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Is the school profile always best written as "just the facts"?


pgr
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I'm working on our school profile and some parts of it are reading as prose or our family's personal essay, especially the "why we chose to homeschool" (and, to a lesser degree, "how we school".) 

Obviously, this is an official document, not a writing contest. At the same time, every story is unique and I want to tell ours - even if it's short and sweet. There's much more to it than "we chose to homeschool because the public schools here are subpar and we wanted to raise our kids according to our own values". 

I don't, however, want it to come across as unprofessional. Thoughts?

 

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Mine is not "just facts."  I definitely incorporated why we homeschool.  Our homeschool is nothing like a traditional school approach, so I wanted to highlight that it more than simply a different location covering similar topics without classroom teachers.  It is fundamentally a different education.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

Mine is not "just facts."  I definitely incorporated why we homeschool.  Our homeschool is nothing like a traditional school approach, so I wanted to highlight that it more than simply a different location covering similar topics without classroom teachers.  It is fundamentally a different education.

Thank you, and I agree. But can it read like our story?  For example, "I often wonder how many lives turn out mostly as planned; ours most definitely did not."

versus

"Our family's collective educational background is quite varied; this led us to be more open to crafting a unique education for our children".

Edited by pgr
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I have done it both ways.  With my older son, the school profile was pretty much just facts and the counselor letter told his (somewhat complicated) story in addition to getting more personal.  With the younger one, I put the complicated schooling story into the school profile and devoted the counselor letter to who he was as a person.

If I had it to do over again, I'd do it the way I did it for my younger son.  Homeschooling isn't anything like traditional schooling, and the school profile should reflect that.

 

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Remember that you get two documents. The school profile has a statement of your homeschool philosophy, why you homeschooled, any unique features to your homeschool. The counselor letter is your kid's individual story. Obviously there's some overlap, but I think of it that you could use the school profile for all your kids (though maybe with some tweaks). The letter is absolutely individualized.

Don't leave off the key information from the profile though. Colleges want to see grading scale, how were courses weighted if any were, were your offerings limited in any way? (for example, if you didn't have access to AP exams or to dual enrollment or the funds for outside courses, put it here!), and what were your graduation requirements. I also have families include what outside providers did you use.

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13 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Remember that you get two documents. The school profile has a statement of your homeschool philosophy, why you homeschooled, any unique features to your homeschool. The counselor letter is your kid's individual story. Obviously there's some overlap, but I think of it that you could use the school profile for all your kids (though maybe with some tweaks). The letter is absolutely individualized.

Ha, yes, that's what I thought too, until I realized that my younger one's experience was fundamentally different.  Not only was he a totally different sort of student, but my philosophy had undergone a major shift, informed both by what I had learned teaching the older one as well as the graduate work I did during the last six years of homeschooling.

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6 hours ago, pgr said:

Thank you, and I agree. But can it read like our story?  For example, "I often wonder how many lives turn out mostly as planned; ours most definitely did not."

versus

"Our family's collective educational background is quite varied; this led us to be more open to crafting a unique education for our children".

I personally would not use either sentence is a school profile.  

The first option sounds too conversational in tone, and both sentences seem empty of content.  Instead of sentence #2, I might write "PG Rice is the head of our school.  She has a PhD in chemistry from MIT and is the distinguished professor of chemistry at Miami University.  The student's father, GP Rice has an electrician's certification and owns his own business, generating revenues in excess of $3 billion a year.  This disparity in educational attainment informs the philosophy of our homeschool in crafting a unique education for our students."  

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My student’s is more fact based. I left the conversational why we homeschool stuff mostly in the counselor letter. The school profile covered things like classes the students took, activities and events etc. they were tailored to each child but definitely not a monologue. I formatted it like the local schools but had some different titles than they did. 

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15 hours ago, EKS said:

Ha, yes, that's what I thought too, until I realized that my younger one's experience was fundamentally different.  Not only was he a totally different sort of student, but my philosophy had undergone a major shift, informed both by what I had learned teaching the older one as well as the graduate work I did during the last six years of homeschooling.

When there's a giant gap, that makes sense. A b&m school could have revised their profile in that time as well!

If anyone graduates two students at once, I believe you have to use the same profile because of how the Common App is set up. Mine didn't apply in the same cycle, but I'm almost positive that's the case. So if anyone took a radically different approach with twins, you've got to incorporate both somehow.

Edited by Farrar
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When I work with students on their essays, there's a stage in which word count isn't so important. It's ok for them to write a few hundred, even a thousand over the limit as a stage towards their end result. 

So write the whole story down. Save it as something to give your kid down the road or just as a memorial to the hard work you did.

Then edit it ruthlessly. Don't worry about needing a hook or introduction. Admissions officers want to know why the student was homeschooled and what that looked like. They are going to read the profile looking for the context that helps them understand the rest of the application. 

What's most important for your profile might be different than someone else's. For my older kids, I wanted to show their resilience through many moves, including two months in transit, in which they continued online Latin class and did math and AP Comparative Government in the car or in a hotel many days. For other students, describing educational partners or the remote location and daily responsibilities of the family ranch is central. 

Think of the profile as giving the why and how. What was the educational environment? 

Then the counselor recommendation is about the individual student. 

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Is the education partners bit part of the school profile? For some reason I had it on the school profile but also as a separate document, and I have no idea why.

Edited by cintinative
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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

If anyone graduates two students at once, I believe you have to use the same profile because of how the Common App is set up. Mine didn't apply in the same cycle, but I'm almost positive that's the case. So if anyone took a radically different approach with twins, you've got to incorporate both somehow.

I think if you were really set on doing something different for each student, you could simply set up two different counselor accounts.

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1 hour ago, cintinative said:

Is the education partners bit part of the school profile?

I just had the different providers (schools in our case) as a code on the transcript.  It was also in the course descriptions.  Non-credit granting providers like Derek Owens were listed in the course descriptions the way any resource would be.

ETA: I just looked, and I'm wrong!  The outside providers are listed in a sentence in the school profile as well.

Edited by EKS
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Thank you for all the input. I'm getting it all down on paper and then I'll see - maybe I'll make the profile more formal and add more feeling to the counselor letter. A big part of why we chose homeschooling is directly based on who our daughter is as a person.

 

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33 minutes ago, EKS said:

I think if you were really set on doing something different for each student, you could simply set up two different counselor accounts.

Yeah... with two different email addresses. I think it could ideally be incorporated though. I mean, unless you literally had different grading scales. My boys did radically different things and I was still able to use most of Mushroom's for BalletBoy this year.

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FWIW, my profile is broken up into subsections:

Simple Profile

Educational Philosophy 

Current Students 

Our Graduates

Local Public High School Profile (This is a copy and paste from USNWR on the school.  So, name of school and then info in simple list and link

  • Took at Least One AP® Exam 22%, Passed at Least One AP® Exam 13%, Mathematics Proficiency 60%, Reading Proficiency 62%, Science Proficiency 68%, Graduation Rate 92% )

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We also included information about the students attending our local public high school and our community generally so admissions people would be familiar with where we come fromimage.png.87fb5c513b9ca15f91e32921ecfa406e.png.  

 

image.png.99e1fba423740920787c5530d938f440.png

 

image.png.87fb5c513b9ca15f91e32921ecfa406e.png

"The mid-peninsula is an area of great economic diversity containing some of the most affluent and the most economically deprived communities in the state. Just north of Silicon Valley and Stanford University, Woodside High School is influenced greatly by the rapidly evolving business and cultural interests of the region."

image.png.99e1fba423740920787c5530d938f440.png

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Posted (edited)

@8filltheheart and @daijobu that's very helpful, thank you both!

ETA: We're in a town that doesn't have its own HS - DD was eligible to one of three that are in the area. Their statistics vary widely. The one in the nearest town scores <25/100 and lists very low SAT scores on USNWR, while the one in the city of which our town is a suburb scores 53/100 overall with "well above expected" SAT scores. Which do I use? 

Her first choice is in our home state; I'm sure it will be pretty clear if I chose to show the good stats or the bad (though for what it's worth, her scores are above the mean compared to either). Am I overthinking this part?

 

Edited by pgr
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10 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

FWIW, my profile is broken up into subsections:

Simple Profile

Educational Philosophy 

Current Students 

Our Graduates-******

This is a part I am a little conflicted about how to phrase for my senior. My graduate was a high stat student who got admitted to very selective schools. My current senior is also a strong student but not applying to those level of schools but I am conflicted because the schools may feel she won’t commit to them and I really don’t want short change her by fluting the grads achievement. How will you phrase this in your profile? 
thanks 

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44 minutes ago, Lilaclady said:

This is a part I am a little conflicted about how to phrase for my senior. My graduate was a high stat student who got admitted to very selective schools. My current senior is also a strong student but not applying to those level of schools but I am conflicted because the schools may feel she won’t commit to them and I really don’t want short change her by fluting the grads achievement. How will you phrase this in your profile? 
thanks 

I don't list where they attended school.  Here is an example of what I wrote about couple of my kids many yrs ago (both of these descriptions also flowed from our school's profile which emphasized freedom to pursue academics of interest and at level of ability).

  • Our oldest and first homeschool graduate, after years of designing and building projects at home, graduated cum laude with his degree in chemical engineering. He is currently working as a chemical engineer for _______, has passed his Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and is pursuing his Professional Engineer license. 
  • Our fourth graduate is currently a college junior double majoring in physics and math. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is part of his university’s elite honors research program, and is currently taking graduate level physics courses as an undergraduate.

I've edited and tweaked my approach somewhat since then, but this one happens to be on this computer.

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17 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

I don't list where they attended school.  Here is an example of what I wrote about couple of my kids many yrs ago (both of these descriptions also flowed from our school's profile which emphasized freedom to pursue academics of interest and at level of ability).

  • Our oldest and first homeschool graduate, after years of designing and building projects at home, graduated cum laude with his degree in chemical engineering. He is currently working as a chemical engineer for _______, has passed his Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and is pursuing his Professional Engineer license. 
  • Our fourth graduate is currently a college junior double majoring in physics and math. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is part of his university’s elite honors research program, and is currently taking graduate level physics courses as an undergraduate.

I've edited and tweaked my approach somewhat since then, but this one happens to be on this computer.

oh, interesting! I've never thought of doing this (I mean, I've only had one chance so far, since my second is about to start college), but maybe it's a good idea--my oldest will have graduated (knock wood) by the time my next kid applies...I always wonder if admissions people (particularly ones that don't see a ton of homeschool applicants) worry that homeschooled kids are less likely to be able to hack it away from home, particularly at a non-local college. 

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5 hours ago, kokotg said:

oh, interesting! I've never thought of doing this (I mean, I've only had one chance so far, since my second is about to start college), but maybe it's a good idea--my oldest will have graduated (knock wood) by the time my next kid applies...I always wonder if admissions people (particularly ones that don't see a ton of homeschool applicants) worry that homeschooled kids are less likely to be able to hack it away from home, particularly at a non-local college. 

Yeah, mine are getting much briefer.  I have an 11th grader this yr.  When I write her school profile, we will have had 6 homeschool grads!

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On 7/24/2022 at 5:39 PM, kokotg said:

.I always wonder if admissions people (particularly ones that don't see a ton of homeschool applicants) worry that homeschooled kids are less likely to be able to hack it away from home, particularly at a non-local college. 

I've phrased it in the past as our homeschool to college placement rate of 100%, but I like 8's way of highlighting success coming from homeschool.  I have one last profile to write this August and I'm enjoying reading this thread as I gear up. I've never read a profile from our local high school, do people just ask the guidance office for one?

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18 hours ago, Eos said:

I've phrased it in the past as our homeschool to college placement rate of 100%, but I like 8's way of highlighting success coming from homeschool.  I have one last profile to write this August and I'm enjoying reading this thread as I gear up. I've never read a profile from our local high school, do people just ask the guidance office for one?

Usually it is available online. That’s how I found ours. 

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I need to ask a potentially stupid question.

What am I supposed to glean and use from the public school's profile?  Am I supposed to comment on demographics? Am I supposed to compare my kids to their students in terms of test scores?  I'm so confused. ETA: looks like both?

ETA: Also, I can't find the official school profile online.  And their "district profile" exaggerates. LOL. Yes, the elementary school down the street was a blue ribbon winner--in 1998.

Edited by cintinative
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2 hours ago, cintinative said:

I need to ask a potentially stupid question.

What am I supposed to glean and use from the public school's profile?  Am I supposed to comment on demographics? Am I supposed to compare my kids to their students in terms of test scores?  I'm so confused. ETA: looks like both?

ETA: Also, I can't find the official school profile online.  And their "district profile" exaggerates. LOL. Yes, the elementary school down the street was a blue ribbon winner--in 1998.

They know your kid's zip code. You don't have to include demographics at all. It matters for school students. It matters a lot less for homeschoolers.

Seconding at the you can find this info lots of places. Many schools have their profile on their site, but not all.

I do think if you exceeded the local requirements, that's a good thing. Or if your local school is struggling and you were able to offer more or your students excelled beyond that, feel free to tout that. Or if the fact that your local schools are struggling/don't provide the type of education you provided, you can contextualize that in your profile as a reason you chose home education.

For families who heavily used a single co-op or learning center, you also have the choice to draw from those demographics.

 

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13 hours ago, cintinative said:

What am I supposed to glean and use from the public school's profile?  Am I supposed to comment on demographics? Am I supposed to compare my kids to their students in terms of test scores?  I'm so confused. ETA: looks like both?

ETA: Also, I can't find the official school profile online.  And their "district profile" exaggerates. LOL. Yes, the elementary school down the street was a blue ribbon winner--in 1998.

As an admissions person if I'm reading about students from all over the country, I may not be familiar with your particular suburb.  Is it 99% white or very diverse?  Is it rural or suburban?  Affluent?  Highly educated?  Looking back, I see I only devoted a short paragraph to our demographics:

Community
Redwood City is a ethnically and economically diverse suburb located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The locally zoned Woodside High School serves a student population that is 49% Hispanic/Latino, 40% White, and 15% English learners (2017-2018 school year).

Yes, they could look this up on Wikipedia, but why not make it easy for them?  And this was just a small part of my Profile which included our philosophy and goals, graduation requirements, the educations and careers of DH and I, our grading scale, and our "educational partners" like PAH.  

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On 7/21/2022 at 4:47 PM, EKS said:

Ha, yes, that's what I thought too, until I realized that my younger one's experience was fundamentally different.  Not only was he a totally different sort of student, but my philosophy had undergone a major shift, informed both by what I had learned teaching the older one as well as the graduate work I did during the last six years of homeschooling.

How did it change, if you don't mind me asking?

On 7/23/2022 at 4:50 PM, pgr said:

@8filltheheart and @daijobu that's very helpful, thank you both!

ETA: We're in a town that doesn't have its own HS - DD was eligible to one of three that are in the area. Their statistics vary widely. The one in the nearest town scores <25/100 and lists very low SAT scores on USNWR, while the one in the city of which our town is a suburb scores 53/100 overall with "well above expected" SAT scores. Which do I use? 

Her first choice is in our home state; I'm sure it will be pretty clear if I chose to show the good stats or the bad (though for what it's worth, her scores are above the mean compared to either). Am I overthinking this part?

 

Use the one in the nearest town, but mention that your town doesn't have any highschools

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22 hours ago, Malam said:

How did it change, if you don't mind me asking?

It went from a content focused approach to an essential questions approach for reasons that I explained in the school profile.

Edited by EKS
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