Wednesday, December 11, 2013

College Crash Course Part 1: 8th Grade Counts

Jumping through hoops. Yep. That’s what it boils down to. Navigating the road from high school to college can be tough. You’ve been told it’s easy. You’ve been told it’s hard. You’ve been encouraged. You’ve been discouraged. You’ve been given information. You’ve been given misinformation. Well now it’s time for the truth. But let me warn younext year the truth may change. Yes. The hoops change positions all the time. Sometimes hoops are taken down and replaced by other hoops. But here’s the good news:

Getting your homeschooled child into college is not difficult—it just requires knowing what hoops to jump through. 

This series of blog posts will help you learn the ropes in an easy to follow step-by-step process.

Step 1: Prepare in 8th Grade

Eighth grade is the time you should start thinking about and planning for high school, although most homeschooled students begin taking high school level courses in eighth grade. Typically, students choose a math, science, or foreign language course to study. You'll want to begin keeping records of the high school coursework completed.

Here's what to do:

  • Write down the text used and a description of the course on a piece of paper
  • Write down the start and finish dates on that same paper
  • Estimate how much time your child spent each week on that course
  • Keep 5 pieces of work—preferably tests—as evidence of the completed course

By the way, you will do this for every course taken throughout high school. However, it's not necessary if the course is from an accredited institution. You’ll just need a transcript from the institution once the course is completed. I will talk about accreditation later on.

The next part of your preparation is to designate a drawer. A drawer? Yes! The drawer will serve as the collecting place for everything you need to build your child’s portfolio. If you’re like me, you’re far too busy to create a portfolio and keep up with it for every class each semester from eighth grade to your child’s senior year. Instead, just have a designated drawer where you place your child’s coursework, awards, certificates, and anything else you might want to show to a college and include in your student’s portfolio. Anything that says, “Look how amazing my child is!” is fair game. I included tests, essays, research papers, artwork, volunteer service awards, and even a picture of my daughter being crowned Miss Fulton County’s Outstanding Teen.

Creating a high school portfolio is an important aspect of helping your homeschooled child get into college. I’ll explain what a portfolio should look like and how to create one in a later post.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll share with you Step 2: Get Going in 9th Grade.

Jeannie Fulbright

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