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HappyGrace

Did any colleges need high school course descriptions from you?

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All of the honors programs requested them, and I think one or two of the more selective schools (not ultra selective). 

 

They don't have to be long, just a bit more information than the text used. And, you can clump together descriptions for subjects, if your methodology didn't change year by year. 

 

For English, I know I included something about 'an emphasis on whole works and discussion' and then each year was listed with a text and important works read.  

 

History was something like 'an emphasis on primary sources, historical context, and discussion' and then each year with text listed. 

 

Math, hmm, something brief about concentrating on problem solving skills, I think. 

 

So I wrote one actual description for all four years of core subjects, then text and readings as applicable for the year. 

 

No real descriptions for foreign languages and everything else. 

 

I would advise doing it. It gets it off of your list if it IS needed, and also gives the student good talking points if they are asked about classes and/or homeschooling in a meeting or interview. 

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Read the homeschool section of the college websites.

 

If you don't write descriptions of each individual course, definitely put enough academic information in the school profile so they have an idea of the rigor of your choices.

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No.  I asked all colleges my guys applied to specifically and they told me if I had any unusual courses they'd want a description (some homeschoolers do this), but as long as we had the usual ones (Geometry, Biology, etc) they were fine with it and wouldn't even look at descriptions.  I was glad I asked.  It saved me a bit of time.

 

ETA:  My kids had SAT/ACT scores in the Top 25% for their schools (all of them they applied to).  That might have made a difference in their response to me.  They knew mine were of the academic caliber they wanted to see.

Edited by creekland
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My dc applied to state schools that did not want the info. Like Creekland's dc, their transcripts were very standard. I've seen that some state schools request them, though, so it's a good idea to verify.

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I had to do them for a semi selective school (40% admission rate). What I want to know is did anyone really look at them!?

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I had to do them for a semi selective school (40% admission rate). What I want to know is did anyone really look at them!?

 

I had a couple of schools, including where DS2 is attending, specifically mention that they found them helpful.

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My first ds applied to ten schools. Two state universities and the other eight private LAC with various acceptance rates (from moderate to very selective). We did not send course descriptions and they were not asked for. He got admitted to 8 and waitlisted at 2. One he was told twice, in writing, that he was waitlisted for lack of interest and he was encouraged to take a visit. The other he was waitlisted at was a reach and he did not show interest there either. I don't think course descriptions would have mattered. Ds got nice scholarships everywhere he was accepted.

 

Second ds applied only to state universities and he definitely did not need course descriptions. He has already submitted the scholarship application for his top choice and no need for course descriptions. Not competitive schools.

 

Third ds is my most driven and most academic. He is in 9th grade and I am not keeping course descriptions as I go. I might need to backtrack as his direction becomes more clear over the next year.

 

I think course descriptions are like some other parts of the college application process. I think most people won't need them. Just as most students don't need to write an exceptional admissions essay. For the most competitive schools, programs, and scholarships these items are important. But most students and parents don't need to fret. If you have a top student who has a chance at top schools, honors programs, huge scholarships, then make sure you have every possible box checked. But if not, do not worry yourself excessively about the process. Most schools are easy to work with and do not require so much.

 

Many parents on this board do have the type of kids applying to schools that might want them. I am not discounting the importance. Just pointing out that parents can look at their students goals and target colleges before spending hours and hours on course descriptions.

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One of the four schools my son applied to specifically required them. Otherwise, I would have been highly tempted to consider them overkill.

 

ETA: Of course, now that I have spent hours writing them, they seem to have more value and I am seeing them as a marketing tool even for colleges that don't require them. I've read a few comments recently about colleges that would like to admit more home schoolers, but the schools don't feel they receive enough information from them to be able to make a decision. If nothing else, my course descriptions show the level of effort that has been put into my son's education.

Edited by OnMyOwn
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At Our state schools where I specifically asked ( during visits), admissions folks said to go ahead and include them- mainly for out of the box courses, not for say, algebra or regular old us history. Both private schools said pretty much the same thing.

 

I wound up writing & including them for all courses because it looked odd to just have them for some classes, I realized.

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Trying to determine if I should waste my time on these or not....

 

Thanks!

 

Personally, I find them worth doing whether or not a college requests them. I did a "quick and dirty" version where I copied and pasted an online description or cobbled one together if I used eclectic sources. I didn't try to rewrite or refine it at this point. Then I listed all materials used (books, movies, computer courses etc...), any tests or papers and the grade for each, and my grading basis. 

 

I did this as part of my transcript record-keeping at the end of the year, and the total time each year was never more than 2-3 hours to figure my kids' final grades, input them on the transcript, and do a mock-up of that year's course descriptions. It was a great way to see what we had accomplished and evaluate changes for the next year, and also a wonderful reference tool (I didn't have to "start from scratch" or rely 100% on memory for homeschooling my next one--it's amazing how much you can forget in just 2 years!). I did end up having to use them for my oldest, and had to use a shortened form of my youngest's as well. It was nice to have all of the info already laid out for me, so that all I had to do was revise, polish, and finish formatting. 

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Agreeing with MerryAtHope and Katilac.

 

And to me, the big factor to consider is this: what if you gamble and don't do it now, but DO need them unexpectedly later on? Then you are spending many many hours trying to reconstruct and put together 4 years worth of course descriptions (for 2 dozen+ classes) long after the fact, when you've already gotten rid of all your textbooks and are not going to remember all the highlights of what you did for classes in 9th and 10th grades -- when it would have only taken you 1-2 hours at the end of each school year to write up the descriptions for 6-8 courses while all the info was fresh in your mind.

 

:)

Edited by Lori D.
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We send a curriculum vitae (with course descriptions) as a supplement to the application. I've sent 2 DSs to college (a total of 17 different college applications), and they were never asked for any additional documentation (regarding homeschooling)...and they both had 100% acceptance rates. So, I don't think it's a waste of your time at all.

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I had to do them for a semi selective school (40% admission rate). What I want to know is did anyone really look at them!?

At 2 different scholarship interview weekends, dd's courses were specifically mentioned. One they asked her all kinds of questions about bc they were intrigued. So I know at least 2 read them.

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There is nowhere to submit them in the UC application.  

 

I spent waaay to much time on the course descriptions, never to be used.  I do, however, now have a beautiful record of her high school coursework. :D

 

(Edited to say that I shouldn't have said "never to be used" because she did apply to two private universities and was accepted.  However, since she wanted to attend a UC, they didn't end up being useful for that.)

 

Edited by learners4life
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Two of the schools dd applied to did request full course descriptions. It was a good thing to do, and I think the course description is what nailed it for the school dd ended up at.

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There is nowhere to submit them in the UC application.  

 

I spent waaay to much time on the course descriptions, never to be used.  I do, however, now have a beautiful record of her high school coursework. :D

 

There wasn't a specific place to upload them with the CA, either, but I've heard people say they load them as a second transcript document.  I'm just mentioning that because a friend of mine wrote up beautiful course descriptions as well and then never submitted them because she didn't think there was any place she could do that on the CA.  It didn't matter in the end, though, because her dd got into the school she wanted and is very happy there.

Edited by OnMyOwn

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My local state university (that's fairly easy to get into) says homeschoolers must provide a course list with "annotation of the general content in the academic courses and the textbooks used". I'll go ahead and make sure I have them ready for each course, since at least one of my kids is likely to go there.

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There wasn't a specific place to upload them with the CA, either, but I've heard people say they load them as a second transcript document.  I'm just mentioning that because a friend of mine wrote up beautiful course descriptions as well and then never submitted them because she didn't think there was any place she could do that on the CA.  It didn't matter in the end, though, because her dd got into the school she wanted and is very happy there.

 

Yes, we uploaded them to the CA as well for the two private universities.  However, the UCs do not want the course descriptions.  There is no place to upload them unless one tried to upload them to the additional comments section, which isn't large enough to accept the entire course description and would also be in  opposition to what the UCs say that section should be used for.

 

(We did use that additional comments section to give more information about her homeschool, but it was done within the context of the directions.)

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Also, I'm not saying don't do the course descriptions.  I'm just saying that I wouldn't sweat over them so much, and that the UCs don't want them (for those applying there).  I think almost anything else on the application is more valuable.

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DS did not need them.  He did have a number of concurrent enrollment college classes that did provide some context for his grades.  

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There is nowhere to submit them in the UC application.  

 

I spent waaay to much time on the course descriptions, never to be used.  I do, however, now have a beautiful record of her high school coursework. :D

 

(Edited to say that I shouldn't have said "never to be used" because she did apply to two private universities and was accepted.  However, since she wanted to attend a UC, they didn't end up being useful for that.)

 

But if you hadn't been accepted at the UC schools... then those course descriptions would maybe have come in handy at any alternate schools applied to. :-) Maybe it's what pushed them over the edge to acceptance at the private schools. So not wasted, just a lovely safety net.

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I do, however, now have a beautiful record of her high school coursework. :D

 

Which is a wonderful thing! 

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