Your student should be the one to contact their college(s) of choice in order to best understand what they will be looking for on their admissions applications. If they have a specific interest, begin this journey early, attend events/camps at said college(s), get to know and get to be known by them as you work your way through high school. Do not fear being noted as one who does not know/understand. It is counter intuitive in this case. Colleges take note and appreciate hearing from interested students full of questions. Isn’t that what college is all about? It indicates (to them) the level of maturity and the self-propulsion which is necessary for a successful college experience.
More and more colleges are creating a specific-to-homeschoolers application which is wonderful. This should be one of your student’s first questions when talking with an admissions officer. If that is not available, know that you, the parent-teacher, are the guidance counselor and responsible for all areas normally handled by this position.
Smaller colleges will grant personal interviews in which your student can dazzle them with his/her thoughts and views. Be sure to leave behind a portfolio of academic work, DVD, or CD. Check out current events for possible topics they will discuss. Coaching in the area of how to answer probable questions is wise and readily available in all areas for affordable rates. If you cannot locate someone affordable contact a private school and see if any of their high school teachers would be willing to walk your child through a mock interview. Elizabeth Hartley at Scholarship Gold is exceedingly thorough on this coast, and Lee Binz of The Home Scholar is equally gifted though long distance.
College Letters of Recommendation are common requests by most colleges. Traditionally this is completed by teachers, and you, the parent-teacher, should certainly complete one. However, make sure to have others completed by mentors and teachers from outside programs. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a sample College Recommendation Letter.
THE COMMON APP(LICATION)
Today most students apply to an average of 5 colleges. This number is lower for the typcial home school graduate, so don’t feel that you must rise to the challenge. Using the Common App is a wonderful tool for saving time on multiple applications. The Common App is used by over 700 colleges in the US. A good tutorial.
The Common App has a new friend on the block called the Coalition App for lower income and first generation college applicants. Both of these Applications assist in the completing of college applications. As early as 9th grade, as student can set up his/her ID and password and basic information and update it as they progress toward their senior year. Think of it as a file system from which colleges of your choice (that participate in the Common App and/or Coalition App) can access your child’s information.
TAKING A GAP YEAR BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
The American Gap Association defines a gap year as, “an experiential semester or year “on,” typically taken between high school and college in order to deepen practical, professional and personal awareness.” Visit www.gapyearassociation.org/ for more information on gap years.
VoX Bivium is a nine month, gap year school located in Traveler’s Rest, SC. Go to: www.govox.org to learn more.
COLLEGE APPLICATION CHECK LIST
As of 2016-2017 you can put that we are on a 10 point grading scale. There most likely won’t be a place to explain that it is a gradual shift, but just know that all of SC is changing year by year from our current (almost) 7 point scale to the more common 10 point scale.
TRANSCRIPT: Send contact/physical address to Faithful Scholars requesting it be mailed to college here. Upon selecting your final college, request a final senior year transcript be mailed here. **find out if they require rank listed upon the transcript or simply need to know that we do rank our students. Note that we ask for up to 3 weeks to prepare a transcript as there is often communication going back/forth between Faithful Scholars and the parent(s)/student to assure that all is correct. Days and weeks are lost as it sits in ours/your computer waiting for checks/changes.
ESSAY: Many colleges are returning to the college essay. Make it about something unique that you have experienced or accomplished. An example can be found here. Note the balance between tooting your own horn (very important) yet showing that your point of view is outward toward others while being confident in your own strengths. This is a delicate balance and you would be wise to have others read over your essay before submission. Sample here.
LETTER(S) OF RECOMMENDATION (college letter). Select a teacher other than parent, youth leader, pastor, employer, etc, and remember to give them ample time along with reminders as the deadline creeps up. Sample here.
PORTFOLIO: For larger colleges it is mostly about the numbers, but if you are applying to a specific ‘school’ within a large college a portfolio can still be utilized to set you apart. This can be a physical pen/paper collection of academic/non-academic work in your area of passion/specialty, or it can be a DVD, and/or CD. Make the entries poignant, brilliant, and to the point. Overly full will lose their attention. Sample here.
INTERVIEW: For smaller colleges it is a great way to exhibit why they would want a student such as you to attend their college. Absolutely go through some mock interviews beforehand. 9 of 10 students will answer their questions in the same manner. Be that 10th student they are looking for. Sample here.
LETTERS OF APPEAL are a great way to say thank you, but financially we need more scholarship money or on campus work-study in order to attend your college. Sample here.
Lottery Money Scholarship: Palmetto Fellows Scholarship
qualification is based upon:
- class rank determined by cumulative GPA based on the South Carolina Uniform Grading Policy (SCUGP) of core classes only, and shifting into the 10 point traditional grading scale.
- SAT/ACT scores, and
- cumulative GPA, based upon core classes only.
Begin your research here for the basic rules and regulations of the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship
Intention to compete for the PFS must be received by October 1st of the current academic year.
Application for Palmetto Fellows will only be submitted for their Early Awards period with an in office parent-to-Faithful-Scholars paperwork deadline of December 1st and a Faithful-Scholars-to-CHE submission deadline of December 15th.
We accept the highest standardized test score from any high school year, but they must be mailed direct from College Boards to: Faithful Scholars, 1761 Ballard Lane, Fort Mill, SC 29715. If your student qualifies, you must follow up by mailing another direct-from-CB to Palmetto Fellows; 1122 Lady Street, Suite 300; Columbia, SC 29201.
Only students who have been with Faithful Scholars by or before 9th grade will be eligible to apply through Faithful Scholars unless they have previously been nominated and accepted as a PFS qualifier through their previous school.
Each guidance counselor (primary-at-home-instructor– that is you mom/dad) must be up to date and familiar with the current PFS guidelines and requirements and be willing to work with Faithful Scholars in compiling the necessary documentation needed for us to complete the student’s PFS application. Schedules often collide, we are working with several families at a time which means more time collisions, so we appreciate your willingness to show up at the ring of a bell.
You must also have standardized test scores mailed directly to us as well as CHE (Palmetto Fellows), numerical grades by or before June 10th of each year, and all necessary legal information required to compile a formal transcript, etc. handed in upon request. The application process is conducted directly, and only, from Faithful Scholars to CHE. Parents are to assist Faithful Scholars, but are not encouraged (by CHE, although that seems to be changing) to be a contact person (with CHE) aside from familiarizing themselves with PFS rules and regulations. If you have a basic question that personal research nor we at Faithful Scholars are able to answer, we promise to contact CHE on your behalf upon request.
This process requires an average of 4 hours of office time/personal consultation for a minimum fee of $200. You will know beforehand if your child has a better than 75% chance of earning the Palmetto Fellows prior to payment request.
SAT and/or ACT scores must be mailed directly from the School Boards to Faithful Scholars: 1761 Ballard Lane, Fort Mill, SC 29715. Copies or opened originals will not be accepted. Upon qualification an additional copy must be mailed directly to: Attn: Palmetto Fellows/Elizabeth Caulder, SC CHE; 1122 Lady Street, Suite 300; Columbia, SC 29201
www.bestcolleges.com offers an SAT prep guide for college applicants. Bestcolleges.com is a provider of comprehensive information about majors, college degree programs, financial aid, student issues and so much more.
Other Lottery Money Scholarships: LIFE and HOPE
Both of these scholarships are open to students completing high school within the typical 4 year period and selecting to attend a South Carolina state college. Have your student contact his/her colleges (of consideration) admissions personnel to gain all necessary details. This scholarship is done directly from the college to Commission on Higher Education (CHE). Faithful Scholars ranks our students and will send a ranking report if requested, calculates cumulative GPA using the South Carolina Uniform Grading Policy (SCUGP) by June 15th of each academic year (and is, as are all schools) switching to the more widely used 10 point grading scale year by year following the system implemented by CHE.
There are many services that will help you locate and/or compete for scholarship monies. Many are web based such as College Scholarships and HomeSchool Base while others are FaceBook/information based like South Carolina Homeschooling for College Credit. Do your research thoroughly as many scholarship services can be less than stellar and cost an astronomic amount. In our area we have Scholarship Gold which is an easily explored site full of useful tips, but consultation has led many of our families to anxiety as Ms. Hartley leaves no rock unturned and passes those expectation on to you. Lee Binz of The Home Scholar is another well trusted source but not nearby and her site can be a bit outdated. However, she is a homeschool mom with several graduated students with a great understanding of our situations and outlooks which makes for a much more calm I-can-do-that experience. I would additionally advise researching the various views that admissions personnel hold in regard to Admissions Coaching, as well as the views of the Admissions Coach (do they aim for Ivy League, or tailor to your student). Always be fully educated.
If your child receives a minimal scholarship offer upon being accepted to a college, research and consider a Letter of Appeal. This simple request for additional time to decided based upon financial hardship can increase the original scholarship offer markedly- I have heard of returns of up to 75% scholarship based upon one letter.