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How are homeschool transcripts evaluated!

xoxoviviannnnxoxoviviannnn Registered User Posts: 300 Junior Member
edited September 2012 in Home Schooling and College
Hey all! I'll be applying to college in the fall and I was wondering how do college admissions evaluate homeschool transcripts. I'm not really sure what exactly they look for since I don't have a traditional transcript, but from my research what I have so far is:

Unofficial transcript
Curriculum outline/Examination methods
SAT scores
SAT subject test scores
Portfolio of work (can anyone who has submitted one enlighten me on what they put in theirs? Should I include the exams I took as a homeschooler or do I just put in 'outstanding' pieces of work that I would like colleges to look at?)
DSST scores (I'd have liked to take AP but I'm homeschooling overseas and AP exams are $550 per, so...)
Resume (ECs, volunteer work, personal projects, part time jobs etc)
Reading lists
Teacher recs

Do I need to justify why I chose homeschooling in an additional essay?

Please do tell me if anyone has been through this process and can help me :) I'm really interested to know if anyone on CC has been able to enhance their application by adding something really unique to their application :)

Also, how are homeschool transcripts evaluated? Are they seen as no different from public school transcripts as long as I justify my curriculum to have academic levels on par with normal schools? Or would I have to submit additional material in order for my transcript to be evaluated?

Sorry, but I'm just so worried about college admissions and I'm scared I won't get in so I'm trying to prepare the best application packets I can! I went to the US Education Center in the country I'm staying in now and they basically told me that as a homeschooler I had no hope of getting into a Tier 1 university! ):

Thanks guys :)
Post edited by xoxoviviannnn on

Replies to: How are homeschool transcripts evaluated!

  • xoxoviviannnnxoxoviviannnn Registered User Posts: 300 Junior Member
    Oh and I forgot to mention, I'm a US citizen so I'm applying as a domestic applicant, so it'll be great if anyone could give me their view :)
  • BluePoodleBluePoodle Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    There are lots of websites now available on preparing a homeschool transcript. I myself have a facebook page and blog with tips. You will need to have your parent sign off on it and date it with official graduation date and it will be considered an "official" transcript. It usually consists of 1 to 2 pages in length but for homeschoolers, you can/should add what I refer to as a Comprehensive Record. It will include your High school years of courses with textbooks used,grading scale, reading lists, EC's, Awards and Honors.

    Whoever told you that Homeschooled Students could not get accepted into Tier 1 universities was mistaken and should not be offering advise to homeschoolers. Just take a look on this board and you will see many homeschoolers getting into Ivy and Tier 1 and 2 Universities and LAC's.

    You do need to do your research on homeschool transcripts and present it in a well organized and clean/professional looking manner. If you are using the Common App for most of your applications, there is a supplement that most schools use for homeschoolers. It will have your parent (counselor) give an evaluation of your homeschool and also have them give reason or philosophy of why you homeschool.

    If you are interested in my websites, feel free to pm me and I will send you links. I also have an old webinar from last summer on creating homeschool transcripts. I will be updating it later on this year.
  • GeekMom63GeekMom63 Registered User Posts: 1,957 Senior Member
    Whoever told you that Homeschooled Students could not get accepted into Tier 1 universities was mistaken and should not be offering advise to homeschoolers.
    Listen to the poodle! My son was accepted to Caltech, Rice, Harvey Mudd. I know plenty of other homeschoolers who have gotten into the top schools. It's hard for anyone to get into those schools, but probably no harder for homeschoolers than anyone else.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,806 Senior Member
    Good responses so far, OP!

    One of the admissions officers at one of the schools that admitted my S said I should write a book (ha-ha, funny!) on homeschooling applications. The reason is because of the organization and abundance of information we gave them. It made it really easy to see what we did, how we did it, etc. Here's a list, similar to what you've already compiled, of documents my son submitted. I, as the homeschool parent, helped administrate and organize his documents and I received help from many different sources including College Confidential, various email lists, and from friends.

    1. Transcripts with course descriptions. Even if they don't read all the course descriptions (and people can have up to 20 or so pages of course descriptions), it's great to have them, particularly for you since you don't have other transcripts. And btw, don't call the transcripts "unofficial". They are "official" since they're from your school, even if it's a home school.

    These transcripts can include audited courses, online courses, basically everything.

    2. Outside transcripts. In our case, they were community college transcripts. These were sent directly to each school.

    3. Counselor letter-this is your mom's or dad's chance to write a letter about how wonderful it was homeschooling you, how unique you are, what would make you desirable to colleges, and basically a great glowing recommendation of you! It can be whatever length you want. I think ours was 3 pages.

    4. School Profile and Homeschool Philosophy-This document was 2-3 pages long and included 5 sections: information about our curriculum (labeled curriculum), the location of our "school" in terms of the neighborhood schools and average SATs at the local school (labeled community and school profile), why we homeschooled (our philosophy), grading and ranking, and standardized test scores.

    5. Letters of recommendation-my son had a total of four; three were academic and one was music. He also got a fifth recommendation recently for another EC activity which he used for a scholarship application.

    6. Music resume and music repertoire (one or two documents, depending on the school)

    7.Reading list

    8. Activities list (or resume); this was 4 pages long but I had an alternate version for some schools that was one page long

    Not everyone needs to do this but we definitely wanted to give schools as much info as possible. We didn't get any negative feedback and in fact, got positive feedback.

    HTH a little!
  • xoxoviviannnnxoxoviviannnn Registered User Posts: 300 Junior Member
    Thanks guys for all the replies :) It's so nice to know that they're homeschoolers who have succeeded in getting into good colleges! :) It was so demoralising to hear that from a professional in education...

    BluePoodle: Thanks, it'll be so great if you could send me your links, I'll pm you when I'm doing the final write-up for my transcript :)

    sbjdorlo: Maybe you SHOULD write a book :) People like me would definitely buy it haha :) Can I just ask how exactly are homeschool transcripts considered official? I mean, if I were a college admissions official, I'd question the integrity of the transcript, whether the exams set were at the correct academic level and stuff like that, yes? Is that why I should submit course descriptions and a portfolio of work? Or will submitting SAT/ACT/SAT II scores be enough? I'm also pretty worried because I didn't do AP exams, but I'll be doing the DSST, should I put that on my application? It'll be really great if you could answer :) Also, congrats to your son, he sounds like he has a really impressive track record, all the best to him! :)
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,806 Senior Member

    I think of it like this. We function as a private school here in California. Like any other private school that produces "official" transcripts, we do, too. Yes, you definitely need supporting documentation. That's why test scores and letters of recommendation become really important for homeschoolers with no outside classes. Probably the more SAT II tests you take (within reason, of course), the better. High scores will certainly help.

    I'm sorry but I don't know what DSST is.
  • xoxoviviannnnxoxoviviannnn Registered User Posts: 300 Junior Member
    Thanks! :D So basically my transcripts are just like any other school's transcripts? As long as I back them up with a justified curriculum, that is. I did do concurrent enrolment with a school over here while undergoing homeschooling, so that I could integrate with the local culture and stuff like that, and I'll be submitting those transcripts too! So letters of recommendation won't be a problem.

    How many SAT II tests should I take? I'm thinking between 3 to 6, is that a good idea? I already have a 2120/1470 SAT and I'll be taking the ACT too, considering retaking the SAT because I didn't study when I sat for it the previous time...

    DSST is Dante's tests, they're similar to CLEP, I'm thinking of taking them because I want to prove that my homeschool curriculum is academically rigorous and I'm capable of doing college-level work. I know most homeschoolers in the US do dual enrollment, but that's not really possible for me since I'm living out of the country. Is that a good idea?

    Thanks :)
  • BluePoodleBluePoodle Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member

    Your transcripts are "official" when they follow the standard protocol of information as well as have a graduation date and are signed and dated by a school administrator (aka, one of your parents). As others have mentioned, Homeschool is considered "private" schooling. So your transcripts are Official and will be confirmed by your SAT/SAT II/ACT scores and if you choose to include them, your AP scores. Recommendations will also confirm the integrity of your education.

    You asked about the number of SAT II Subject Exams....2-3 is standard. Each school is different, so 6 may be overkill depending on your major. For example, engineering schools 3 would be preferred in the math/science subjects. But for example, Duke University will only consider the highest scores of two SAT II subject exams for their applicants. I never saw more than 3 SAT Subjects requests for any school even for homeschoolers. So, do well in 3 that reflect your area of concentration. It would be better for you to have 3 STRONG subject test scores vs 6 mediocre scores.
  • xoxoviviannnnxoxoviviannnn Registered User Posts: 300 Junior Member
    @BluePoodle: Could you define standard protocol of information for me? I have a standard college prep curriculum and it looks like a normal public school transcript except it's signed by my mom and I have lots of curriculum details attached to it.

    Oh I wanted to do a business major, I was thinking maybe Math II, one foreign language, one humanities (USHistory), and since I've studied the curriculum, I might be able to take another 3 in October. I was hoping that SAT II scores would be able to make up for my lack of AP scores since I can't take the exams here.
  • BluePoodleBluePoodle Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    Standard protocol meaning the formatting for your transcript (one to two pages at the most), the information included, etc. It just needs to have relevant information, be concise and be signed and dated. Sounds like your is fine.
  • JournierJournier Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    Just wrote a detailed description of what I did, but I lost it when I tried to post it. Here is the gist:

    My homeschooled son got into ten highly ranked schools and waitlisted at a few. Accepted to MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Harvey Mudd, Duke, NYU Poly, Olin, Carnegie Mellon, Rose Human, and Stevens. The higher ranked, the fewer questions they had about his transcript. I think they simply were better at calling it and mire confident because they got more applicants. Stevens had the most questions though it was only a safety to him. I was tempted to tell them that when they asked me for more and more documentation. But, I didn't. I did keep printouts of every single assignment grade he ever earned in the time he was in public school since they were upset he returned to homeschool to get mire challenge and issued threats about altering his grades. They were expecting to get credit for his national honors and standardized test scores and illegally didn't remove him from their rolls for months to capture those. That was part of why I insisted my son include some safeties.

    I used a template from HSLDA and heavily enhanced it to show everything you'd ever want to know about each course other than the textbooks which for some courses were too numerous to list and were not always textbooks alone.

    I grouped courses by subject to show progression and quantity and listed the term and year completed as well as a code keyed to a legend that listed the precise source and course type as well as in some cases special notes.

    I included categories for other learning experiences including work, volunteering, mentored experiences, summer programs not included in academic categories, etc.

    I included a large section for standardized test scores, listing the scores next to max scores possible. This was impressive done that way and included SAT I, SAT II's, ACT, AP, and the versions he took at ages 12 and 13. Those early scores show that he was right up there very early rather than having to perhaps take a lot of prep courses or getting high scores at the last minute.
  • JournierJournier Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    I did not include test scores for things like the National Spanish Exam, state tests, etc. on the transcript but he listed them on his resume under appropriate categories for each year.

    I included a statement about the transcript being true and me being his parent etc. and signed the bottom. The top section included lits of basic information about me, him, time periods, etc. I included my degrees.

    It was difficult to fit this onto two pages because there were so many courses and scores, and the font was really too small. To do it again, I would make it three pages.

    I did not send transcripts from the public school for these reasons:

    1) When a kid changes schools, the new school imports grades from the old school.

    2) Although I had sealed transcripts from earlier than my son transferred, the school refused to send the final transcript, making it impossible to see whether they had altered grades illegally or to directly send them.

    3) I had detailed records of his grades on hand from Gradespeed printouts and offered them it any school who wanted them.

    4) The admissions officers I discussed this with said it was unnecessary.

    5) Everything else supported those grades.

    I mention this because someone else mentioned including them. I truly believe that admissions committees are skilled enough to get the picture. And, top schools know that homeschooling can produce top scholars who are generally highly responsible and mature. They realize that most people which homeschool are doing it because of strongly held values, including a willingness to sacrifice to do the right thing fir their kids. That exists elsewhere too, but it usually is the case with homeschoolers.

    I heartily recommend listing by categories, including a legend, and noting the term and year. Harvey Muddy asked for the time period info probably because of how many math and science courses my son had completed. To see that he started in seventh grade, took college courses and science programs in summer and took two math and two science course throughout his junior year followed by four summer courses in math and science explained it. Then the AP and SAT II scores supported that.
  • JournierJournier Registered User Posts: 127 Junior Member
    As for "education professionals who insist that homeschooled students can't go to Tier 1 schools, consider the source. I can almost guarantee that the person who said that considers homeschoolers to be "taking away" funding from public schools or that they were told that by someone which does. The fact is that most public and private school kids can't get into Tier 1 schools. Yet, there are homeschooled students at every Tier 1 school already. Working for a public school or the organizations that support them doesn't give anyone knowledge or experience with homeschooling or homeschool college admissions.

    So, take comments like that with a giant grain of salt.
  • Mkasj3Mkasj3 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Bluepoodle would you share your websites on homeschool transcripts? I am in the middle of completing mine and would love any additional tips.
  • reeldancerreeldancer Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    one if a class was taken at a college is it 1 unit or 1/2 unit (ie. 1 year or 1/2 year) on the transcript (for a weighted transcript)
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