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Preparing for College Made Easy: A Guide to The Common App is going to skyrocket your confidence as you start this part of your homeschooling journey.
You’ve made it to homeschooling high school. Well done!
Now it’s time to go next level.
For homeschooling parents, this can be a stress producing event.
You’ve been your child’s teacher and mentor.
Now you have be a guidance counselor too.
It can be overwhelming and the stakes feel pretty high.
The good news is there are a lot of resources out there to help.
My favorite is The Common App.
Benefits of a Common Application Account
When it was time for our oldest to explore colleges, I went old school. He started a document to store links to his favorite choices.
I wish I’d known then what I learned when he opened his Common Application account.
They do all that work for your student.
Simply choose the schools, and all the information and requirements is right there in a click. Or less.
- All in one place– to keep college information at your senior’s fingertips
- Research colleges & universities– that will be a good fit by filling out the criteria form in your account
- Choose colleges– you are interested in and it populates all the individual college’s requirements in your account. This is nothing but a win.
- Receive updates & information– as you enter the application process
- Turn in your all college applications– at once or as you complete them
Using the Common App to Apply for College
Once your student has chosen the colleges she wants to apply to, it’s time to activate those schools within the Common App and get started with the requirements.
- Assign your references- and the app will invite them to be a part of your application process. Provide their email and The Common App will send them an email and when they’ve finished the task, they can upload the recommendation themselves. You can waive the right to see it and it gets uploaded to the site. The admission officers can see the letters but you cannot. Best of all, that’s all you do and the rest works itself out. You can check to see if they have been received at any point.
- Assign your parent as the guidance counselor– this allows you as the parent to upload your student’s transcript and all the other notes pertaining to your student.
- Enter the main information once– and use it apply to all of your schools. You’ll have an identical application completed while still having an opportunity to customize your responses for each school.
- Check on the status of your application– as you wait, some schools will give a status report. Others don’t, but you can always check to be sure everything a school needs, the school has.
- System alerts– will be sent to your student when important dates are approaching. This makes it easy to stay on top of the application game.
- Student dashboard– allows your student to manage all of their applications in one place.
The Common App as a Resource
As a homeschooling parent, you are wear a lot of hats.
You want to make the process as efficient as you can.
And you want your student to be able to navigate the process.
The Common Application offers materials you may not even be aware of:
- Transfer Application– is now available and includes a fee waiver. This is the option for students transferring to four year school from community colleges and gap year kids along with adults returning to school.
- How to pay for college– they provide an overview of where funds come from to pay for school. I’ll add here that it’s important to apply and fill out the FAFSA before discounting your ability to pay for college. Attending community college is an option, but it will change your status in applying for financial aid and reduces the opportunities for some aid.
- Help Center– there is 24/7 help with answers under an hour. Not only is there help for the applicants, but also for recommenders (like you as the parent who will be the guidance counselor on a homeschooled students application) along with an FAQ.
- App for smart phones– lets your student keep track of deadlines, applications, etc. You can check in and even do application business from the app.
- Essay Prompts– each year prompts are released to help your student see herself and her story within the prompt. They focus on character, community, identity, and aspiration.
- Account Rollover– it’s a good idea for your homeschooled junior to open a Common Application account as your student begins to research colleges and universities. Then the account can rollover to a senior account when they pass that milestone.
- Emails send new information & resources– I encourage parents to get signed on as guidance counselors as your senior is preparing to apply because you will receive helpful information. So will your student.
The Common Application is releasing new features all the time along with resources for those wanting to learn about the college selection process.
Take advantage of these free services!
More High School Posts
How to Make a Four Year Homeschool High School Plan– It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Bring your high schooler to the table and work out a plan for the four years of high school.
Choosing High School Curriculum– Now that you have a plan ready to go, what resources will your high schooler use to reach her goal?
Earning Credits with a Project Based High School– How do you count credits for unconventional approaches to coursework? Check out this framework of tracking credits.
Strategies for Scheduling High School– Have you ever wondered if your high school student is working enough or do you worry that they are doing too much? This is how to get the work done without going overboard.
Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen– As homeschooling parents, it’s our job to make things happen for our teens. Check out these tips!
Homeschooling for College by Design eCourse
Homeschooling for College by Design is an eCourse for homeschooling families who are entering the college prep and selection phase of high school.
- college essay help
- dual enrollment tips
- transcript advice- with a transcript builder bonus!
- detailed Common App lesson
- applying to competitive programs
- financial aid and scholarship information
- selecting a college
- planning forms to make the process easier
- option for a homeschool consult
Free Common App Checklist for Homeschoolers
Did you know The Common App has tasks specifically for homeschooling families?
The first time through, it was a little intimidating.
So, I want to help families approach The Common App with confidence!
The Common App Checklist for Homeschoolers contains a mini lesson from the course, Homeschooling for College by Design and gives you a preview of what’s to come when you sit down to work on the application.
If you are looking to learn more about the college application process, congratulations are in order!
You’ve done it!
Your homeschooled student is ready for the next step.
And if your student’s next step includes a college or university, then you’ve got plenty of tools at your service.
The Common Application can be first on the list. It’s got everything you need.
It keeps the process simple.
You’ve got this!
I’m cheering for you!