Advice for a Home School applicant

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by C Sweers, May 17, 2015.

  1. C Sweers

    C Sweers Member

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    I am, and have been, homeschooled all my life. I have a 4.0 GPA but have only taken one advanced history course. The others are just the basics, math, science, theology, english, etc. I'll only have the opportunity to take one AP history course next year. The rest is just the basic requirements for high school.

    Is this enough to be a competitive applicant for the USNA?

    As a homeschooler I'm not able to participate in the advanced/honors programs that public and private schools offer so I feel set backed on the academic side of the application.

    Any advice for homeschoolers would be really appreciated. I'm trying to do everything I can to be USNA Class of 2021.
     
  2. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    It's great that you're thinking about this with two full years to go! If you haven't already reviewed the page for homeschooled candidates at USNA's admissions site, check that out.

    https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Steps-for-Admission/Home-Schooled-Candidates.php

    Really pay attention to that advice about extracurricular activities, because they are particularly interested in people who played on a team sport. Unless you're out in the sticks, you should have access to church or community leagues for a sport. Compete and do well.

    Also, you may be able to take dual-enrollment courses at a local community college or even online (again, depending on availability and your access). Costs will vary from zero to "something" and depend on state funding, your local school district's agreement with the college, etc. Knowing what I know about how dual-enrollment works, it is NOT a universal requirement that the HS student be an actual student at the public HS - in other words, you're not automatically excluded because you do not attend the public HS.

    Look into online AP courses. There are low-cost options that include the course, exam prep, and exam fees. Note that you do not HAVE to take an AP course - online or in-person - to take an AP exam, either, so if you score well on an AP practice exam, then register for the exam.

    Finally, once you begin your junior year, reach out to your BGO (Blue and Gold officer - admissions liaison). S/he may be able to offer more directed advice.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It's also important to participate in sports and ECAs. Look for summer leagues and also leagues in the school year that aren't tied to schools, such as police and city leagues. Find activities in which you can lead -- there are all sorts of groups looking for volunteers who have interest and initiative. Look especially for sports and ECAs where you are working as part of a group/team. One of the "concerns" with homeschooled candidates is whether they can work and play with others -- find ways to prove you can.
     
  4. C Sweers

    C Sweers Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm set on that side of things, my parents are really supportive and have let me join things like Civil Air Patrol (which I'm currently holdinf a Cadet Staff), and Summer Crew among other activities.
     
  5. cardinal21

    cardinal21 Member

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    My DD was home schooled and received a 3.5 AROTC scholarship to a competitive university. Dual enrollment and CLEP were very important. A solid ACT score is also imperative. There are numerous sports and community activities available to home schoolers in our community. Be proactive. You do not have a phalanx of counselors and administrators pushing you along as in a regular high school. But, you already know that. It is doable. Best wishes.
     
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  6. Kirkmanj

    Kirkmanj Member

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    Ditto to the above advice.

    As a homeschooler, it can be an extra challenge, but do not be discouraged. Plan to work extra hard to document that your courses are rigorous and that you are involved in team leadership. Dual enrollment at CC, scoring well on SAT/ACT, and showing a commitment to ECs will help tremendously. Compete in sports, debate, speech or writing contests. The SAs will want to see that you sought out opportunity and what you did with it. They will need a source of comparison.

    It's great to start early. Best of luck!
     
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  7. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My sons were homeschooled and both went to USAFA. Document document document, and don't forget or neglect to document. :)

    Luckily , homeschoolers are still considered "diversity candidates" so you may have a hook there.
     
  8. CivilAirPatrolCadet

    CivilAirPatrolCadet AFROTC Non-Tech Scholarship Recipient

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    Homeschooled as well. Two nominations to usafa. I did a dual enrollment program and would highly recommend it. I was also able to participate in sports at the high school during senior year (now). Civil Air Patrol is great program. Promote as fast as you can and get whatever summer activities and staff positions you can on your resume.
     
  9. ArmyMom11

    ArmyMom11 Member

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    Just want to encourage homeschoolers, my son was accepted to West Point and he is homeschooled. His dual enrollment transcript at the local community college really helped to back up his homeschool transcript. I think if the Academies are on your radar and you are homeschooled, dual enrollment is really beneficial.
     
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  10. 2020HopefulMom

    2020HopefulMom Member

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    All excellent advice. Dual enrollment and stellar ACT/SAT scores are critical as they provide confirmation of candidate's academic ability. Even if your homeschool umbrella keeps records, provides transcripts and letters of recommendation as guidance counselor, you should still keep track of all your leadership and extracurricular activities for counselor to validate. As a homeschooled candidate, my DS attended CVW as a junior (by invitation), and is competing for appointment at USNA, USAFA, and USMA.
     
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  11. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    Homeschooler here. A few tips to stay ahead of the power curve: For the CFA, I didn't have a gym teacher, and parents can't administer it, so either have your BGO/ALO/FFR do it, or I was allowed to have my local Public HS gym teacher administer it. I also was allowed to have local State U ROTC cadre run it. For LoRs, USNA said the teacher had to write it (my parents) and even after explaining that it was my parents, they still said the 2 LoRs had to be from my parents. But they allowed me to submit additional ones. USMA I submitted from people who know my academic abilities well but are not teachers, then contacted the RC and explained what I did. USAFA is very homeschool-friendly with LoRs, and has well-established contingencies.

    Obviously, keep up with your ECAs, volunteering, athletic activities. I didn't have sports - but I did run 5Ks, triathlons, etc. to show fitness. PM me if you have any questions - CAP questions too.
     
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  12. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Do all homeschooling applicants have a 4.0? You'd think so reading this forum.

    Also wondering if anyone would share why they homeschooled? It's hard to understand why academies would consider homeschooled as diversity candidates?
    In the case of most applicants, they had great teacher and counselors, but they also had stubborn teachers, inept teachers, and counselors and coaches that had hundreds of other students to service. Enduring that teaches humility, patience, and the ability to adapt to and work with others. A skill much desired at an academy.
    Not meant to upset anyone. Obviously the homeschooled can be very successful like Fencermothers sons.
    So back to the question for those willing to share; why'd you do it? Remote location? Religious reasons? Safety concerns?
    I'm not saying the homeschooled is less worthy, I just have curiosity as to the reasons parents chose it for their kids. If you're a homeschooled student, are you happy you went that route? Do you have regrets?
     
  13. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    Actually I don't have a 4.0 ;) My parents chose to for religious reasons - they wanted to have control over what we learned. HOWEVER, excellence is their watchword - I have 2 older sisters on significant scholarships at top universities for their fields.

    I think I'm happy with homeschooling. Without ever going to a public school, I can't really compare it. I do regret not having sports - unfortunately, right when I was prepping to tryout for public school sports, a serious family illness came that threw off all my plans. We are (mostly) all socially well-adjusted, I have been doing dual-enrollment since last year as well. Interestingly enough, I find I have trouble relating to my peers - I can communicate extremely well with adults and small children though. That's something that also might put me at a disadvantage.
     
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  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Ahh, why does one choose to homeschool one's children? A loaded question, sometimes. Of course, most homeschoolers will still bristle at the old "socialization" question. Since homeschooling came on strong (as many homeschoolers now as there are students in the entire state of Georgia!), there have been books and a myriad of articles written on the why's and why-not's of this phenomenon. Religious reasons used to abound (and still do), but also are the LD (Learning Disability) reasons, and those who choose it for other reasons - bad/inadequate public education with little/no access to private, curricular control, too long a bus ride!

    For us, my eldest son was in the first grade at a local Catholic school, but he was already an excellent reader, having read Moby Dick, unabridged, the previous summer. When I went to speak with the teacher about enhancing his reading materials, she did so: by giving him MORE worksheets at the same level. Our local public school, the smallest by area and by population in our state (graduated 34 students last year) simply did not have the facilities to do anything else for or with him. So, taking matters into my own hands, we homeschooled, all the kids. Later, they were cyber-schooled, and spent two years as college students at Local U and at Local Catholic U, all at the same time, while having a full high school curriculum at home.

    It worked very well for us, as we found a sport which all the kids could do (one of my requirements; I wasn't going to do soccer for one, tennis for another, gymnastics for a third, golf for a fourth)... guess the sport! :) We were in a religious homeschool group which enabled us to have the kids in band, and other activities like chorus, etc. which are sometimes difficult to provide at home. We also were members of a county-wide group which provided TONS of great enrichment classes: Mandarin Chinese, Journalism taught by a newspaper editor, ceramics, Math for Musicians... So, the kids lacked nothing socially (they even had a homeschooler prom), athletically, artistically, educationally.

    If anyone has specific questions, I can hopefully answer them, about our program of education or how things worked out for the other kids.

    Would I as a parent do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Of my children, those who have or will soon have kids of their own are also planning to homeschool (even though their wives were valedictorians of their public high schools). My daughter is marrying a formerly homeschooled man in May. My other son says, should he ever marry, he'd never consider anything but homeschooling.

    So, it worked for our family. Not for everyone, but for us, the results speak for themselves.
     
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  15. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    You did a great job FM! What a great education you've given your kids. No wonder they excelled!
     
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  16. CivilAirPatrolCadet

    CivilAirPatrolCadet AFROTC Non-Tech Scholarship Recipient

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    I have a 3.92 GPA :) My mom was homeschooled, so that, along with religious reasons, educational stringency, ability to learn however necessary per the child, and traveling with my dad for work were my parents reasons for homeschooling. No matter where you are in life there are inept and "that person" that does everything obnoxiously wrong, sort of people. That's why EC's are important in homeschooling. Go Civil Air Patrol! (and all sorts of other great programs ;) )
     
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  17. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    CAP, you are correct. One doesn't have to go to school to have to deal with THAT person.

    Unless she is your mother. :angel:
     
  18. NotCollege

    NotCollege Member

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    I am homeschooled and have a more unusual reason for being homeschooled. I spent most of my education in public school from 2nd to half way through 8th grade. Our public school system is very good being next to a major university. They have advanced math(you can start algebra in 7th grade) and lots of AP classes. But I am homeschooled because the school system did not provide what I needed for education. Public school is great for most but just not the best for me. Anyway I agree with the people above AP and dual enrollment is great for homeschoolers because no one can dispute what grade you received or what you learned. Yes, I have a 4.0 but I have only had 4 classes taught by my parents. I love homeschooling and am still involved in the community and lots of sports. So yes I miss some aspects of public school like seeing friends every day homeschooling has given me the opportunity to take a much more difficult course load and do double the extracurricular of my high school friends.
     
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  19. CivilAirPatrolCadet

    CivilAirPatrolCadet AFROTC Non-Tech Scholarship Recipient

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    HAHA! Or your sibling that sits next to you in school :) (not my sibling thankfully, but friends have THAT sibling)
     
  20. ArmyMom11

    ArmyMom11 Member

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    Just read NotCollege's post and our homeschooling story is similar. I think people imagine kids sitting at the kitchen table learning from mom and, while that is true often in younger grades and/or for some families, for many kids there is not much 'home' in homeschooling.

    We've moved numerous times between different states and even lived in another country. When we moved to our current location, my son was in middle school and asked to homeschool. We had had one really miserable school experience and, although there are some really good schools here, I think he was a bit fatigued with it all. We believe that he should have a say in his education so we agreed. Each year he had the choice to continue homeschooling or go back to a traditional school setting. It became apparent that homeschooling provided so many benefits above and beyond a traditional school. He was able to choose his courses and the curriculum for subjects he learned at home. He also took classes outside the home and we chose wonderful teachers that really fit his learning style. Because there is so much wasted time in traditional school settings (hurry up and wait is ALWAYS great preparation for the Army though!), he was able to finish is coursework each day well before the local schools ended their days which allowed a lot more time for activities and friends. Homeschooling In high school, he tried dual enrollment and really enjoyed taking classes at the local community college. This year, he is full time there and able to take classes that might not have been available to him otherwise. He did receive one B while dual enrolled but that was his first five-credit class and his final grade was, I believe an 89.3%. He's taken a couple five-credit classes since and received As. And, if you are looking for 'negative' experiences to round out the 'whole life' experience, they still happen. Obviously, with all his community college classes, he has had quite a few different instructors with very different styles and, I believe, homeschooling really helped in that he is a very independent learner now and adapts easily to meet expectations. And that is a great skill to have.

    Our son had such an amazing experience with homeschooling that we pulled his sister out of school, where she was struggling due to dyslexia, and she is now grade levels ahead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
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