The college essays are often the most important and challenging aspect of the college admissions process. What can you as a parent and educator do, to help make their college essays stand apart? The true value of homeschooling, I believe lies in the freedom and flexibility it provides students. This in my eyes is what already sets apart a homeschooler from other college applicants. The other good news is that no two homeschooling experiences are alike!
A good starting point would be to brainstorm essay topics around what they did with this flexibility and how it provided them the opportunity for unique experiences outside the “traditional” classroom. The topic could also be centered around their unique situation, as to why they were homeschooled, the challenges they faced, what they did about it and how it has shaped them into becoming the person they are today.
Here are some of my favorite brainstorming exercises to help identify their unique story :
- Start with having your homeschooler take the free online test to find out about their personality type and strengths associated with it. Next, I would have them look for personal stories that showcase these unique qualities and strengths.
- Have your homeschooler Free write about their unique experiences in a journal. Just write what comes. It does not necessarily have to start at the beginning. There is no need for structure or organization and they do not have to worry about spelling things right. Once they have completed their free write they can use it as a starting point towards their first draft.
- If your homeschooler can think faster than they can write, they can use any dictation app available. Here is an article that talks about three mobile apps that help convert voice to text
Most importantly, remind them that the essay needs to be about them! It should not be about the general topic of homeschooling but should be crafted around their original story and unique experiences. It should also showcase to the admissions officer the qualities they will bring with them to the college campus.
Think your homeschooler needs expert help with crafting their unique personal story
We are here to help. Seniors come to us for targeted hourly help with brainstorming ideas, organizing and editing for their college essays. Much of this work can be conducted via Skype and Facetime.