SummaryIt’s more than just grades! Seton graduate Anna Eileen shares her favorite tips and strategies on making a homeschooler’s college application stand out.
Homeschooling offers countless academic benefits.
Allowing parents, who know their kids best, to determine the needs and abilities of their children and plan their education around that is truly valuable when it comes to developing the academic skills necessary to get good grades and SAT scores. However, when it comes to applying to colleges, grades are just a part of the picture.
To be considered for top level scholarships, a student has to demonstrate leadership abilities and a passion for extracurricular activities. This can be a problem for those homeschoolers who are not aware of or do not utilize the resources around them for building their resume to send to colleges.
In this article, I will share some strategies I used to make my applications stand out to colleges and ultimately receive a full tuition scholarship.
For one of my volunteer opportunities, I did data entry for a local nonprofit. While it was valuable computer experience and I really liked the organization, it alone would not have been enough to make my application great.
I think homeschoolers especially need to do a social activity, like being the captain of a sports team or tutoring younger kids, because some colleges, particularly secular ones, may not fully understand the benefits of homeschooling.
However, combine a leadership role with an accredited homeschool program like Seton, and you should not have this issue.
Try to commit to an organization.
People like dedication. You don’t even have to spend a ton of time at an organization per week, but make sure you go to a charity that you care about and want to help.
This demonstrates that you have passions and the ability to follow through with your commitments. A school isn’t going to want to offer you a scholarship if they think that you are flaky and will leave soon after enrolling.
Grow Your Skills.
Do something that helps you grow your skills, even if it is outside of your comfort zone.
Volunteering and extracurricular activities are great opportunities to discover your passions and skills. For example, I taught piano throughout high school and talked a lot about that on my college application and interviews.
I connected that experience to my future plans by explaining that working with kids one-on-one made me drawn to nursing since I liked to build relationships with my clients and many nursing roles would facilitate that. I could have absolutely found a part time job doing something else and probably everything would have been okay.
But, my parents pushed me to be creative and find a source of income that would really allow me to both advance and share my piano and teaching skills.
Although I was very uncomfortable when I first started teaching, I grew to love it, and it provided a lot of material for my scholarship applications and interviews.
Do not attempt to be modest about or in any way hide your achievements.
You wouldn’t leave off a job you had off your resume, so why leave an accomplishment off your college application?
What I did on my applications was list my paid job, volunteer work, and organizations I was part of and a description of what each involved, why it was important to me, and what I learned from it.
That last part is really important. While participating in extracurricular activities is definitely valuable in itself, just writing “food bank volunteer” on your application is not truly going to make you stand out.
Instead, write a few sentences about the skills needed to perform that position well.
For example: “I volunteered at the food bank from 2013-2016. During that time, I served meals to low-income members of my community every Thursday night. My experience helped me develop interpersonal skills and increased my confidence in speaking to individuals of other backgrounds than my own.”
By writing something like that, not only are you sharing how that opportunity helped you grow as a person, you are demonstrating self-awareness and the desire to improve.
Interested in finding out more and working one-on-one with me?
I am passionate about helping homeschoolers reach their full potential. I can assist with college or scholarship application, interview preparation, creating goals and strategies for college acceptance, and SAT preparation.
Depending on your needs and preferences, I either do informational, Q&A style calls or coaching in any of the areas outlined above.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a Skype or phone appointment.