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Determined to finish the UC app and essays this weekend.  As some of you might know, the UC system requires four 350-word essays.  We have been advised that one of them should tell about her homeschool experience.  It is frustrating, though, because it is a lost opportunity to tell other things about herself.  The main UC site does ask homeschoolers to talk about it, but I think she can put a little in one essay and a little in another, as a non-main point, but still there. Also, when writing her science-related essay, that essay more or less speaks about her science learning through the years, so would that do it?

 

Would love advice from current and past UC applicants, and anyone else who has faced something similar in the applications experience.

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My kids have not discussed their homeschooling in the essays that they have written. While neither of them applied to any of the UC's, one did have to write multiple short essays for one school.  I addressed homeschooling in the school profile, and my kids had other topics that they wanted to discuss in their essays.

 

Good luck.

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The four 350 word essay is new to this year. It's a change from the previous two 1000 word limit essays. My daughter is a current UC student but was not homeschooled so I can't address directly your question. I know there are some moms here whose homeschooled children are also UC students. I would edit your post title to reflect that you are specifically asking about UC admissions.

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Looking around in the UC site, I see that you are actually expected to write about your homeschooling experience in the Additional Comments section, not as the answer to one of the prompts. Please see below:

http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/personal-questions/writing-tips/index.html

 

This is interesting.  I would love to do it this way.  Contradictory instructions are found under the homeschooling page that say:

 

Personal insight questions

Like all applicants, you’re encouraged to share information in the personal insight questions that would provide context for UC admissions officers reviewing your application. Specifically, we’d like to know about your home-school environment and experience:

  • Why did your family choose home schooling?
  • How is your day structured?
  • What extracurricular activities are you passionate about?

We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community.

Now, can you imagine writing this essay?  Why did your family choose homeschooling? It is hard to answer (not impossible, I know) without sounding like you are putting down public school.  How is your day structured? Well that varied greatly between elementary years and high school years. Pretty much now it is like public high school except that there are no specific windows of time to be dedicated to a specific subject. What extracurricular activities are you passionate about ? That could be included in a separate essay or in the activities section.  Maybe we are reading this incorrectly and they aren't asking for all of these.  I understand they want to understand the applicant, but students who, say, go to parochial school aren't asked why that chose that.  Maybe these are suggestions and not all requirements?

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My kids have not discussed their homeschooling in the essays that they have written. While neither of them applied to any of the UC's, one did have to write multiple short essays for one school.  I addressed homeschooling in the school profile, and my kids had other topics that they wanted to discuss in their essays.

 

Good luck.

 

Thanks for the information.  We weren't planning on doing it on the CA, however, my daughter talked to someone from one of last year's online classes who got into Stanford.  Two essays are required, and she wrote the shorter one about homeschooling.  I don't know what angle she went with, but she did tell my daughter that she wrote about homeschooling... sigh...

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I think prompt number 4 could definitely be used if you so wish to write about your homeschooling experience.

4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.

But if you don't want to do that prompt, then the Additional Comments section seems the best way to go.

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This is interesting.  I would love to do it this way.  Contradictory instructions are found under the homeschooling page that say:

 

Personal insight questions

Like all applicants, you’re encouraged to share information in the personal insight questions that would provide context for UC admissions officers reviewing your application. Specifically, we’d like to know about your home-school environment and experience:

  • Why did your family choose home schooling?
  • How is your day structured?
  • What extracurricular activities are you passionate about?

We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community.

Now, can you imagine writing this essay?  Why did your family choose homeschooling? It is hard to answer (not impossible, I know) without sounding like you are putting down public school.  How is your day structured? Well that varied greatly between elementary years and high school years. Pretty much now it is like public high school except that there are no specific windows of time to be dedicated to a specific subject. What extracurricular activities are you passionate about ? That could be included in a separate essay or in the activities section.  Maybe we are reading this incorrectly and they aren't asking for all of these.  I understand they want to understand the applicant, but students who, say, go to parochial school aren't asked why that chose that.  Maybe these are suggestions and not all requirements?

Fwiw, I addressed the bolded questions in the homeschool profile.  That third question my kids filled out in their sections of the applications - both the Common App and school specific apps had categories that asked about extracurricular activities.

 

Regarding how to answer the bolded questions...I agree with you that you definitely don't want to put down the public schools.  I think if you limit your comments as to why homeschooling was a good fit specifically for your child, you can avoid coming across as putting down the public schools.  

 

My kids' days also varied greatly between elementary and high school, and I explained the differences in the homeschool profile.

 

The Common App also has a section for homeschoolers to complete.  I didn't answer those questions in those fields since I had already addressed those questions in the School Profile or Course Descriptions..  Instead, I simply wrote, "Please refer to the School Profile"  or "Please refer to the Course Description Document."  

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We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community.

Now, can you imagine writing this essay?  Why did your family choose homeschooling? It is hard to answer (not impossible, I know) without sounding like you are putting down public school.  How is your day structured? Well that varied greatly between elementary years and high school years. Pretty much now it is like public high school except that there are no specific windows of time to be dedicated to a specific subject. What extracurricular activities are you passionate about ? That could be included in a separate essay or in the activities section.  Maybe we are reading this incorrectly and they aren't asking for all of these.  I understand they want to understand the applicant, but students who, say, go to parochial school aren't asked why that chose that.  Maybe these are suggestions and not all requirements?

 

For the benefit of those not doing UC applications, UC does not ask for school profile/ counselor letter etc. So the essays and the additional comments are the only spaces available for applicants to talk about the homeschool experience if they prefer to do so.

 

I've spoken to Cal's admissions twice and both times they specifically asked for context whenever I asked a homeschool-related question. It definitely sounds like they want to hear about it. They didn't say do it in X way though. I took the above to be guidelines, not requirements (there is no "applicant must..." and why assumed they were just offering suggestions).

 

DS is not a prolific writer. His essays are all quite matter of fact with one or two nice descriptions/ examples where relevant. He took Ms. Sun's advice (from Ask Ms. Sun blog) to treat the personal insight questions like interview questions.

 

DS chose to write about homeschooling for prompt 4. He talked about:

  • how homeschooling is not just about doing school
  • about how he used the freedom to explore subjects more deeply (an example from literature studies)
  • how he did not have to follow age based guidelines (math example)
  • how he didn't have to confine himself to a bell schedule (extra curricular out in the community on some mornings example)
  • what he does in evenings/ weekends (theater related out in the community example)
  • conclusion: how much freedom he has had

Then, I helped him think about how to provide more detail in the additional comments so that it won't be repetitive with prompt 4:

  • reason for homeschooling (very brief, no negativity although our main reason was due to bullying by a teacher)
  • examples of homeschooling rabbit trails not mentioned anywhere else in application (i.e. no high school credit or EC mention given although at high school level)
  • sample list of materials used
  • schedule (high school only -- year round for 9th, following academic calendars of campuses for DE in 10th-12th)
  • why more DE vs AP
  • links to some other info

 

HTH!

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I don't have any experience with the CA public university application process, but I love quark's answer. It meshes with our experience with college applications in general. We have found admission's officers to be genuinely interested in our homeschool and our kids' homeschooling experiences.

 

My sr has had several interviews with admission's officers already and all of them have been intrigued by d's description of her learning environment and their questions have been positive, but equally probing for more understanding. They want to understand her background. (And every interview has ended with a very positive/excited to have talked to you note.)

 

I think in our homeschool bubble we tend to take homeschooling as being well understood, but we are still a very small percentage of the population and more information provided about their experiences, the better understood they are as an applicant.

 

Fwiw, having admissions understand the academic background of an applicant and why their education makes them likely to succeed and thrive on the university's campus should be the overarching goal of the application. If they want homeschooling info, I would give it and make the most of emphasizing your homeschool's academic strengths.

 

Fwiw, my dd did write multiple essays on her academic freedom as a homeschooler and how she has used that freedom to progress at a rate and depth driven by her and has used it to explore subjects she wants to know more about. She focused on the no boundaries/sky is the limit aspect of her education and how she grabbed hold of that and ran with it. That independent-driven love of learning has been the backbone of her applications and it has been very well received.

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Very good information and informed opinions.  Thanks, Quark, for explaining that the UC system does not ask for a school profile or counselor letter.  That is part of the problem.  Yes, Mabelen, prompt 4 is the one we would use if doing a homeschool essay.  Thank you for looking into that.  FWIW, we have hired TWO different consultants for help (one very limited).  One is very versed with the UC system and advised against using the additional comments section. She felt it might set off alarms that it could be viewed negatively.  We, on the other hand, would love to put the information there, and use the essays the way that all of the other applicants get to. 

 

8 - Thanks for your comments - good information for the CA, which we will be starting on in a week!

 

We are working on it both ways right now.  Writing a prompt 4 about homeschool, and writing a different prompt not about homeschool.  We'll have to decide this weekend which way to go. 

 

"We tend to take homeschooling as being well understood, but we are still a very small percentage of the population and more information provided about their experiences, the better understood they are as an applicant."   8, I see your point.  

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I've spoken to Cal's admissions twice and both times they specifically asked for context whenever I asked a homeschool-related question. It definitely sounds like they want to hear about it. They didn't say do it in X way though. I took the above to be guidelines, not requirements (there is no "applicant must..." and why assumed they were just offering suggestions).

 

 

Quark - what type of questions did you ask?  I'm curious about the type of context they wanted.

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DS is not a prolific writer. His essays are all quite matter of fact with one or two nice descriptions/ examples where relevant. He took Ms. Sun's advice (from Ask Ms. Sun blog) to treat the personal insight questions like interview questions.

 

DS chose to write about homeschooling for prompt 4. He talked about:

  • how homeschooling is not just about doing school
  • about how he used the freedom to explore subjects more deeply (an example from literature studies)
  • how he did not have to follow age based guidelines (math example)
  • how he didn't have to confine himself to a bell schedule (extra curricular out in the community on some mornings example)
  • what he does in evenings/ weekends (theater related out in the community example)
  • conclusion: how much freedom he has had

Then, I helped him think about how to provide more detail in the additional comments so that it won't be repetitive with prompt 4:

  • reason for homeschooling (very brief, no negativity although our main reason was due to bullying by a teacher)
  • examples of homeschooling rabbit trails not mentioned anywhere else in application (i.e. no high school credit or EC mention given although at high school level)
  • sample list of materials used
  • schedule (high school only -- year round for 9th, following academic calendars of campuses for DE in 10th-12th)
  • why more DE vs AP
  • links to some other info

I just starting seeing stuff from Ms. Sun last week, but didn't look at it too much as we were going to get to many cooks spoiling the stew.  However, it is interesting that you say she said to treat them like interview questions.  Dd has written all of hers, so far, as more like telling a story focusing on a particular personal strength or characteristic. Only the homeschooling would be different.  I like Ms. Sun's example.  I think the major difference between say, the famous Costco essay and Ms. Sun's essay is that Ms. Sun's is very much in the now and the future, whereas the Costco essay reflected back over a lifetime and shows how that relates to the now and the future.  

 

Thanks for the outline of what you included in your homeschooling essay.  It is a lot of what we are including except that we aren't addressing the evening/weekend.  Didn't really consider that, and probably couldn't due to the 350 word limit.  I don't know how he managed to do that!! Great idea about adding extras into additional comments section.  Did you ever ask Cal about using that section for homeschooling?  I will call UCD on Monday and ask them.  Will post what they say.

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Quark - what type of questions did you ask?  I'm curious about the type of context they wanted.

 

Gosh, I'm trying to remember. I know I had a long list and wrote them down somewhere but recently I did some filing and shredded a bunch of no longer necessary pieces of paper. I know I definitely asked about age (mine is a younger applicant). And I know I also asked about looking very pointy in math. I can't recall the rest, sorry. The last time I inquired was about a year ago.

 

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Thanks for the outline of what you included in your homeschooling essay.  It is a lot of what we are including except that we aren't addressing the evening/weekend.  Didn't really consider that, and probably couldn't due to the 350 word limit.  I don't know how he managed to do that!! Great idea about adding extras into additional comments section.  Did you ever ask Cal about using that section for homeschooling?  I will call UCD on Monday and ask them.  Will post what they say.

 

I think I would include what I can about homeschooling but if she has something more compelling to talk about then she should definitely do that. I wonder if she could tie that in to homeschooling by saying I could only do this because I had the freedom/ flexibility to carve my own schedule? So basically don't just tell them she is homeschooling but what she managed to achieve through it and how it influenced her learning/ life/ life goals etc. What did she do with it? I think that's the context they want. For DS, the schedule thing really captured who he is (a goofy kid who loves to laugh via theater/ comedy improv, a kid who doesn't mind making a fool of himself if it means something good comes of it and so on). It also managed to drive home the point that he doesn't spend all his time at home but that he is out there making use of stuff in his community.

 

Actually, I am second guessing some of what DS wrote. I feel like he left so much out by assuming people would know what he means. :mellow: But word limit was a factor. The advice I have seen about treating it as interview questions was because of the 350 word limit. With a 650 word limit it might make more sense to start in media res like the Costco essay. The interview style also fits DS better. He does not like writing about himself. Some of my suggestions were met with "but mom, that's not me...that's not what I would normally say" etc. So he went with what felt authentic.

 

Here's some info from UC on how to use the additional comments as well as the 550-character box they supply in the academic history section. This was from their counselor bulletin that they send to their mailing list:

 

'Proper use of "Additional Comments" sections

The two additional comments boxes in the application are optional and should not be used as a continuation of a student’s personal insight question responses. Instead, students should use this section to explain anything that may be unclear in other parts of the application.

The first additional comments box follows the “Academic History†section and should be used to explain course taking or grade patterns, a circumstance that prevented the student from taking more rigorous courses, or a prolonged illness that affect their grades.

The second comment area immediately follows the “personal insight questions†section. Applicants may use this area to explain a learning or physical difference, or other issues related to their academic ability.'

Another Ask Ms. Sun link:

https://askmssun.com/home/uc-app-additional-comments/

 

Wish I had called UC to ask about the additional comments. Actually, by the time DS was at this stage, I was sick of over thinking it. He initially had something else in there. We let it sit there for a few days and when we revisited it we both felt like it didn't fit and that it was repetitive and why we changed it to what I mentioned upthread.

 

Trust your gut and keep fingers tightly crossed! :laugh: It's so easy (but also stressful) to overthink it.

 

Good luck!

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I think in our homeschool bubble we tend to take homeschooling as being well understood, but we are still a very small percentage of the population and more information provided about their experiences, the better understood they are as an applicant.

 

 

I get this, and I probably do reside in the "homeschooling is awesome" bubble/echo-chamber, perhaps not also inhabited by adcoms.  

 

But I think--and maybe I'm overthinking this--but I think if not now, then maybe in a few years, the "I homeschool because it offers me so much flexibility" becomes a trope/cliche akin to "I built a well in Africa, and I learned so much from the people there"  or "My uncle got some disease, so now I want to be a doctor."  

 

I think it might be cool if you rather took it for granted that you were homeschooling, instead to focus on your student's considerable achievements, and only incidentally mention homeschooling.  

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I get this, and I probably do reside in the "homeschooling is awesome" bubble/echo-chamber, perhaps not also inhabited by adcoms.  

 

But I think--and maybe I'm overthinking this--but I think if not now, then maybe in a few years, the "I homeschool because it offers me so much flexibility" becomes a trope/cliche akin to "I built a well in Africa, and I learned so much from the people there"  or "My uncle got some disease, so now I want to be a doctor."  

 

I think it might be cool if you rather took it for granted that you were homeschooling, instead to focus on your student's considerable achievements, and only incidentally mention homeschooling.  

 

I guess it really depends on how the student wants to approach their applications.  My dd's focus was her ability to explore the subjects she loves and to integrate studies across subjects b/c she has had that ability as a homeschooler.  She has 15 foreign language credits, a fairy tale translation project, the history of France read in French, the history of Russia and communism, etc. Her transcript is not traditional and she used her essays to highlight her "considerable achievements" while embracing her homeschooling background as the reason she has been able to do what she has done. 

 

FWIW, my school profile for dd doesn't dodge the reason why we homeschool.  I came right out and said we homeschool b/c I want my children to have an education focused on developing critical thinking skills and the ability to study subjects we want the way we want to approach them vs. textbooks and worksheets. :)  (Pretty much batting a 0 here for conventional wisdom, so take everything I say with a chunk of salt. ;) )

 

Homeschooling is still far from being considered mainstream at all colleges.  Some colleges do not treat homeschoolers differently, but many have specific homeschool guidelines on their websites.  We can treat our applications as being seen identically as your typical accredited school applicant, but the adcom on the receiving end will receive an application classified as "homeschool."  From my perspective (and that is all this is....my opinion.  Others have different opinions and different experiences) there is nothing to take for granted.  Every homeschool applicant is examined individually.  Adcoms know not all homeschools are the same and many colleges have adcoms who specifically deal with the homeschool applications.  Some schools require homeschooled student interviews.  (Dd has at least 2 specific-to-homeschoolers required interviews.) 

 

If your homeschool is more traditional, your student might not have anything they really want or need to share about their educational background.  But if their background is different from a traditional classroom, their essays are an opportunity to tell their story.

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I get this, and I probably do reside in the "homeschooling is awesome" bubble/echo-chamber, perhaps not also inhabited by adcoms.  

 

But I think--and maybe I'm overthinking this--but I think if not now, then maybe in a few years, the "I homeschool because it offers me so much flexibility" becomes a trope/cliche akin to "I built a well in Africa, and I learned so much from the people there"  or "My uncle got some disease, so now I want to be a doctor."  

 

I think it might be cool if you rather took it for granted that you were homeschooling, instead to focus on your student's considerable achievements, and only incidentally mention homeschooling.  

Based on my recruiting experience with my current senior and the feedback we received from coaches, which was very candid, we discovered that the negative stereotypes regarding homeschooling are still out there. The adcoms want to know why we choose to homeschool.  If you have the opportunity to mention it in your documents as the guidance counselor, that will enable your child to write about other topics in his essays if he desires. 

 

The Common App gives you the opportunity to address homeschooling as the guidance counselor.  My oldest son's school has its own application, but I had the opportunity to address homeschooling in the guidance documents for him as well. My boys did not discuss homeschooling in their essays, but had I not addressed homeschooling, they would have in their essays. 

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Based on my recruiting experience with my current senior and the feedback we received from coaches, which was very candid, we discovered that the negative stereotypes regarding homeschooling are still out there. The adcoms want to know why we choose to homeschool.  If you have the opportunity to mention it in your documents as the guidance counselor, that will enable your child to write about other topics in his essays if he desires. 

 

 

 

>>pop!<<

 

That was the sound of my homeschooling bubble being burst.

 

Point well taken.  

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>>pop!<<

 

That was the sound of my homeschooling bubble being burst.

 

Point well taken.  

 

Yes.  I personally think the worst stereotype you can face is that they are homeschooled to keep them in  a "mommy" bubble, "protected from the big, bad public school environment."

 

I think being able to articulate precisely why you homeschool, which from my perspective means being able to emphasize distinctions (why bother homeschooling if you are simply doing the exact same thing at home?) is something every homeschooled student needs to be able to do. They will more than likely face that question eventually.

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This is interesting. I would love to do it this way. Contradictory instructions are found under the homeschooling page that say:

Personal insight questions

Like all applicants, you’re encouraged to share information in the personal insight questions that would provide context for UC admissions officers reviewing your application. Specifically, we’d like to know about your home-school environment and experience:

  • Why did your family choose home schooling?
  • How is your day structured?
  • What extracurricular activities are you passionate about?

We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community.

Now, can you imagine writing this essay? Why did your family choose homeschooling? It is hard to answer (not impossible, I know) without sounding like you are putting down public school. How is your day structured? Well that varied greatly between elementary years and high school years. Pretty much now it is like public high school except that there are no specific windows of time to be dedicated to a specific subject. What extracurricular activities are you passionate about ? That could be included in a separate essay or in the activities section. Maybe we are reading this incorrectly and they aren't asking for all of these. I understand they want to understand the applicant, but students who, say, go to parochial school aren't asked why that chose that. Maybe these are suggestions and not all requirements?

Those questions would bother me. Unless they were asking public schoolers the same questions, and private, I would find it offensive and discriminatory.

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Those questions would bother me. Unless they were asking public schoolers the same questions, and private, I would find it offensive and discriminatory.

 

I'm not sure why the questions are offensive.  They already know how traditional school days are structured, so there is no reason to ask.  Homeschooling is a decision.  Entering a ps really isn't.  Private maybe to a degree, but still not to the same extent as homeschooling and rejecting traditional classroom instruction.  What is the motivation to take a completely different educational path than the norm?  Many homeschoolers do not have access to typical high school extracurriculars--clubs, sports, band (which ps and private school students do have to provide), so explaining their ECs is a normal question.

 

This statement, We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community," is found on most college applications in general. 

 

And discriminatory....well, that is something that needs to be accepted as a possibility when homeschooling is chosen.  Colleges do not have to accept homeschoolers if they don't want to, and yes, some do discriminate against homeschoolers. Plenty expect things from homeschoolers that they don't expect from other students (subject tests, GEDs, proof of science labs just to name a few).  Not applying to colleges that treat homeschoolers different is an option.  My dd refused to apply to several schools bc she wasn't willing to jump through their extra homeschooling hoops.  It meant walking away from large guaranteed merit scholarships, but it was the decision she wanted to make.

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Those questions would bother me. Unless they were asking public schoolers the same questions, and private, I would find it offensive and discriminatory.

Would you care to explain why? Imho, they are trying to get a glimpse into why you made the decisions you did. DS and I did not take this as probing or offensive and instead as a great opportunity to explain our choices and own unique brand of homeschooling. People homeschool for all sorts of reasons! Plus, we thought it a fantastic opportunity to show homeschooling off in a very positive light. DS also had some reasons that no one but us needs to know so we left it out.

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I'm not sure why the questions are offensive.  They already know how traditional school days are structured, so there is no reason to ask.  Homeschooling is a decision.  Entering a ps really isn't.  Private maybe to a degree, but still not to the same extent as homeschooling and rejecting traditional classroom instruction.  What is the motivation to take a completely different educational path than the norm?  Many homeschoolers do not have access to typical high school extracurriculars--clubs, sports, band (which ps and private school students do have to provide), so explaining their ECs is a normal question.

 

This statement, We’re interested not only in your strengths as a scholar, but also your leadership qualities, passions and contributions to your family and community," is found on most college applications in general. 

 

And discriminatory....well, that is something that needs to be accepted as a possibility when homeschooling is chosen.  Colleges do not have to accept homeschoolers if they don't want to, and yes, some do discriminate against homeschoolers. Plenty expect things from homeschoolers that they don't expect from other students (subject tests, GEDs, proof of science labs just to name a few).  Not applying to colleges that treat homeschoolers different is an option.  My dd refused to apply to several schools bc she wasn't willing to jump through their extra homeschooling hoops.  It meant walking away from large guaranteed merit scholarships, but it was the decision she wanted to make.

Choosing to go to public school is a decision. Even if many people default to it, it is still as much of a decision as home schooling is, or private schooling. So if home schoolers have to justify or explain why they are home schooling, then public schoolers should have to do the same.

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Choosing to go to public school is a decision. Even if many people default to it, it is still as much of a decision as home schooling is, or private schooling. So if home schoolers have to justify or explain why they are home schooling, then public schoolers should have to do the same.

 

Homeschoolers do not have to "justify" their decision. They get the chance to explain a very individualized education program to administrators who, most likely, have attended public school and have a pretty good idea how public school works. Since ps is the default, nobody needs an explanation what ps entails - but homeschools vary so tremendously that the opportunity to give more insight into the schooling is actually a privilege. I cannot see what would be offensive about it. I was very glad that the setup of the application have me the chance to tell the colleges in more detail about our schooling.

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Choosing to go to public school is a decision. Even if many people default to it, it is still as much of a decision as home schooling is, or private schooling. So if home schoolers have to justify or explain why they are home schooling, then public schoolers should have to do the same.

 

Think about bolded for a minute.

 

"I went to public school Z because everyone else in my neighborhood does."

"I chose to enroll in X private school/ public school because of the excellent teachers and test scores."

"My parents put me in school Y because it is the only school in our district with ABC program."

 

Imagine readers seeing these responses in 99% (stats might be wrong, I don't know what the % of homeschool applicants are at each school) of applications! Wouldn't that be an utter waste of time? If there really is a compelling reason, there are places in the application to explain it. And I'm sure that could make a really cool essay vs everyone explaining very similar reasons. Homeschoolers usually have more unique reasons than these.

 

And now is actually a good time to look at the different application portals if you haven't already done so. Go in and create a pretend account with an email address you won't use for the actual applications (don't submit anything). Look around. It will give you a much better idea of how to address the questions and what to write where.

 

Edited to give some variety to responses. :laugh:

 

Edited by quark
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Choosing to go to public school is a decision. Even if many people default to it, it is still as much of a decision as home schooling is, or private schooling. So if home schoolers have to justify or explain why they are home schooling, then public schoolers should have to do the same.

Like Regentrude, I am incredibly thankful that they want to know about our homeschool instead of lumping our homeschool in with all homeschools as if somehow our homeschool is defined by some

generic homeschool stereotype.

 

I don't find it at all insulting. I think it shows an understanding that homeschools need to be evaluated individually. It isn't justifying. It is explaining.

 

But, there are schools that do expect justification by requiring 4 subject tests. Their prerogative. We just apply elsewhere.

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Those questions would bother me. Unless they were asking public schoolers the same questions, and private, I would find it offensive and discriminatory

 

 

I have to admit that I kind of felt the same way as Janeway when I read this.  I think that when students test through AP exams, SAT tests, ACT tests, and SAT II Subject tests, asking for more information about their school is unnecessary. If the scores are good, the method of schooling is obviously working. I don't mind sharing, I LOVE to talk about homeschooling, but I am worried that things are going to be read into whatever I say.

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Think about bolded for a minute.

 

"I went to public school Z because everyone else in my neighborhood does."

"I chose to enroll in X private school/ public school because of the excellent teachers and test scores."

"My parents put me in school Y because it is the only school in our district with ABC program."

 

Imagine readers seeing these responses in 99% (stats might be wrong, I don't know what the % of homeschool applicants are at each school) of applications! Wouldn't that be an utter waste of time? If there really is a compelling reason, there are places in the application to explain it. And I'm sure that could make a really cool essay vs everyone explaining very similar reasons. Homeschoolers usually have more unique reasons than these.

 

 

 

That question specifically aimed at homeschoolers ruffled my feathers, too, until I read the above.  Responding to this sort of question gives the homeschooled student the opportunity to show agency in their educational path, not passivity.  

 

No, I didn't homeschool because everyone else was doing it.  I chose homeschooling because I wanted to do X and Y and Z.  And now I choose your university because I want to do A and B and C.  

 

I should smooth my feathers and view this as an opportunity to show off more.  

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I should smooth my feathers and view this as an opportunity to show off more.  

Especially when you have very valid reasons to! :thumbup1: (I think we downplayed things a bit too much actually...both DS and I don't like coming across as saying too much...which is a disadvantage for college applications methinks :tongue_smilie: ).

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I have to admit that I kind of felt the same way as Janeway when I read this.  I think that when students test through AP exams, SAT tests, ACT tests, and SAT II Subject tests, asking for more information about their school is unnecessary. If the scores are good, the method of schooling is obviously working. I don't mind sharing, I LOVE to talk about homeschooling, but I am worried that things are going to be read into whatever I say.

 

Enter into the process with confidence that your homeschool has high standards and produces well-prepared students. Present your homeschool as a top learning environment where students are encouraged to interact with others and active in their community.  

 

That is really all they want to know.  They want to know the student will be able to succeed in their classrooms and contribute to their campus community.  There aren't any nefarious motives.  They want to accept students that meet their campus expectations.  SInce there is no uniformity amg homeschools, describing your educational process is the only way for them to catch a glimpse into what it looks like. Is your homeschool an unschool environment or a traditional school-at-home approach or somewhere in between or something totally different. 

 

For example, our homeschool is not a traditional school at home environment, so I emphasize that my kids take charge of their educations by helping design their courses, selecting their study materials, and have ownership over their high school educational plans.  I don't go into nitty-gritty details about what they are doing on a day to day basis but emphasize the long-term outcomes of their plans and their internal drive to master material-----That feeds into their test scores and honors validating what they have been doing at home.

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I have to admit that I kind of felt the same way as Janeway when I read this.  I think that when students test through AP exams, SAT tests, ACT tests, and SAT II Subject tests, asking for more information about their school is unnecessary. If the scores are good, the method of schooling is obviously working. I don't mind sharing, I LOVE to talk about homeschooling, but I am worried that things are going to be read into whatever I say.

 

Echoing what 8FillTheHeart wrote: if you prepared your student for college, there is no need for worry. Just paint an accurate picture of the schooling, talk about your philosophy, highlight the advantages for your student. 

 

I approached this with the mindset that the admissions officials are not looking for a reason to reject my student (they could do that without reading anything I send), but for information that tells them whether the student would be a good fit for the school and likely to succeed. They want to admit students who will do well, and who will actually come, and any info you give them helps them get a better picture. 

 

Btw, my main objective in sending lots of information, like course descriptions, was showing that our homeschool is organized, methodical, and intentional. I do not think anybody is going to spend a lot of time scrutinizing the course descriptions - but they may browse through them and see that there are descriptions, that we put thought into the selection of resources, that academics were a priority. That, I suspect, may be more important that any individual book that is listed.

 

I may be completely wrong, of course, but in any case, the above approach got my kids admitted to the colleges they want to attend.

 

Editing: italic inserted for clarity:

And keep in mind that any of this only matters for selective schools. For most colleges, a simple transcript is all that is required,  is what the decision will be based on, even if you submit more info through the Common App,  since they accept pretty much any student who  meets the test score requirement. The details become important when a school selects only a small percentage of the applicants who all have strong test scores and transcripts.

Edited by regentrude
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And keep in mind that any of this only matters for selective schools. For most colleges, a simple transcript is all that is required, since they accept pretty much any student who  meets the test score requirement. The details become important when a school selects only a small percentage of the applicants who all have strong test scores and transcripts.

 

I think this is an oversimplification of the process. Schools that use the Common App are going to expect a school profile and a counselor letter.  Many lower ranked schools also ask for a description of homeschool philosophy or a list of textbooks/course descriptions. Competitive scholarships or honors programs are going to ask for more information.

 

My kids do not apply to super selective schools and profile/counselor letter/course descriptions are all things we provide to the vast majority of schools.  The number that don't request has been far smaller than the number that do.

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I think this is an oversimplification of the process. Schools that use the Common App are going to expect a school profile and a counselor letter.  Many lower ranked schools also ask for a description of homeschool philosophy or a list of textbooks/course descriptions. Competitive scholarships or honors programs are going to ask for more information.

 

My kids do not apply to super selective schools and profile/counselor letter/course descriptions are all things we provide to the vast majority of schools.  The number that don't request has been far smaller than the number that do.

 

Yes, you are correct of course. I did not word this precisely enough. For school that want the CA, they require all that extra information - but I would still argue that it does not really matter for a school that accepts pretty much everybody who applies. 

Going back to edit for clarity.

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