How to Deal with College Applications Amidst COVID 19

Summary: How to deal with getting into college during this season of covid 19.  What are the colleges looking for?  Tips for dealing with that for both homeschoolers and public school teens.  You can still showcase your student to college admissions amid this health crisis.  This article may include affiliate links to homeschool high school curriculum or resources that we have used or love.  Please see my disclosure policy.  #gettingintocollege #collegeadmissions #covid19

Are you concerned about your teen getting into college, with the disruption of so many things due to covid-19?  

Are you a homeschooling parent whose teen's co-op classes were cancelled?

Or are you a public school parent who is wondering how to deal with all the changes in your teen's high school education right now?

First, let's talk about those graduating seniors who are affected by the loss of either their public school high school courses or homeschooled seniors who no longer have their activities right now?


Do you have a graduating senior this year?  The colleges will be looking for information on your high school senior's last quarter.  

Your high school senior's college will want you to report their last semester's or quarter's credits and grades.  

They will contact you for that during spring quarter sometime.  This is the usual practice, so that the colleges can see what was done during senior year spring quarter.  

The colleges probably will expect that there will likely be changes from what was listed on their high school transcripts, as everyone knows that covid 19 is a factor these days.

Below are tips for high school seniors to deal with that.

Homeschoolers - For homeschooled high school seniors, their spring quarter classes could just be adjusted as far as content of their studies, due to changes from covid 19.

For them, all that would be left in the college application process would be to report their last quarter' s learning to the college that they have picked.

For co-ops:  Instead of co-op science courses that have been cancelled, for example, they could study home based science courses, using some of the content from the co-op courses even, or work from another source.  Hopefully, something free.

For community college classes:  If your teen was taking a course at your local community college, that could also be shifted to a homeschool based course at home. 

Any of these changes could just be noted when the college reaches out to your teen in late spring.  They will ask you what your teen did for spring quarter, and that can be shared in an email.

Public School Families - Public school seniors would, of course , need to check with their districts for acceptable high school courses to finish out their last year.  

If the district asks you to find your own substitute courses, there are many online courses available including these frugal online courses for middle and high schoolers and others online.  

But if you are looking for accredited online courses, you might want to consider programs like the Connections Academy.  Or something similar.  Prep Scholar offers a list of 100 + free online public schools. 

Sometimes things happen and the courses that your teen wanted to do just won't work out.  The colleges will just want to know that your teen was productive during their spring quarter in some way.  

Of course, any entrance requirements that were planned for their spring quarter would need to be done.  Or if that is not possible, I would just reach out to the colleges, and ask for special arrangements. 

Other Options:

If your teen's electives or high school activities have been cancelled, as is true in most states in our country, what can they be doing with their time during this unusual spring quarter?

Volunteering can still be done in some helpful and needed ways.  They can check on neighbors, call elderly residents in nursing homes, help with food delivery, etc.  They can make masks.  And many electives can be easily done at home.  

Your teens could even work on creative writing or essay writing using resources from 7 Sisters Homeschool.  

These easy to use no-busy work courses, are ebook based, are well done in my opinion, and are frugally priced.  

Or they could spend time with their photography, video-making, or make use of one of the many free online offerings being seen during this time of covid-19? 

Do you have a teen who is interested in art?

Have you seen the video based courses from You Are An Artist?  

More information on that and how to make art into a high school elective is here.

Electives and activities whether for homeschooled or public schooled teens, can be key to their getting into college.

SAT or ACT Testing

As you know, many colleges have dropped their SAT/ACT testing requirements amidst this special time with covid-19.

However, for homeschooled applicants, the colleges will still be wanting to see test results for merit scholarships.  That makes it hard, when there are so few testing site available.

Hopefully this will begin to be remedied soon.


Electives and high school activites can be a real help for any teen for getting into college.

My daughter, who graduated from our homeschool, got into an honors college leadership program largely because of her high school activities. 

Of course many real live high school activities are not going on in many states right now.  But there are some activities that can be done online and the real life ones will likely be starting up after covid-19 winds down for younger teens.

Here is a list of 100 High School Activities and Electives for you and your teen to browse, if you like.

Whatever your child is interested in, high school electives and activities can be an important part to them getting into college.  

But how do you show them to the colleges in the best way?

Our teens want to explore the world around them, follow their interests, and delve into new subjects. 

There's nothing better than watching your teen delve into a subject of interest, seeing that wonderful spark as it is ignited....  

Colleges want to hear about their applicant's interests and special skills.  But what is the best way to share them?

Where to Share Electives

Sharing electives helps the college admissions dept. get to know your student and her accomplishments.  This can happen right on the application, through the homeschool transcript, or as part of the college essay. 

On the Application -  There is a section for listing activities, volunteering, etc, right on the common application.  It is easy to do, just filling in the blank...

On the Homeschool Transcript - Special interests can be made into electives courses, and listed on your teen's transcript.

In the College Essay -  There are essay questions to answer here, for sure, but the colleges also want to hear about your teen's unique interests and skills, as well.  Depending on the essay question that your student chooses, the college essay can be a place to share special interests as well.

Today I'd like to share what we did for  high school activities and electives, and how that helped my teen get into college.  As I share, I will point out more college tips for you, too.

It is not hard to showcase your student's high school electives and activities, the ones they are interested in, to the colleges.  

I encouraged my daughter to explore her interests and to try out different activities that she might be interested in.  Isn't that what homeschooling is about anyway?  

Showing Leadership 

Leadership skills is something that many colleges look for, as well as your teen's interests and electives.

There are so many places to learn leadership skills in our communities.  Parks Departments have youth teen boards, and counselor-in-training programs.  

Then there is the YMCA, YWCA, Scouts, church and co-op activities, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Awana, and homeschool speech programs.  And working in the church nursery, etc.  Leadership skills are something that many colleges look for special interests as well.  

In middle school my daughter was particularly interested in science, so when an opportunity to assist in a science class came up, we went for it!  

My daughter developed her confidence through this experience.  The  teacher helped her to assist with the science labs, and to lead one class by herself each semester.  She liked doing this, but decided that she didn't want to become a teacher after all!  She wanted to explore being a leader in another way..., and maybe not in science...

I could share this elective on the college application, to show leadership!  There are so many ways to show leadership, such as volunteering at church, at a day camp, co-leading a co-op class for preschoolers.  You name it!

This Teacher's Assistance experience that my daughter did also resulted in a  college recommendation letter from that teacher.  (More of that below.)

Showing Perseverance 

Growing a special interest through hobbies or being in a sport, a dance class like ballet, jazz, or cheer, or any high school activity for more than a few years are easy ways to show perseverance.  

The colleges want to see that quality in their prospective students in some way.

My teen started irish dance in 3rd grade and continued with it through high school.  This was an interest of hers, and her friend was in the class.  She took irish stepdancing until 17, then took a modern dance class.  

We included the irish dance activity in the college application, as she had done this for over nine years. And she showed a progressively developed skill.  

Early activities are not usually shared on the application, but it is continued through high school, then it is a help to share it.

This showed perseverance and a skill in an area of interest that was developed, which is one of the things that colleges are looking for. 
Modern dance was also a help in our homeschool, as it was a great way to get in PE.  These activities can be counted for PE credit.

Irish also helped in another way...One of our prospective colleges asked for an essay on multicultural issues.  This is not usual, just for this one U.  

My teen decided to share her experiences in irish dance, and how she had learned about the irish culture, and developed an appreciation for cultural differences.


College applications usually require a letter from a teacher and the school counselor.  That is not hard to do if you are a public high school student.

For homeschoolers, we can often use letters that come other sources, such as coaches, co-op teachers, or other leaders in our student's activities. These can really help your teen get into college. 

For public school teens, extra reference letters are usually not asked for, but having high school activities/electives are still important and be sure and share them with the colleges as described above.

One of my teen's favorite electives was in video making.

My teen wanted to learn how to make her own videos, so we just made our own homemade course for that.  

We just kept track of the hours that she spent researching and making videos. 

Videomaking was the most fun activity that we did together, during her senior year.  It developed her skills in photography and video making, added to her college application, and  helped her to develop organizational skills as well. 

Video Making gave my daughter a source for a college reference letter, as she had an adult mentor help her.  He wrote her a college reference letter.  

It is advisable to get multiple college reference letters for your homeschooled teen, beyond the recommendation letter that the Common Application requires.  

As homeschoolers, we also need to complete the Counselor Recommendation Letter for the Common Application, as the homeschool parent.  All of that information, as to how to deal with the Common Application as a homeschooler, is included in a chapter in my book and ebook, below. 

What are your teens interested in?  

What are their favorite high school electives?  Link up and share your story!  And I love hearing from you, too, so feel free to leave a comment or even two. 

Do you have more questions on showing your teen's accomplishments to the colleges?  Feel free to share with me in an IM.

Lots more tips for getting into college are in my book - called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd edition. 

Many of the tips relate to public school high schoolers as well.  

Do you want a step by step guide to high school and college, plus my exclusive guide to the Common Application for homeschoolers? 

I have gathered together my best tips for high school and college and put it into my new book, Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition.  

Amazon Kindle is on SALE for only $3.99 all week!

It can help you to plan your high school homeschool for your college bound teen.  Plus I show how to help any high school student get into the college of their choice.  I am not a certified college counselor and I share from my own experience as a mom of a college grad and from my own research.

Amazon for only $11.99
Paperback is on Amazon for only $11.99.

Amazon Kindle is on SALE for only $3.99 all week!

This book is an easy-to-read guide to college for homeschoolers, recently updated with 7 NEW chapters, including:

- My own homeschoolers guide to the Common Application
- How to write the Counselor Recommendation Letter
- Where to find college scholarships
- SAT/ACT Prep
- How to make your own homemade courses
 Included are also 12 homeschool high school planning printables to make your record-keeping easier.

10 easy to do steps to homeschool high school with college in mind. And it really is NOT that hard!!  

This book does not tell you how to homeschool high school.  Instead it gives you guidance for doing it your way!  

Keep your nurturing homeschool style and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges!

Recommended by: 
Lessa Scherrer, Certified College Counselor
                               from College Inside Track

"Betsy has a wealth of understanding and knowledge to share with the parents of college bound homeschoolers.  She provides support, encouragement and step-by-step advice on all aspects of the homeschool high school and college application process. This book is a must-read for parents considering homeschooling high school and for parents in the thick of the application process."

Hannah, homeschool mom and speaker says: 

"This fantastic resource is hot off the presses. Everyone homeschooling high schoolers should check it out and It is full of useful information about: choosing curriculum, making transcripts, creating courses, writing college essays, testing, and so much more.  Having a guide like this by your side is very helpful as high school looms ahead as well as during high school. So much useful information has been compiled with great detail and simplicity in this book. It breaks down the steps and forward movement needed to succeed in high school and get into college successfully."

And help for record keeping!  With my exclusive high school and college planning printables.

The high school and college planning forms include:

College Entrance Requirements Form
Overall High School Plan
Curriculum Planning Sheet
High School Credit Record Form
Transcript Form
Activities and Awards Form
Homemade Course Form
Writing the College Essay Form
Course Descriptions Record Keeping Form
Reference Letter Request Form
PE Record Form

For more information, click here - Frugal College Prep for Homeschoolers or to buy it here - my book on Amazon for only $11.99.  

Amazon Kindle is on SALE for only $3.99 all week!

And don't worry about forgetting things!

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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