Friday, August 18, 2006

Countdown to College Launch 3!

Acquire Credentials

Many admissions and scholarship officers will approach a homeschooler's application with a question like: "Did you ever let him out of the basement?" or "So Mom thinks Susan is a genius, eh?"

They aren't really trying to be rude. They just don't know any actual homeschoolers, and are running on stereotypes from the media or perhaps on experience with a few homeschoolers who didn't understand that you need to speak the officers' language.

So you'll want to acquire credentials that will combat the negative stereotypes and will communicate to scholarship committees in the language that allows them to evalutate your student using the same standards that they use for everyone else. They need to be able to compare apples and apples.

We aren't the only ones who have baggage. Every other identifiable sub-group faces the same problem. But what sort of expectations are unique to being a homeschooler?

  • Parents are "poor judges of academic achievement"
  • Students are unprepared for challenging curriculum,
  • Unpracticed at following another's timetable,
  • Impatient with inflexible academic requirements,
  • Socially immature,
  • Unskilled communicators,
  • Unprepared to live and to learn with other students
The passport to a first-class seat in the scholarship airship is outside verification of achievement. No matter how wonderfully your student performs, if the only ones who saw it or can say so are Mom and Dad, no scholarship officer will be able to credit it. You need to be able to convince scholarship committees that other people - people who have nothing to gain by promoting your student - have noticed and approved your student's achievements.

You will need outside verification in each of the four areas that admissions officers scrutinize and in the specific areas in which your student excels. This means that you will need to begin connecting your student with mentors in these areas who will eventually be able to write recommendations or whose programs you can reference in your applications.

In other words, as you build your student's resume and transcript, you will also be developing his network of resource people. Frankly, this is what you need to be doing for your child with or without the scholarship search. A strong resume and a loyal network are simply what your child needs to do well in life.

Countdown to College Launch workbook includes sample resumes, transcripts and templates, as well as advice about how to avoid common pitfalls and how to create documents that will be impressive and memorable to scholarship committees.

Next time: How to build resume and transcript experiences and verifications

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