I don’t like the idea of making New Year’s resolutions. But, wrapping up this year’s college application season begs me to remind you to start early. Being homeschool guidance counselor is not for the faint of heart. I kid you not. Before you know it, your current junior will be a senior in the midst of the application process. It can be an extremely stressful time for them and you. The more you do to plan and prepare - the less panicked you will be when you are in the thick of it. I don’t want you panicked! I want you to enjoy this exciting time, especially when it’s the last year your homeschooler will be with you. You ready?!
Use a template or create one with Google Docs; input freshman and sophomore years. Calculate yearly GPA.
List all textbooks, ISBN numbers, and methods of evaluation.
Start this list now while you still (ahem) remember books read in 9th grade. List pleasure reading and academic reading. Be sure to include ISBN numbers for textbooks.
Just in case! Most schools do not ask this of homeschoolers, but a few request graded/commented essays and lab reports.
Or FROM your homeschooler. They can be used to create a great counselor recommendation letter.
Make sure you know exactly what they want to see from homeschoolers. If there is no designated page for homeschool applicants, call admissions and ask.
Actually create two practice accounts. Or three. One as a student, one as a counselor, one as a teacher recommender. Learn how to navigate the Common App.
Should you consider the ACT? Take a practice exam of SAT and ACT and choose.
Develop a plan and put in your calendar. If not using outside help for SAT, schedule and practice with Khan Academy.
The best time to take SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams is at the end of a course when information is fresh. Does your homeschooler need to back up their grades? Subject Tests and AP’s are the perfect opportunity.
There should be at least two academic teachers willing to write glowing recommendations. Cultivate strong relationships with those instructors over the course of the spring semester.
Find out what your family’s EFC (expected family contribution) is using several schools’ Net Price Calculators. Know which schools use FAFSA-only or CSS Profile. Educate yourself on financial aid lingo. Know that schools are under no obligation to meet your EFC.
Have honest conversations with your student from the very beginning. Consider taking schools off the table if you are certain they are unaffordable.
Many applications are due in January and February. Search out summer programs, workshops, internships, international exchanges, university classes, jobs.
Registration for 2018–2019 courses usually begin in early spring. Make sure you are aware of any prerequisites needed for those fall classes.
Ask friends, universities, online communities.
Know which schools offer and don’t offer them. And know which schools offer a lot to a large percentage of their applicants.
Know the difference between early decision, early action, and regular decision.
Make sure your homeschooler devotes plenty of time and energy to the things they love the most!
Be aware of your homeschooler’s stress level. Spring of junior year is a crazy one.
We’d love to have you in our awesome community, where we share and encourage and support one another during the college admissions process.
There you have it — 20 things to make next year a breeze! Allow Google Docs to become your best friend. Start a college folder and you’ll be on your way to an exciting and fulfilling journey! Reach out with any questions. I am always happy to help.
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