teacher and start a new club. An example of this is the Literature and Art Association which is in its second year and was founded by a student and the Advanced Spanish professor.
There are also other activities that include the Prayer Circle. The Prayer Circle host meetings every Tuesday and Thursday for 1/2 hour during the launch period to praise God. It’s not affiliated with a certain religion and it has members of all the different Christian churches and the Catholic Church. It is a good time to relax and you can join them without asking! Just go to their meeting place when you feel like it.
6. Who are the professors? How are they?
CROEM teachers/professors are very qualified in the field they teach. CROEM faculty currently has 6 science, 5 math, 2 history, 2 Spanish, 2 English, 2 art, 1 health and 1 physical education teachers. There are approximately 150 students in the school, which means that the student-teacher rate is 7:1. This guarantees that most of the teachers you take classes with will know you by first and even last name.
Some of our teachers hold Master degrees and some of them are currently working on their Doctor degrees! The quality of the teachers is extremely superior to many of the other High Schools including Private Schools in Puerto Rico. It is thanks to those great teachers that CROEM High School is such a great institution for all of us. CROEM prepares you for college life as no other High School can. 14 out of about 60 students who took the PEAU test during the 2005 administration, which is commonly known as the College Board in Puerto Rico and is used for admission to universities in Puerto Rico, were among the Top 100 scores in the. Also ALL of the CROEM students have scores higher that the average scores in those tests.
Another important quality of CROEM teachers is that they are very supportive. They are there to help you and guide you in the process of adaptation to the new environment. Along with the school counselor and the social worker, the teachers makes it easier for you to get used to CROEM and will make you feel more confident of living by your own. Many students develop great relationships with teachers and teachers often become the student’s confident and even psychologists! It’s awesome having such a great teachers that really care about the students.
7. How is the schedule/program?
You will be in CROEM during the whole week. You will get to CROEM every Sunday from 4 to 7 pm and will go back to your house on Fridays after 12 in the midday. This can change if there are holidays during those weeks.
Now, about the class schedule you will take 9 classes minimum. Classes taken on Mondays and Wednesdays are 1:00 hour long, Tuesdays and Thursdays are 1:30 hours long and Fridays are 30 minutes long. Some classes have to be taken Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays OR Tuesdays and Thursdays, while others have to be taken every day of the week.
For example, science and math courses that are worth 1 credit are taken everyday, while every other class has to be taken Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays OR Tuesdays and Thursdays.
8. How are the test and interviews?
The admission tests are prepared and scored by the College Board office of Latin America and the Caribbean, which ensures the quality of the tests. You should not worry about those tests because they are reasoning tests. You might want to review the material of your math, Spanish and English courses but you shouldn’t try to study everything. My recommendation is that you review the material of those courses and then sleep a lot! The most important thing is to be very alert and awake during the tests because they are long and you will need lots of energy to complete them. But don’t stress about it, they are mostly used for seeing if you remember basic concepts of your courses, not advanced stuff.
You should not worry about the interviews. There were no interviews last year and I think this year there will be no interviews again. If there are interviews, you just have to be yourself in them and let the interviewer know why you are a great student and why you deserve to be in the school, but you don’t want to sound arrogant at the same time. Just be humble but point out your good things.
Thanks Anairy for your questions. Any other question you might have just ask, same for all of the other students that are considering CROEM for their High School studies!