Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Colleges That Change Lives

Colleges That Change Lives, Inc., (CTCL) is a great resource for college-bound homeschoolers. Rather than focusing on a college's name or prestige, CTCL believes that college choice should be guided by finding a match between a student's needs and a college's mission and identity. If you're considering college, then I urge you to attend one of the upcoming CTCL events. You'll hear a 30 minute panel presentation about how to find a college that's right for you, and then have a 1.5 hour college fair where you can meet admissions reps from all the CTCL schools.
Sunday, May 19, 1 pm Bethesda, MD
Monday, May 20, 7:30 pm Long Branch, NJ
Tuesday, May 21, 7:00 pm  NYC

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sir Ken Robinson

Just a quick post to share Sir Ken Robinson's  talk from the recent TED/PBS special. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Documenting Your Learning Part II

The Alphabet Soup of Standardized Tests

This post is about the standardized tests most often taken by college-bound teens: SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, CLEP, AP, PSAT. I write merely to inform, not to endorse. And please remember that these tests do NOT measure creativity, innovation, work ethic, or love of learning.

We can distinguish between admission tests, placement tests, and scholarship tests.

Admission tests--SAT and ACT-- are those required as part of a college application. Students are advised to take admission tests in the spring semester of their junior year. Most 4-year colleges require either the SAT or the ACT with Writing from ALL of their applicants. The tests are structured and scored differently, so you might want to research each exam before deciding which one is best suited to you. Although most colleges consider standardized test scores as one small piece of a college application, those scores have a greater significance when they are the only objective measure of learning that colleges see. There are increasing numbers of colleges that are making these tests optional for their traditionally schooled applicants, but many of those colleges still want to see test scores from homeschooled students.  The National Center for Fair and Open Testing maintains a list of test optional schools, but check individual schools' websites for the most reliable information about current testing requirements for homeschooled applicants.

Placement tests--AP and CLEP--are not required for admission. Instead, they indicate mastery of subject content. High scores on AP exams can potentially be used to earn college credit or place above the introductory level of college courses. The decision about whether to grant credit, and how much credit to grant, is determined by each individual college. Four-year colleges generally do not grant credit for high CLEP scores, but some 2-year colleges might grant CLEP credit. For either exam, check with your intended college for specific policies on how test scores are used for placement or credit.

Admission/placement tests--SAT Subject Tests are sometimes required for admission to 4-yr colleges and/or sometimes used for placement (especially foreign language). The vast majority of colleges do not require SAT Subject Tests for admission, but many colleges suggest them for their homeschooled applicants. Some schools that require SAT Subject Tests are moving toward equating AP scores with SAT Subject Test scores so that students who sit for an AP do not need to sit for the SAT Subject Test as well. Again, since each school sets its own policy, check with the school!

Scholarship test--PSATPreliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Students who want to be considered for National Merit Scholarships take this exam in October of their junior year. If you're planning to take the test, contact a local high school early in September to register. Some homeschoolers take the PSAT as sophomores so that they can see what it feels like to take a standardized test in a brick and mortar school setting. ONLY junior year scores are considered for the National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT is not required for college admission and is only administered once each year.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Not Too Late to Apply to College for Fall 2013

I'll get back to my Documenting Your Learning series later this week, but today I wanted to share information with those who are still searching for a good fit college for Fall 2013. On May 2nd, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), published its annual list of colleges that still have openings for qualified freshman and transfer students. If you were unsatisfied with your college application results, are looking to transfer, or thought it was too late to apply for the fall, I hope this list is helpful to you.