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Help with College Applications: Your Social Security Number is Private!

Should you put your social security number on a college application? That is a very common question that I hear from parents.

Filling out college applications can be stressful for students and parents alike. One thing you don't need to stress about though, is whether or not you need to include your child's social security number. You are not legally required to provide your social security number on college applications: your social security number is private. Schools are not required to ask for it. It will be required for a college loan, but it should not be required for a college application. That's why I recommend that you do NOT put a social security number on your transcript. 

I can teach you how to create transcripts and records that win scholarships. Click to download samples of what we used to do it ourselves. The HomeScholar Record Keeping Samples.

by Author

There is such thing as an Official Homeschool Transcript. Let me explain what an Official Transcript looks like ... you put the word 'Official' in the title on your homeschool transcript. I know it sounds almost flippant, but it's true. You can read more about official homeschool transcripts here

A professional transcript can be made by every homeschool family. A professional transcript includes these things:

  • Optional name of school - "Homeschool High School" is a great name
  • Full address of your school
  • Full address of student's  home - yes, this is a complete duplicate
  • Student's first and last name, middle name or initial
  • Student's gender and birth-date
  • Class title
  • Credit value of classes
  • Grade given for each class - no pass / fail - estimates OK (and tests aren't necessary, by the way)
  • Completion date of each class by semester
  • Expected graduation date - month and year - required by law

These things are optional on your official homeschool transcript:

  • Explanation of credit value (1 credit equals 150 hours, for example)
  • Explanation of grading scale (90-100% equals A or 4.0, for example)
  • I do NOT recommend weighting grades (see why here)
  • Abbreviated activity list
  • Test scores
  • Signature line of teacher/administrator/principal, including date (Optional but recommended)

You know what is NOT on a transcript? The student's social security number!

You are not legally required to provide your social security number on college applications: your social security number is private. Schools are not required to ask for it. It will be required for a college loan, but it should not be required for a college application. That's why I recommend that you do NOT put a social security number on your transcript. 

The Social Security Administration is in charge of the legal requirements to provide your Social Security Number. They say "Giving your SSN is voluntary, even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask why your SSN is needed, how your number will be used, what law requires you to give your number and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours."

Your Social Security Number is Private! Every time you send an email or upload a document or mail a piece of paper with a social security number on it, that person's identity is at risk of being stolen. My son had his social security number stolen and for YEARS he had multiple attempts to open accounts in his name - really a huge problem. You don't know every single person on the other end of where you are sending that information. You don't know where that one piece of paper will end up, or who has touched it. You don't know who takes their personal technology passwords seriously, and who uses the word "password" for their password. Do not share your Social Security Number for college admissions paperwork.

When a college asked for a social security number, I wrote "Not applicable" on the application form. None of the college asked me the question again.

Once admitted to a college you will be asked to fill out additional paperwork for financial aid. You can provide a social security number at that time, to that single college. That can prevent those precious numbers from scattering through multiple colleges and multiple states with varying degrees of security. If a college asks you for the number, you can refuse and then provide it later if necessary, once your child has been accepted and they plan to attend. 

I hope all of this helps to put your mind at ease about help with college applications. It can seem so scary, but I'm here to help!  

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Friday, 18 June 2021

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