From Application to Acceptance: 4 Tips for Homeschooled Teens Going to College – Guest Post

March 7, 2011

Being homeschooled from grade school through high school, I did not have access to as much college application counseling as my peers attending public school did. While many of my friends going to school had teachers, administrators, and counselors offering advice to high school seniors, I, for the most part, had to figure things out on my own with the help of my parents. However, I did have a singular advantage I had the time and focus to rigorously study for the SAT without having to worry about taking state standardized tests or attend a strict set of classes that took up many of my public school peers’ schedules. Here are a few things I did that helped me make it through the application process, culminating in being accepted to several competitive universities:

1. Start practicing for the SAT a year in advance.

While many students find the prospect of taking a timed, standardized test overwhelming, the test itself is not as difficult as many make it out to be. As many have noted before, the SAT does not measure intelligence; it measures you’re ability to take a standardized test. That being said, the only way to excel at the SAT is to take as many practice tests as you can. Buying an SAT guide, like Princeton Review’s or Kaplan’s, can be very helpful in teaching you test-taking strategies. When I took my first official SAT, I had taken maybe 30 or 40 practice tests.

2. Develop adult relationships outside your family in order to get solid recommendations.

Universities understand that homeschooled students won’t be able to provide letters of recommendation from teachers in the traditional sense, but many institutions do require letters from adults who are not relatives. As such, you’ll want to start thinking of adults who can assess your strengths and abilities, whether it‚Äôs a piano teacher, a boss from a summer job, a pastor, or a supervisor from a volunteer stint. Don’t ask your recommenders in the last minute (five to six months before the deadline is a good rule of thumb), and be sure to thank them afterwards.

3. Pay special attention to your personal statement.

Unlike many of your high school counterparts, you won’t have traditional venues to express the strength of your academic record, so make sure to take as much advantage of the personal statement as you can, since it’ll be a space in which you can distinguish yourself among other applicants. Write several drafts and show it to others for feedback. Aside from obvious considerations, like making sure it’s error-free, be sure to be creative but not gimmicky, professional but not stilted or pretentious.

4. If you want to qualify for federal aid, be sure to check your state and each school’s guidelines for homeschoolers.

Financial aid can be a huge asset, especially if you are hoping to get into a top-tier school. You could stand to qualify for tens of thousands of dollars in grants (which you don’t have to pay back) as well as loans. Some states require that you take some sort of certification test that stands in for a GED or high school diploma.

These are just a few basic guidelines for homeschoolers who are hoping to apply and enroll in an institution of higher education. Even though you’ll have to go through the application process on your own, by enlisting the support from your parents and your community, as well as doing plenty of your own research, you’ll prove to be as competitive an applicant as any traditional high school student.


Thank you to our guest writer:

Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.


Posted under Homeschool College Prep, Homeschool Teens

Launch of New Homeschool Scholarship Website

August 24, 2010

Homeschoolers may be welcomed regularly into most of the nation’s colleges and universities, but the scholarship application process still favors traditional students.¬† It can be hard to fill out the required fields and qualify for¬†scholarships if you have an unconventional education.

Here’s a great new resource to help fill this need:

David Craft and his family just launched a much needed Homeschool Scholarship website.¬†¬†Upon seeing a great need, they¬†decided to offer a homeschool scholarship through their own small business and are¬†challenging¬†others to give what they can to support the next generation.¬†¬†If you’re looking for scholarships or are a business or charitable person who would like to sponsor a college-bound homeschooler, check them out and spread the word.¬†

Do you know of other good resources for homeschool scholarships?  Please share them with all of us in the comment section!

Posted under Homeschool Teens

Homeschool Teen Looking for Scholarship Advice?

May 27, 2009

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Here’s some info I could have used when filling out those endless scholarship applications:

Josh Barsch reads lots of scholarship applications and helps decide who gets the money.¬† After seeing tons of mistakes on applications that many scholarship applicants made, he wrote a book, and now produces a website called¬†“Give Me Scholarships.”¬† He offers lots of resources to help kids not make “stipid mistakes” on their scholarship applications, especially in the essay writing department.

If you have a high school aged child looking for scholarships, make sure to check out his site before submitting that application and/or essay.

 

Posted under Homeschool Teens

Homeschool Teen Social Resources – Thursday Topics

May 21, 2009

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A reader, Cindy, mentioned she would like to see more information for homeschooling teens, since it is pretty sparse compared to homeschool ideas for younger kids.

I don’t have any teenagers yet, but my with my oldest (9-years-old) giving me a the occasional “Whatever!”, I’m not far off ūüôā

It seems a lot of kids return to school during the high school years and it is more difficult to help those who don’t, find social outlets and friends.

How do you do it?  Have you found something that works well that you could share with us?

Here are some of my ideas:

  1. Church teen groups – Depending on your religious persuasion, many churches expend special effort to help provide wholesome activities and social groups for teenagers.¬† If you don’t currently belong to a church, ask around and find out from friends which teen group their family really enjoys.
  2. Volunteer РChoose an area that your teen is interested in and explore the volunteer opportunities.  Ask around locally or try a site like Volunteer Match to find ideas in your area.
  3. Intern or Shadow РAgain, find what your teen is interested in, and find if they can shadow someone in that field for a bit or do a summer internship.  Many careers have shadowing and/or intern programs already set up.  Check with your local high school and college career centers for more info.  (I shadowed an emergency room doctor once a week for a few months before deciding to go to medical school.  It was a great experience!)
  4. Activities at the local high school – In many states, homeschool teens are welcome to participate in team sports, electives, and extracurricular activities without having to go to the regular classes.¬† It’s a great way to make friends and also to find low-cost activities like band, choir, drama clubs, and team sports.
  5. Host a group РFind a topic your teen and his/her friends are interested in, and help organize get-togethers, parties, and group activities.  You could help them put together a play, invite an author in to give them some novel writing tips, provide space and materials for building and launching rockets or drawing cartoons, help them launch a group blog, send them to the movies once a week and have them write a group review and rating for the local paper . . .  The possibilities are endless, and many times all you need to do is provide a bit of direction and resources.

Online Ideas:

  1. “Homeschooling Teens” on Family Education
  2. “Why Homeschool Teens” on HSLDA
  3. Search Yahoo Groups for Homeschool Teen Groups, or start one for your area.
  4. A-Z Home’s Cool Teen Resource Page

Your turn:  What are your best ideas to help and encourage teenage homeschoolers in their social life?

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Posted under Homeschool Teens, Thursday Topics