Applying to College and How to Look Good on College Applications

Summary:  How to help your homeschooled teen look good on their college applications.  Part of homeschooling to college is learning how to share your teen's strengths with college admissions.  What are the colleges looking for?  How do you share your teen's homeschool high school electives on the college application?  Showcase your homeschooler to college admissions.

My daughter who graduated from our homeschool, is working on a group project this week, for her college leadership class.  

We were so glad that she got into this program on her college campus, after graduating from our homeschool last spring.  She got into her top choice college.

Did you know that her high school electives and activities helped her get her there?  

Whatever your child is interested in, high school electives are 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 where and how do you share them with the colleges?

College Tip #1 - 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?  

College Tip #2 - Show Leadership in Some Way

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.  

Assisting in a Science Class

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.)

College Tip #3 - Show Perseverance in Some Way

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.

Taking Irish Dance Classes

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 Tip #4 - College References

College applications usually require a letter from a teacher and the school counselor.  But that is what they look for from public school students.

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.

Video Production Homemade Course

My teen wanted to learn how to make her own videos, so we just made our own homemade course for that.  It was easy. 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 teen.  I have more tips for that in my book mentioned 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?  

I share more about applying to college in my book.  Have you seen my new book yet?  

Homeschooling High School with College in Mind - 2nd edition

Paperback is at Amazon $11.99 
("See Inside" feature on Amazon will be working soon)  


This week it is 15% OFF at Barnes and Noble 

Create your own unique and nurturing high school program for your teen and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges.  

This NEW 2nd edition now has 17 Chapters:

 Skipping Public School all the Way to College
101 Reasons to Homeschool High School
Researching College and Getting Started
Planning High School with College in Mind
 Choosing Your High School Curriculum
Three Ways to High School Credit
Making Your Teen's Transcripts
100 High School Electives
Making Homemade Courses
Writing a Winning College Essay 
Course Descriptions and Reference Letters
My Guide to the Common Application
Preparing Your Teen for College Writing
Dealing with College Testing SAT/ACT
Top Sources for College Scholarships
Dealing with “Those Questions” from Others
Don’t Forget the FUN!
12 DOWNLOADABLE High School Planning Printables 

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled from preK.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

Want to stay in touch?  

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

Copyright @ BJ's Homeschool 2019 

All Rights Reserved


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