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10/5/2006 9:52:52 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School Newsletter--College Admissions Part III

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

Fall is planting season, a mild season that allows trees and shrubs
time to take root before winter frosts arrive. Likewise, this is the
season for you to plant God's Word and wisdom in the hearts and minds
of your children "so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the
planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3b NASB)
Be encouraged as you set this year's school routine knowing that each
day is a new opportunity to trust in the faithfulness of a God who
loves you and who loves your children. Keeping your eyes on eternity
always blurs the present challenges.

This month's newsletter is the last installment of a three-part series
on The Road to College Admissions. The previous two newsletters
covered the spiritual preparation for college, the college search
process, the application process, and campus visits. Today we'll take
a look at alternatives to the traditional college route.

Sending your child off to college and having him live away from home
may not be the direction you want to take because you may feel that
your child is not mature enough to live on his own, or that he is not
spiritually ready to face assaults on his faith. Or, you may be
looking for a less expensive way to provide a college education.
Whatever the reason for checking out the alternatives, it is
gratifying to know that options do exist, and that it is possible to
rack up many (if not all) credits needed to graduate from college
without compromising your wallet or your convictions.

We'll divide up the options to the non-traditional college route by
looking first at accruing college credits while still in high school,
and then providing information on pursuing post-high school college
credit from home.

During high school, accruing college credit can be accomplished by
completing Advanced Placement (AP) courses and scoring well on AP
tests, taking courses at a local community college (either on campus
or online), registering for distance learning courses from colleges
nationwide, or receiving college credit based on CLEP or DANTES test
scores.


COLLEGE CREDITS EARNED DURING HIGH SCHOOL
Advanced Placement Courses and Tests

Advanced Placement courses are rigorous courses taken in high school
but using college level texts. Not only do students cover the course
material, but they also prepare to take the corresponding AP test
administered by the College Board. In recent years, many more
homeschoolers are finding that AP courses and tests are ways to
legitimize in the eyes of colleges the advanced level of work they are
capable of doing. AP courses entail much work and study (usually a
minimum of 10 hours per course per week.) Read more about AP courses
and tests on the HSLDA website: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3332


The College Board website also offers valuable information:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3333

PA Homeschoolers offer a number of online AP courses:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3334

Keep in mind that as a homeschooler, you must arrange to take the AP
test (given in May of each year) by contacting a public or private
school in your area and requesting that it accommodate your child for
the test. Since schools order the test early, it's best to check with
them by December or January prior to the May test date to inquire
about taking the test. If you are an HSLDA member and run into any
problems when making arrangements for taking an AP test, please call
HSLDA for assistance at 540-338-5600.


Local Community and 4-Year Colleges

It is often possible for your high schooler to register for college
courses (either on campus or online) at a 2-year or 4-year college
while still in high school. Commonly called "dual enrollment,"
courses earned in this way may count as fulfilling both high school
and college credit. A recent article in the Court Report "A Two For
One Deal: Looking at Dual Enrollment" describes this option in
detail: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3335


Distance Learning Programs

Many high school students, including homeschoolers, are taking
advantage of a variety of distance learning programs offered by 4-year
colleges nationwide. Christian as well as secular colleges offer
distance learning programs and this alternative is attractive since
your child completes the course from the comfort (and safety!) of your
home. Use the College Board search engine
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3336 to find colleges offering
distance learning programs, and use the www.christiancollegementor.org
website to find Christian colleges. Some distance learning links are
also listed on HSLDA's website: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3337
.


CLEP or DANTES Tests

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests are given at test
centers on college campuses throughout the country. These tests
validate the knowledge that a student has acquired through individual
study, work experience and so on, in particular subject areas.
Registration at the individual test center is required for these
tests. Test prep books and CD's are available at your local bookstore
or online at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3338 to help your child
prepare.

Not all colleges accept CLEP credits, and some colleges place a limit
on the number of CLEP credits they will allow so be sure to check out
this information from individual college websites or by searching on
the College Board website at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3339 .
Each college determines the minimum CLEP score on a particular test
that qualifies for receiving college credit. Be sure to check with
any college that your child is thinking about attending full time in
order to discuss its CLEP credit acceptance policies. Read more about
CLEP tests on the HSLDA website and the College Board website.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3340 ;
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3341

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DSST))
tests are similar to CLEP tests. At one time these tests were only
available to military personnel, but they are now open to anyone.
More information regarding these tests and registering for them can be
found at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3342 .

When taking CLEP or DANTES tests, it is best to register for and take
the test soon after the course material is covered. For example, if
your child has just completed a biology course in 10th grade, consider
registering for the CLEP Biology test at that point while the
information is fresh in his/her mind instead of waiting until your
child is a senior.


COLLEGE CREDITS EARNED AFTER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

Once your child has graduated from high school, he or she can continue
earning college credits through the community college, commuting to a
4-year college, taking distance learning courses, or taking and
scoring high enough on CLEP or DANTES tests. However, there are also
a couple of other ways to accrue college credit.


Credit by Examination or Portfolio Assessment

Some colleges offer the option of having your child demonstrate his
knowledge and expertise in a subject area by either taking a test or
presenting a portfolio for review by a college professor. It is
necessary to identify a college course to match the learning
experience. Contact a specific college to inquire about this
possibility.

Total Degree Programs from Home

A number of colleges offer the opportunity to earn college degrees
totally through distance learning. Some of the better known colleges
where this is possible include:

Thomas Edison State College: www.tesc.edu
Excelsior College: www.excelsior.edu
Charter Oak College: www.cosc.edu

As you can see from the above information, the options are many and
varied! Take time to check out all of your alternatives. Investigate
more from the following good resources to learn further how your child
can earn college credits in a non-traditional way. We highly recommend
that you refer to the resource books for a much more thorough and
detailed discussion of this topic. We are only able to point out the
highlights of these alternatives within the space of one newsletter.

"College Without Compromise," Scott and Kris Wightman:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3346

"Accelerated Distance Learning: The New Way to Earn Your College
Degree in the Twenty-First Century," Brad Voeller:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3347

"Bears Guide To Earning Degrees By Distance Learning" by Mariah P.
Bear and Thomas Nixon
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3348

"Bears' Guide to College Degrees by Mail & Internet: 100 Accredited
Schools That Offer Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates, and Law Degrees
by Distance Learning (College Degrees By Mail and Internet)" by John
and Mariah Bear
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3349


Josh Beall, homeschool graduate and current HSLDA Web Developer, took
an alternative route to obtain his college degree. We've asked him to
share his personal experience with you.

"When I was initially investigating college options, distance learning
never actually crossed my mind. In order to save money, I took
several courses at a community college as well as one CLEP course
(freshman college composition), which fulfilled my English
requirements for my freshman year. I subsequently took a year off
from school; and during that year, I heard Brad Voeller of Global
Learning Strategies speak at a local homeschool gathering. Curious, I
began investigating distance learning further and eventually worked
with GLS to develop a plan to obtain a B.S. in Business Administration
from Thomas Edison State College. I completed my degree within
approximately one year's time. Distance learning also afforded me the
opportunity to study a range of subjects independently (and I love
independent study!), start and grow a business with my brother (I
wouldn't have been able to do this had I gone away for college), and
save enough money to buy a house when I got married (shortly after
graduating). Additionally, upon completion of my degree, I felt I had
a much more well-rounded set of skills and experiences as a result of
being able to spend a great deal of time actually working in the real
world, and not just sitting in a classroom."

One of the alternatives mentioned above may be the right path for your
child. If you are interested, use this information to begin your
investigation!

Next month, join us as we discuss the topic of high school graduation
requirements and questions such as: How many credits are needed to
graduate? What are the core academic subjects? What's the difference
between an elective course and an extracurricular activity? And many
more...

As always, we appreciate the opportunity to join you on this
homeschooling through high school adventure!

Blessings to you,
Becky and Diane

What's new on HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru High School website:

New Homeschooling Thru High School brochure: "Homeschooling the
College Bound - Successfully Navigating the Road to Admissions"
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3343

Newly revised "Preparing for College" article
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3344

Check out the latest Homeschooling Thru High School blog entries:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3345

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