How can homeschooled students stand out?
Here is my video response to the question.
Typically home schooled students will be required to submit additional information as part of their application. This can actually serve as an advantage as you can demonstrate your individual talents and abilities. Your test scores will make a difference, but do not underestimate the power of letters of recommendation and experience. If you have the flexibility of many home-schoolers, use that to your advantage by interning or working in a field you would like to study in college. Building a solid resume will help you prepare for college and demonstrate your potential as an applicant.
Home schooled students have many ways to stand out. I’ll list a few below.
1.Play up your strengths.
Are you an accomplished violinist? Are you a math whiz? Is reading your forte? If you have a great strength, play it up! Sometimes home schools don’t have the same requirements as public school students, and as a result, their transcripts may look a little bare in comparison. If you took a piano class, you took music, and that can go on your transcript. Sometimes, you have to be a little creative. Did you debate in high school? That’s logic! Did you attend a seminar on how the government works? That’s social studies! It’s not that you didn’t learn everything that the public school kinds learned, you just learned it a different way. And that’s what makes homeschooling so incredibly fantastic.
2. List ALL your extracurriculars. ALL of them.
If you took anything outside the house, anything at all, list it. On everything. Especially your applications. Colleges are looking more and more for opportunities for kinds to learn outside of class, to gain life experiences and bring them ahead of the crowd. Homeschooling students have greater opportunities than public schoolers, since school work is more flexible. So, get out and do whatever your community or city offers, then list it all on your resume or your transcript. That will help you stand out from the rest.
Home schooled students are no longer frowned upon by colleges. But in order to stand out they need to keep excellent records, supplement their home education with some structured education, and be involved in extracurricular activities.
The College Board points out that homeschooled students not only have to complete the same requirements as other students, but they may be scrutinzed more carefully. For example, depending on the college, they may need to demonstrate proficiency through scores on SAT Subject Tests. Recommendations are another item that a homeschooled student needs to submit. This means that they should be sure to engage in activities outside the home so that they have a source of such recommendations. Homeschooled students may try to enter competitions in debate or sciences which will allow them to shine versus students who attend traditional schools. Moreover, essays of homeschooled students should be stellar, especially if that student is hoping for a spot at a very competitive public or private university. Admissions officers will hold them to a high standard.
Students who may have been rejected from an elite school applying straight out of high school have typically relied on high acceptance rates to top tier schools as transfer students. In the past few years, however, many competitive colleges have cut back on the number of transfer applicants they accept.
Some schools, such as Harvard and Princeton, have entirely shut their doors to transfer students, simply because they do not have room for new students. Among the Ivy League and other highly competitive schools, the rate of transfer admissions has dropped by nearly fifty percent in the past 10 years.
The drop in acceptance rates for transfer students is occurring for multiple reasons. First, many elite schools retain the majority of their students each year, so less room is available for transfers. Also, just as more students are applying to college each year, a greater number of students are attempting to transfer. The pressure to attend a top college drives many students to look for a second chance after they were denied the first time.
There is hope, though. Some schools seek transfer students in an effort to enrich their campuses. Cornell, M.I.T., Georgetown, and Notre Dame admitted more transfer applicants than freshman last year. Vanderbilt traditionally accepts fifty-five percent of transfers and only twenty-five percent of freshman applicants.
Transfer students are especially appealing to colleges because the students possess more life experience than students applying straight out of high school. Transfer students bring maturity, worldliness, and complexity to the college campus.
Students hoping to transfer must maintain an excellent academic record by earning at least a 3.5 GPA. Those students who excel at community college are faring exceptionally well as transfer students. Another key ingredient to increasing the odds of being accepted as a transfer students is the application essay. Students must illustrate compelling reasons for seeking to transfer and insight into their experiences.
The simple answer to this in my opinion is that they already do – homeschools students by their very nature are not your run of the mill high schoolers. Try to enhance your application by talking about the challenges of being homeschooled and how you have over come them, what additional opportunities have you had that a typical HS student didn’t have, how have you been able to socialise outside of your school days etc
Many colleges have supplemental applications for home schoolers. My advice is to make sure that you are able to back up your education with an outside source. Have you published a research project? I recommend finding a person in your community who may have worked with you on a project or a tutor with an academic background to provide a letter of recommendation for you. Don’t be shy to submit a piece of graded academic work to shine light on your academic abilities. Your schooling has taken you on a different path than most high school applicants. Pull out your strengths and weave them into your application.
Professionally I work in a private college preparatory school. Personally, my wife and I home school our elementary school aged son. We are well aware of the various attitudes conveyed toward home schooled youth. In our case, it is the ideal way for our son to learn, and I know parents who home school believe that for their children as well.
Some schools ask for portfolios to show what they have learned, but in general, most home schooled students wanting to attend a four year college need to take an SAT or ACT. Standardized scores on these exams give the schools more objective data as to what a home schooled student’s abilities are.
Since most homeschool curriculum is of an alternative educational nature, there is a lot of experiential learning and travel involved that does not always happen in public and private schools due to lack of funding and resources. If these experiences can be highlighted in an application, standing out is easy.
I had one Chinese family provided homeschool for three of the four children and the oldest boy went to highly selective college from the local public school.
the colleges may ask questions about the quality of education at home largely related to the parent’s education level and background including moniority considerations.
In some respects, homeschooled students stand out because they are homeschooled! Many college admissions offices now have counselors who are specially designated homeschool admissions folks!
That said — you can just rely on your homeschool status alone. Like all applicants, you will stand out if you follow your authentic and genuine personal interests and pursue them with dedication and passion.
Homeschool students need to work hard to showcase their “stand-out” factors. Certainly ACT/SAT scores go a long ways in showing academic preparation when admissions officers are not sure about their curriculum. Getting involved in community clubs and activities, and community service can greatly show the well-roundedness of a home schooled student.
Homeschooled students can stand out in all of the same ways that traditional students can, but you just have to be a little more diligent in accounting for it. All students should take advantage of the opportunities on college applications to explain meaningful activities and elaborate on unique educational opportunities. As a homeschooled student, you may need to create your own transcript. Take time to present your coursework in detail. With greater flexibility of schedule, homeschoolers and can participate in activities requiring a significant time commitment. Make sure you document and describe what you have done to make sure all your academics, activities, service, and leadership stand out.
Homeschooled students have a great opportunity to stand out in the application process. The very nature of homeschooling allows you to specialize in your area of interest. I often see students who have accomplished amazing things during their homeschooling years, from creating winning apps to running a successful egg farm. Many homeschoolers are very good at self directing, they have often designed their own coursework, set their schedules and deadlines, and reached for exceptional goals. That is what the colleges and universities are looking for: self directed, disciplined, diverse students. When you go out into the world and shine, your alma mater looks pretty good. So apply to schools that have programs which match your passion and emphasize what you have done to pursue that passion. The whole point of higher education is to give you the skills to pursue your dreams. Make sure the schools you apply to know that you have already started developing those skills and have the results to prove it. Most of all, don’t be afraid to focus on what you love. When you direct your life toward what lights your fire, the right school to support your passion will emerge.
Homeschooled students have the opportunity to shine in the areas of their choosing. Similarly to traditionally-educated students, homeschooled students should be taking the most challenging classes available to them. This may mean a combination of learning at home, taking online classes, and attending a local community college. They should also remember to take all possible standardized tests over their classwork – SAT subject tests, AP tests, and college exams. These tests will help demonstrate their competency in those academic arenas. These students, however, must go beyond the academic work and develop a passion for some area of study, a community cause or a creative or athletic endeavor. This passion should be demonstrated through enrichment opportunities such as internships or volunteerism, or a high level of skill development. Additionally, homeschooled students can stand out by reading! I encourage my homeschooled students to read a vast variety of books – classic and modern – and to keep a list of all that they have read. Well-read students demonstrate to a college that they have a desire to learn, critique and analyze – all traits that are desirable in an academic community.
Home schooled students can stand out in similar ways as all students. Developing intellectual, artistic, athletic or civic passions to the point where they are recognized on a national level will make any student stand out.
Homeschooled students, like all students, need to demonstrate their preparation for college. This may mean a bit more leg-work for homeschooled students. Here are some suggestions:
If possible, take a few classes at a local community college or through an accredited on-line school to show colleges that you can be successful in a classroom setting.
Make sure to keep detailed records of all of your academic work.
Be prepared to submit a research paper or lab report that you’ve written.
Ensure that you have real lab experience in your science course work.
Prepare for the SAT and/or ACT – your scores will be important factors in admission decisions.
Consider taking SAT subject tests to show mastery in academics.
Interview with colleges whenever possible to explain your educational journey.
Look for ways to connect with peers beyond academics – develop extracurricular interests and commitments.
Add a supplemental statement to your application that answers these questions: Why were you homeschooled? How did you benefit from homeschooling? What challenges did you face in homeschooling? How do you think your homeschooled experience has prepared you for college?
They automatically do, and especially if they are academic superstars with massive hrs of community service hrs!
They automatically do if they are academic superstars with massive hrs of community service hrs!
When thinking of ways to stand out as a home-schooled student, the primary thing to remember is that being home-schooled doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t participate in things outside of the home. If you are a home schooled student (or the parent of a homeschooler), you must remember that Admissions Officers are doing the best they can to make a case on your behalf, but they need the right ammunition to do so.
So consider this: The 3 main parts that are reviewed throughout the application process are: Academics, Extracurriculars and Personal Qualities. If you are able to corroborate your excellence in all of these different areas through THIRD PARTIES (this is very important, since family members will likely have a biased perspective), then you’ll be able to stand out.
When it comes to academics, remember that, if you have the means, you may be able to take classes early on at a local community college or other academic institution. Make an effort to take classes outside of the home, be they online or in person, and most importantly, that you build a strong relationship with a reputable academic who can speak honestly about your academic preparation. Sure, your grades will play a role in all of this, and your test scores too (yes, they still need to be excellent too), but these don’t give admissions officers a full picture of your academic prowess.
In terms of extracurricular activities, sure, you may not have access to some of the same resources available right on the school campus, but make an effort to find ways to get involved with your community: join a sports league, create volunteer projects, work with local government, run your own nonprofit, create your own business, etc. Whatever it is, make sure that you not only do a variety of things that create deep impact in your area of work, but also that there are third parties who can corroborate how much of a difference these make. Admissions officers need to get a sense of how different, unique or extraordinary your activities may be (at a local, state, national and international level) so be sure to explain that in the application process.
Finally, in terms of personal qualities, be sure to convey how you interact with peers of your age group, and that you get to know a reliable adult outside your family so they can speak to your personality and your ease of adaptation to different communities. Colleges and universities are seeking mature young people to come to their campus and bring a positive perspective to the college experience. College tends to be a truly life-changing opportunity, in great part because of the people you encounter there– if you don’t have the maturity to maintain positive relationships with those around you (regardless of whether you are a home schooled student or not), it will be much harder to make a case on your behalf.
Remember that in order to really stand out, you must demonstrate excellence in all areas. After all, you are competing with thousands of students each year, both home-schooled and not, who do wonderful things to maintain an excellente academic profile, impact their communities, and remain wonderful people to be roommates with. Use the home-schooling experience to really stretch the boundaries of what you can participate in and what you can contribute to society, and you’ll certainly have the chance to stand out in the admissions process.
Make sure that you can document the fact that you have taken rigorous courses or learned at a high level. Standardized test results are also very important for a homeschooled student. High scores will show a college that you are capable of handling a strong academic course load. in addition, because of the flexibility that homeschooling often allows, students will often have strong and impressive extracurricular activities which will often make them stand out.
Most homeschooled students have a wide variety of outside activities that they participate in, whether it be volunteer work, recreational sports, or extensive travel – and those are the exact things that admission officers need to know about! Students enrolled in traditional schools have activities available at their fingertips, but students with a homeschool background have to work a little harder to seek activities and opportunities that will fit their interests. The fact that homeschoolers must – and usually DO! – go the extra mile to participate in things that interest them shows the exact kind of dedication and commitment level that looks great on a college application. As long as they’re able to communicate this to the admission committee, they’ll stand out just fine!
Homeschooled students can stand out by getting good grades and test scores. Standardized test scores are weighted more heavily in the admission process because they provide the college with a standard measure of achievement. Another way to stand out is to explain why you or your parents chose homeschooling. For example, I have worked with a home schooled student who practiced her violin for five hours each day. She would not have been able to do so if she was in a regular classroom. Since both parents were violinists, she was able to get the best music education possible. She was accepted to Juilliard.
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