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9/7/2006 10:17:50 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--College Admissions, Part II

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--September 2006
The Road to College Admissions, Part II
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Dear Friends,

It's September and the smell of fall is in the air. The chrysanthemums
are beginning to bloom and the leaves will soon be turning beautiful
colors. As new books are being examined and pencils are being
sharpened, take a few minutes to review your reasons for
homeschooling, and renew your vision by prayerfully seeking the Lord's
help right from the start. We'll ask the Lord, along with you, to
make this your best year of homeschooling yet!

This newsletter is the second installment of a three-part series on
The Road to College Admissions. Last month, we discussed the
spiritual preparation for making a college decision and also how to
research colleges in order to make good college choices with your
child. This month we'll cover the specifics of applying to colleges,
and also take a look at the important elements of a college visit.

THE COLLEGE APPLICATION PACKET

The college application packet may include along with the application
form a separate financial aid application as well as information for
supplying the college with a high school transcript, SAT/ACT scores,
letters of recommendation, guidance counselor form, and essay.

Because the vast majority of colleges have already processed at least
one homeschooled student, you probably won't be the first to apply so
there is no need to fear even though at first glance this application
process may appear lengthy and involved. You can help make this
process less burdensome or time-consuming just by organizing your
approach to it and by being diligent to record and document
information as your child progresses through the high school years.

After completing the college research, you may want to narrow down the
number of schools your child applies to--possibly two or three. This
allows for contingencies and comparisons of financial aid and
scholarship offers from several schools. Along with the application
fees there are also fees to be paid to have your child's college
entrance scores sent, so keep this in mind when you consider the
number of schools to which your child will apply.

Although each college will set its own admission policies (and some
colleges even have special policies for homeschooled students), here
is what you can usually expect:

Colleges have strict deadlines for applying so note these deadlines
and give your child plenty of time to complete the application. Since
many colleges require an essay and letters of recommendation,
completing a college application is not a 10-minute job; it may take
several hours over a number of weeks to complete! Colleges prefer
online applications since it saves them time, and the advantage to you
is that when you submit your application you will immediately be
prompted if you have omitted a piece of information. Also, in most
cases, you can begin filling out the application, save the
information, and then come back at another time to complete it. Do
not leave any area of the application blank--if you have questions,
simply email or call the college admissions office and ask any
questions you may have.

Financial Aid Application

Along with application deadlines, schools also have financial aid
application deadlines. You do not need to wait until your child is an
admitted student before making application for financial aid. Fill
out the FAFSA form as soon after January 1 as you can. The HSLDA
website provides helpful links to college financial aid information
and a recent high school email newsletter covered this topic and is
now available in the email archives. See
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3257 .

High School Transcript

Colleges will request a high school transcript. As the homeschool
parent you can generate your own transcript, or if you are enrolled in
an umbrella or oversight program, it may supply you with a transcript.
Briefly, a high school transcript is a concise record of the academic
courses your child completed in high school. For a more detailed
explanation of transcripts see HSLDA's website
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3258 and also the October 2005 issue
of the Homeschooling Thru High School email newsletter
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3259 .

Test Scores

College entrance test scores (SAT/ACT) are often required for college
admission. Most colleges request these test scores be sent directly
to them from the testing organization. For more information on
registering for the PSAT, SAT and ACT see the October 2005 newsletter,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3260 , or the testing section of
HSLDA's website: http://www.hslda.org/highschool/testing.asp . Many
good test prep resources are available for the SAT and ACT, so be sure
your student is well prepared to take these tests. See
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3261 .

Letters Of Recommendation

Colleges usually require two or more letters of recommendation. Have
your child contact and request letters from others who know him and
his academic abilities well. Be sure to request these letters far in
advance, supplying the writers with a stamped, pre-addressed envelope
to the admissions office since colleges may want to receive the
recommendation letter directly from the writer. However, other
colleges may want to receive the letters of recommendation all in one
package with the application, so be sure to read the application
instructions carefully.

Guidance Counselor Section

Most college applications will have a section that is to be completed
by the guidance counselor. As the homeschool parent you can complete
this section. If an item is not pertinent (such as class rank) simply
indicate NA for "not applicable." Many schools have stopped ranking
their students so your child should not be adversely affected by not
having a class rank. However, some scholarships may use class rank as
a factor, so check with a particular college/scholarship to inquire
about this. If you are unsure about any questions in this section,
simply call the admissions office for clarification.

Essay

Colleges generally ask applicants to write an essay on a choice of
topics. These essays are to be written entirely by your child. He or
she should spend a good amount of time on these, reviewing, editing,
and polishing the essays before submitting them.

Check and double-check all sections of the application prior to
submitting it--and don't forget to include your application fee! The
majority of colleges now provide you with the opportunity to check
your application/admission status online so that you are aware if the
college is missing a piece of information or waiting on a
recommendation letter, test score, etc.

COLLEGE VISITS

Along with filling out all the forms for admission, it's important for
your child to gain a close-up view of college life. This will help to
quiet the fears of those who are uncertain about this next step and
provide confidence and anticipation for those who are raring to go!

Although many college websites now give web tours of their campuses,
actually visiting a college is still a worthwhile endeavor. Check
with the college to see if they have certain open days for visits or
if they prefer you make an individual appointment to visit. Many
colleges will have "rising senior" open days and will line up a full
day of seminars and activities so that many different representatives
from various departments (admissions, housing, student clubs, etc.)
can present helpful information and answer questions. In most cases,
current college students lead campus tours, and they are usually very
knowledgeable and enjoy answering your questions. (You will be amazed
at the tidbits of information you discover. Most of these tour guides
have also perfected the art of walking backwards while addressing a
tour group--it is a skill homeschooling moms may want to perfect!)

You should take time during your visit to tour the dorms or off-campus
housing (some colleges will even make overnight dorm arrangements for
your child). Also take the opportunity to eat in the cafeteria and
sample the food, arrange for a classroom visit, perhaps set up a
personal interview with an admissions officer, and even make
arrangements to meet leaders of student groups in which your child may
have an interest. This is also a good time to visit local churches and
find out whether any offer transportation on Sundays for students.

Campus visits may be done prior to making application to the college
(in this case perhaps to narrow down the list of schools your child
will apply to); they may be done while waiting to hear about an
admission decision (use this visit to rank a college in terms of your
child's priorities); or the visit may be done once an admissions offer
has been made (to help determine a final selection). Whenever you
decide to visit a college, it's a great idea to take notes regarding
both the advantages and disadvantages of each school while the college
is still fresh in your mind. If you do choose to visit a school
after you've received an acceptance, you may want to take the
opportunity to check out the available part-time jobs on campus for
the school year. These jobs are usually filled on a first-come,
first-served basis, so your child can be ahead of the crowd and maybe
line up a part-time job during his college visit. (In some instances
your child may need to wait until he has registered for classes and
his tuition bill paid before applying for a job on campus).

College visits are wonderful opportunities to spend one-on-one time
with your student. Use the trip in the car or plane to discuss your
child's academic goals and the plans he or she may have to be involved
in clubs, activities, and ministries during college. It's time well
spent!

Stay tuned for part III.

Next month we'll discuss various alternatives to the traditional
college route. Many homeschoolers are taking advantage of increasing
opportunities to receive college credit via online college courses and
distance learning programs. We'll talk in depth about this option in
October.

Until then, we hope your school year is full of blessings and joy!

Grateful for the work you do and the impact you are having on your
children,

Becky and Diane

If you've been encouraged by HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School
Program, spread the word to others who are or will be homeschooling
teens. Joining HSLDA may be just what they need to approach the high
school years with faith not fear, and with a sense of the
possibilities, not the obstacles.
http://www.hslda.org/join/protect.asp

What's New on the Homeschooling Thru High School website:

Computer Skills curriculum links
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3262

A Two for One Deal: Looking at Dual Enrollment
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3263

Be sure to continue to visit our Blog at
http://www.hslda.org/highschool/blog.asp and read new entries each
week.

If you have a child who struggles with learning, check out the new
Struggling Learner section of HSLDA's website
www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner

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called and asked about our HSLDA member discount and they lowered
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More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1107

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