Monday, September 21, 2009

College Stuff

(cross-posted from the Love2learn Blog)

We're starting the college admissions process with my oldest, and there's a lot of good stuff we've been running into of late, so I thought I'd collect some of it here.

Catholic College Month: Homeschool Connections is hosting "Catholic College Month" next month with free webinars hosted by representatives of Catholic Colleges. What a great service! Check out the details at the Homeschool Connections website. I'm really looking forward to these!

Catholic College Guide: The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College has just been released in its new second edition - and is available in its entirety free online (my alma mater is pictured on the front of the print book with their beautiful new chapel). Take a look at the Newman Guide website. The guide offers lots of helpful information on 21 exceptional Catholic colleges in the U.S. and a handful of overseas and online schools.

Another Excellent College Guide: I stumbled upon the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Guide to Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth About America's Top Schools when I found a copy of their 2008-09 guide at a local thrift store this summer. I am very impressed by the thoroughness and depth of the content. The guide provides helpful and critical information (approximately 7-8 packed pages) on 134 "top" schools in the U.S. You will find the ups and downs of each school's academic quality, political makeup, student culture, safety of campus life and even recommended professors and courses to get a solid liberal arts foundation (and much more). Very honest and very eye-opening! The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a Catholic-friendly organization dedicated to promoting solid college academics, free of political nonsense. (Their Student's Guides to the Major Disciplines are also highly recommended.) Their College Guide website is also very helpful. There's a lot of free information, including a guide to "Entry Requirements for Homeschool Students", and you can purchase an online version of their college guide for $25.

We've been navigating the waters of standardized testing for college admissions and I thought I'd share a few tidbits here in the hope that they'll be helpful to others.

ACT Test: This is one of the two most common required standardized tests and covers the following subjects: English, mathematics, reading, and science as well as an optional writing segment. I found the website quite easy to navigate and the homeschool options were very clear. Apparently this is the more common admissions test in the Midwest, while the SAT is more common elsewhere. My daughter is taking both.

SAT Test: The SAT Test covers Math, Critical Reading (including Vocabulary) and Writing. We found their website somewhat difficult to navigate. We had a very difficult time finding the "homeschool code" which we finally got from a friend. (The code is 970000). Also, if you sign up for the SAT test first, it won't show you the options for the SAT Subject test on the same day (since you can't take them on the same day), so you should probably schedule your Subject tests first - especially if you're taking a Latin or World History Subject tests which are only made available twice a year (in December and June).

SAT Subject Tests: A few colleges (a very few as I understand it) require these, particularly for homeschoolers, as an objective assessment of subjects not covered, or not covered as thoroughly, by the SAT and ACT tests themselves. SAT Subject Tests are available in five basic subjects: English (Literature), History (U.S. or World), Mathematics (Level 1 or Level 2), Science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics), and Languages (Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Japanese, or Korean). You can take up to three Subject tests in one day (though not on the same day as the SAT itself, and taking three on one day is the most cost-effective way to do it).

You also may want to sign up for the free SAT Question of the Day on the SAT website.
Test Preparation: Finally, Ana recommended the Princeton Review Guides for test preparation. We picked up a few of these and I'm very impressed so far. I particularly like how they have you take a test and then explain a little about all the choices (these are multiple choice tests) and why the correct answer made the most sense even if you didn't quite know what it was.

Also see on Love2learn:

Homeschooling High Schoolers Section
Homeschool-Friendly Catholic Colleges

1 comment:

Karen E. said...

Thanks for this, Alicia!