What Homeschoolers Need to Know about the Mid Year Report & College Applications.
It’s that time of year. I get calls and emails from parents asking, “A Mid Year What? Why didn’t I know? What do I need to know?”
Yes, as homeschool parent (AKA guidance counselor), you are required to submit a Mid Year Report to the colleges that require it. I know, I know. I hear you grumbling already. But trust me. Do not view this as just one more thing to do; view this as an opportunity to tell colleges “just one more thing” about your student.
What is the Mid Year Report?
The Mid Year Report is a form that a counselor submits to colleges after first semester grades are recorded. It is a way to update schools about a student’s academic progress. An updated transcript is often required. Some institutions require both the applicant and counselor to submit a Mid Year Progress Report. It isn’t a difficult or lengthy process — you’re asked basic questions about academics and discipline and you’re given a chance to inform admissions about anything else that might be of value in their decision making process.
Why is it important?
Mid Year Reports provide the perfect opportunity to make the case that your homeschooler belongs at that school! It’s a way to continue the conversation, a way to confirm a decision, a way to update admissions on the awesome things your kid is doing. Colleges want to see an upward trend — in rigor and in grades. Here’s your chance to show them that your student is at the top of their game in senior year.
If a student has been admitted Early Decision or Early Action, schools want to be certain that they’ve made the right choice and that a terrible case of senioritis hasn’t taken hold. They want to know that their admitted students are ready to step on campus and be challenged. If a student is applying Regular Decision, schools want one more piece that reveals their worth in the applicant pool. If a student is a borderline applicant, the Mid Year Report is something that can make (or break) their chances.
Bottom line: Don’t slack off. Keep those grades up. Keep that engagement up. In fact, a strong Mid Year Report can increase chances at receiving merit aid or getting off of a waitlist or making a deferred application stronger. On the other hand, a poor Mid Year Report might warrant a letter from the college, warning that a student’s place in an honors programs might be in jeopardy or an acceptance might be rescinded or a reduction in merit might be given. Keep those seniors moving and shaking!
Will all schools require a Mid Year Report?
Nope, but here’s the thing. As homeschool guidance counselor, you need to be aware of which schools do and which schools don’t require them. Most schools do NOT send reminders. The Common App and Universal App do NOT send reminders. Go on each college website. Check the counselor section of the applications to see which schools require it. It is your responsibility to submit the correct documents to each school.
Where do I submit the Mid Year Report?
Some schools require the Mid Year report to be submitted via the application platform used to apply — Common App, Universal App, the institution’s online app. Some schools, however, require a separate form to be signed and mailed. It all depends. Be sure you are well informed of the school’s request.
When do I submit it?
Although there may not be specific deadlines, schools will want it in hand it by the end of January/beginning of February. If it is early in the application season, set a reminder for mid-January to do this. It is imperative that you remember!
How do I update the Transcript?
For the Mid Year Report, only a few things need to change on the transcript.
- Add first semester grades. Now, I know some of you will be tempted to not give semester grades for year-long courses. Of course you can choose that — just write “IP” for In Progress instead of a grade. But remember what I mentioned above? About the importance of strong Mid Year Reports? They cannot be underestimated when it comes to borderline applicants, merit aid, and honors programs. You have a fabulous opportunity to showcase your homeschooler’s worth. Take advantage of it!
- Update credits for any classes that are completed. These would be one semester courses which occurred in the fall.
- Make any changes to spring semester course names if they are different than the initial transcript. Stuff happens and changes are made to a schedule. Just be sure to note those changes on the transcript.
- Recalculate the GPA, only if semester courses were completed. Do not factor in ongoing, year-long classes in the new GPA. That is only to be done upon completion of the course. However, certain schools may recalculate GPA using those semester grades once they have the midyear report in hand, so keep that in mind.
- Remember to sign the updated transcript!
Should I add course descriptions?
If you didn’t include spring semester course descriptions in your previous submission, include them now. If your courses changed focus or changed altogether, feel free to include these course descriptions as well. Add this information to your PDF transcript upload.
What if my homeschooler has since received an award or distinction or special opportunity?
Awesome! This is a perfect time and place to highlight the fabulous things your homeschooler continues to do. If there isn’t a section provided to note these achievements, add a page to your transcript document. Do you now see how valuable Mid Year Reports are?
Some institutions will ask students or counselors to add anything they’d like. This can be an ideal opportunity to update admissions with a very brief personal statement. Write a few powerful sentences about it.
Another note: If your homeschooler is applying ED or EA at a school, and has a very strong first quarter, go ahead and send those grades. Strong grades can have a positive impact on admission!
What about Community College or University grades during senior year?
If your homeschooler has received semester grades from a college or university, it is important that those transcripts be sent directly to the school. This is also something to note in your calendar, as you should make the request early enough to be processed in time.
While we’re at it, what is the Final Report?
You’re in luck! The Final Report is handled essentially the same way. Update the transcript with grades, credits, recalculated GPA, and send by the end of June/middle of July. There is one important difference! Be sure to include the words “Final Transcript” along with the official graduation date. And, once again, don’t forget to sign!
The Final Report also holds a lot of value, especially to a student on a college’s waitlist. So, if your homeschooler’s top choice has them on a waitlist, their final grades may be just the thing that puts them in the acceptance pile! Keep encouraging!
Colleges expect their applicants to continue at a high level in their academics and extracurricular involvement during senior year. With the pressure these kids are under, it is easy to understand why some become numb to the entire process. Keep your kids healthy — mentally and physically — during those final months of senior year. That way, they have the energy to be the great student and the great human being that they’ve always been!