Years ago, when
homeschooling was new, colleges required personal interviews and thick
portfolios outlining every detail of the homeschooled student’s high school
coursework and experiences.
homeschooling is more mainstream, portfolios are no longer requested or
required. However, they are still a good idea. Why? There are three
reasons your child should consider keeping a portfolio:
might have some questions about a course or two on your child’s transcript. For
example, they may want more information about the biology course your child
took. If you have a well organized portfolio, you can easily flip to the
science section and access that information.
It will offer you great peace of mind to have one place that details your
child’s high school accomplishments and activities, as well as their
coursework. You would be surprised how easy it is to forget that your child
volunteered at the animal shelter or that his team was featured in the newspaper.
An organized portfolio with everything listed will enable him to create a more
thorough resume and will help when it comes time to fill out college admissions
Many scholarship opportunities and honor societies require a portfolio
and a lengthy list of the things with which a student has been involved. A
friend of mine recently filled out a scholarship form that required a list of
all the volunteer work her child had done. After the form was completed and
sent, she realized she neglected a very important service activity. If she had
kept a portfolio, it would have been easier to not only fill out the form but
also ensure every activity was accounted for.
At the beginning of
this College Crash Course series, I suggested designating a drawer in
which to put everything your child does in high school. That was so you would
have everything in one place when it came time to put together your child’s
portfolio. Now you see why it’s so important!
If you are naturally
organized—unlike me—you may want to add certificates, papers, tests, newspaper
articles, and the like to the three ring binder portfolio immediately. However
if you are like me, you’ll toss things in the drawer and once a year—usually in
the summer—you’ll spend a few hours organizing everything into the
So how do you create
a portfolio? What should you include and how should it be organized?
A package of page
Your tabs should be
labeled with the following:
Include your homemade transcript (we’ll
discuss this in another post) as well as any transcripts from coursework your
child takes online or locally.
Include SAT/ACT/SAT II or CLEP test
Include any copies of Letters of
Recommendation (if you did receive a copy).
Include a list of all the volunteer
work your child has done. If you can, get a letter from the agency validating
your child’s time.
Include any certificates of service. If
your child has received the Presidential Volunteer Service award, put the
Include any awards or certificates your
child receives for participation in activities, competitions, and courses.
If your child has been offered
scholarships or has been nominated for honors/scholarships, include the letters
here as well.
Include any news articles and such
featuring your child or his group/team.
Include anything your child does/has
done outside of school. For example, my daughter worked as a columnist for an
online newspaper. We printed up some of her articles and put them here.
The rest of the
binder will be designated for actual schoolwork. For each course taken include
on a cover sheet with this information: Your child's name, course name and
description, assignments and topics covered, time started and finished, first
semester grade/second semester grade, all texts and books used, as well as
several samples of your child's work/tests.
credits. Credits should include physical science and biology. Some colleges
require chemistry as well.
Sciences: 3.5 credits. Credits should include American history,
government, and economics.
Foreign Language: 2
credits. Some colleges want to see 3.
Math: 4 credits.
Credits should including algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry (include final
Health and PE: 2
credits. Keep a log of your child's workouts and physical activities. My
daughter’s ballet was credited as PE as well as performing arts.
Art: .5 credit
is typically given for each year long course. Performing arts/photography
should also be listed here.
Anything that’s not
included in one of the areas of above will be put here. You can include
anything your child does as a hobby as well (birding, woodworking, movie
together the portfolio can be really encouraging for your child. Even if he
never shows it to a college admissions counselor, he can look through it and be
proud of his accomplishments and the character he demonstrated in attaining his
goals. Most importantly, you and your child can give thanks and glory to God
for His faithfulness and leading along the journey.