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homeschooler in need of guidance !!!

soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
hi everyone, i'm homeschooler applying to colleges this fall and as i am realizing that i may be in some trouble with my applications. Firstly, I have only ever been taught by my mother, save one rhetoric class i took online in 11th grade which i earned top marks in, however i felt as if the teacher did not really know me as the instructor changed half way through the program to one who was quite impersonal. For that reason i decided against asking either of them, though i think i regret it now. I do have two other recommendations. One from a gymnastics coach who taught me from the age of 5 until the 11th grade and who i worked summers as a coach myself and judge competitions with even now (I feel that this would be a very strong letter) and one from my piano teacher who ive only worked with for about a year but i was transferred to her from my previous teacher. I don't think she's the fondest of me but I think she values my drive.
Essentially I am wondering if not having an academic teacher recommendation will hurt my chances at some top liberal arts colleges like trinity or barnard college.

Another downfall is that I never took any AP or IB classes. They just were not available to me as my mom was against sending me to a local IB school. However, I believe my curriculum to be up to par with programs of that caliber and i am confident in my academic abilities but am worried about how colleges will perceive this when so many other homeschoolers had the opportunity to take CC courses, etc.

Thank you for your time in replying if you do! I'm just so stressed and I'm the 1st child my parents are sending to college so any advice or tips and tricks to applying to colleges as a homeschooler would be GREATLY appreciated.

Replies to: homeschooler in need of guidance !!!

  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    i think this went in the wrong category...sorry for that guys I'm quite new to this website
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,654 Senior Member
    HInt: post on the homeschool forum here and provide some info on stats/scores and courses, and college targets, major.
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Thank you! I just put it where it belongs!!
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 4,882 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Have you taken the SAT or ACT? If so, what score did you receive. Without at least that I suspect you could have a tough time getting accepted somewhere more selective. Colleges need something tangible to be able to gauge your readiness to college with and scores are usually it for homeschoolers.

    Acceptances can come without AP/IB, but in lieu of those, many have SAT II tests in addition to the basic SAT/ACT. (Public school kids often have those too.)

    It could be worth considering taking a year to better strengthen your application - instead of graduating this year - add some CC courses or study for SAT II tests, etc, and apply next year.

    Then there's always the option of just starting at a CC and transferring after a year or two. It all depends upon what you are looking for with your college experience (and major), etc.
  • shuttlebusshuttlebus Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    edited November 2018
    In order to help prove that your curriculum was comparable to your local IB program, you will need outside validation as @creekland mentioned. In addition to the SAT/ACT, have you taken any SAT II's? If not, can you register to sit for the upcoming December exams? (You could take up to three SAT II exams that day.)

    At this point, it does no good to worry whether the absence of academic recommendations from a non-parent will be an issue as there is nothing you can really do about it now. I would definitely ask your gymnastics coach and piano teacher (maybe the one who taught you the longest, even though she/he is not the most recent instructor) to write you a letter of recommendation just so the admissions officers will have some information written by someone other than your mom.

    Have you begun working on your part of the application? Has your mom created your transcript, written a school profile and course descriptions, and written her guidance counselor letter?

    If you could post more information, such as test scores and what type of college you are looking for, many on here will be able to offer suggestions.

    Good luck.
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    I took the SATs and I received a 1220 which was not what I expected at all based on my practice test scores so I am studying for the ACT in December and I am way more comfortable with that.

    In terms of SATII I'm currently studying for the December exams in Literature, Math, and Biology and anticipate scores of at least 700+ in all of them.
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    I'm looking to apply to mainly LACs including Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Dickinson College but am having a hard time finding some definite "safety" schools. My top choice schools are Scripps and Barnard but I know they are a reach for me
  • readthetealeavesreadthetealeaves Registered User Posts: 418 Member
    @soke876 Here is Trinity's take on it...
    Trinity College Homeschooled Applicants
    We welcome applications from students who have been homeschooled. The application methods remain the same for the most part, although other requirements such as the counselor and teacher recommendations may be adapted to accommodate an applicant's specific situation.
    In addition to completing the application we ask that applicants submit:

    Documentation to confirm and specify curriculum, including the following:
    an explanation of the curriculum followed, including a list of completed reading. This may be submitted by a parent or the person who oversees the curriculum;
    transcript of any college courses taken.
    Letters of recommendation from any of the following (if possible):
    teachers of academic curriculum;
    adults who have supervised applicants in an internship or volunteer position;
    teachers or directors of any non-academic endeavors such as art, dance, music, or theater.
    Supplemental recommendations can be written by adults who have worked with an applicant as part of an athletic team, a faith-based community, or employment.
    A resume of all extracurricular and co-curricular activities (such as field trips or attending a lecture series) in which an applicant has participated.
    Interviews are recommended, but not required.
    Please contact our office at (860) 297-2180 if you would like to discuss your application or email us at [email protected] with your specific questions.
  • readthetealeavesreadthetealeaves Registered User Posts: 418 Member
    Here is Connecticut College's as well....
    What does Connecticut College require from home-schooled students?
    A: If you are a home-schooled student, we welcome your application to Connecticut College. There are a few things you should keep in mind when you are submitting your application.

    If you do not have a traditional high school transcript, please submit a detailed accounting of the courses you have pursued along with syllabi or reading lists. If you have taken courses at a high school, college/university or through a distance learning program, please send official transcripts along with your application.

    In addition, your letters of recommendation should not come from your parents. Instead many students submit letters of recommendation from instructors of classes they may have taken at a high school, college or university or from people for whom they have volunteered or worked.

    You should also try to have an interview, if possible, with an admission officer or an alumni representative either on campus or in your home state. The home-schooled students who are successful applicants to the College have generally availed themselves of local college, university or distance learning courses through an accredited educational organization, and have participated in extracurricular activities at the local level.
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Thanks! I've been really involved in my community with dance (in which I am a part of a "professional" company now and gymnastics where I judge and coach during summer and winter break. I also have won some awards in piano and am apart of an initiative to help underprivileged girls understand their sexual and reproductive rights.
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    My mom also owns a small business where I've helped out all through high school
  • readthetealeavesreadthetealeaves Registered User Posts: 418 Member
    Don't worry. Homeschooled students can have curriculum with equal or greater rigor (and some less of course). Some schools allow the teacher to write recommendations if they are a parent (Trinity) and some do not( Connecticut College). There are a lot of places to get other recommendations and your dance, piano and your initiative are all positive places to get them. Just work hard and have fun and see who will be willing. Most of the administrative items above your parent can do, e.g. list the books read and curriculum covered. Make sure you prepare for your part. Interview if you can and make a portfolio to share if allowed. You will have great opportunities
  • soke876soke876 Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Thanks so so much for the help and reassurance! I really appreciate it!!
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,341 Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    @soke876 Did your mother submit course descriptions, counselor letter, and school profile along with your transcript? Those can provide the additional information that schools need. The majority of my kids have simply homeschooled with me as their primary teacher. Admissions has not been a problem for my kids even without APs or DE.

    I am not familiar with the schools you listed. Have you looked at the CDS for them? The common data set should provide you with the avg test scores the schools are used to seeing. For example, Trinity College. https://www.trincoll.edu/AboutTrinity/offices/InstitutionalResearchPlanning/Documents/CDS_2016-2017_Trinity_College.pdf Look at section C. Your 1220 is not very strong for the profile. 600 is closer to their 25%. Being a really strong candidate for admissions means being solidly in the 50th-75th%.

    If you research your other schools and see a similar pattern, I recommend finding additional schools to apply to where your 1220 is a stronger part of your application vs weaker.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 740 Member
    Really, if you have a good SAT/ACT score and decent documentation many doors will be open to you. Even with the SAT 1220, you have plenty of options. Are you a senior now? If you're a junior you could consider doing a few DE classes and/or a couple SAT-2 tests before you graduate if you are interested in more competitive schools.

    I recommend that your parent work on getting together some very thorough documentation with a transcript, credit, school profile, and course description. You should probably have 2-3 outside references at the ready.

    And if you're looking at less competitive schools, you probably don't need that much. Single transcript page, ACT or SAT, and a single outside reference.
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