Starry's College Application Tips for Homeschoolers

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Starry's College Application Tips for Homeschoolers

Post by Starry on Fri 20 Dec 2013, 4:55 pm

This is basically what the title says: a list of college application tips for homeschoolers. I've learned a lot about college applications this year. Most of it I've learned the hard way. Hopefully, you folks will be able to learn from my mistakes/sudden realizations/stress. I'll update the list whenever I think of something new.

If you have a question or want to add something to the list, post below or PM me. If you're a random internet person who doesn't want to sign up just sign up, we're nice and mostly socialized here you can email me at teenhomeschooltalk@gmail.com.

THE LIST

> Start working on your transcript as early as possible. Maybe make a list of courses you plan to take at the start of every year and expand on the list at the end of the year. Course descriptions are important if you plan to apply to a selective college or want to apply for scholarships, so don't skip out on writing them. You'll be glad you did. And please, for the love of all that is holy, do not wait until fall of your senior year to write your transcript! All it will do is create stress. (If you don't know where to start with your transcript, Lee Binz's Setting the Records Straight is an excellent book.)

> While we're talking about transcripts... Start writing your resume at about the same time you start writing your transcript (i.e. the beginning of your freshman year). Again, doing so will cut down on stress.

> Keep track of college admissions requirements for homeschooled students. They can be different from public school students' admissions requirements. Some schools don't require anything different. Some require extra teacher recommendations. Some require extra SAT Subject Tests. Just keep track so you're not surprised.

> Also keep track of admissions requirements for all students, particularly curriculum/course requirements.

> Take the PSAT. It's short, it's easy to sign up for (I just had to call my local high school's office), and it gives you an idea of what the SAT is like. It also puts you in the running for the National Merit Scholarship.

> If you don't want to get a huge amount of mail, don't check the college search service box on the PSAT or SAT.

> Don't procrastinate registering for the SAT. Not all test centers offer all test dates. If you don't want to end up driving an hour and a half to take the SAT, register early. This actually happened to me. Twice. The first time was completely my fault. The second time was due to my local high school (whose guidance counselor had told me in May that they'd be offering the October SAT) not getting registration online and canceling the SAT presentation because not enough people signed up for it. Sigh.

> Don't freak out about the SAT. Yeah, yeah, easier said than done, I know. Just study for it and get plenty of sleep the night before. You'll do fine.

> I have just one thing to say about looking at the College Confidential to see how wonderful/good/bad/abysmal your SAT score is: don't do it. They have some good advice about other things, but when it comes to SAT scores... They're crazy. Just look at how your score compares to the middle 50% of SAT scores at the colleges you plan to apply to. (Most colleges have this information on the admissions section of their websites. The College Board's Big Future website also has SAT information for most colleges.) If it's in or above that range, don't worry about it.

> That said, the College Confidential can provide some great advice and resources. I recommend getting an account.

> Start writing your college application essays early. Like, as soon as you know you're going to apply somewhere. It'll give you more time to get them just right.

> Start planning to find recommenders in your junior year. Lots of schools require recommendations from science or math teachers. You might have to take a class at a public high school, community college, or university. Plan ahead.

> Large schools usually have plenty of experience with homeschoolers, but small schools don't always know what to do with us. If you're applying somewhere small, you might end up needing to have more of a dialogue with the admissions department. Schools that have less experience with homeschooled students often have trouble comparing them to their traditionally-schooled counterparts. Don't get upset if you have to talk to admissions counselors/officials/people a lot. They're there to help you present an accurate picture of yourself to the college.

> Guess what? On your transcript, you can call your homeschool anything you want. You could even call it Hogwarts. That doesn't mean you should. Be professional.

> If it's your senior year and you haven't written your transcript or you haven't written your resume or you don't think you're going to get in anywhere... Relax. You'll do fine. If you've been homeschooled, you know how to handle your own education. Trust yourself.
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Starry
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