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Common Application Preview is Online--Homeschooling Supplement Changed Slightly

tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,472
The Common Application organization has announced


that a preview of the 2008-2009 Common Application


is available online. This is not yet the official version of the form that will be used by applicants this fall, but it is possible to look at yellow highlighted areas on the online .PDF document to see changes in the new version of the Common Application. One significant change is that the Common Application now includes a space for self-reporting AP test scores. (Pure-play homeschoolers are generally not able to take IB tests, for which those spaces on the form can also be used.)

The ethnic self-identification question, discussed in a FAQ thread here on College Confidential,


has NOT been updated to reflect the latest guidance by the federal Department of Education, which will be mandatory by the 2009-2010 application year. For the moment, the form makes very clear that self-identifying with any ethnic group is OPTIONAL (which is indeed the law, and which will still be the law next year).

The Homeschooling Supplement form, only in its second year as a standard attachment to the Common Application, has been altered to ask if the family is a member of any homeschooling support organizations.

What other interesting changes do you see? What do you think about the overall Common Application form?
Post edited by tokenadult on

Replies to: Common Application Preview is Online--Homeschooling Supplement Changed Slightly

  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    We used it for S's application (he'll be an freshman this fall), and I found it easy enough to work with. I had to make some adjustments to make all his course work fit on the back of the homeschool supplement, but I liked that there was a place to talk (briefly, there's very little room) about choices specifically related to homeschooling. In general I didn't feel too awfully much like we were fitting a round peg into a square hole, but there were some questions that were a little ill-suited on the main Common App form -- such as one about "academic honors" which would be school-granted things, at least for most kids who aren't state or national contest winners in math or science competitions and that sort of thing.

    Ds just self-reported AP scores in the "academic honors" space, for lack of anything else to put there.

    I'm not sure why they'd want to know about belonging to homeschool organizations. Interesting.
  • TigerQueenTigerQueen Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Does anyone know what you are supposed to do if you use an accredited distance high school for all of high school? I was an 'unschooler' for many years, but once I entered high school, my mom wanted me to have a paper trail and I ended up using Keystone.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    I suspect Keystone will supply your "official" transcript, and you would fill out the rest of the form as any other homeschooler, i.e., your parent will fill out the Homeschool Supplement to the Common App, as well as the Secondary School Report (traditionally done by a guidance counselor.)

    I think it's a useful tool to have those two additional forms to fill out the homeschooling picture (even if your homeschooling was through a distance learning program.)

    Your application won't be that different from my son's. He didn't do a distance learning program, but most of his high school record was from classes taken outside the home (selected classes at the public high school and at the local public univ.)

    We filled out the Common App and its supplements as homeschoolers, and only had the two schools submit official transcripts of the course work he did there as a way of verifying the course work and grades on his homeschool transcript.
  • TigerQueenTigerQueen Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Thanks for your help!
  • SchoolSurferSchoolSurfer Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    TigerQueen, what did you think of Keystone's program for high school?
  • TigerQueenTigerQueen Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    I liked it. There were certainly a few weak areas - Chemistry especially. The organization of that course was not easy to follow. And, as with any distance learning program, foreign languages are hard. I've done some of the basic, honors, and AP courses and I was relatively pleased with most of them. I do think that any relatively smart person will have a fairly easy time getting A's in their courses, even the AP and Honors courses. But, thinking back on a friend who also used Keystone, I could be wrong about this. As long as you can be self-motivated (or have a parent pushing you, I guess), Keystone is a good program to use. It's also easy to use. Don't take AP World through them. It's a great course and I learned tons, but I also lost any semblance of a balanced life. I was spending all day, seven days a week doing it. Their other APs aren't like that though. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them or PM me.
  • anotherparentanotherparent Registered User Posts: 1,275 Senior Member
    I dont like the question about the HS organization. There are so many different orgs, and some are just there for parkdays and fieldtrips, while others provide entire the curriculum. I belong to the former. I am tempted to say 'no', but will I think look like one of those isolationist types?

    They also added a column for the primary testbook used. I still plan on using a transcript, but will also fill out the info on the suppliment.

    The main part of the app now has a section for AP courses.
  • cockatielcockatiel Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    I am sad that "they" are creating such a specific form for homeschoolers.

    My dd applied to college in 2007, when there was NO homeschool supplement. We sent the colleges all the extra information we wanted them to consider. Life was (somewhat) easy.

    My ds applied this year, when there was a homeschool supplement (and it was more of a pain to fill out -- especially since we still sent the colleges all the "extra information"). Life was a bit more difficult -- we had to figure out what we would and wouldn't include where.

    But I am absolutely amazed at the new request for which homeschool group you belong to. Many groups have very detailed names, so in some sense asking about homeschool group membership is a bit like asking about the applicant's religion -- which doesn't belong on a college application form unless it's a religious college!

    I also agree with others' complaints about having to list ONE textbook. what if you use fifteen texts -- or none? The powers that be really want to squeeze homeschoolers into the "school box", don't they?
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    I agree about the homeschooling support organization question. It's a nosy question with either no purpose, or else a subtextual one.

    Too bad about the primary textbook question too. On the homeschool supplement for the last admissions cycle (students entering as freshman in college this coming fall) there was just a more or less blank backside to the homeschool supplement where they wanted you to list courses done organized by subject. They only gave four lines per subject, and in some subjects my son had way more than 4 classes to list (partly because he did some summer classes and also the classes he took at the local college were on the quarter system, so they added up to pretty long list.) I ended up typing up the list myself on a separate page, but following their format. I could use a small font and make it all fit in. Then I did an old-fashioned cut&paste on a photocopy machine. It turned out looking really nice and gave them all the info they were looking for.

    In addition to that I submitted my own transcript (organized chronologically) and course descriptions for all his work done independently or in non-traditional settings. In those descriptions I included the books and other materials used.

    If there was something I wanted them to know more about, and it didn't fit into the space they alloted, I just said "see attached description" or resume or letter or whatever was necessary.

    We ended up sending in quite a bit more paper than a traditional student, but I tried to be concise, not repeat things (too much anyway -- sometimes it's necessary because of having to frame things coherently). The college he is going to in the fall also requested a writing sample from homeschoolers, so my son sent in a paper he'd written for a philosophy class he'd taken at the local college.

    I remember when we visited Pomona College (son didn't ultimately end up applying there) the admissions rep at the info session said the applications from homeschoolers are usually quite a bit "fatter." I got the vague feeling he was being ever-so-slightly disparaging about that... but there's no way to know for sure. He was just a snot in general to everyone there.

    When possible, though, I tried to get all the information requested to fit on the form provided, because the amount of paper does tend to add up and I worried it could be a nuisance.
  • danasdanas Registered User Posts: 1,781 Senior Member
    I agree completely with cockatiel. This is a non-home schooler's creation. If you are a skeptic of traditional education, as I am, it just sticks in the craw.
    I'm thinking (and hoping- I've got a 12 year old yet at home) that submitting information in ways that make sense relative to our kids' individual experiences will continue to work, at least at competitive private colleges, where civil service rules do not apply.
    From a baldly practical college application point of view, I think the fact that many home schoolers did things DIFFERENTLY has been a competitive advantage. Escaping the door that everyone was trying to squeeze through where, for example, the number of APs is toted up, has a utilitarian value as well as being educationally exhilarating. For some of our kids, the application takes a free form, personal experience and makes it into something that- in the archaic phrase- folds, bends, staples and mutilates.
  • hifihifi Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    Why not
    Please tell us why private school was chosen for this student . . . .
  • hifihifi Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    Please explain the grading scale or other methods of evaluation.

    public schools tend to follow social promotion and inflate grades
    if they have a beard, we pass them through sixth grade
  • hifihifi Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    why on earth would they ask about homeschool association affiliation?
    i very much dislike and disapprove of the line of questioning
    does or should it matter?
    will some be found guilty by association?
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,472
    if they have a beard, we pass them through sixth grade

    That's my LOL of the evening here. I actually skipped from fifth grade to seventh grade, never taking sixth grade, before I had a beard.
  • broetchenbroetchen Registered User Posts: 1,130 Senior Member
    will some be found guilty by association?

    I have to believe given ongoing prejudices surrounding homeschoolers, that the question to organizations is their way of quickly identifying possibly undesirable homeschooling philosophies.
    Anything that sounds vaguely anti-evolution theory, overly religious (read Christian fundamental), or in any other way not PC, need not apply.
This discussion has been closed.