Homeschool kids are some of the brightest and most hardworking students in any learning environment. But for those getting ready to start college applications, the process can seem intimidating. For example, homeschoolers don’t always have access to advice from counselors like their public school counterparts. However, with some research, your son or daughter can have a great experience applying to college. Here are some recommendations to get a jump start on the process.
Build a Résumé
Have your child create a résumé to send to colleges. Don’t have a one? Try checking online for résumé inspiration or test out the premade templates offered by Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
After deciding on a template, have them list academic achievements, extracurricular activities, academic volunteer work, community service, and any jobs or internships along with a couple sentences explaining them. Your child should show the college that they have pursued personal excellence and that they can compete with other applicants.
Proofread Résumé Out Loud
Have your homeschooler read their résumé out loud. Though it may seem silly, this is one of the best ways to catch misspellings and grammar issues. Better to feel a little silly in the comfort of home than to let a college recruiter find your mistakes.
Get a Letter of Recommendation
Have your child gather a list of people who may write letters of recommendation. Many colleges ask that homeschoolers submit letters from outside influences other than their parents. It’s a voucher that represents the applicant’s strongest qualities. A recommendation could come from a college professor if your student is dual enrolled, or a boss if they work a part-time job. Or, perhaps it’s the head of a volunteer organization where your son or daughter dedicates their free time that writes a glowing letter. All of the above are great ways to show community involvement, leadership skills, and personal growth.
Make it easy for those who will write letters of recommendation. Print out a copy of the college’s guidelines. Highlight to whom they should address and send the letter. Make sure you give them plenty of time to write so that the letter is thoughtful and not rushed.
Think Outside the Box on Essays
Encourage your child to think differently. Most college applicants are required to write a 300-500 word essay, based on a vague topic assigned by the university, in order to demonstrate intuition and comprehension.
This essay allows the admissions department to get to know the prospective student on a deeper level. Have your child approach the topic creatively in order to define what makes them unique. Have them think outside the box instead of taking the most common route, which is typically the easiest. So while other applicants might cut corners, remind yours that this essay is the only opportunity to create a good first impression and stand out from the rest.
Turn It In Early!
Make sure the application is completed early! Some colleges have an early admission process where they will allow applicants to apply in November (early as September for some schools) and will send out decisions in December and January. Even if the college they want to attend doesn’t have early admission, having everything they need well in advance will offer peace of mind.
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