Most colleges require, request, or appreciate course descriptions. Most parents plan ahead by having homeschool course descriptions ready for college admission, however there is a great variety of ideas about how exactly to provide that information. I'll explain why course descriptions are important and show you how to put them together!
Some colleges say they "don't need" course descriptions, but most colleges require, request, or appreciate course descriptions. In my experience, your homeschool course descriptions can make the difference in scholarships. They would rather NOT give scholarships, of course, and they don't want to create any impediments to paying full price for college, so for that reason, sometimes a few colleges say "no thank you." But I still find it helpful financially. The more information you can provide about your homeschool, the more they understand the value of home education.
When it comes to homeschool course descriptions, the more information you can provide about each class the better, as long as you don't go over one page of information. That's why I often suggest that each description includes three main ingredients:
1. Write a paragraph about what you did.
2. Make a list of what you used.
3. Describe how you graded.
Know that it's normal to have one paragraph per class, and it's also normal to have one page per class. However, if it's more than one page per class, it's too much. And if it doesn't include a class title and the list of what you used, then it's too little. Some parents go into great detail on each of these, and others don't.
When you are considering how much information to give about grades, some parents will give an overview, like this: Grading criteria: 40% Tests, 40% Daily Work, 10% Midterm 10% Final Exam. Other parents will simply provide a conclusion with the grade that was ultimately earned, like this: Final Grade for Algebra: 94% = A
Still other parents might give a blend of overview information and final grade, like this:
And then there are other parents who provide a grading table with individual grades and scores provided for each test, quiz, or paper (like I did!). Scholarships were so important to my family, that I was willing to try anything to prove the worthiness of my students, so colleges would be so impressed with our homeschool they would provide big scholarships. The results? Each of my children earned a full-tuition scholarship to their first choice university - it sure worked for me!
When I wrote our homeschool course descriptions, I tried to provide every possible individual grade that I could within a grading table. I wasn't perfect though. There are some tests and quizzes and lab reports that I simply lost, and then I would either leave those blank or not mention that they were missing - as if I'd intentionally not used that test on purpose. Here is an example:
Provide course descriptions any way that you can - short or long, whatever works. I think any way that you do it is fine, and the more information you can provide the better.
I would love to help you with this task, and I have a way of explaining it that will perfectly fit your learning style. You know how homeschool parents think about the learning style of their children? Well I think about YOUR learning style! So if you would like more help with course descriptions, take my free class on Homeschool Records that Open Doors. If you are super stressed, or need a quick read, purchase my super-simple easy-reading book on Amazon that describes it more, Comprehensive Homeschool Records: Put Your Best Foot Forward to Win College Admission and Scholarships. When you are ready to create your homeschool course descriptions, you may want to purchase the Comprehensive Record Solution. It has everything you need, from multiple training classes to templates and descriptions that you can cut and paste into your own course descriptions.
I hope this helps you think through course descriptions and why they're important to your child's college admissions packet.
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