The things you have suggested are right on for what we are trying to do. We are finding that having a high school sport is pretty important as well as physical fitness. Grades and awesome test scores are also important. And finally, leadership is utmost. There has to be proof of the student's leadership, like team captain, community service, teaching others, etc. The umpiring that my boys did is really good.
Another thing we are finding is that with the economy as it is, the number of military ROTC and academy applicants is doubling and tripling....very competitive. But as you said, it is great to be homeschooled as long as you have the above characteristics. AND get the paperwork in EARLY!!! Oh, and you were right on with your advice on Foreign Language. They want to see Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, or Persian. We went for Arabic.
~ Sally in Washington
My first son is currently a Firstie at the Naval Academy. We home schooled him from K-12. Everything you mention is accurate. Another suggestion I would add to really beef up your child's transcript and give credibility to his grades at home is to have him (or her) take several classes at a local community college for his junior and senior years of high school. Classes in the sciences and math, or any sort of challenging class with a good grade really helps. My son will graduate in May with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has had a wonderful experience at USNA. It's definitely been a huge challenge every step of the way, but well worth it.
If you have a child in high school and are beginning to look at colleges, you will soon discover there are three different options for applying. The first is the good old fashioned way – applying directly to each college using their college application form. Second is using the Common Application. Third, which is relatively new, is using the Coalition Application.
When you are looking at different colleges, spend some time digging into college statistics before you visit a campus. College statistics may look like little numbers on a page, but the can indicate HUGE differences between colleges - and can explain how some colleges appear "cheap" while others look more like a good investment.
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What are colleges are really looking for? Students who really want to attend a particular college need to be able to convince the school that they will stay for all four years at that one school. Universities want students who will turn down other amazing offers of admission, and will attend their own college instead. No matter what. How do you demonstrate that interest?
The Common Application can be the cause of anxiety for many homeschool families. You get into it and invariably there are questions that you have, as a homeschooler, that might not be as clear as if you were filling it out for a public school student. No worries. I can help you navigate the Common Application.