- What Are Colleges Looking For?
If you were to answer this question just based on the goings-on in a typical college prep high school you would probably conclude that colleges were only interested in three types of students:
- AP Wizards. After all, why go to all that trouble trying to pass so many of those insanely difficult exams?
- Athletic Powerhouses: Nothing else could explain the intensity of today's most competitive high school sports teams.
- Academic Elites. Why else would parents spend thousands to get their kids those fabled "perfect SAT scores?"
So if your homeschool doesn’t have a laser focus on these “three As”, how can you possibly hope to compete?
Oh, and if you aren’t relentless in your pursuit of extra-curriculars, and working diligently on padding your child’s resume with volunteer and community activities, sometimes at the expense of family harmony and parental sanity, how can you even dream of getting a place at the table? The answer is simple, really…
It’s because this ISN’T what the colleges are looking for.
- So What Are Colleges REALLY Looking For?
In my business, I have spent a lot of time researching and speaking to colleges. My conclusion is that colleges have three and ONLY three questions about every prospective admit.
- Are they REAL?
- Are they READY?
- Are the RIGHT?
1. Are They REAL? Whether it is in the realm of academics, athletics or activities, colleges are most concerned about whether an applicant is authentic.
Is that burning passion they see because their soul is on fire, or because dad lit their pants on fire?
If there’s one thing a college admissions official can root out faster than a ghost-written admission essay, it’s a phony high school senior.
2. Are The READY? In simple terms, that means making sure your kids cover the basics well; reading, writing, math. It also means getting your kids around people of all different ages and socio-economic statuses.
With all the grief homeschool parents receive about “socialization” it is a bit ironic that the key to college academic and emotional readiness turns out to be the type of socialization that homeschoolers are best capable to deliver. The type of socialization that comes from being “out and about” in the real world, rather than stuck in a classroom.
3. Are They RIGHT? Not every university will fit every student. More importantly, not every student will fit every university. Colleges want to know whether your student’s ideals, values and perspective are a good match for them. Heck, just the fact that your student has ideals, values and perspective will be appealing simply because it brings a bit of diversity compared to what colleges normally deal with!
- Why is This So Important?
Colleges are BIG business. Like any business, they seek to enhance their reputation and extend their influence. One of the primary paths to do this is through admission of highly qualified students. Students who promise to distinguish themselves in the world of politics, business, science, sports or the arts. Highly qualified students have much less to worry about on how to pay for college.
There are two primary reasons it is important for colleges to have industry and political leaders shine their light back and give them credit for launching their careers. The first is obvious. It can never hurt to have a community of wealthy benefactors to provide ongoing endowments and scholarships. The other is a bit more subtle but has to do with the perpetuation of their brand and image.
Here is an illustration. Everyone knows that Barak Obama graduated from Harvard Law, but who do you think has benefitted most from that fact – President Obama or Harvard Law?
Do you see the symbiotic relationship between colleges and their prospective students? Just like you have a vested interest in gaining admission and scholarships, they have a vested interest in finding the best.
- Don’t Fall Into This Trap
Just understanding what the college’s value isn’t enough. What action needs to be taken? Homeschool parents (and especially homeschool dads) may grow frantic about making their kids Real, Ready and Right for college. In their fervor, they might attempt to out “prep” the prep schools.
Don’t do this. It is a trap.
The worst thing you can do is try to play their game. That just leads to frenzy, frustration and failure.
Instead, a better approach is to perform a bit of educational judo and turning the “weaknesses” of homeschooling (as perceived by the world) into strengths.
- An Unlevel Playing Field
One of the greatest advantages that homeschoolers have over kids from most public and private high schools is the opportunity to enjoy life-defining experiences during the normal course of the “school year.” We purposefully homeschooled only 4 days a week so our boys had time to get “out there” and discover their passion in the adult world.
That passion will bear fruit when preparedness meets opportunity. Done properly, homeschooling is the best life preparation available. But opportunity…
That’s the problem.
The ugly truth is opportunity can be pretty hard for a public school kid to discover when they’re strapped to a school desk for 6 hours a day, spend two hours a day on the bus, five more doing homework and then eight sleeping. That’s 21 hours of prescheduled time 5 days a week. When you are trying to squeeze the rest of life into the remaining 3 hours, some things are bound to be missed.
Little things like purpose, passion and opportunity.
- The Critical “Difference”
The way your kids will compete -- and compete successfully -- is by simply being different. That’s right…it is OK to be different from the cookie cutter kids being produced by the typical public high school or even the typical college prep school.
In fact, it is CRITICAL to be different. And who, more than homeschoolers, are better equipped to produce “different” children?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, homeschool kids ARE different, primarily because they are differently nurtured, differently educated and differently socialized. This is a GOOD THING!
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to replicate public and private high schools. Don’t worry about passing 6 AP exams, or excelling in a different select sport every season, or getting a top dollar scholarship coach. Instead (and this is critical)…
Focus on helping your student become the person God created them to be.
That’s right. It’s that simple. Raising your children to be true to how they were made is the quickest and easiest path to college admission and scholarships.
You don’t have to change your homeschool to mimic the public and private schools – you can do what works. You don’t have to choose curriculum you SHOULD use – you can use what works.
Now take a deep breath in….and out….and relax.
The delightful truth is what colleges really want is what you are already best qualified to deliver – confident, mature teens who know themselves and have had a LOT of time to pursue their passions!
- OK, Now Prove it
This then becomes the key challenge of homeschooling high school with an eye toward college. How can you as parents document your homeschool so that colleges can quickly and accurately identify your student as the real deal?
How do you demonstrate the authenticity and passion of your student rather than the teenage equivalent of vanilla pudding?
Is the answer spending your limited resources on accreditation agencies, getting the blessing of a certified teacher, or taking multiple AP exams?
No! The best strategy is often the simplest. The one that is easy. The one that feels right -- in a nutshell, the one that doesn’t drive you or your children crazy.
Your homeschool high school should be done in a way that maximizes free time so the student can pursue their passion (while covering the basics). It should allow your student plenty of practice in the adult world to socialize with EVERYONE.
In simple terms this means:
- Students: Your responsibility is to prepare yourself academically and develop your career interests.
- Parents:In addition to helping your student prepare for college, your greatest responsibility is to follow along behind them and sweep up all those great experiences into believable and professional looking high school records.
One of the most effective tools for this is the Comprehensive Record.
- What is a Comprehensive Record?
A comprehensive record is your high school records organized in a neat, easily digestible format that colleges will understand and appreciate. It can include your:
- Course descriptions
- Reading list
- Awards and activity list, and
- Samples of work
When viewed as a whole, these elements might seem pretty overwhelming. Each of them separately, however is not that difficult to create. For example, any of you who have purchased my Total Transcript Solution know that making a transcript can be pretty easy and (dare I say) even a little fun! The other elements of the comprehensive record are also relatively easy to break into component pieces and complete.
An effective comprehensive record will present your student as multi-dimensional, authentic, experienced, confident and ready for prime time! In addition to reflecting core education (the oft-overlooked 3 Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic); the comprehensive record will explicitly address the three Rs of any college-bound high schooler – Are they Real? Are they Ready? Are they Right?
The finished product will be an authoritative record of your student’s education. So authoritative and compelling, in fact, that colleges may tell you they have never seen anything like it before!
This can be good or bad, depending on how you as the parent prepare and present the information. First let’s discuss why a comprehensive record may be resisted by the colleges, and then we will discuss how you can overcome those issues and get your student the most favorable consideration for admission and scholarships.
- It’s True: Some Colleges WON’T Want to See a Comprehensive Record
Sadly, some colleges may resist a comprehensive record. They might deny it publicly, but there are some admissions officials who’ve grown quite comfortable with the cookie cutter kids they see coming through their doors.
If all they have to deal with are a few numbers (e.g., GPA and SAT/ACT scores) and a few variables (e.g., the essay and the application) it makes the winnowing process easier. It protects their “intellectual capital,” that is, how hard they have to think.
The college application is a great example of how colleges will use a standard form to quickly identify differentiators between students. Some colleges even go a step further and have a “common application” which removes more variability by sharing the same information between many colleges.
This is great for students trying to balance their senior year academics with multiple college applications, but it doesn’t make your job of distinguishing your student from the thousands of others any easier.
Most parents and students will dutifully play this game with the colleges. They only submit what is asked and they never question the rules…
We didn’t do it that way.
- Don’t Play Fair
An illustration will be helpful at this point. My husband works in recruiting and developing engineering talent at a large northwest aerospace concern (who will remain nameless, but happens to rhyme with “Rowing.”)
On a typical job opening there may be hundreds of applicants. As a hiring manager, all you see from these applicants is a 10,000 character resume that has all the formatting stripped away.
Smart applicants use every one of those characters. Smarter applicants have learned to exchange some of those precious 10,000 characters into a brief cover letter that will discuss their unique qualifications and why they fit the specific job.
These people have found a way to use the system to give them an advantage. My husband reports that people who follow this strategy are more likely to be selected for interview.
In our family, we followed a similar strategy. We knew our bank account wouldn’t support the expense of a university education for both of our students at the same time. We knew our boys could get the necessary loans but we had moral and spiritual reasons to not want our kids saddled with debt when they got out of school.
We knew if we played by the rules, the chances of our children being “lost in the crowd” would be high.
So we decided NOT to play by the rules. We didn’t “cheat” per se, because there really aren’t any documented rules. We just adopted a “liberal interpretation of the application process.”
- We Decided to Give More
I mean, no one said “we forbid you from giving us more information than what is in the application package.” They didn’t say anything at all.
My guess is they never HAD to say anything about it before. Parents and students simply don’t challenge the conventional wisdom about the way the game should be played.
We decided that sending in a comprehensive record was worth the risk of being rejected. We didn’t want to force something on the colleges that they were dead set against. So, during our discussions with them, prior to applying, we would produce a course description from one of our kid’s classes and casually ask, “So, would you be interested in getting this type of record from my students as part of their application package?”
The reactions from the colleges were very positive, but one admissions official said something that was at the same time both fascinating and revealing.
After reading the course description very carefully, she smiled broadly and said “Not only do we want this, but I wish every student we reviewed was required to give this documentation.”
This same official confessed, “We see kids every day who have As and Bs on their high school transcript but when they get here, we discover they can’t read or write, at least not at a high school level. You can’t believe how many of our new students need remedial classes before they are ready for college level work. Your comprehensive record gives us confidence that your students are well educated.”
That was enough to convince us that time spent designing and creating our comprehensive record was worth the effort.
- The Results Were AMAZING!
The results of including a comprehensive record in the admission package reinforced this decision. Three of the four colleges quickly admitted us and the college scholarship offers started to pour in.
Interestingly, there was one “fussy” college – one that is considered a “public ivy” – who initially said they didn’t want the records. We were polite and sent them just what they asked for — a transcript and application. But we also snuck in the comprehensive record, “just in case.”
The colleges who read our comprehensive record seemed to try to one-up each other with the most attractive financial packages. Our problem college, however, actually rejected our boys because they said we hadn’t fulfilled their “special” requirements for homeschoolers.
At that point, we knew the offers from the other schools were more than good enough. There was a strong temptation to just blow off this fourth college but, frankly, I was a little miffed at them for being so “unfriendly” to homeschoolers.
I responded politely but firmly that we would not jump through their hoops and no additional subject tests would be coming. I told them to evaluate our students on the basis of their records. I told them to read their copy of the comprehensive record.
We didn’t hear from them for a couple of weeks and then we got the “fat letter” from their school saying our boys were admitted. Shortly thereafter they started sending us big, juicy scholarships as well!
What made the difference? Our boys hadn’t changed and certainly their education hadn’t changed. The ONLY thing that shifted was this university’s perception of our students. It was the comprehensive record that forced this shift.
Ultimately, our comprehensive records helped us land scholarships totaling over $440,000 from the four schools where my boys applied, including $184,000 worth of full-tuition scholarships both my boys earned from their first choice university!!!
- Do You Really Need a Comprehensive Record?
It is true; you may not NEED a comprehensive record. In fact, I can think of four valid reasons why a comprehensive record might not be required for you.
1. Your child isn’t going to college.
2. You have your heart set on only one college and they have told you in no uncertain terms NOT to send it to them.
3. You’ve got a spare $200,000 lying around the house.
4. Your student has perfect grades, perfect SAT scores, and enough national recognition on his transcript to choke a PhD.
If this doesn’t describe you, then you would be well served to follow the Boy Scout Motto…
- Always Be Prepared!
As a parent homeschooling high school, you wear lots of hats, including teacher, principal and school nurse. Mom may take the lead on teaching and nursing. Dad may step up to being the principal. But what about the other responsibilities:
- Who is going to be the guidance counselor?
- Who is going to "project manage" the college application process?
- Who will document your homeschool records?
- Who will make sure those records will completely and accurately represent your student and present them in the best possible light?
The answer is, of course, you — GULP!!
But here’s some good news…
- I Can Help!
I will be honest with you. Putting together our comprehensive record was hard… REALLY Hard. It started with the fact that even though I am an organized person, I really didn’t know the type of information I would need to build my student’s records.
To top that off, when my youngest son was 15 years old, I “discovered” I needed to graduate him from high school the following year. Perhaps you can begin to sense the panic I was starting to feel about putting our records together.
Putting our comprehensive record together was sort of like our homeschool “Hail Mary” play at getting scholarships that would enable my kids to attend college without incurring massive debt. Can you feel my panic growing??
My biggest concern was that there was absolutely NO TEMPLATE out there that could tell me what a comprehensive record ought to look like.
We were breaking new ground. This fact was reinforced by the colleges who received our records who told me they had “never seen anything like it before.” The quote from Bryan Jones from Seattle Pacific University is one of our favorites and we have it all over our website:
Our comprehensive records were, in fact, the original impetus for starting The HomeScholar. When we graduated our boys, the moms attending our homeschool graduation party went crazy over the records. They told me I HAD to make this available for other homeschool moms.
My oldest son’s records became our first and best selling product — The Sample Comprehensive Record. While parents have been thrilled to have a template from which they could model their own comprehensive records, it has been a dream of mine to create an information product that would give complete instruction on HOW to create these records.
Well, it has been a year since I introduced my Total Transcript Solution and the feedback we have received from this product has been so enthusiastic, we decided to create a new SOLUTION for you.
- The HomeScholar Comprehensive Record Solution
- From My Family’s Dream to Yours…
Winning those two full-tuition scholarships was like a dream come true for my family. It culminated long years of preparation, planning and learning. After talking to many colleges and universities, I am more convinced than ever that our comprehensive record played a key role in opening those doors that our children walked through.
So while I would love to promise you the same or even better results than we had, I know there are simply too many variables.
Here’s what I can promise though. Complete the four modules included in the Comprehensive Record Solution and you will be fully equipped to complete a comprehensive record for your student that will perfectly reflect who they are to the colleges.
100% No Questions Asked
Money Back GuaranteeOrder totally risk-free. If you are unhappy with The HomeScholar Comprehensive Record Solution in any way, please let us know within 60 days and you will receive a prompt,courteous refund.No harm done. No hard feelings. And we still
- Real Help — Within Reach!
- Your Bonus Solutions
- What is the Silver Training Club?
The HomeScholar Silver Care Club is my special membership site that is packed FULL of great stuff that will help you immensely as you go through your homeschooling high school journey!
Here’s a sneak peek at the benefits waiting for you as a Club Member:
- How-To Training Courses: Videos and audios of selected public presentations by The HomeScholar, on subjects like "Preparing Homeschoolers for College," "Creating a Transcript," "Grades and Credits," and "Record Keeping" ($100 value!)
- Audio Instruction: Audio discussions to answer your "Biggest Questions" which have been supplied by our readers. ($40 value)
- In Depth Answers: Comprehensive answers to some of the most challenging high school questions posted for everyone to see and benefit from! ($75 value!)
- Templates and Tools: Expanded templates (including transcript templates) and tools to ease your high school journey ($80 value)
- College Prep Checklists: Customized checklists for every year from middle school through high school ($75 value)
- HomeScholar Articles and Other Training Resources: A collection of ALL of my articles, with handy summaries and links, as well as other web training resources ($50 value)
- Convention Prices: The lowest prices available for all products from The HomeScholar
Plus, I will be adding cool resources regularly for club members, so I am sure it will quickly become your favorite homeschool resource!
Now you can try this site for FREE for 30 days. If you love it (like I KNOW you will), you don’t have to do anything and you will continue to enjoy the continually refreshed content for as long as you like for just $27 per month.
If you don’t want to continue, you can cancel at anytime by just sending me an email. Regardless, you will have 30 days of open access to the site to gain as much knowledge as possible to help in your journey!
And please don’t hesitate from joining just because of the recurring fee. If you tell me you do not want to be billed next month, I will make sure you are not. Period. If you forget (it happens), just tell me right away and I will happily refund you that month’s payment. Seriously, you have absolutely NO RISK. I can’t be any fairer than that!
- The Homeschool Olympics
I loved watching the Olympic games, but it seems like every four years the networks find at least one “tragic” story to share with the audience. Perhaps it’s the Olympic skier who trains for 10 years only to fall 5 seconds out of the gate or the marathon runner who gets incorrect information from the trainer and misses his qualifying heat. I guess it is the mixture of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” that makes this such compelling television.
Homeschooling high school has a lot in common with preparing for the Olympics. There is rigorous training, coaching, preparation, and loads of practice. Then, after four years of hard work comes your student’s opportunity to shine. What will the colleges say when you present your student to them?
Will they give them the Gold Medal, or will they be disqualified?
Just like the Olympics, the stakes are high. You play a critical role in preparing your “athlete”. A beautiful comprehensive record is one great way for your family to “go for the gold.”
- Our Investment, Your Reward
For me, one of the best feelings in the world was knowing my husband and I did the very best job possible preparing our children for adult life: academically, socially and spiritually.
It is even sweeter was knowing that we did everything in our power to help them attend the college of their dreams and then begin their adult life without the burden of crushing college debt.
We invested A LOT in our children’s homeschool career. We struggled with insecurity and not knowing how we would pay for college. We trusted God…and worked like crazy! But of all the work, worry and struggle, our success boiled down to this one indisputable fact: creating excellent comprehensive records for our boys had by far the BEST RETURN of any single investment we made as homeschool parents.
Now I want to help you gain that same reward and also save you a boatload of time, money and frustration. You owe it to yourself and your family to embrace this challenge and develop stunning homeschool comprehensive record that will AMAZE the colleges. You will be shocked at how easy it can be to produce and overwhelmed by the sweet feelings of pride and confidence you will gain by doing it.
- Step into My Time Machine
Before we go, I would like you to imagine the following scene just a few years into the future:
The college admission officer stares at the tsunami of application packages piled high on his desk. Diving in, he quickly and deftly dispatches package after package with fatal finality. “Boring,” “cookie-cutter,” “unprepared,” are his unspoken judgments as the reject stack grows dangerously high. Now he’s in the zone….
One package, however, stops him short. Leaning back in his chair he notes that this student has had a remarkable education, filled with challenging courses. They have had tremendous experiences not just in the world of students but also in the world of adults. They come across as well-rounded, mature, with a strong sense of self. “I Am A Leader!” seems to scream from every page.
The official instantly makes the admission decision. Noting that this is a homeschool student, he places that application apart from the unwashed bulk of rejects to be given special attention for the biggest scholarships his university has to offer.
The message is clear: You want that to be your student!
Investing in my Comprehensive Record Solution can help you make that happen!
I know you can do this.
I know I can help you get it done!
P.S. You have the power to give your homeschoolers an incredible advantage in the college admission and scholarships game. What are you waiting for? Order now!
If you already have a username and password, Order here (Log in, click Membership Type Drop Down, make selection, click “Order” and continue to Payment Page.
P.P.S. Remember, I am offering you this opportunity totally risk free. Do NOT miss this opportunity to give your kids the edge they need to achieve their dreams!!
Reviews and Feedback
It really made for a more professional look. You are providing a service much needed by many. Her scholarship will be paying for four years of tuition, out-of-state fees, room/board, book stipend as well as $5000 toward a month summer abroad...
It really made for a more professional look. You are providing a service much needed by many. Her scholarship will be paying for four years of tuition, out-of-state fees, room/board, book stipend as well as $5000 toward a month summer abroad program. Thank you again for all that I learned through your services.
I wanted to present Nate’s accomplishments in the best possible light, and I believe the course descriptions and small portfolio of work does a wonderful job of capturing what he accomplished in home school. I would NEVER have gotten this far...
I wanted to present Nate’s accomplishments in the best possible light, and I believe the course descriptions and small portfolio of work does a wonderful job of capturing what he accomplished in home school. I would NEVER have gotten this far without you… I probably would have given up or done something simple and not adequately reflective of Nate’s high school. So the application materials are in the mail on their way to University!
In applying for the summer institutes I used your model to the best of my ability. I watched the DVDs enough to have them pretty much set to memory. I plan on putting together a complete comprehensive record ASAP. I want to have available my son’s...
In applying for the summer institutes I used your model to the best of my ability. I watched the DVDs enough to have them pretty much set to memory. I plan on putting together a complete comprehensive record ASAP. I want to have available my son’s accomplishments in a neat and presentable package. Without you, our homeschool would not be as organized record keeping and academically, and my younger kids’ “specializations” may not be looked upon as blessings.
Real live samples, like the sample Course Description and Grades and Credits Resource sheet, really clarify things and give homeschoolers a starting point in creating their own, which is very helpful! The “Record Keeping” section was very good...
Real live samples, like the sample Course Description and Grades and Credits Resource sheet, really clarify things and give homeschoolers a starting point in creating their own, which is very helpful! The “Record Keeping” section was very good too. This topic and the way you present it would be extremely useful for parents new to homeschooling high school. I was impressed by your knowledge and insights. Basically, everything was excellent, and the bonuses added that extra special touch! God bless you!
Your homeschool transcripts and records were the best organized and documented I have seen.
Your homeschool transcripts and records were the best organized and documented I have seen.
Just wanted to shoot you a note to say THANK YOU. My daughter applied online to the university of her first choice. She had to send n a hard copy of her transcript. We sent that in, but in addition and thanks to your guidance, we also sent in a...
Just wanted to shoot you a note to say THANK YOU. My daughter applied online to the university of her first choice. She had to send n a hard copy of her transcript. We sent that in, but in addition and thanks to your guidance, we also sent in a cover letter followed by her comprehensive record. Your assistance via the phone was invaluable and was a great confidence booster as we embarked on this journey.
- Module 1: Encourage
- “Getting Acquainted” (Video and Audio Download)
- “Why Bother Make a Comprehensive Record?” (Video and Audio Download)
- The HomeScholar Sample Comprehensive Record E-book (PDF)
- Samples of Success E-book (PDF)
- Module 2: Equip
- Comprehensive Record Template (Word Document)
- Course Description Collection (Word Document)
- Library of Standard Courses (Word Document)
- Module 3: Educate
- The Easy Truth About Course Descriptions E-book(PDF)
- “Elements of a Comprehensive Record” (Video and Audio Download)
- “Dealing with Special Situations”(Video and Audio Download)
- “Submitting your Comprehensive Record to the Colleges“(Video and Audio Download)
- “Turning Transcripts into Course Descriptions” (Video and Audio Download)
- “How to Avoid Writing Course Descriptions” (Video and Audio Download)
- “Putting it All Together”(Video and Audio Download)
- Module 4: Empower:
- Four in-depth document reviews of the individual course descriptions you are developing. I will review your work and give you valuable feedback that will build your confidence and empower you to complete this most important job.
- Because I am ordering today, please also include …
- Bonus 1: “Making a Transcript” Audio Course
- Bonus 2: “The One-Hour Transcript Workshop” video training
- Bonus 3: The HomeScholar High School Resource Pack
- Bonus 4: “Record Keeping” video training
- Bonus 5: The HomeScholar Answers Your Questions About Grades, Credits and Records (audio and video training)
- Bonus 6: Free 30 day trial subscription to The HomeScholar Silver Training Club
Training and bonuses worth over $1,230, yours for the special introductory price of $147 $97
I understand this is a risk free offer and I am free to cancel my membership at any time by just sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I guarantee you will be satisfied...or your money back!
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