Day 3: Standing Out
[View the entire series HERE]
I have been talking a lot about courses and curriculum — hands-down, the basis of any good high school plan.
But today, I want to talk about things outside of the regular curriculum. Things that are not always included in the course line-up. Things that don’t always appear on a transcript. And, often, things that have nothing to do with traditional academics at all.
Homeschooling high school is more than just taking classes and earning credits. It’s about learning and expansion in other areas, too. Like competitive sports, performing arts, media production, leadership roles in clubs and camps, inventions and product development, travel, community service, running micro-businesses and all of the other things that teens are passionate about, that fill their days, and that fuel their curiosities.
Try to include as many of those things on your transcript as you can, if it seems appropriate to list them (as courses, or as clubs or extra activities along the bottom). Sometimes, there will be no other opportunity to tell colleges about all of the great things you do.
On the other hand, a brief description on a piece of paper is never enough to really describe what the experience was about, what you learned, and what it meant to you. Even a carefully worded course description lacks the impact of an actual product submission, an original screenplay, an original song, a well-produced video, a Power Point presentation, or a live presentation to really illustrate what it is, and what you did.
If you can, try to look for colleges that allow the submission of extra projects. Find out whether the school you’re applying to will accept a link to a video or photo collage. Ask if you can mail in a sample of your work. Or, if you can meet with a an admissions officer to explain what you’ve been up to.
It’s important to tell colleges about all the things you did during the high school years. But college-bound high schoolers should also try look for ways to stand out, not just by telling, but by showing. Extra-curricular projects, activities and contributions like these are very appealing to colleges (and scholarship committees). They explain who you are and set you apart from other applicants. They not only illustrate your strengths, but suggest ways you might contribute while on campus, too.
When homeschooling high school, don’t limit yourself to what is found in a book, a series of lectures or an online course. Remember to pursue other things that interest you, too and dig deeper into areas that will make an impact on your college application. These experiences just might tip the scales in your favor, resulting in the college acceptance letter of your dreams.
Stay tuned tomorrow for — Day 4: Tackling Those Tests.
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