Home Schooling and College Admissions

In this article you will read three recommendations to help your home school student gain admission to a college-of-choice. First, however, here's a perspective that should interest you.

One recent May I was privileged to be given a tour of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. I won't take your time now to describe the indescribable beauty of its setting, in the shadow of Pike's Peak. The reason I mention it is my tour guide was a just-graduated, 2nd Lieutenant who was a home school scholar. That resolved forever my doubts about the quality of home school education.
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Add to that, in the years since, I have proudly watched two of my grandchildren excel in education as home school students. I confess, I was nervous and doubtful when their mom, my daughter, announced the decision to home school. In this instance, being proven wrong is my great pleasure.

The anecdote above, along with my confession of doubts about home school is relevant because you may find people just like me (formerly) in a college's admissions office, reviewing your student's application. Here is a startling, perhaps alarming fact: admissions counselors at colleges across America have mere minutes to consider applications literally, just a few minutes per application. On the first run-through the filter is eliminate as many as possible. That means an application with omissions, or portraying circumstances that require extra time to understand may be among the first placed in the "Deny" stack.

Here's an example. In the most recent reporting year, the USAF Academy (mentioned above) received 10,354 applications, sent out 1,139 letters of acceptance and, of those, matriculated slightly more than 1,100 first year cadets. The point to catch is admissions counselors had to review more than 9,200 applications and send out letters of denial.

Another example: A very well known, public university recently received 33,012 applications. In order to fill their first-year class of 4,200, the admissions office had to identify more than 14,500 qualified applicants to receive a letter of acceptance. That means more than 18,400 landed in the "Deny" stack. That's a lot of work! The first irregularity in an application is all of the reason needed.

Here's the point, and the first recommendation: the application must be flawless.
  • My students begin working on their college applications in the first week of August. They submit them in mid-September. During those five or six weeks we begin, revise, edit, and add and subtract elements. We work on the applications every week. We double check everything. We get it right the first time because, very likely, there is only one chance to land in the "Accept" stack.
Recommendation two: emphasize your strengths.
  • That includes your individual characteristics and qualities. It includes your qualifications (SAT or ACT test scores are helpful, even though some colleges are going "test optional").
  • Most important, highlight the strengths of a home school education. Answer the unasked questions about science and math; about preparation for research and problem-solving.
  • Mention the many ways in which home schoolers are "well-rounded."
Recommendation three: in-person campus visits will serve you well.
  • In my book, College is a Consumer Purchase, I describe a three-visit regimen. The bottom line is, you want to be more than data on a computer screen. When the admissions counselor pulls up your application and your face comes to mind, that bright smile, the warm conversation, it may tip the scale in your favor. Of course, realize that you may not be the fit the counselor is seeking, but if it's close and between you and someone the counselor has not met, you are more likely to get the nod.
Home school education, when done well, is the best. Hold your head up and apply to college with confidence. There are colleges out there for every student who wants to attend college.


Posted in College Planning, College Planning Strategies. Tagged as apply to college with confidence, college admissions for homeschool students, college of choice, college planning, college planning company, homeschool scholar, homeschool students, homeschooling high school.

Paying Your Way through College — Financing Options Available in the US

It is no secret that college education in the US is expensive. In fact, most students in the United States require student loans to finance their education. There are two types of financing solutions available to them -- federal student loans and private student loans. Even though most students choose to go with federal student loans, looking at other financing options available can help you select a financing option that works best for you.

Federal Student Loans

The five types of federal student loans include:

1. Direct Subsidized Loans

A direct subsidized loan means it is funded by the government. It is a cost-effective loan, allowing undergraduates to borrow money for tuition and related expenses. With a direct subsidized loan, interest does not accumulate for the student while they are enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, including for six months after graduating.

Interest begins to accumulate after the grace period, which means the student needs to start making the required payments unless they get a deferment. Direct subsidized loans are based on the student's or their family's financial status. For this reason, it is difficult to qualify for this loan.

2. Direct Unsubsidized Loans

A direct unsubsidized loan accumulates interest over the lifespan of the loan. The student is responsible for paying off the loan with interest. Interest can add hundreds and sometimes, even thousands of dollars to the total repayment amount.

3. Parent PLUS Loans

The Parent PLUS Loan is available to the parents of the undergraduate student. It offers a fixed rate and flexible loan limits. Parents can only qualify for this federal loan if they have a good credit history. A bad credit card history is:

· Current delinquency of 90 or more on over $2,085 in total debt.

· Over $2,085 in total debt in collections or charged off in the previous two Read more

Posted in College Planning. Tagged as college, college planning, Financial planning.

Money for College -- Dangers Lurk

Beware of Loan Programs with Fine Print

A recent email arriving in my inbox was from a major credit card company offering money for college expenses. Forgive me for stating the obvious but, be careful!. http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/28/pf/parents-student-loans/index.html That link recounts just one of the snares awaiting families who fail to exercise the utmost caution when dealing with the very emotional issue of sending a child to college.We offer a helpful (dare I say vital?) & objective perspective. We are good at "finding money." Call us. Read more

Posted in College Planning. Tagged as college planning, college planning strategies, money for college.

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