1. time flies and high school will be here in, like, 4 days; and
2. too much information too soon is not a problem when it comes to planning for high school and The Great Beyond.
So, as we continue to work through middle school material, I wanted to know ahead of time how to prepare for college.
In our homeschool, the ultimate educational goal is to have equipped our children for whatever God may call them to do after they finish here, be that college, a gap year, work, military, missions/ministry. Attending college has always seemed the most reliant on documentation, so I've figured that if our ducks are in a row for college applications (in terms of transcripts, testing, letters of recommendation), then we'll likely have the supporting requirements for any other option.
What a blessing that the university our speaker represented uses The Common Application, as do 400 other institutions in the US (including both dh's and my undergraduate alma maters)!
Here's some points that I came away with:
- Applicants from both public and private high schools have transcripts that run the gamut in levels of clarity. Admission officers (AO) have to look at each transcript individually to sort out how the school awards credit and determines GPAs. Our guest mentioned that some schools award 5 credits per class, whereas others award 1 credit per class (a full year class would get .5 credit per semester). Apparently, high school transcripts come with information detailing that schools stats, which include how credit is awarded. Like a high school transcript, a homeschool transcript will also need to define how credit is awarded at their "institution." For example, the AO said some homeschool applicants have no grades reported, however the transcript will define that credit is given only for coursework completed with an A/B average.
- I believe most of us left with the feeling that AOs at this particular institution have had good experiences with homeschoolers and there is a level of trust that parents are reporting the truth and not inflating performance. Homeschoolers have been successful at this particular institution in the past, so this trust has been earned over the years...
- ....Which makes me grateful to those who've come before me on this homeschool journey.
- ACT vs. SAT -- take your pick. Not a biggie. The ACT is more subject-based, the SAT is designed to assess thinking skills. As the woman on this video says, pick the one that makes your child look like a genius:
- Along with the standardized testing issue, this particular institution (and so it appears, the others who use The Common Application) uses a technique some institutions call "super score." if you take a standardized test multiple times, you will report your highest subtest score. In this way, they are looking at your best performance across all attempts.
- APs and CLEPs can be valuable to verify a child' transcript. For example, if you are reported a 3.6 GPA, but the ACT/SAT scores don't corroborate this level of accomplishment, good performance on APs and CLEPs may help. But, if you are look to gain credit for work completed before high school, do your research ahead of time, as each institution deals with these differently.
- Which takes me to the last point, repeated several times: do your research. HSLDA was recommended for their Homeschooling Through High School resources.
I would say I walked away from the evening feeling much more comfortable with the idea of creating a transcript for each of my children when the time comes. My biggest question -- figuring credit -- was easily answered and isn't as scary as I first thought. The whole transcript process is not rocket science and since I've applied to college twice as has my husband, I think we can figure this out when the time comes.