Books & sites for planning high school & college admissions. For curriculum suggestions, see Coursework: High School.
12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free (Open Courseware)
By Marc & Angel
From the site re: open courseware All education is self-education. Period. It doesn't matter if you're sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop. We don't learn anything we don't want to learn.
Those people who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world. Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of. Formal education or not, you'll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education.
If you're interested in learning something new, this article is for you. Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.
WHEN Joan Carlson started teaching high school biology more than 30 years ago, the Advanced Placement textbook was daunting enough, at 36 chapters and 870 pages. But as an explosion of research into cells and genes reshapes our sense of how life evolves, the flood of new material has been staggering. Mrs. Carlson's A.P. class in Worcester, Mass., now confronts a book with 56 chapters and 1,400 pages, along with a profusion of animated videos and Web-based aids that supplement the text.
As A.P. has proliferated, spreading to more than 30 subjects with 1.8 million students taking 3.2 million tests, the program has won praise for giving students an early chance at more challenging work. But many of the courses, particularly in the sciences and history, have also been criticized for overwhelming students with facts to memorize and then rushing through important topics. Students and educators alike say that biology, with 172,000 test takers this year, is one of the worst offenders.
A.P. teachers have long complained that lingering for an extra 10 or 15 minutes on a topic can be a zero-sum game, squeezing out something else that needs to be covered for the exam. PowerPoint lectures are the rule. The homework wears down many students. And studies show that most schools do the same canned laboratory exercises, providing little sense of the thrill of scientific discovery.
All that, says the College Board, is about to change. (See more on changes to AP at
Next month, the board, the nonprofit organization that owns the A.P. exams as well as the SAT, will release a wholesale revamping of A.P. biology as well as United States history - with 387,000 test takers the most popular A.P. subject. A preview of the changes shows that the board will slash the amount of material students need to know for the tests and provide, for the first time, a curriculum framework for what courses should look like. The goal is to clear students' minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking. In biology, a host of more creative, hands-on experiments are intended to help students think more like scientists.
The changes, which are to take effect in the 2012-13 school year, are part of a sweeping redesign of the entire A.P. program. Instead of just providing teachers with a list of points that need to be covered for the exams, the College Board will create these detailed standards for each subject and create new exams to match.
To read this article in its entirety, use weblink below.
Information on tests given by the College Board (the same people who do the SAT tests). These tests have a grading score 1-5, with 5 being the best. Many kids take them in high school to earn college credit. Some are the equivalent of a one-semester college course (typically 3 credits), while others are worth as much as 8 full credits or two full semesters of a lab science (chemistry, biology, others).
Some homeschoolers study on their own for these tests, using the resources and links offered by AP, and then just take the AP test, and do fine. Public and private high schools typically offer them as year-long classes for more ambitious or talented students. You can find out more about them by visiting the AP Central link.
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Test Prep
By Michael Hall
This site provides free practice tests for all categories of the ASVAB so those interested in joining the military can get a sense of the questions they will expect to see on the ASVAB.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is a required test administered to anyone interested in enlisting in any of the US Armed Service branches. Minimum scores must be met in order to be able to enlist as well as to qualify for certain jobs within the service.
From the site's creator
My brother enlisted in the Navy a few years ago and got an okay score on the ASVAB. However it wasn't good enough to qualify him for a higher up position that he originally wanted. With the way the testing system works he had to wait about 6 months before he could re-take the test.
Athletic Rules of Eligibility for High School Boys and Girls
Q: Can homeschoolers participate in sports at a public school in CT?
A: The CIAC sets forth the rules for participation in high school sports. According to the CIAC, homeschoolers are not allowed to participate unless their homeschool program is under the direct supervision of the school district. Apparently it then ends up being left up to the discretion of each school.
See Appendix B, Section II:
SCHOOLED STUDENTS: Eligibility to participate in
interscholastic athletics is not to be extended to any
student whose program is not under the direct
supervision of a CIAC member school. This prohibition
includes any recognition by member schools of home
schooling as school district sponsored "alternative
CampusTours: Virtual College Tours & Interactive Campus Maps
CampusTours is the worldwide leader in virtual college tours and academic multimedia, working with hundreds of colleges and universities since 1997. CampusTours was founded to provide an intuitive gateway to official university multimedia, and currently more than two million people visit the Campus Tours.com site annually to experience college presentations. CampusTours' Institutional Marketing division assists colleges with online marketing and student lead generation. The
CampusTours Productions division offers software to help colleges and universities develop, update and extend compelling multimedia presentations for the Web and CD-ROM, and provides creative services including on-campus photography, panoramic image and video capture, and custom design, information architecture and development services.
Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth about America's Top Schools
By An ISI Guide
An excellent resource for gaining important insights into the top universities and outstanding lesser-known schools in the US. There is information in this book about each school's campus life, politics, intellectual diversity, as well as vital statistics such as reliogious affilitions, SAT/ACT scores, and more. Each coolege report also shows the core curriculum, required courses, special programs -- such as Honors level tracks. The entire book is organized by region -- New England, South, Midwest, etc.
A document full of suggestions for the college application process compiled by a Classical Kids founding member, Karen Tomko. Topics outlined in this file include documenting/record-keeping, forms, financial aid, and more.
Karen homeschooled her four children beginning with Kindergarten. She currently has one in college, one doing high school work, one doing middle school work, and one doing elementary work.
College Board's 45-page exam guide for College Composition / College
Composition Modular is currently free. Usually these guides run $10 each. The guide gives information about
the test and practice questions.
College Discussion at College Confidential, the Web's leading discussion forum for college admissions, financial aid, SAT prep, and much more! This site allows you to view our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, etc. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.
Which Colleges Are Worth Your Investment?
Don't compare college costs, compare the return on your investment.
An interesting way to look at the costs of a college education vs. return.
A return on investment (ROI) calculation tells you what you get back for what you spend - and it's a great way to compare college costs. With the average cost for college rising, PayScale helps you figure out which school's tuition costs will return the biggest dividends for you after graduation.
ON a freezing Saturday in February, my wife and I sat through a full-day introduction to college admissions for the parents of 11th graders. This was our first little step on the high-anxiety journey thousands of families trod each year. As parents of twins, we were double-booked. There wasn't a vacation day in the next eight months that one of us didn't spend on a college campus, somewhere.
The personal essay, they all said, growing soft and fuzzy, is the one element where a student's own voice can be heard through the fog of quantitative data.
But what if it can't? What if, like most 17-year-olds, a high school senior sounds wooden or pretentious or thunderously trite when trying to express himself in the first person? Prose in which an author's voice emerges through layers of perfectly correct sentences is the hardest kind of writing there is. Plenty of professional authors can't manage it. How reasonable is it to expect of teenagers?
Nevertheless, college gatekeepers have made a fetish of the personal essay. Twenty-six percent of admissions offices deemed it of considerable importance in deciding who gets in, according to a 2009 survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
It has become more important over time: only 14 percent said so in 1993.
The Exploring Educational Excellence is a consortium of colleges (Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, and Rice) that schedules spring visits to provide information sessions for students and their families.
Brown University, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University and Rice University have traveled together for many years to speak to students and their families about college admissions. We do so because our institutions, at their core, are similar. We all offer students a broad-based liberal arts curriculum, committed to providing every student with a well-rounded education in social science, humanities, mathematics and science. We are all residential colleges; the vast majority of our students live on campus, so much of our students' education takes place outside of the classroom. Lastly, we all practice highly selective admissions; each of our schools seeks not only a class that is strong academically, but a class that is diverse in every way and one with dynamic students who will enrich their campus intellectually, extracurricularly and personally.
Join Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell and Rice for an information session for prospective students and their families. Sessions include a brief overview of each institution, information on admissions and financial aid, and a chance to speak informally with admissions representatives. You must register to attend. We look forward to meeting you around the country this spring!
College Financing: A New Tool to Compare Financial Aid Offers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a tool that allows students to compare costs from three schools at a time. By entering only the names of the universities, students may see the estimated price of each college, the average amount of grants and scholarships students receive, the estimated debt burden and the estimated monthly student loan payments students can expect after graduation.
The tool gets more interesting after clicking its green "enter financial aid" button. By entering data from the schools' financial award letters - including expected family contributions and military benefits, if applicable - students will be able to have a more realistic look at their college options, financially speaking.
We took the tool on a test drive. By entering the names of three schools - we chose Stanford, Harvard and Northwestern - we found that the sticker prices of each school were more than $55,000 for the first year, but that each institution offered (on average) more than $30,000 in grants and scholarships. Although the debt burden of each institution was listed as high, the schools also had high graduation and retention rates, a factor in the debate over the value of higher education.
The comparison shopper, currently in beta version, has data on more than 7,500 colleges, including vocational schools, community colleges, state universities and private institutions. Its numbers are based on public information from government statistical agencies, said Jen Howard, a spokeswoman for the bureau.
College Financing: Need-Based vs. Merit-Based Financial Aid
By Campus Explorer
Many students assume that all financial aid is based on financial need. However, there is a variety of college money available based on your academic merits and special skills, as well as from the organizations you belong to. To get the most money for college, youll want to understand the differences between each type of aid and how to get the amount you need to pursue your college degree.
A Net Price Calculator is an online device that offers customized approximations of college costs based on standardized inputs - family size and savings, for example. The calculator estimates a prospective student's financial aid; subtracts that amount from a college's "list price," or full cost, and spits out a "net price," the amount a particular student must pay or borrow to enroll. This blog explains how they work at various institutions.
College Knowledge: The A+ Guide to Early College Planning
By Regina Muster
This book puts your child in the driver seat for researching and planning for college. It provides both parents and students with great information on college applications. The forms are easy to use and very helpful in organizing your time.
A great book for kids who want an alternative high school experience than the typical college prep route. Topics covered include: Redifining Teen, College Prep without school, The six-hour school week, and more. A book that encourages a different approach to homeschooling.
Not all schools offer merit aid. Many offer "need blind" aid, meaning your household income must be below a number set by the unversity in order to qualify. But many schools still offer merit aid, which is the best aid, in my opinion. Once your child is awarded merit aid, you and your spouse will not be "means-tested" again. And you can still be awarded financial aid, i.e. need-based aid.
Every year homeschoolers are admitted to hundreds of colleges in at least five countries. Those who prepare thoroughly can be admitted with full scholarships at those selective colleges that some parents daydream about their children attending. Read on to find out which colleges have admitted homeschooled children, and continue to the linked subpages to find out more about how to get into the college of your choice.
Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges
By Loren Pope
This wonderful book will encourage you to look beyond the Ivy League when doing your college search. In a nutshell, Pope espouses that liberal arts undergraduate education in the Ivies is faltering, if not failing, but America has plenty of great liberal arts educational centers and they are at the numerous well established liberal arts colleges (LAC's) of America. Those LAC's and some "other" LAC's are great places for undergraduate education. Some of those "other" LAC's are the topic of this book.
from the site This page is as much for homeschoolers to find admissions policies as it is for those college admissions officers who are trying to develop such a policy for their universities. This page does not represent all colleges with policies online; rather, it gives enough samples so that all may see what sort of policies are in place.
Diplomas: Colleges Now Required to Determine Validity
First, the bad news:
The U.S. Department of Education has promulgated a new regulation that requires colleges that receive federal funds to adopt procedures to determine the validity of a students high school diploma when the student applies for Federal Student Aid (FSA).
Now, the good news:
This new rule does not apply to homeschoolers. But homeschoolers need to be careful to check homeschooled when filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to avoid delays in the processing of their application.
To read the entire article, click on weblink below.
After 36 years in the admissions profession, I'm frustrated that colleges are still doing a poor job of explaining the benefits of early-decision programs in their promotional activities, and that early decision is often portrayed in the news media as being bad for students without much research being done to prove or disprove this theory.
Early decision isn't for everyone, but if a student finds a college that's a perfect fit, then getting a jump on the competition and available financial aid makes sense.
To read the entire article, clink on weblink below.
When to file: You can do it before your taxes are finished, providing estimated numbers,
but you will have to redo it with the final numbers. It can be useful to
use the FAFSA estimation program to see what you can expect, although
individual colleges have latitude in making financial aid awards. See website below.
The program gets updated each year to reflect any changes in the
regulations, so you might want to check and see if your estimates change
after a while. I believe the estimation
program gets updated in the fall, whereas the actual FAFSA filing website
starts working on Jan.1
This book really helped me understand the way my teen was perceiving me and the world around him. We often butted heads before I read this book. Once I understood how he perceives words and actions, I could tailor my behavior so my teen could see that his dad and I were on his side and loved him very much.
Gary Chapman has written many best-sellers describing the Love Languages. In this book, Mr. Chapman gives instruction on how to discover a child's main love language: Physical Touch, Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Acts of Service.
This book also covers other parenting topics:
Anger - guidelines for "breaking destructive patterns" and "forging constructive paths" as a family.
Failure - To teach us parents how to love our child even when he or she fails.
Single Parents and Blended Families.
An excellent book for those with teens or pre-teens. I wish I had read it sooner before my son became a teen so that I could be ready and not make so many mistakes.
FuseFly is a social network connecting homeschoolers around the world. This innovative site gives homeschoolers the opportunity to socialize with other homeschoolers, while offering a secure environment for teens age thirteen and up and areas for both students and parents.
Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School
By Grace Llewellyn
From the publisher:
Llewellyn, a lecturer on the subject of home schooling and author of the classic Teenage Liberation Handbook, and Silver, who teaches parenting workshops, have come together to write this how-to book for parents who want to become more involved in their children's education whether through home schooling or by supplementing traditional instruction. The authors offer five fundamental principles opportunity, timing, freedom, interest, and support that, they claim, will transform the way we relate to our children and greatly assist them in growing up to be joyful, passionate creators. Useful for parents and teachers alike, this valuable book closely examines how young people learn and illuminates its practical advice with many stories that make for both insightful and enjoyable reading. Whatever schooling venue parents choose, this book will help them instill a lifelong love of learning in their children.
From a homeschool-through-high school message board and is offered for its information into the interview process: I have interviewed applicants to Harvard for the last five years or so, and I have attended several seminars for interviewers, where we get to see how the admissions committee works. The following information is presented without comment or criticism by me, take from it what you will.
Applicants are given ratings from 1 to 4 in four categories: academics, athletics, other extracurricular activities, and overall character. Character is a rather broad category that can include personality, overcoming adversity, etc. The categories are given equal weight, with academics weighted perhaps a bit more than the other categories. "1" means that the applicant is extraordinary -- gold medal at IMO, nationally recruited athlete, eye-popping service work, actually *is* Yo-Yo Ma, is an accomplished actor. Most well-qualified candidates have "2s" in most (but not all!) categories.
High School Testing
Are you preparing your high schooler to take his or her college entrance exams? This program provides valuable information on how to select which test your student should take, how to register, and where to find test prep resources.
When it comes to high school, most homeschooling parents approach these years with fear and trepidation. Here are some reasons why homeschooling your high schooler might be a tremendous boon for you, your student and your whole family. This article also addresses tips for success during the high school years.
The Secret Revealed: How To Study (And Get an A!) in Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Science or any subject!
Getting an A is a function of having the right study process. Those students who consistently get A's have figured out a study process that works for them and they usually follow it pretty carefully.
The creator of this video claims to have a study process that served him well in high school, college, and graduate school. He says he has also taught it to many students since then, and it worked for them too.
Here finally revealed for the first time: The Secret to Getting A's.
Includes information on the reasons and benefits of continuing to homeschool through high school, developing a plan for high school, sample 4-year plans, recordkeeping, curriculum suggestions & guidelines, AP class information, driver's ed, diplomas, grading, college applications, etc.
A free site to help children get ready for the SAT exam. The site contains 60 lessons in math, reading, and writing that infuse pop culture into the lessons,
and 800+ challenging practice exam questions that simulate the SAT and provide full explanations. It was featured on CNN.
This article addresses the malaise some teens pass through and what parents can do to deal with and help such kids.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's 5 part mini-course, The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School. You can find her at
Includes entry requirements, notification information, types of scholarships that are available, and more.
Are there recommendations needed?
Are Letters of Recommendation (LOR) needed?
Just the one mentioned above, it's a combination
recommendation/characterization of the student.
One, approximately 500 words.
Do homeschoolers get to act as the school administrator?
Any advice who might be going through this process?
Realize that the NMS people are easy to work with. They understand that you
may need to adapt certain sections of their form to fit your homeschool
student's situation. We actually made our own template (it was identical to theirs in width, but had many more lines for courses taken. You will have plenty of time the paperwork done; just have your LOR/Recommendation writer lined up.
What standardized tests count?
The SAT that goes with the National Merit Scholarship
program can have been taken in sophomore, junior, or senior year, in a fall-to-fall date span within two years.
Here are Kiplinger's top ten picks for best values in private universities for 2009-10. The best 100 private colleges and universities met the challenges of a slumping economy, delivering quality, generous financial aid and, in a few cases, sticker prices that are almost as low as out-of-state tuition at some public institutions.
Use this site to look at other student's ratings of the teachers your child might considered taking. If you read it carefully and use its sorting features, you can find the top-rated teachers at each school.
The way one parent used the site:
I signed him up for *many* classes based solely on glowing reviews, for courses he might never have chosen by course title. This has turned out to be one of the best ways to get a sampling of different fields of study or some of the best teachers, most passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects, and able to transmit the info in a way that works for most students. The classes and teachers chosen this way consistently turned out to be his favorites, with only one exception that he would have reviewed as good, but not excellent.
One of his favorite teachers did ultimately turn out to be one of the most highly rated, while toughest graders in the school. My son so enjoyed his class, he signed up for another class with him, despite knowing that it would almost certainly pull down his GPA. This professor ultimately turned out to be one of my son's most enthusiastic supporters, encouraging him to stop in his office if he ever felt he needed help with any of his classes or course choices, and inviting him to sit in on any classes he taught without having to get pre-approval from the registrar to audit. My son took this professor up on his offer for guidance and feels he has found a great adviser, one of the most well-respected professors at the school has become a valuable resource. This professor was one we chose based on his RateMyProfessors reviews, and taken despite his rating as an extremely tough grader, because the kids just seemed to glow with enthusiasm as they described his classes.
from the site Scholars Online offers a full range of college preparatory courses in classical languages, history, literature, mathematics, science, and composition. Students who start with our introductory programs during their junior high school years may take up to six years of Latin or Greek, five years of mathematics, six years of literature, six years of science, and five years of composition. Students in our advanced courses regularly perform well on Advanced Placement and SAT tests, and are accepted into some of the best colleges in the country.
Ordinary students often ask whether there are any scholarships available to students who don't have an A average. This page lists some scholarships for average students. Although these scholarships don't require a high GPA, they do require excellence in a non-academic area. Every scholarship sponsor is trying to find the students that best fulfill their selection criteria.
This PBS program aired in 1999, and highlights at the web site include a video
(about 10 minutes long) of an admissions committee at University of California,
Berkeley discussing applicants. You get a clear sense of what they value in an
The profiles of students who were admitted and denied are also interesting but
are probably old enough to be out of date, as guidelines for who might be
Senior Year - More high-schoolers reinvent or skip their senior year
By By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Already 21 states allow early graduation, according to the Education Commission of the States. And among the other 29, it's not entirely clear whether state law actually prohibits it. Thirty-five states allow students to finish high school based on mastering proficiency standards in state tests rather than satisfying course credit requirements or years spent in school.
By the fall of 2011, a small group of high schools in eight states will take part in a new initiative, announced last week, that will allow high school sophomores who pass a series of "board exams" to graduate two years early and move directly to a two- or four-year college.
U.S. Department of State Youth Exchange Scholarships for U.S. High School Students
The U.S. Department of State announces scholarships for American high school students to study abroad:
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) offers merit-based scholarships to U. S. high-school aged students for overseas study of seven critical foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), Russian and Turkish. The NSLI-Y program is designed to immerse participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them invaluable formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. Applications for summer 2013 and academic year 2013-2014 programs are due November 1, 2012. Visit http://www.nsliforyouth.org for more information.
The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program offers scholarships to American high school students to spend the 2013-14 academic year in countries that may include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali (semester), Morocco, Oman, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey. This post 9/11 program focuses on increasing understanding between people in the U.S. and countries with significant Muslim populations. The application deadline is January 16, 2013. Visit the YES Program's website at http://www.yesprograms.org/yesabroad for more information.
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) was established in 1983 to celebrate German-American friendship based on common values of democracy. Secondary school students live with host families, attend local schools, and participate in community life in Germany. Young professionals (undergraduates) and high school graduates of vocational studies ages 18-24 study and participate in practical training. Scholarships are now available for academic year 2013-14; application deadlines vary by U.S. region and range from September 2012 to January 2013. For more information and application deadlines, visit the organization in charge of recruitment for your state at http://USAGermanyScholarship.org.
The American Youth Leadership Program offers opportunities for American high students and educators to travel abroad on a three- to four-week-long exchange program to gain first-hand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. Several different organizations implement this program, and each has organized an academic and experiential educational exchange focused on dialogue and debate, leadership development, and community service. Recruitment areas and application deadlines vary, so please check the American Youth Leadership Program website at http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/ylp/current-youth-leaderships-programs.html for more information.
Study Abroad with National Security Language Initiative for Youth
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.
NSLI-Y is part of a U.S. government initiative that prepares American citizens to be leaders in a global world. Now more than ever, it is important that Americans have the necessary linguistic skills and cultural knowledge to promote international dialogue and support American engagement abroad. NSLI-Y aims to provide opportunities to American youth that will spark a lifetime interest in language learning.
Previous language study is not required, and language learners of all levels are encouraged to apply.
Scholarships are available for students to learn the following languages:
Programs may take place in the following locations:
Year or Semester
YFU academic year or semester programs are the best way to absorb a new culture and learn a language through "whole language learning." After you immerse yourself in the culture, language, and heritage of your host country, your perspective and understanding of your new home will be much deeper.
Gap Year/Semester Options
For those who have graduated high school, YFU offers a gap year/semester option between high school and college or the workplace. Whether you've just graduated, deferred college admission, or are deciding what's next in life, you can use your gap year/semester to gain a greater understanding of another culture. In the process, you'll, discover the real you, and experience the world.
YFU summer programs offer you the opportunity to learn the culture like no tourist could. Most YFU summer programs are traditional homestay programs, where you'll live with a host family and participate in family activities throughout the summer.
Testing Schedule for ACT, PSAT, SAT and SAT II Tests
By Fairview High School
Understanding the many types of standardized tests that are offered for college entrance consideration and credit can be challenging. The chart at this link, which was developed by Fairview High School in Colorado, offers suggestions about timing for taking these exams.
The W-Curve is a predictable pattern of stages which
occurs when a person experiences culture shock. This
is based upon research done with students studying
abroad. Zeller and Mosier (1993) found that the W-Curve
could also be applied to first-year college
students and the phases they go through in adapting
to a new culture. It's normal to have the ups and
downs of the W-Curve, and knowing about this may
help make the transition easier.
The author outlines important steps for parents and teens to take during high school, and in particular, junior year of high school to maximize their chances of being accepted to the college of their choice.
An good resource for perusing information about the top schools in the US. Each college profile shows admissions ranking (how selective the school is), SAT & ACT profiles of incoming students, academic ranking, demographics of student body, and more. The descriptions cover campus life, academics, and information on admissions and financial aid.
"The College-Level Examination Program® or CLEP provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses. There are 2,900 colleges that
grant credit and/or advanced standing for CLEP exams."
To find out about CLEP and other college board tests, check out the site here.
There's a yahoogroup for homeschoolers interested in CLEP tests:
The moderator of the homeschool CLEP yahoo group also has a website. The site has free lesson plans and book recommendations that worked for her family:
The Official SAT Study Guide is the only book that features official SAT practice tests created by the test maker. It's packed with the information students need to get ready for the exam. They'll gain valuable experience by taking eight practice tests and receiving estimated scores. With 900 pages and 21 chapters, the book helps students raise their confidence by reviewing concepts, test-taking approaches, and focused sets of practice questions.
from local homeschooling mom I have graduated two homeschoolers who have gone on to college, with four still homeschooling (all in jr. high and high school). I am an eclectic homeschooler. I do my own record and grade keeping.
Use link below to see how I do high school transcripts. Click on Making a High School Transcript. I have my kids take the GED exam upon completing their homeschooling so they can earn a state-recognized high school diploma. As for college, I have my kids take community college classes during their senior year of homeschooling so they will already have college credits upon graduating from homeschooling. My homeschool graduates have then gone on to 4-year state universities.
The online program from Classical Conversations is very simple to use. For only $15 per year, a parent can track all a student's classes and grades. The computer program asks if the grades should be calculated using a 5 or 6 point scale. It also tracks credits and calculates the GPA. The printed report looks very professional.
From a homeschool parent: It also allowed me to input comments for a class. For example, I noted if a class was taught by an outside teacher, and I put in SAT II (subject test) scores to help validate the grades. They also have a nice tracking system for extracurricular activities to create a resume.
TRENDS IN COLLEGE PRICING
provides up-to-date information on
undergraduate tuition and fees, room and
board, and other expenses. It also includes information on revenues and expenditures
of colleges and universities, as well as
Research on choosing colleges takes many forms, including visiting campuses and studying the schools' Web sites. But for a lot of high-school students and their parents, finding a centralized resource containing information about numerous schools still means buying one of the thick, costly printed guides to college that have been around for years. The Web versions of these books are surprisingly dry.
But there's a new, free Web site that, while overseen by paid editors, is built on lively content submitted by current students at the colleges. The information isn't just words and numbers, but includes numerous photos and videos for most schools. You also can create a small social network of people interested in the same schools or who share other common traits.
The site, Unigo.com, costs nothing to use and supports itself with ads. Although it's only a few months old, it already covers about 250 colleges and universities, and claims to average dozens of student-created reviews, photos and videos for each college. Its sophisticated search engine lets applicants comb all this material to find just what applies to them. For example, Unigo would let you see all content relevant to an Asian-American female applicant with conservative political views.
The site, founded by a 26-year-old who formerly created printed college guides, says it employs 19 full-time editors. This team uses information from a nationwide network of 300 representatives on campuses to create each college's profile. Each representative rounds up contributions from others on campus, so that the site claims that over 15,000 students contributed to the profiles of the first 250 colleges.
Reviews, photos and videos can also be submitted out of the blue, and these are also eventually reviewed by the editors.
Each profile starts with a fairly long editor-written overview, liberally sprinkled with comments from students and accompanied by basic information, statistics and rankings.
But the heart of Unigo's look at each college is student-created, in multiple forms. For instance, the site's section on the University of Michigan includes 92 written student reviews, some running to thousands of words; 35 photos; 36 videos; and 10 student-written "documents." The latter are often by campus journalists and cover things like athletics or critiques of nearby restaurants.
While the editors ban personal attacks and nudity, they don't bar negative comments. Unigo deliberately seeks out pro and con opinions. Many of the student submissions are enthusiastically positive, but plenty are negative comments on campus social life, the costs, the food, the faculty, the dorms and other topics.
The site feels surprisingly full for such a young venture, but it has some quirks and issues. Coverage is uneven. For instance, Vassar College in New York boasts 117 reviews and 42 videos, while the much larger University of Kansas has only 45 reviews and three videos. Finding the detailed search feature can be clumsy, because it's not obvious on the home page. You can't generate a quick comparison among colleges, and the site lacks any parent-oriented sections, although parents are free to use it. There are just loads of colleges that aren't yet included. The first 250 schools were "seeded," with months of research and solicitation of student content.
Review written by Walter S. Mossberg, Feb. 19, 2009 for WSJ.
I recently met Stephan Finton, the Director of Admissions for the United States Coast Guard Academy. During our brief conversation, I mentioned that we are a homeschooling family. He told me that the Coast Guard is very interested in homeschooled applicants. He gave me his card and encouraged me to let others know. He said that the homeschooled teens he has met are well-rounded, well-educated, and used to being out in the world. I have not known what to do with this information, so I am posting it here.
I want to mention that I've only spoken with Mr. Finton for about 15 minutes, and I know nothing about the Coast Guard or the Coast Guard Academy! However, I felt like I should pass this info along in some way in case it is useful to anyone. Oh, there is one thing I know - they have a great band! I do know of someone who is in the Coast Guard band.
Here's the info:
Director of Admissions
United States Coast Guard Academy
31 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320
800-883-USCG x 6779
A subscription website designed to help parents and students navigate through all of the numerous aspects of preparing yourself for college -- from preparing for standardized exams to locating financing for your eduction; from planning out your high-school years to deciding on the best housing arrangement, etc.
This resource was designed by a home-school graduate. It provides access to numerous, hand-selected, college-prep resources that are presented in a format designed to step you through the process of preparing for, financing,
and applying to college.
Teaching high-school has a steep enough learning curve without you having to
figure out all the college-related details on your own. This resource acts
as a virtual guidance counselor, and allows you to benefit from the
experience of homeschool graduates, college professors, veteran homeschool
parents, and other educational professionals. We review and compile the
massive amount of information on preparing for college into one central
subscription website, placing the answer to all your college-related
questions in one location.
Dozens of videos detailing every aspect of preparing for college, from
deciding on a major to choosing between housing options at a university
Numerous articles answering a wide range of college-related questions,
written by homeschool graduates, university professors, financial planners,
and other experts.
Member resource section, with links and reviews of the best college-prep
Downloadable resources, including financial pamphlets, college planning
calendars, and sample transcripts.
Member forum where you can ask questions related to your specific
situation and get quick responses from college professionals on your
individual college-related questions.
Various tips and resources designed to help save you money when it comes
time to prepare and pay for college.
This article talks about how teenagers' passions might annoy us, but can be indicators of future professions, and can even go onto high school transcripts.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's 5 part mini-course, The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School. You can find her at http://www.TheHomeScholar.com.
What Colleges Don't Tell You (And Other Parents Don't Want You to Know): 272 Secrets For Getting Your Kid into the Top Schools
By Elizabeth Wissner-Gross
Journalist Wissner-Gross has found a keenly sought after niche in helping parents "package" their children for college admission. The author's approach is to endow the student's advocate, usually a parent who has the most time to devote to the task, with the skills to elicit and enhance the student's natural accomplishments, rendering him or her desirable to colleges.
Why Your Kids Shouldn't Go to Harvard (even if they could get in)
By Marty Nemko
An insightful article about balancing the benefits of Ivy education with cost. A snippet:
Many low-cost colleges have patches of Ivy called the honors program: Ivy-caliber students taught in small classes by the institution's top professors. The honors program usually continues outside the classroom with optional honors residence halls and special extracurricular activities. And because an honors program is embedded in a regular campus, a student who wants to moderate the pressure, can do so by taking fewer honors classes and hanging out with non-honors students. This isn't an option at an Ivy League college. This is a more important benefit than might first be apparent. The second most common complaint at Harvard's student health service is stress and burnout.
This book is a great resource for preparing your student to write a timed essay for the SAT. Included in the book are writing prompts, such as those the student will find on the SAT, tips for writing a good essay, and information about scoring the essay.
A national Yahoo group populated by experienced homeschoolers with great suggestions. From their description:
A group for parents of teenaged homeschoolers who are aiming toward college. We discuss preparing to apply for college; what colleges might want; what courses, materials and curricula work for us and our kids; filling out college applications; how our older kids who are already in college are faring; particular colleges; SATs, SAT IIs, ACTs and AP tests; and other topics related to homeschooling teenagers.
You will hear national and international perspectives. People share about applying to state schools, performance schools, ivy leagues ... a pretty broad range. A plethora of insights into how many different choices to consider in the college application process (right down to how envelopes are completed and following-up to make sure the app didn't go on the wrong desk). This group can be tremendously helpful.
To join, go to:
A Yahoo group for parents of students 14 years old and younger who are taking at least one college level class at a distance. At a distance includes any class that does not require on campus attendance, other than possibly for exams or labs.
NOTE: Descriptions of programs and resources have been submitted for your information. They are passed on to you as a service. No endorsement by Classical Kids or its administrators should be inferred.