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How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Transcript

How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Transcript


Cover Letters Provide Introductions

Usually a cover letter is a simple introduction provided when sending homeschool records. It might introduce the student, explain the records, describe major issues or anything unusual. The cover letter should always highlight the positives, and put a positive spin on anything encountered.

Cover Letters Explain Craziness
While many parents have nothing important to say in a cover letter, some homeschool parents must address and unusual situation. In a calm and poised manner, use the cover letter to use advantage. Let me give you 6 common crazies that you might explain.
1. Horrible Grades
When you remove a child from school, and begin to homeschool, you may need to explain why the grades suddendly changed. Use a cover letter to explain why the school failed your child failed, why you began homeschooling, and why the student is successful now. It's helpful to explain it positively, perhaps explaining the child was not being challenged or was not engaged in learning. 2. Crazy Credits
Sometimes a student has a huge number of credits that needs to be explained. You can describe how you homeschool year-round, permit summer school credits, and allow delight directed learning after hours. With two few credits, you can explain a change of heart that has provided the student with the drive needed to succeed with a full credit load in the future. 3. Gifted and Advanced
Use a cover letter to explain unusual situations you might fact, like early exposure to advanced classes, extended use of dual enrollment, or excessive credits. Explain that your homeschool provides unlimited class options, not limited by the interests of the teachers. explain that you allow early high school credits to be earned in middle school. 4. Classes Outside the Home
A cover letter can be used to explain classes taken outside the home, if multiple transcripts are expected with the application. You must submit all high school transcripts from all schools, but you can use the cover letter to turn it into a "good news story". 5. Medical or Emotional Problems
When facing a crisis at home, always be honest and true with grades and credits you assign. While it's not always helpful or appropriate to explain these situations, sometime is can be. You may be able to look forward to improvements.6. Super-Senior Year
When a fifth year of high school is required or beneficial, the reasons can be explained in a cover letter. While it's important to put a positive spin on things, explain that maturity, or additional school credits, or health needs have required an additional year of school. If truthfully possible, explain that the student was eager for the additional year, to eliminate the concern of over-controlling parents.

Simple Cover Letter FormatA cover letter is helpful when you are sending a transcript or comprehensive homeschool records to a college for admission. Often it is a very simple statement of "enclosed is the transcript." Other times the cover letter for your transcript can be up to one page long, explaining a complicated situation as briefly as possible.
When writing a cover letter, it can be helpful to use a standard, formal cover letter template. Consider this example of a cover letter for your transcript:
November 14, 20XX

Lee Binz
(555) 555-5555
Lee@gmail.net

RE: Official High School Transcript

To the Office of Admissions:

Enclosed is an Official High School Transcript, as required of all applicants. In the hopes that it will help in your evaluation of my son Joe, I’ve also included comprehensive homeschool records and a list of honors and leadership experiences.

If I can be of any assistance in clarifying any aspect of his home education, please feel free to call or email me. I did add a few comments to the online application, which should be helpful as well.

Thank you,

Lee Binz


A cover letter might explain why your child took 5 years to graduate, earned straight A's (or didn't), or that you require mastery, or homeschool year-round. Anything you deem important might be explained in a brief cover letter.

A transcript is just the beginning of the college application process. Let me unlock the mysteries of the the whole process for you in this free class! Click to register: College Applications Simply Explained
Quick cover letter tips:
  • Don't mention anything that happened before high school.
  • Don't brag but be positive about what happened.
  • Don't talk about yourself or your family, only the student.
Now that you've learned how to write a cover letter for your transcript, what is your biggest concern about college admission? Please share in the comments!

 

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Application Essays That Work

Application Essays That Work

Application Essays That Work


My biggest college application essay tip is to write something that might make grandma gasp. (College Admission Essay Tip: Make Grandma Gasp, Not Blush!) But, what does a great college application essay look like? Johns Hopkins University actually posts their favorite essays each year. Look at them to help you guide your child through the college admission procedure.

Read the article: Essays That Worked (Class of 2019)

Of course, each essay is completely different. An essay should be a unique self-portrait, so it can't be borrowed from others. They show something unique about the student - something that simply can't be learned from transcripts, course descriptions, and lists of activities. These are self-reflective essays about a moment in time. Johns Hopkins explains, "These entries are distinct and unique to the individual writer; however, each of them assisted the admissions reader in learning more about the student beyond the transcripts and lists of activities."

Take a moment to see what colleges really want. Look at the first sentences for each one. Can you hear grandma gasp?

Breaking Into Cars by Stephen
"I had never broken into a car before." In the beginning of this essay, Grandma's definitely thinking her sweet grandson is a thief. Yes, she gasped. And no, you don't get into the "essays that worked" category if you actually DO steal cars.

How to Become an Adult by Michaela.
She talks about being a parent to Stanley, and you are a few sentences into the essay before you figure out that Stanley is a plant. She's not an unwed mother after all.

Building a Twenty Story Apartment Building by Kyle
The essay begins with a discussion of his job in construction, but gives a great example of how to include school-specific personalization in his second paragraph. "Hopkins’ professors are change agents whose research connects structural engineering challenges to economic and environmental considerations. I am fascinated by Professor James Guest’s work in..."

Returning to Peru by Anna
This wonderful essay does a great job of demonstrating her diversity. Plus, Grandma would definitely be shocked when she heard, "The memory of a destitute boy, surrounded by waste, consuming water from a filthy communal tap in a dilapidated shantytown of Lima, Peru still haunts me."

Community Service Isn’t For Me by Kyla
The title alone is awesome. It really makes you wonder what she means - who would say that to a college, right? She mentions "straw-thatched, mud-brick homes of host families, of learning bits and pieces of the Chichewa language, of exploring the dynamics of multi-chief, polygamous villages." Those amazing details would certainly make grandma gasp. Not until the end of the essay does she provide the conclusion. "Community service isn’t for me, it’s for Esther and Amai and all the others I seek to serve."

So the application essay is a self-portrait about an amazing moment in time - a personal story that happens to be true. Do you need to do some more research about that?

Read this article:
What's the Big Deal about a Little Essay? Keys to the College Application Essay

Or grab this book:
Coffee Break Book: College Application Essays: A Primer for Parents

Learn more about the college application process, and guiding your child to college admission and scholarships, with this reference book: The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships

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Apply to More Than One College

Apply to More Than One College
One of my Gold Care Club members was concerned, and said,
"My daughter wants to go to only ONE college. It's an excellent match for her, test scores are comparable, and they accept about 75% of applicants. Is it really essential that she apply to more than one college?"


I have seen other members apply to only one college. Afterward, they told me they were wrong and begged me to warn other parents.
"Tell them to apply for more than one school! It was so stressful!"

Even if things DO work out, the stress level is unbelievable.  Even at this "perfect fit" college, this child still has a 1 in 4 chance of NOT being accepted.  That's a 1 in 4 chance that in the fall she'll be sitting in front of the TV, not homeschooling.... not going to college... a very scary scenario.

When your child has their heart set on a single college, you can go the "easy route" in applying for other colleges.  Some will send you applications and waive the fee, or waive the essay.  I just encourage you to apply to ANY other school as a back up plan, so she has a college to attend if her first choice doesn't work out.  Imagine how sad she would feel without a college to attend in the fall.

For the best chance of scholarships, find another 2-3 schools to apply to.  You might look online or in the college guide books to find similar colleges.  They often have a section in the guide book that is something like "students who apply to this college often apply to these schools as well...."  OR find a couple of colleges nearby OR locate 1 or 2 community colleges where she can spend a year and then transfer into her first choice school.

Remember, you have two goals, not one.
1. admission
2. scholarships
Keep both goals in mind.

When we were applying to colleges, we also had only one first choice, but I forced my kids to apply elsewhere.  It did help us get scholarships.  Toward the end of the process, Kevin even considered another college as a viable option - although he didn't go to it.  We geared all our energy to doing things the way our first choice wanted things to be, but applied to the other 3 colleges for back up choices, and as leverage for scholarship negotiations if that became necessary.



Now YOU can get your high school transcript for homeschoolers that will help your child’s college dreams come true. Check out my HomeScholar Total Transcript Solution 
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Help! I need opinions for my book title!

Help!  I need opinions for my book title!
Help! 

I need some opinions on a book title!  I'm just about done with my next book.  This one is about college application, admission, and scholarships.  It's going to include information about curriculum, testing, finding colleges, elite university admission, check lists for junior and senior year, merit and need based scholarships, letters of recommendation, application essays, competitions, interviews.  Tons of college admission stuff.  Very different from my last book about homeschool records.


We decided we like having the main title called "Courting the Colleges"  because we are including a scripture verse and a quote from the Princess Bride on every chapter.  So what I'm really looking for right now is a subtitle.  I need something long that clearly spells out exactly what is in the book, but hopefully in a fun, catchy way.  For example, this title is HILARIOUS and so it's very catchy:  The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging (I just about died laughing!)  I don't need something THAT funny, though.  I guess I'm not thinking "hilarious" so much as "catchy."

Can you please share ideas for a neat title and subtitle?  Do you like "Courting the Colleges"??

Here are some ideas we are pondering:
How to Win the Love of Your First-Choice University and Earn Quick Admission and Huge Scholarships
Secrets Homeschoolers Know about Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
A Successful Homeschooler’s Secrets for Wooing and Winning University Admission and Scholarships
How to Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
Help Your Homeschooler Woo and Win University Admission and Scholarships
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Finding the Perfect College for Your Unique Child
How to Prepare your Homeschool Student for College Admission and Scholarships
How to Find a University that will Love your Child and Shower Them with Huge Scholarships!
A Homeschooler's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies to Woo and Win the Perfect College for Your Child
Learn a Homeschooler's Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: Strategies for Finding, Affording, and Loving the College of Your Dreams
Secrets for College Admissions and Scholarships: A Homeschool Family's Guide to Finding and Affording the College of Your Dreams

Here are some other books on amazon on the same subject - don't want to sound too similar:

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges
Countdown to College: 21 To Do Lists for High School: Step-By-Step Strategies for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders
What You Don't Know Can Keep You Out of College: A Top Consultant Explains the 13 Fatal Application Mistakes and Why Character Is the Key to College Admissions
College Admissions - A Step By Step Guide Through the Process
How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out)
The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
How to Make Colleges Want You: Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor


I am now the Seattle Homeschool Examiner.  You can read my homeschool articles here.
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Amazing Records! A Model for Others!

Amazing Records! A Model for Others!
Lisa was so excited to take her son to college this fall. I often hear stories of "Shock and Awe" and Lisa has a great one! The college loved her homeschool records so much, they asked to use them as an example for other homeschoolers!



Dear Lee,

We dropped my son off at NU Wednesday. During the registration process, one of the check in location representatives stopped me and said,

"Your documents for your son when applying to NU were amazing. We would like to use them as a model for others, as they were really helpful for us and especially for homeschoolers!"

Of course, I followed the Comprehensive Record Solution that you provide, and heard about your success with the admission process.... but never expected to hear it for our own admission!

I believe that his homeschool accomplishments, along with his Comprehensive Record enabled to set him up for an amazing start for his first year of college. I did add at the end of the record a one page summary of his international service and also added the CD that his band produced (attached in a zip pocket). So that was super fun to be able to customize it to make it a little bit of a portfolio as well.

After auditioning for a talent scholarship, he was chosen to be the pianist for the Northwest Choralons and received above the maximum for the talent scholarship. We used many of the things you modeled in the Comprehensive Record for a music resume that we supplied to each audition at colleges he applied for. He actually received a percentage higher scholarship money from another university, but the program at NU in the recording arts is much stronger.

Thank you AGAIN for a wonderful resource and training you provide to help us along the way. I would love to give everyone a vote of confidence for you!

Thanks!

~Lisa in Washington

Don't be nervous! Just translate your wonderful homeschool into information the colleges can use. Remember, don't change what you are doing, just translate it into the "foreign language" of grades, credits, and course descriptions.

Do you have an encouraging story about homeschool records?





Learn more about high school credits and grades with my free webinar.

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What Goes on the Homeschool Transcript?

What Goes on the Homeschool Transcript?


By the time you’re finishing your student’s high school transcript during their senior year, you may start wondering how you can possibly fit any more information on that one little page!  But make sure you’ve got all the important stuff there!


A parent recently asked me whether she should put her child’s SAT scores and her grading scale on their transcript, and my answer, in general, is yes!  Including this information on the transcript can imply that you have really thought things through and decided that 90-100 percent is an A. In that sense, I think that having a grading scale on your transcript kind of makes you look tough and cool.

As far as the SAT or ACT scores go, while it’s not usually required on a transcript, I suggest that if those scores make your child look like a genius, then put it on the transcript.  But if your child didn’t test as well as they had hoped, then don’t put it on their transcript. Those test scores will be sent directly from the test company to the colleges you’re applying to, so they are going to get the scores anyway.

By putting the test scores on the transcript, you’re really just highlighting them. It’s a way of saying “Oh, look! Look at this,” which is one of the reasons why you want to put it there only if it makes your child look really smart. On the SAT, scores above 600 are very good, and scores above 700 are really excellent, since 800 is perfect.  It also depends on the child. If you have a child that is remedial in some way, then showing an average score on the SAT is going to make that transcript even stronger.

 

What is your experience with homeschool transcripts?





Curious about The HomeScholar? Read more on our About Us page.
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College Application Essays for Homeschoolers

College Application Essays for Homeschoolers
College application essays take time and effort - they don't just happen overnight!  Take some time to learn about them now.  You and your children can practice some application essays now - BEFORE senior year - and make your life that much easier down the road.


What's the big deal about a little essay?  If you have ever faced resistance from your children about a writing assignment, boy are you in for a treat! You haven't experienced what trouble means until you try to get them to write their College Admission Essays.  The essay they write for college has to be technically perfect (which is hard) and filled with self-examination (which is even harder.) Prepare yourself for that task and read this article about college admission essays so you really know what you are doing and when to do it!  "What's the Big Deal about a Little Essay?"

College applications are about much more than just writing an essay. It includes the application forms, letters of recommendation, transcripts, course descriptions, and submitting test scores.  It can be a little complicated.  One of my young friends wrote an article about the things she learned in the college admission process.  Encourage your children to read Lara's advice to other young people in her article "College Application for Homeschool Students." You'll get some great ideas too!  Thanks again, Lara, for sharing your suggestions with other homeschool students!



Your best strategy for keeping all those balls in the air is preparation.  The HomeScholar Gold Care Club will give you the comprehensive help you need to homeschool high school.
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