May 12th, 2010
Is your home school student interested in a NCAA scholarship? If so, now is a good time to begin preparing. The NCAA has stringent guidelines and a stiff list of paperwork requirements, and the earlier you get started the better. This list includes certain core high school courses that must be taken, minimum SAT/ACT scores, worksheets that must be filled out to indicate you meet eligibility standards etc. You can learn more at the NCAA Eligibility Center online and you can submit some of the paperwork there. Standardized test scores (ACT and/or SAT) must be submitted directly from the testing agency; test scores received on a transcript cannot be used by the Eligibility Center. The NCAA also states that “A Student Score Report or scores taken directly from a Student Score Report cannot be accepted by the Eligibility Center for initial-eligibility purposes.” A home school transcript must include
o Course titles;
o Course grades;
o Units of credit for courses;
o Grading scale (if numeric grading is used, alpha/letter equivalent grades are needed);
o Signature of the home school administrator (the parent or other person who organized, taught and evaluated the home school coursework).
o A transcript from any other high school, college, and/or nontraditional program attended (mailed directly from the issuing institution.
o Proof of high school graduation, including specific graduation date (month/day/year).
You will need evidence that home schooling was conducted in accordance with state laws (a written statement from the home school administrator verifying compliance with state home school legislation) and you will need to attach any supporting documentation. A statement of who taught and evaluated the coursework, awarded grades and issued credit is necessary. The NCAA also wants a list of textbooks used throughout home schooling [text titles, publisher and in which specific course(s) used]. You can learn more at http://www.ncaa.org/wps/portal/ncaahome?
The home school sub link will take you to https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/student/index_student.html
The NCAA site in general is a treasure trove of information. Beware that you only go to the official NCAA site (look for the www.ncaa.org in the first part of the URL). Hope this helps! -Jim Gilbert
May 3rd, 2010
For juniors, May is an ideal time to ask teachers for references. These references will become a part of your college application, and the admissions people really do read them. Just don’t ask family or friends, however, since these types of references are totally ignored. Teachers (even homeschool co-op teachers), counselors, coaches, employers-all can be resourced for a reference. But remember that these people are just as busy as you are, and you do not want to wait until the night before the application is due. A reference that is thoughtful and positive is going to take some time to compose, so asking during the month of May is best.
You also can ask for references from people who get to know you over a shorter period of time than the school year. Plan now for example, to ask your supervisor at camp for a letter of recommendation when you complete your 8 weeks as a camp counselor. Every letter helps.
April 17th, 2010
One of the most stressful aspects of preparing for college is paying for it. Scholarships, work-study programs, and grants all can help. But suppose the entire four years could be paid in full with just a commitment to serve afterwards? This is the idea behind the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The armed services offer full tuition scholarships and monthly living allowances that range widely. The Army (www.goarmy.com) offers college money with an extra $300 a month living expenses for the freshman year which escalates to $500 per month for the 4th year. The Navy offers up to $180,000 for college overall and this includes an extra fifth year of study if necessary (www.nrotc.navy.com). The marines are similiar. The Air Force will pay for tuition, books etc. and provide $300-500 a month (www.afrotc.com). The Coast guard does not have a ROTC program and the National Guard varies by state. The web site http://www.ang.af.mil/careers/index.asp is a resource for Air National Gaurd and states that “you can earn up to $20,000 towards college tuition” accompanied by a “$15,000 signup bonus.” Investigate each program thoroughly, especially as to their policy of opting out after the freshman year.
March 29th, 2010
Tax Credits are a good thing. They are the money you would send to the IRS which gets redirected to another cause-like tuition. When prepaing for college, you want to find just as many of these as you can. The standard ones have been the Hope Credit and the Lifetime learning Credit. However, for 2009 and 2010 there is a new one-The American Opportunity Tax Credit, which effectively replaces the Hope Credit for these years. It is good for tuition, books, supplies and equipment spent in college. It does not apply to college prep classes when the student is in high school. Some people can even receive a check if they paid no tax! The amount will maximize at $2500. The actual amount will vary depending on you total income and how much you spent on higher education expenses. For more information, refer to IRS publication 970.