Have you poked around the Common Application lately?
Have you read those questions in the counselor section?
They sure don’t apply to homeschoolers.
And they sure don’t apply to your homeschooler’s unique situation.
It’s enough to make your head spin.
What if I told you that what matters most is answering in a way that feels good to you?
That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
Because you’re right. Those questions DON’T apply to homeschoolers. College admissions officers know that. And they will be looking at your homeschooler transcript through a unique lens because your homeschooler’s application and story are unique.
So I give you permission to trust yourself.
Because just as your homeschool years were filled with listening to your kid and trusting your instincts, representing them in the Common App asks you to do the same.
And that’s what comes naturally to you. So read on for the specifics but promise you won’t let go of your awesome homeschooling (or is it parenting?) instincts.
Make sure you know what each college wants from a homeschooler. Call. Check their website. See if there is a specified homeschool admissions counselor at each school. Each institution is unique in what they want to see and how they prefer to see it.
Become familiar with the Common Application by creating a practice account. Create an account as “Parent or Other Adult” and you will then view the process from an applicant’s perspective. Within your Common App Practice Account, assign yourself as Counselor and Teacher Recommender, using different email addresses if you prefer. This allows you to understand the process from those perspectives.
In the Education Section, the applicant must select “Homeschooled” as their current secondary school; this will be located at the bottom of the drop-box. Also in the Education Section, they will add your name/title. To officially invite you, however, they need to go to the FERPA/Recommenders section in “My Colleges.” They MUST release authorization before inviting you. Once they click on “Invite Recommenders” a box will open. Be sure they select you as Counselor, include your email, and click “Send Invite.” Once you receive the email, you will have access to the Counselor Section.
The following responses are suggestions. If they don’t reflect your homeschool, that’s fine! Most answers can be n/a if you choose. In fact, if a question doesn’t have a red asterisk, you are not required to answer it.
Homeschool supervisor, educational facilitator, homeschool counselor or teacher, home-based instructor
School Lookup: Homeschooled (scroll to bottom or search)
Remember that courses can only be designated as AP if officially approved by College Board. Match the number of classes offered to the maximum number of classes a student can take. List DE (dual enrollment) classes and university classes as Honors if you have done so on the transcript. Make sure this list matches the transcript!
A block schedule is one that offers semester-long classes rather than year-long classes. Many homeschoolers have a combination, in which case you would answer Yes. The Common App will then expect to see final grades by the end of each semester.
The best option is No. Then your homeschooler won’t have to answer ambiguous questions in the school report section of their own application. If you select yes, this will prompt you to compare your homeschooler to others in the graduating class, which is not applicable in your situation. If you do choose to answer yes, the questions in the School report should be answered “no basis.”
If you choose None, you will not be prompted to answer more questions.
If you choose Exact, you will be prompted to answer whether or not the ranking is based on a weighted or unweighted GPA. If you weight grades, you would choose accordingly. You will then enter the years on which the ranking is based. If you have homeschooled all four years of high school, you will enter freshman year to senior year.
Please indicate the most recent grades included on the transcript accompanying this form.
(cumulative thru junior year)
There is some disagreement over this when using weighted grades. I eventually chose to do what my local district does - select 4.0, even when Honors and AP classes are given extra weight.
Note: Weighted GPA is sometimes used for scholarships, so you may want to choose to weight GPA on your transcript.
I love this question! Most homeschoolers I know immediately say 80%. I usually recommend 70%. :) Do what feels right.
You guessed it! Enter your homeschooler’s GPA.
In comparison with other college preparatory students at your school, the applicant’s course selection is Most Demanding.
This is where you will upload your Homeschool Transcript and Course Descriptions. You may also choose to upload a Reading List. There are four available slots. Select the appropriate number.
You will NOT upload a transcript from any DE or university classes here. They should be sent directly to the schools to which your homeschooler is applying or they are not considered official.
There is also no reason to upload other transcripts or reports from online course providers. As long as those grades are reported on your official homeschool transcript, there is no need to overwhelm admissions officers!
Please indicate the most recent grades included on the transcript accompanying this form. Usually, this will be final junior year grades or second quarter senior year grades.
Copy and paste info from School Profile or write, “See School Profile.”
Depending on where this information is within your documents, copy and paste info or write, “See School Profile” or “See Course Descriptions” or “See Transcript.”
Copy and paste info from Course Descriptions or write, “See Course Descriptions.”
This is asking if your homeschooler will be receiving a diploma from a homeschool association or diploma program.
Upload Counselor Recommendation. Click here for details on how to write a powerful counselor letter!
This is typically not submitted unless you need to update colleges with additional information. If your homeschooler is applying Early Action or Early Decision and their first quarter grades are outstanding, take the opportunity to submit those grades to admissions. It may make a difference!
Submit this immediately after getting midyear grades. Update your transcript and submit this report by the end of January or February. Check out my detailed post on the importance of the Mid-Year Report.
Submit this after your homeschooler has accepted admission at a particular school! Once again, update your transcript and submit this by the end of June.
There you have it!
Just remember to answer in a way that feels good to you. Some of these questions seem downright silly from a homeschooler’s perspective. But don’t worry! Admissions officers will be viewing your homeschooler’s application from a unique perspective. And that’s a good thing!