I have a freshman this year. This is the first year I've really started thinking about preparing a homeschool transcript. While the concept is frightening, it's also a blessing to know that I have a couple more years before he is launched into the world as an adult. We've talked about potential career interests, but not any specific colleges. I decided that I needed to do some research to make sure I'm on the right track for my son to be ready for whatever path he might take.
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Start with a Vision
What's your goal for post-highschool studies? This is such an important place to start. College isn't the same as it used to be. The jobs that we got with our Bachelor's degree, now require a Masters at minimum. George Leef argues that we shouldn't seek college as a cure all for future financial freedom.
The good news is that if your student does want to attend college, so many colleges are happy to accept homeschoolers. Check out this list of possibilities.
If you have a college in mind, check out their admissions requirements. John Mark Reynolds, the Provost at Houston Baptist University outlines Ten Things You Must Avoid in Picking a College. With these concepts in mind, start looking around for professors you'd like your student to study under.
This can be an overwhelming process. Before you go touring the country visiting campuses, you can check them out on a virtual tour at eCampusTours. A virtual visit can only go so far. When you find some interesting prospects, go experience the campus in person. Universities usually have prospective student weekends for families to come visit, but you can also set up tours on days when class is in session. Sometimes it's good to see a typical day of class to see if you like the feel of the school.
Keep Good Records
Even if you don't think your student is college bound, make sure you keep records just in case. If you're just starting off your high school career, there is still plenty of time for minds to change. You've probably already practiced keeping all of your student's treasures for their whole life. Why stop now? Here's some things you'll want to make sure you have on hand for when you're filling out applications.
Homeschool transcripts don't have to be as scary as long as you are aware of what needs to be on them, and you have a simple tool to store all of your information until you are ready to print the official document that you'll send in with your applications. Fast Transcripts is a simple and inexpensive tool offered by HSLDA to help ensure your transcript is accurate. (Stay tuned, I'll be giving away a year's subscription to this great service at the end of my post!)
One of the things that scared me the most about preparing a homeschool transcript was knowing how to assign credits. The HSLDA does a wonderful job of explaining what credits are needed and how to assign them.
In addition to keeping a record of courses and grades, a portfolio will keep all of your important documents in one place so that you can tailor your applications to the college of choice. Here are some great resources for portfolio building:
- Homeschool High School Record Keeping
- How to Build a College Portfolio for Your Homeschooled Highschooler
- Keeping a Homeschool Portfolio for High School
- How to Create a Master Portfolio for Homeschool High School Student
Tests Seal the Deal
Here are some great resources to get ready for taking these tests.
- The Top 10 Ways to Prepare for the SAT
- The New SAT Test Prep - Khan Academy
- Sweetness-n-Light's Preparing for the SAT and ACT
- Mr. D's SAT Math Bootcamp
- Mr. D's ACT Math Bootcamp
Another great option for gaining momentum towards college are CLEP tests. For just $80 per test, your student can earn college credit for studies they've already completed. I took an English CLEP test before entering college and earned 6 hours of college credit. That made my college career shorter, and saved some money for my parents!
Putting it all Together with Fast Transcripts
Fast Transcripts gives homeschool parents the ability to create professional high school transcripts with error-free GPA calculation (includes weighted AP & Honors calculation).
It's such a simple interface. You simply add your course, assign a grade, and insert the credit hours. All of the GPA calculations show up instantly.
Once you have all of your information entered, you can choose to print a watermarked copy, or simply download a PDF form of your homeschool transcript. Click on the image below to see a sample.
They offer everyone a no credit card 30 day free trial!
The cost is only $16 ($12 for HSLDA members) if you continue with the service beyond the free trial.
Thanks to the generosity of Fast Transcripts, I'm giving away a 1 student 1 year subscription of this great homeschool transcript service to one of my lucky readers. Enter the giveaway below!