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Hilltopmom

Course descriptions for all classes?

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Ds is likely only applying to state schools, nothing super selective.

 

I'm getting ready to start writing course descriptions, but do I really need them for everything?

 

The one state school admissions person I asked said only to bother writing them for out of the ordinary courses. Like, not for Algebra or US History, since those are self explanatory, but his WWII history class or Engineering Tech, yes.

 

I'm thinking it will look weird to only do them for some classes & not all of them.

 

What about classes taken at the CC?

Did you copy & paste descriptions from the course catalogue or just list them & send the college transcripts?

 

What says the hive?

We're using the Common App for everywhere he's applying, but I only asked about them at one place during a visit.

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Ds is likely only applying to state schools, nothing super selective.

 

I'm getting ready to start writing course descriptions, but do I really need them for everything?

 

The one state school admissions person I asked said only to bother writing them for out of the ordinary courses. Like, not for Algebra or US History, since those are self explanatory, but his WWII history class or Engineering Tech, yes.

 

I'm thinking it will look weird to only do them for some classes & not all of them.

 

What about classes taken at the CC?

Did you copy & paste descriptions from the course catalogue or just list them & send the college transcripts?

 

What says the hive?

We're using the Common App for everywhere he's applying, but I only asked about them at one place during a visit.

 

Thanks for asking these questions! I need to know this too.

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I had a course description for every course.  I doubt the document was read in its entirety (if at all), but the information was there in case someone was interested.

 

Good luck with the application process. 

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I included descriptions of all home-based courses in my own documentation, which I submitted with the transcript.  

 

However, the Common App specifically asked descriptions for all *outside* courses, including those taken at accredited institutions (which is ridiculous because they don't require this of traditionally schooled students).  There was a special place to input those, so that's where I put them (the home-based descriptions were submitted as a second transcript for the Common App).

 

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I included descriptions of all home-based courses in my own documentation, which I submitted with the transcript.  

 

However, the Common App specifically asked descriptions for all *outside* courses, including those taken at accredited institutions (which is ridiculous because they don't require this of traditionally schooled students).  There was a special place to input those, so that's where I put them (the home-based descriptions were submitted as a second transcript for the Common App).

:iagree: 

Fwiw, I ignored all the places on the Common App asking for information that was specific to homeschoolers.  In all of those fields, I simply referred them to the appropriate document that I had already uploaded because I liked my format better and didn't want to spend the time repeating the information..  

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Fwiw, I ignored all the places on the Common App asking for information that was specific to homeschoolers.  In all of those fields, I simply referred them to the appropriate document that I had already uploaded because I liked my format better and didn't want to spend the time repeating the information..  

 

I did this as well.

 

But that's different from specifically requiring homeschoolers to submit descriptions of courses taken at accredited institutions when this is not required of traditionally schooled students who have taken the *exact same courses*.  (Actually, to be accurate, it is not required of students and unaccredited institutions either.)

 

I suspect the reason they required this is that many homeschoolers count as "outside" coursework classes taken with *any* teacher other than the parent (so a co-op class, Derek Owens, a friend down the street, whatever) and they want to be sure to get descriptions for them.

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Ok, I'll just write them for everything & some will be shorter than others

 

His CC courses are all in the same state system, but I can easily copy those course descriptions from the college website.

 

Thanks

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I carefully kept detailed course descriptions and updated it every year. . .and then never needed it for anything.  Oh well.

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I am doing my daughter's course descriptions year by year.  Is there an appropriate length or maximum length for these descriptions for the common app.? Some classes really do have much information to include.

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I wrote course descriptions for every teeny-tiny class. Some were longer than others, of course. The reps at the schools who requested the descriptions raved about what I provided.

Edited by Harriet Vane

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I am doing my daughter's course descriptions year by year.  Is there an appropriate length or maximum length for these descriptions for the common app.? Some classes really do have much information to include.

 

Most schools do not require course descriptions.

 

Dd applied to six schools (three flagship universities and three private schools). Two flagships (Miami of Ohio and Purdue) requested course descriptions as did one private school (Wheaton). The others said they prefer not.

 

My list of course descriptions was ten pages long. This was not put on the Common App--it was provided directly by email to the schools that requested them. Most non-homeschooled students do not provide full course descriptions, so I think there is not even a space for that??? (It has been two years since dd applied to schools.)

 

Some of the descriptions were a long, solid paragraph, and others were just a few lines. I included a course description, curriculum, and name of instructor + instructor credentials for each entry.

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As to your question - I do think it would look weird to only describe some courses and not all of them.

 

As for outside courses, I simply either copied the course description from the provider or I summarized it (making it shorter). I listed where it was taken and the teacher. I put everything into one document for my course descriptions. On the common app where it asked repeatedly for parts of the information, I simply said see course descriptions and then I uploaded them as a second transcript.

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I wrote a course description for each class that my daughter took.  And I provided it to each college to which my daughter applied whether they requested it or not.

 

I'd be happy to share the course descriptions I created for my daughter's college applications.  If interested, simply send me a personal message with your email address.

 

 

A few sample course descriptions ~

 

This class was taken at the local community college:

 

 

WR 121 - English Composition: Exposition and Introduction to Argument

This is the fundamental course for all writing students that introduces students to the conventions of academic writing. It emphasizes defining and developing a significant topic and using principles of clear thinking to support an assertive thesis. Students should understand their subject matter, audience, purpose, and point-of-view, and demonstrate that understanding through the organization and development of their essays. Students should analyze and evaluate other writers' work to sharpen their critical abilities as readers and writers.
4.000 Credit Hours (Class taken at ZCC in 11th grade.)  Awarded 0.50 credits.

 

 

The next class was taken at our local homeschooling resource center (similar to a co-op):

 

 

Literature:  A Little Middle English

In this class students read portions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, stories which have delighted English readers for 700 years.  Students read and interpret the stories together using the original Middle English text.  Several short reflective writing topics are assigned. (Class taken at Y Co-op in 10th grade.)  Awarded 0.25 credits.

 

 

This class was taken through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers:

 

AP Statistics
[This description is taken from the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers website.] AP Statistics is a college level introductory course in statistics in which students will learn how to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data. Statistics is the most widely applicable branch of mathematics and is used by more people than any other kind of math.  We will frequently work on projects involving the hands-on gathering and analysis of real world data. The ideas and computations presented in this course have immediate links and connections with actual events.
 
Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes:

Exploring Data. Students collect and examine data and display the patterns that emerge. Data from students in class as well as real world data sets are gathered and used to illustrate concepts.
Producing Models Using Probability and Simulation. Students learn to anticipate patterns and produce models for prediction. Students use simulations to model situations that are not practical to replicate using other methods.
Experimental Design. Students design appropriate experiments in order to draw conclusions that can be generalized to the population of interest. Students will also interpret studies and experiments to determine whether the conclusions from the studies warrant consideration.
Statistical Inference.  Students learn what can be generalized about the population. Students also consider how to investigate research questions, design a study, and interpret the results.
(Class currently in progress through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers.)  Awarding 1.00 credits.

 

The next two were for home designed courses:

 

 

World Literature from 1700 to 2000

A study of 18th through 20th century short stories and novels with the intent of familiarizing the student with selected literary works of enduring quality.  This interdisciplinary course (see the associated History course below) allows the student to explore this time period by reading its literature while also studying its historical context.  (Class taken at home in 9th grade.)  Awarded 0.50 credits.

 

World History from 1700 to 2000
This reading-based course covers world-changing events of the 18th through 20th centuries which have shaped our culture today; it complements the associated Literature course (listed above) by giving the student a context for the literature studied. The course also includes musical recordings, documentaries, and videos of or about the time. Map work and short writing assignments are required. (Class taken at home in 9th grade.) Awarded 1.00 credits.


You'll note that I did not include textbook names or novel titles in my course descriptions. I included separate reading and textbook lists with that information.

 

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Kareni and Harriet, Thanks for sharing. The widespread use of the common app makes writing and determining where to upload the descriptions confusing for those of us who are beginners at this. I have been using Lee Binz' templates, but I think what I have might be too long. It seems like all of the course descriptions need to be minimized and consolidated into another file. Then I would have both available. My daughter's top choice school used the common app.

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