Homeschool to Cadet: Was the process difficult?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Space2Bmom, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    This question is for cadets (past and present) and/or their parents.

    I am a homeschool mom and I think out daughter is on track in the application process to be completed by next fall, but I would love to hear from former homeschooled cadets and parents who have already gone through the process.

    Did you find any part of the application to be difficult because of the homeschool factor?

    Do you have any words of encouragement for other homeschoolers?
     
  2. blakeUSAFA18hopeful

    blakeUSAFA18hopeful Member

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    I'm not a current/former cadet, but I am a homeschooled candidate for the class of '18, so I hope I can offer some insight! My advice would be to take an accredited curriculum, as it will make the application process a whole lot easier. I would also highly suggest contacting your local high school and start participating in sports there. I ran track and cross country at my local high school, and I feel that it really strengthened my application. I would also suggest taking some honors/AP courses, if at all possible. Other than that, there's nothing much to worry about as it's fairly straightforward! Just do your best! Best of luck to you and your daughter! :thumb:
     
  3. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    Thanks for the reply. By the time my daughter graduates in 5/15, she should have 28-32 credits from a local community college, but she won't have any AP classes.

    My daughter is also participates in club swimming and club water polo (along with varsity high school swimming and water polo).

    Her USAFA portal says she is "competitive" so while she has really good SAT/ACT scores, she will continue to try to improve the scores and her GPA is a 4.0 high school and 4.0 community college classes (so far).

    Who did you ask for your letters of recommendation? Did homeschooling come up in your interviews with your ALO/Congressmen?
     
  4. Swim4Life

    Swim4Life Member

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    I also am a 2018 candidate, hoping and praying that I'll be hearing good news soon. But yes, my homeschooling background came up in every interview I had regarding the military. From nomination interviews, ROTC, and liaison officer interviews. I was suggested to prepare for this and show how I was able to use the benefits of homeschooling to my advantage but also how I was able to overcome the adversity faced by homeschoolers regarding, socializing, leadership, and classroom setting. So yes, it will come up in the interviews.

    Regarding Letters of recommendation, I had a coach and high ranking naval officer write my letters of recommendation. For the evaluations, I had my online teachers and my Scoutmaster.

    In general I did not find the process hard at all. Unlike some other schools I applied to were it looked as if they didn't even want me to apply.
     
  5. blakeUSAFA18hopeful

    blakeUSAFA18hopeful Member

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    Your daughter sounds like a fantastic candidate! As far as letters of recommendation go, I echo what Swim4Life said. I got LOR's from my scoutmaster, a man I used to work for, and a USAFA grad neighbor that I do lawn care for. Homeschooling did come up in the interviews, but as a positive. I had to explain any adversity I had with homeschooling and how I overcame it.
     
  6. educ8

    educ8 Member

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    Her portal says she is "competitive", or does it say on one of the correspondence from USAFA that she is competitive for an appointment? Just curious.
     
  7. Invisibility

    Invisibility Member

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    Hello! I was homeschooled throughout high school and am now at the Academy. Is your daughter a class of 2019 or 2020 applicant? I couldn't be sure from your post.

    I would advise your daughter to be prepared to talk about homeschooling during interviews. As far as I'm concerned, homeschooling has been a strength, not a liability--be proud of it! Some starting points could be talking about time management, being able to fit in with groups that she doesn't have a lot in common with, and willingness to buck peer pressure.

    While GPA will still be listed on your portal, I've heard that it's essentially thrown out for homeschooled candidates. The community college GPA might hold some weight. Your own classes? Probably none. Good test scores are imperative, as they will become the bulk of the Academic part of the WCS. I had 700+ in all three sections of the SAT. I also took a couple of AP tests--Physics B after self-study, Calc AB and BC after online courses, and English after a course. Physics is very self-preppable--I had a textbook and a study guide, and I got a 5. You could feasibly self-prep a number of APs. All of those just help to validate GPA. Also--how do you accredit? I used a private school. Not sure if that helped, but it didn't hurt.

    One thing you will NOT find anywhere is that homeschoolers (as of last year, at least) are required to submit a "homeschool profile". Basically, a philosophy statement & homeschooling overview. Mine was about 5 pages long; I took it as an opportunity to convince the admissions board that I was a really, really good academic candidate. You know best what your academic strengths are, and how you've been verifying performance. There are no specific guidelines, so it's a great way to talk in depth about your schooling methods. I included tests I'd taken, math team participation, online school (outside grades), college courses, and private school accreditation as "proofs" of competency.

    Athletics & leadership are also really important. Your daughter swims--that's great. A varsity letter is a check box, and it's important to have at least one (preferably 2+, from what I've heard.) She should be deliberate about leadership, both for the application and for the interview process. Is she a team captain (can she become one)? Can she organize something? Really, truly--what makes her a great leader? Dig deep. Not all of it will be resume worthy, but it can help factor into interviews for nominations, etc.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
     
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    +1 for what Invisibility said.

    Our son is a 2016er at USAFA and he was homeschooled for high school. He was also a club swimmer. We found USAFA to be supportive of homeschoolers throughout the application process. His ALO had homeschooled children as well. Our son received his appointment the second year he applied after he attended NWP as a Falcon Scholar where he proved to USAFA that he could excel academically in a traditional school environment and where he also increased his ACT scores. ACT/SAT scores appear to be very important for homeschoolers since that 4.0 homeschool GPA doesn't mean anything to USAFA and there will be no school ranking. DS had a perfect score in one section and a superscored composite score of 33. However, he did not have any community college credit which I believe will be very indicative of your DDs academic ability. DS also didn't have any AP tests but he did have Boys State and lots of leadership and work experience. Please feel free to PM with any additional questions.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  9. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    These replies have given me a lot to consider and since my daughter follows this board, she will also be reading this thread. Thanks so much for the stories and encouragement. "Some starting points could be talking about time management, being able to fit in with groups that she doesn't have a lot in common with, and willingness to buck peer pressure." WONDERFUL ideas!

    I may have used "portal" as the incorrect term since I am new to this. When my daughter logs on to her USAFA account (I referred to that as a portal), that is where we saw the "competitive" word. My daughter will apply to the USAFA for the Class of 2019.

    I have never read or heard about this. I prepared a detailed course description for every one of her HS and CC credits. Since I found that to be a painful process, a philosophy should be a piece of cake.:smile:

    Leadership - my daughter is co-captain on her club water polo team this year (junior year) and captain of the high school girls water polo team. She also has leadership from her Civil Air Patrol duties, she is a leader in a state-wide science group, and she will be a Girls State delegate this summer.

    My daughter has also been accepted to the USAFA and USNA Summer Seminars.

    I have found these replies to be so encouraging. While I view our homeschool life as a positive experience, I have wondered how others were treated during the application process since public opinion can still be iffy.

    While I was at a sport event last weekend, an elderly lady was horrified to hear that I homeschool our children. The first thing she said was, "But what about socialization!" :biggrin::biggrin: I just smiled at the lady since we sometimes have to check our daughter's calendar to find free time to spend with her.
     
  10. Space2Bmom

    Space2Bmom Member

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    Test scores:

    SAT: 2000/2400
    ACT: 30/36

    She will repeat both tests at least 1-2 more times each to try to bring up the scores.
     
  11. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Hello! I wasn't technically "home schooled," but I did all of my schooling at home starting in the 8th grade (it was an online public charter school). The key thing is that you are going to have to push yourself to show that your curriculum and other activities have prepared you for the academy. It would be desirable to take AP exams and and do very well on them in addition to the SAT.

    I didn't feel like being in a non-traditional school setting was frowned upon, although it was a little harder to get teacher recommendations because most of my teachers only knew me through my work and had never seen me before.

    Good luck!
     

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