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angela in ohio

Trying to decide how offended to be by the National Merit process....

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I think I need someone to talk me down from this. :(

 

I am not usually a homeschool flag waver, at all. I have no problem validating my dc's grades with SAT subject tests, and we made sure they each have outside grades in every area at some point. I'm pretty realistic about homeschool outcomes. So bearing in mind that I'm not easily offended by this stuff....

 

The National Merit semi-finalist to finalist process is ticking me off. It says, "You will need to designate a person to complete a letter of recommendation, provide characterization information, and endorse your homeschooled student. This person must not be related to you or your homeschooled student and should know the student in an academic capacity. Once you and your homeschooled student have completed your portions of the application, you will submit the application to this Endorser and he or she will complete the remaining sections of the application and transmit it to NMSC. Before e-mailing the temporary credentials to the Endorser, please confirm that he or she is willing to complete the recommendation and endorsement and transmit it to NMSC by the deadline."

 

My kid sat in a public school and took this test, same as everyone else. She then sat in a public school gym to take her SAT, same as everyone else. I don't need someone else to submit the application *for me* and "endorse" her. You think a high school principal isn't biased, when they submit for their student? Schools advertise their NM students, so they have a vested interest in getting more. There needs to be more flexibility. I guarantee, most of the students who are getting NM are probably taking outside DE or AP courses already, so turning in some outside grades should be an option. 

 

Now, we're all good, the local public school pays for her DE classes and keeps track of them, and she takes band there and knows everyone, so the principal will write a letter. But I shouldn't have to ask. I don't mind getting a letter of recommendation from someone, but to have them have to "endorse" my child for me and submit it? Ugh.

 

In the end it's hers, and I wouldn't say no. But it probably won't do anything for her at this point anyway. But they wouldn't even notice if we didn't complete it. I don't know.

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Non homeschooled students are required to get an endorsement from their school principal or someone designated by the principal, I don't actually think it  is unreasonable that they want someone other than mom or dad or grandpa to endorse a homeschooled kid as a qualified National Merit candidate.

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I don't quite understand what you are offended about. Don't ALL students, even those in school, have to have an endorser who does the final submitting?

I don't see it as offensive that they want a recomender who is not the student's parent; it is the same requirement as for ps students.

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It's the same for public school students. The organization needs external validation from someone not related to the student and knows the child in an academic setting. My guidance counselor "endorsed" me, even though we were at the beginning of our relationship and she didn't know me well at that point in time. I gave her a short resume of my accomplishments and a mini-essay about me that she pulled from to create her endorsement. Most teachers asked to write the recommendation consider this part of the job and are happy to see kids succeed, even if they only know the child from the classroom.

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They do, but that person would be legally responsible for said child's education, so they could endorse it. No one is for my child except me. What if we didn't take outside classes? Who endorses the homeschool kids without that option? 

 

It reminds me of when we were in Ohio. There were two options to continue homeschooling at the end of the year: a standardized test score or an assessment by a certified teacher. Most people picked the assessment, but the idea that I needed someone who had never seen my child before to sit down, look through our stuff, and say I was doing okay irked me. So we tested. Many homeschoolers were offended we turned in test scores, but I was just as confused as to why they thought the assessment was any better.

 

I don't know what happens when the student's parent is a principal in a public school. I'm sure it's happened before. Maybe they do have to have someone else endorse them then.

 

ETA: But regentrude, I generally agree with you on most things, so I'm thinking I am just being sensitive. :D

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They do, but that person would be legally responsible for said child's education, so they could endorse it. No one is for my child except me. What if we didn't take outside classes? Who endorses the homeschool kids without that option? 

..

 

I don't know what happens when the student's parent is a principal in a public school. I'm sure it's happened before. Maybe they do have to have someone else endorse them then.

 

They can have a teacher or guidance counselor as endorser.

 

And submitting test scores or outside grades is NOT the same as a recommendation letter that highlights more about the student than just giving a single number. That's the purpose of the endorsement.

You'll need those for college applications as well - in addition to grades and test scores.

 

If a college bound homeschooled student did not have any outside contact and no other adult in her life than her parents, that would be a problem, on more levels than this one.

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I found this to be true for several higher level scholarships that my ds was up for. At first, it was annoying but as we met and interviewed with these people, I saw how delighted most of the committees were that we, as homeschoolers, were willing to jump through the hoops to be a part of the process. I was told by several that they so appreciated having homeschooled students involved because they were so very interesting and they told me that they realized how many hoops there were to jump through.

 

I think it's harder the first time through, as my ds got recognized for his accomplishments, I got less annoyed as I realized that everyone had to jump through the hoops.

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They do, but that person would be legally responsible for said child's education, so they could endorse it. No one is for my child except me. What if we didn't take outside classes? Who endorses the homeschool kids without that option? 

 

We fit in the category of didn't take outside classes in co-ops etc. and had to get similar items from others for select scholarships.  (not NM, but other stuff)

 

My daughter was very involved in extra activities with other leaders.  One was a youth pastor and we asked him to mention his opinion of her academics in the letter.   She had done presentations at group and led studies and such.  He was familiar with her leadership and smarts and how it compared to others her age.  If he hadn't, we would have found someone with letters after their name to do it.

 

This sort of stuff wasn't a big deal for us even without academic outside classes/co-ops. 

 

I vote to be not offended at all by the process.   nervous yes sure.. annoyed.  nah...  

 

((hugs))

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I agree with you OP. It is offensive. The home educating parent IS the guidence counselor and the teacher. WE are the people that "know the student in an academic capacity". Basically, it is saying that a "real teacher" is needed to endorse her because her grades /scores /essay would not be enough .

 

We played the game for scholarships, and honors groups. My DS was commended and we didn't go that far into the process. But we paid for a few AP classes just to have a recommender. Feels more than a bit wrong to only be able to use reccomendations from people you paid to teach.

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I agree with you OP. It is offensive. The home educating parent IS the guidence counselor and the teacher. WE are the people that "know the student in an academic capacity". Basically, it is saying that a "real teacher" is needed to endorse her because her grades /scores /essay would not be enough .

 

It is absolutely true that the homeschooling parent is the teacher and guidance counselor and know our children best in an academic capacity.  And because of that I am grateful that the Common App allowed me to write the counselor letter myself.

 

That said, the homeschooling parent is also the parent and as such, may not be as objective as an outsider might be.  Actually, my experience with this is that homeschooling parents are *more* critical of their own children than outsiders are, but I think it would be prudent for the National Merit people not to count on that.

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It is just a simple case of conflict of interest. No snub to homeschooling intended. I had to get someone else to fill up forms for my youngest LD/SN testing and again someone else for an academic program and my kid is a 9 year old. I am thankful people had been willing to fill out forms for my kids. When I told them that my kid did not have any outside teacher for english or math/science, they were willing to accept sport coaches, music teacher, art teacher, FLL coach etc. so it wasn't that hard to find someone eligible to be a recommender.

 

My hubby who was public schooled had to ask people to be recommenders for his academic scholarships decades ago. It is not something new or something that is only asked of homeschoolers.

 

My kids teachers write much nicer stuff than I do about my kids :) My parent portion looks more like a critical employee performance appraisal.

 

I don't see it as offensive that they want a recomender who is not the student's parent; it is the same requirement as for ps students.

:iagree:

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Sorry this is upsetting you.  :grouphug:

I was actually thinking how NM was being very INclusive of, and HELPFUL to, homeschoolers here! ? NM welcomes homeschoolers; they have a policy that as much as possible mirrors the requirements for public school students; and NM is giving homeschoolers a broad area of substitute endorsers for families to draw from to be that outside confirmation person that every student needs to have.
 

On 9/23/2015 at 6:02 AM, angela in ohio said:

"You will need to designate a person to complete a letter of recommendation, provide characterization information, and endorse your homeschooled student. This person must not be related to you or your homeschooled student and should know the student in an academic capacity. Once you and your homeschooled student have completed your portions of the application, you will submit the application to this Endorser and he or she will complete the remaining sections of the application and transmit it to NMSC. Before e-mailing the temporary credentials to the Endorser, please confirm that he or she is willing to complete the recommendation and endorsement and transmit it to NMSC by the deadline."


Nothing at all in this wording  that directly says, or indirectly suggests, that anyone else other than you is legally responsible for your student's academics or oversees your student's academics. "Endorse" means to "declare one's public approval or support of" -- the endorser is simply confirming the student's achievement with a letter of recommendation and character witness. Same for the endorser of a public school student.

The phrase "temporary credentials": Again, the way I see it, NM is being very helpful to homeschoolers who have the situation of being both parent AND administrator. (Public school students have the school principal submit these forms, and that is an unrelated objective person with no conflict of interest.) So NM is helping homeschoolers by letting families choose who to *temporarily* appoint as a temporary unrelated objective person with no conflict of interest to subject the student's materials.

Just me, but I think I'd try and take a step back and look at the big picture for what the intention is here -- which looks like trying to offer a "work-around" to the normal procedure in order to include a small group of people who wouldn't be able to join in if forced to follow the normal procedure.

You can certainly decide to take offense. (:D But maybe wait until you get into the college application process and you run into some of the very-out-of-date admission offices and the hoops THEY want homeschoolers to jump through -- like, taking a GED, because the school does not recognize a parent-awarded diploma… (see this recent thread for this exact situation).  :eek:

But most of all, CONGRATULATIONS to your DD, and best of luck to her -- both in this application process, and in the possibility of being awarded scholarship $$ !! ? Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Why is it a conflict of interest if the parent is the endorser but not a conflict if the endorser is paid by the parent?

 

Unless a student is in a public school... I think there is an inherent conflict built in because of money changing hands.  ( I agree that parents are tougher on their kids during this process.  After I read a few recs I realized I could have been a lot more kind.)

 

 I realize National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a private corporation and they can make their own rules and if I don't like them, I can take my ball and go home.  It still rankles.

 

It is not that the student needs to have an adult endorser,that bothers me.   It is that they must know the student on an academic level.  It is saying that you can't effectively homeschool without having someone else teach your kids. That is annoying and untrue.  For example,you could have Suzy coop-teacher be the endorser.  She may not have a fraction of the teaching ability or academic credentials as you.  She may not be a high school grad (I know I am reaching here)/  She is still more qualified to be an endorser than a parent with a PhD who is an amazing teacher.  Off my soap box.  Rant over.

 

Congrats to you both!  Much as I am annoyed by the process, I would still play the game with a smile on my face.  Bless their heart.  You Texans know what I am saying.

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Slightly off-topic...

 

I am not bothered at all by the endorsement requirement itself. I am, however, quite nervous about my son's particular endorser meeting the deadline, so I will be heartily relieved when I know his package is turned in (complete) to NMSC. It will be a load off my mind! 

 

So how many reminder emails may I send and remain within the parameters of politeness? :-)

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It didn't offend me.   I know that the counselor choosing not to endorse them is the reason some kids do not make finalist status -a handful each year I was told by the NM people.  At least we get to choose who endorses.  The public schooled kids don't.    It is semi-finalist status that usually gets the publicity (in our local paper anyway) and reflects on the school.   By the time a counselor chooses to endorse, they have already gotten most of the glory:).   My kids didn't use outside teachers, but we found people who knew them and knew of their character and intellectual abilities.  It also gives those people a chance to practice writing recommendation letters for them!  

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I must have completely misunderstood this one. I interpreted the statement to mean an outside teacher had to be an endorser,not an adult who knows your student . Sorry, I was waaaay off base ... slinking away now. Congrats again!

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I think there are many ways to have someone who "knows the student academically" without having ever taken an outside course. Youth ministers often know students "academically" from their time in bible study together. I have a friend who is a school administrator who has been a sounding board for me though out my homeschooling years. She would have been glad to do this for me even though she never taught my kids. Friends and leaders of various groups can help here. Are these recommendations as all knowing as the homeschool parent's would be? No. But many B&M school students face this too. I hated my principal (for long and complicated reasons) and never spoke to the counselor outside of a 2 min appointment for scheduling once a year. I was in a large high school and never had a teacher more than once. I had some I loved, but none knew me that well. 

 

Is it more awkward for homeschoolers to fill this requirement? For some, definitely. For others, probably not. We are not all alike. But in my mind, the process is fair and even handed. I appreciate that. 

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You can certainly decide to take offense… ;) But maybe wait until you get into the college application process and you run into some of the very-out-of-date admission offices and the hoops THEY want homeschoolers to jump through -- like, taking a GED, because the school does not recognize a parent-awarded diploma… (see this recent thread for this exact situation).  :eek:

 

See, that's the thing. We already did the selective admissions process with older dd, though she missed NM, so we haven't done this before. Not one single college of the eleven she applied to gave us a problem about homeschooling, other than her safety-safety little local state school, so we just didn't finish the application process there. 

 

Like Morningglory, I am concerned about having the school complete this. The secretary reassured me they could handle it, but I'm 99% sure they've never had a NM finalist before. After all this work, I don't want it to be in their hands; they are nice, but we chose to homeschool for a reason. :) She has great recommenders lined up for applications, but they are college professors, and so it's more logical to have the PS office fill NM out.

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I must have completely misunderstood this one. I interpreted the statement to mean an outside teacher had to be an endorser,not an adult who knows your student . Sorry, I was waaaay off base ... slinking away now. Congrats again!

 

 

:grouphug:  Silver Brook  :grouphug:  Don't go! :) Can't tell you how many times I've posted a response, and then gone back and re-read the thread and realized with great horror and shame that I somehow *completely* misread the thread! Geesh! Where was my head??  :blushing:  :blushing:  :blushing: 

 

Fortunately, lots of love and grace extended on these boards! :) And you never know what tidbit in your post might be exactly what someone else later down the line really needed. Warmest regards, Lori D.

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See, that's the thing. We already did the selective admissions process with older dd, though she missed NM, so we haven't done this before. Not one single college of the eleven she applied to gave us a problem about homeschooling, other than her safety-safety little local state school, so we just didn't finish the application process there. 

 

Like Morningglory, I am concerned about having the school complete this. The secretary reassured me they could handle it, but I'm 99% sure they've never had a NM finalist before. After all this work, I don't want it to be in their hands; they are nice, but we chose to homeschool for a reason. :) She has great recommenders lined up for applications, but they are college professors, and so it's more logical to have the PS office fill NM out.

 

SO glad your older student didn't have any college admission troubles. :) I do think that is becoming rarer, as more colleges are realizing how homeschoolers really can and do fit in to their schools quite well, and that all they need to do is make some small adaptations to their admission process to make it easier for homeschoolers AND for the college. Yea!  :hurray:

 

Hope the NM process goes very smoothly for you and the school. You know, the school may be very eager to get this done well and right, as it will reflect well on them, even if the student is a homeschooler. Hoping that will be the case! Congratulations again, and best of luck moving to the finalist stage! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Slightly off-topic...

 

I am not bothered at all by the endorsement requirement itself. I am, however, quite nervous about my son's particular endorser meeting the deadline, so I will be heartily relieved when I know his package is turned in (complete) to NMSC. It will be a load off my mind! 

 

So how many reminder emails may I send and remain within the parameters of politeness? :-)

One of my son's mentors, who never actually taught him any classes, endorsed my son's application. Despite having weeks to work on the letter, my son's mentor was late submitting the information to NM. After my son had sent a couple of friendly email reminders, I contacted NM 1 day before the deadline to make sure that a late endorsement wouldn't have a negative effect on my son's application. I was told by the NM folks that they do not hold the students responsible for late information that is out of the student's control. The endorsement ended up being a few days late, but it didn't prevent my son from advancing to Finalist status.
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Slightly off-topic...

 

I am not bothered at all by the endorsement requirement itself. I am, however, quite nervous about my son's particular endorser meeting the deadline, so I will be heartily relieved when I know his package is turned in (complete) to NMSC. It will be a load off my mind! 

 

So how many reminder emails may I send and remain within the parameters of politeness? :-)

 

I was very worried!  My daughter is in one of the public programs for homeschoolers here in our state, so we had to go through the principal, who had not ever had a student go through the process before, and doesn't know our daughter personally.  The school tends to be very laid back, which I like until I need a transcript in a timely manner or a recommendation. :-) Anyway, the due date is less than two weeks now, so I sent a reminder on Tuesday.  It was a good thing I did, because they were misunderstanding the online format.  He called NMSC and got the rec and transcript in later that day. 

 

I think it's fine to be assertive. There is potentially big money at stake (though I know it gets trickier when your endorser is a friend or volunteer, rather than a school employee.)

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Like Morningglory, I am concerned about having the school complete this. The secretary reassured me they could handle it, but I'm 99% sure they've never had a NM finalist before. After all this work, I don't want it to be in their hands; they are nice, but we chose to homeschool for a reason. :) She has great recommenders lined up for applications, but they are college professors, and so it's more logical to have the PS office fill NM out.

If you're concerned about the high school being involved, then use a college professor instead. My son did and had absolutely no problems. We didn't even consider using the local high school, even though the guidance counselor was always very helpful about arranging AP and PSAT testing.
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LoriD...I puffy heart love you. Thanks for understanding. Actually,was another " Do not jump to the negative" lesson for me. I think God is trying to get my attention. Sorry, OP. You wanted to be talked down from this and I was going the other direction.

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Update... I told the school about this a few weeks ago, and then dd and I finished our portion to submit it to them with a week to them to complete it. The deadline is tomorrow, and it doesn't look hopeful. :( That was a lot of work down the drain to lose National Merit finalist because they need outside verification from homeschoolers. Again, there is a reason we homeschool here.

 

I had thought of a college professor, but that would have been odd. It's really set up for a counselor or principal of a school. She has had many professors, including those who will write letters for her college applications, but none that know her entire educational background like this specifies.

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I had thought of a college professor, but that would have been odd. It's really set up for a counselor or principal of a school. She has had many professors, including those who will write letters for her college applications, but none that know her entire educational background like this specifies.

Why would that be odd?

My DD had a college professor as her endorser for NM. After all, she had taken a class with him and tutored for his course, so he knew her well.

 

The "entire educational background " can be summarized by sending a resume and pertinent info to the prof.

 

I do not see why a school counselor would be in any way more appropriate than a college instructor - it's a teacher who knows the applicant in an academic capacity. The principal or counselor usually do not,  as they most likely never had the student in their classes, if they happen to teach any classes at all.

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Update... I told the school about this a few weeks ago, and then dd and I finished our portion to submit it to them with a week to them to complete it. The deadline is tomorrow, and it doesn't look hopeful. :( That was a lot of work down the drain to lose National Merit finalist because they need outside verification from homeschoolers. Again, there is a reason we homeschool here.

 

Time for friendly brontosaurus to appear! :) It's the technique where you are calm and non-threatening, you go to the desk and explain what is needed and how it is needed today because of the deadline, and you know that the school also wants to experience the success of a NMS finalist, and then slightly lean forward into the desk space with a friendly smile and you absolutely don't move until the desk person either does what you need, or gets you moved on to the person who can make it happen -- repeat the friendly brontosaurus with this person as well. Smile and nod. And don't budge until the paperwork is submitted. Go Angela!! :)

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The deadline is tomorrow, and it doesn't look hopeful. :( That was a lot of work down the drain to lose National Merit finalist because they need outside verification from homeschoolers.

 

I had thought of a college professor, but that would have been odd. It's really set up for a counselor or principal of a school. She has had many professors, including those who will write letters for her college applications, but none that know her entire educational background like this specifies.

(Gently) You are overthinking this. A college professor would have worked out well in your situation. I would call NM and let them know that it looks like the counselor portion will be submitted late. I had to make that phone call last year, and was assured that my son would not be penalized. NM held true to their word as my son was one of the 2500 selected for the $2500 NM Award, despite having a section of the app submitted past the deadline.
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IIRC, NM will not penalize a student if the recommendation arrives late. Call and check with them but I think you'd be fine.

 

 

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