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Independent Study at Seton - Deciding When it’s Right for You - Nicholas Marmalejo

Independent Study at Seton – Deciding When it’s Right for You


Seton offers the Independent Study program because many homeschooling families need the most robust transcript possible to record their non-Seton pursuits.

Flexibility is a primary reason many families decide to homeschool. A range of options are available.

Homeschoolers can tackle subjects in the order they prefer or study topics unavailable to them at conventional schools. Families can carve out more space in their busy schedule for non-academic-related pursuits, such as sports or fine arts, in which a student particularly excels.

Time is also available for daily devotions, such as prayer, daily mass, and works of charity.

Whatever one might say about homeschooling, it is flexible across the board, and Seton acknowledges this flexibility as one of homeschooling’s greatest strengths.

Questions inevitably arise, however, when students want to pursue subjects outside of Seton’s curriculum yet receive formal credit or acknowledgement on their transcript. The short answer is there are two ways a student can do this: send us a homeschooling transcript, or enroll in Seton’s Independent Study Program.

Philosophically, Seton and the Catholic Church recognize that parents are the primary teachers of their children. Because of that, if you send us a transcript from your personal homeschool that denotes a subject, grade, and credit for a specific class, we do accept its legitimacy.

A college or university, however, is another matter. Most will ask questions about a student’s learning program. In particular, they will be interested to know if the student truly merited a grade they received, and it will be up to the student to demonstrate or prove their academic readiness to the college.

The alternative is to enroll in Seton’s Independent Study program. This program is not a panacea or catch-all for everything under the sun—courses still must be approved by Seton.

Seton offers the program because many homeschooling families need the most robust transcript possible to record their non-Seton pursuits.

We also know that not all students learn in the same way, and that some programs blend with a student’s learning style better than others.

How Independent Study Works

To enroll in an independent study course, the parent proposes a course of study by signing up for the course under the Resources tab on their MySeton page. The parent fills out the form, noting the time that will be spent on the subject, course materials, and the teacher(s) involved. Currently, the fee to add each course is $30.00.

If the course of study is approved, Seton sends you Quarter Report forms. After a student completes a quarter’s worth of work, you return the filled-out Quarter Report form to Seton, along with evidence of the student’s work, usually a test.

Seton reviews the work and then records the grade if there is no discrepancy. It is this third party review that gives the record its strength.

On the Seton transcript, Independent Study grades are noted on a separate attachment called an Addendum. The Addendum notes that the courses on it are either elective, supplemental, or approved core substitutions, but not a part of the student’s official Seton grade point average.

While a diploma-seeking student can request an independent study in any academic subject, as a rule, no core substitutions are allowed for Seton’s Religion, English, or Social Studies courses. For other courses and subjects, approval with stipulations may apply.

So, when should you use a homeschooling transcript versus an independent study? Well, it depends.

For students in sports or the fine arts and planning to pursue them at a higher level in college, I recommend an independent study. For students in those activities that just want it noted on their transcript to receive formal credit or acknowledgement, I recommend taking the homeschool transcript route.

With respect to academic-related subjects for students planning on college or trade school, I recommend the independent study.

Without a doubt, for a process as highly nuanced as Seton’s Independent Study program, one article cannot answer every question. Please contact Seton’s Guidance Department if you have any specific questions about the program.

Like the Request for an Independent Study form, a template for a Homeschooling Transcript can also be found under the Resources tab on your MySeton page.

About Nick Marmalejo

Nick Marmalejo
Nick Marmalejo, a history major, graduated from Christendom College in 2001. He holds a Virginia Teacher Certification and lives in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and three children.

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