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Course Description question

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Would you add course descriptions to the Common App, even if none of the schools to which your student is applying has that listed in their requirements?  Do you think most admissions offices want to see these from homeschoolers anyway?  How descriptive do you need to get?  We had a couple of subjects where we didn't follow a specific curriculum, but rather took a more eclectic approach to studying.

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Yes, I would add them. First, it gives more information about the coursework for schools that are wary of homeschooled applicants. Second, it also demonstrates that we run an organized school and can produce a systematic overview of the coursework and are not haphazardly throwing stuff together.

I wrote a paragraph per course. Less for courses with a standard canon, a bit more for unusual self designed courses or courses that integrate several subjects. I listed main texts, books, and GC lecture courses we used.

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What regentrude said.

 

I just uploaded the course description document as a second transcript.  I figured that if they didn't want to look at it, they didn't have to.

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Do course descriptions need to include a section on how learning was evaluated? Ie, how the grade for that course was determined?

 

We outsource. Some providers like WTMA include a "10% this, 40% that," etc.  I haven't kept that info for my sons' classes. On my sons' course descriptions, I mostly used the verbiage from the provider's course description and that's usually included that the student will do x papers, semester finals, etc. Is that sufficient?  How granular should course descriptions be?

 

Thanks!

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Do course descriptions need to include a section on how learning was evaluated? Ie, how the grade for that course was determined?

 

We outsource. Some providers like WTMA include a "10% this, 40% that," etc.  I haven't kept that info for my sons' classes. On my sons' course descriptions, I mostly used the verbiage from the provider's course description and that's usually included that the student will do x papers, semester finals, etc. Is that sufficient?  How granular should course descriptions be?

 

I included: "Evaluation: tests and labs". or "Evaluation: essays and oral presentations" or "Evaluation: Final exam"

 

No point breakdown, no percentages, no number of assignments. Those are meaningless anyway unless accompanied by the actual assignments.

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Do course descriptions need to include a section on how learning was evaluated? Ie, how the grade for that course was determined?

 

We outsource. Some providers like WTMA include a "10% this, 40% that," etc.  I haven't kept that info for my sons' classes. On my sons' course descriptions, I mostly used the verbiage from the provider's course description and that's usually included that the student will do x papers, semester finals, etc. Is that sufficient?  How granular should course descriptions be?

 

Thanks!

 

I didn't do that with my older kids and I don't plan to with my youngest.  Her high school doesn't do that.  They just list the school's general grading scale (93-100 - A, 90-92 - A-, etc.)  I put the information about grading scale and, for the homegrown classes, evaluation methods, in the school profile.  I was fairly general about evaluation methods (we did mostly a mastery approach and I explained what I meant by that.) 

 

As far as course descriptions were concerned, for outside classes, I typically copied the description from the provider.  If it was a little light on explanation, I would add a sentence or two. I did include materials used ... textbooks and other books, documentaries, web materials (not individual websites unless it was something like Khan Academy), Great Courses, etc.  I did mention a bit about the focus of the course and the types of outputs (papers, discussions, presentations, etc.) and activities (field trips, outside projects, etc.) 

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Do course descriptions need to include a section on how learning was evaluated? Ie, how the grade for that course was determined?

 

The ones I wrote did not.

 

A few sample course descriptions ~

 

This one 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 one 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.

 

 

The next two were 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.

 

For classes that my daughter took at the local community college (indicated as ZCC above), I copied course descriptions from the college catalog.  Likewise, when my daughter took at class through PA Homeschoolers, I used their course description.  (I shortened it somewhat.)

 

For classes like Algebra 2 and Geometry where my daughter used a standard text, I used a search engine (Google) and input the terms "Algebra 2 course description plus the author of the text" and used those course descriptions as the basis of my own.

 

The World Literature and World History courses I listed above were homemade courses.  Once again, I used a search engine to look for the course descriptions of similar courses taught at the high school and college level.  I adjusted those to best describe the courses my daughter did at home.

 

I'd be happy to share the course description documents that I prepared for my daughter.  If interested, simply send me a personal message with your email address.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Almost all of our courses are eclectic. I give a list of resources and a brief synopsis of what we covered. I include wording like Regentrude's description for evaluations.

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Can I tack on a question here? -- Do you include teacher credentials for outsourced classes in the course descriptions? I was planning on this, but do not have this information for every outsourced teacher.

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Can I tack on a question here? -- Do you include teacher credentials for outsourced classes in the course descriptions? I was planning on this, but do not have this information for every outsourced teacher.

 

I had a section in my school profile that stated the teacher credentials for every outsourced class.  I did not include the information in the course description document.

 

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Would you add course descriptions to the Common App, even if none of the schools to which your student is applying has that listed in their requirements?  Do you think most admissions offices want to see these from homeschoolers anyway?  How descriptive do you need to get?  We had a couple of subjects where we didn't follow a specific curriculum, but rather took a more eclectic approach to studying.

 

I uploaded the course description document as a second transcript.  Most of our homebrewed classes were also eclectic, and I just listed the resources we used.  I didn't state how the courses were evaluated in the course descriptions, but I mentioned in my homeschool profile that courses were taught to mastery. 

 

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Can I tack on a question here? -- Do you include teacher credentials for outsourced classes in the course descriptions? I was planning on this, but do not have this information for every outsourced teacher.

 

I mentioned that the French tutor was a native speaker.

Other than that, our outsourced courses were at a university, and I did not include specific credentials other than the professor's name.

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Can I tack on a question here? -- Do you include teacher credentials for outsourced classes in the course descriptions? I was planning on this, but do not have this information for every outsourced teacher.

No, I did not. I listed any outside providers as educational partners in the school profile but didn't go into teaching credentials.

 

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk

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Do course descriptions need to include a section on how learning was evaluated? Ie, how the grade for that course was determined?

 

We outsource. Some providers like WTMA include a "10% this, 40% that," etc.  I haven't kept that info for my sons' classes. On my sons' course descriptions, I mostly used the verbiage from the provider's course description and that's usually included that the student will do x papers, semester finals, etc. Is that sufficient?  How granular should course descriptions be?

 

Thanks!

 

I did not.  

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Can I tack on a question here? -- Do you include teacher credentials for outsourced classes in the course descriptions? I was planning on this, but do not have this information for every outsourced teacher.

 

I did not provide any information beyond what was written in the official course descriptions for the classes my son took at accredited institutions.

 

For the non-accredited courses, I just said who the teacher was (in our case Derek Owens) and provided a web address.  I only did this for DO's course.  No, wait, there was another--I also gave the credentials of his viola teacher by saying "this course was taught by professional musician Jane Doe."  Her name is unique enough that if the admissions folks were really interested they could google her and find out all kinds of things about her career.

 

If I end up doing this for my younger son, I will give the credentials of his German tutor and his guitar teacher and say the same thing about DO.

Edited by EKS
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I included course descriptions with the transcript.  I listed primary texts for each course as well.  If a course had been approved by College Board as an AP course I notated that as well.  For online courses, I notated the instructor and online provider.  I grouped the descriptions by field (i.e. math, science, foreign language) and listed courses in the order they were taken.

 

I didn't include any break down of how grades for an individual course were assigned nor did I list individual assignments.  I may have at times listed a major research project being included or a "series of 3-5 page papers" on a given topic, or that tests/quizes/papers were designed to prepare the student for an AP exam, etc.

 

For those outside teachers who provided their credentials, yes I gave them.  If they didn't provide them, then no.

 

The transcript had a section on grades i.e. an A/ 4.0 = 96-100%  (lots of schools do this differently so I just wanted to clarify what I was using in preparing a GPA).

 

Schools don't always ask for or require course descriptions but every admissions counselor we spoke to on tours said that they would appreciate them if available.  Dd even had a few admissions interviews where they mentioned the course descriptions and how much they appreciated having them because it helped them better evaluate her preparation and ability.

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