Posts Tagged ‘college advice’

Homeschoolers and college

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

As a college counselor, I know that college is hard to get into for everyone. They are looking for the best and strongest candidates.  Some of those are homeschooled students.

This week I signed three homeschooled students to my college counseling business, International College Counselors.

First I want to say, good news for homeschooled students and their parents — the college admissions process for homeschooled students has become easier, and more and more homeschooled students are entering colleges. 

In the past, homeschooled students had to fight hard for equality in the admissions process because federal government guidelines made it unclear to universities how their eligibility to receive federal funds would be affected by admitting homeschoolers. This changed in November of 2003 when the U.S. Department of Education sent an official letter to all universities. The letter stated that the admission of homeschooled students to college would not jeopardize federal assistance and clarified the position on compulsory age and self-certification of completion of secondary education.

Subsequently, colleges made adjustments in their admissions process and, today, a majority of colleges, including Harvard University, evaluate homeschooled applicants using the same college admission requirements as those for traditional students.

Requirements for college admission vary by institution but the most common requests include a homeschool transcript, SAT, ACT or SAT II test scores, written essays, external recommendations, and an interview. Other requests may include a GED, student portfolios, a list of texts used, and/or entrance examinations. In addition to academics, schools are looking for well-rounded individuals who have participated in varied extracurricular activities.

The key is start early!  If you’re not working with a college counselor, like the ones we have here at International College Counselors, check with the admissions office to find out what the colleges you’re interested in require, and stick to the guidelines.  Keep detailed transcripts and make sure your student takes the classes required. Colleges prefer an ideal four-year preparatory program. Colleges also place more emphasis on other criteria when one, such as class rank, is missing.

Like traditionally schooled peers, homeschooled students can also qualify for federal financial aid like Pell grants, work-study, and federal student loans to

help pay for college.  You will need to check the requirements for these.  Start early so you have the time to prepare. 

On thing to note, the number of homeschooled students is rising.  This means, that like traditional students, they too will have to work harder to set themselves apart. 

 Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors 

College Tuition Hikes and What to Do

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Parents or guardians with students who plan to join Florida Prepaid College Plans (which I highly advocate) or get a Bright Futures Scholarship should read this:

An overview:
With universities warning of dire budget problems, the Florida Senate overwhelmingly approved a plan that could give universities the green light to raise tuition by an additional 7 percent, for a total of 15 percent.
Now the House approved it too and it’s being sent to Gov. Charlie Crist, who is expected to sign it into law.
Senate Bill 762 (SB 762) allows all 11 state universities to charge a tuition differential, or supplement, which is a power previously awarded to the University of Florida, Florida State, South Florida, Central Florida and Florida International.
What will happen if they pass this bill?
Bright Futures won’t be so bright next year for Florida’s top university undergraduates, who are likely to be paying a greater percentage of their tuition costs.
The latest budget offer keeps the Bright Futures scholarships at current-year levels and does not increase the funding to match even the base increase tuition of 8 percent likely to be approved this session.  This means 
scholarship recipients will have to pick up the extra tab. The Bright Futures’ scholarship fund is funded by Lottery proceeds and currently allows many students to pay little or no tuition at state universities.
The additional increases for the Prepaid Florida Plan — known as “differential” increases — would not apply to students who attended universities before July 1, 2007. Also, they would not apply to families who had Florida Prepaid contracts before that date.  However, they will raise the prices greatly for parents who want to join in the next enrollment period.  

What can parents and guardians do?
Let the Governor know that you think this is a bad idea. Tuition could nearly double within five years for those with teenagers, and more than double for those with toddlers. 
We voted for them. Now it’s time for them to support us.  They need to find another way to cover Florida´s budget shortfalls so our kids will be able to go to college.
Our kids are our future. Tell Governor Charlie Christ to vote NO on the college tuition hike bill.
For parents and guardians who are not invested in the Florida Prepaid College Plan, even if they raise the costs, it is probably worth it.  Who knows what the economic picture will be in the future and anyone who buys a prepaid plan has a contract with the state of Florida, so your payments will be locked in from the time you sign up, and the state must foot the bill for college regardless of future financial conditions.  You can enroll now in Florida Prepaid but are subject to prices effective October 2009.  These have not been made public yet.  

For information, go to or call 800-552-4723.


Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors 

International College Counselors
3107 Stirling Road, Suite 208
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312 USA
(954) 414-9986

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