Why is it important to demonstrate interest?
Just like in the middle school cafeteria, finding out that someone "likes you likes you" is a huge ego boost. You suddenly see the other person with new, somewhat rose-colored glasses. This "halo effect" can make a big difference in your student's chances of admission. A student "on the bubble" (not a clear admit or deny) who demonstrates interest may be admitted over the student who seems to be less interested in the school.
Homeschoolers have a lot of advantages in the college search. They have more time to work on special projects, more freedom to choose interesting classes, more time and freedom to find opportunities for leadership and community service. Even the most highly selective colleges are happy to accept homeschoolers in large numbers. In fact, in 2014 Stanford University accepted 27% of the homeschoolers who applied, vs 5% of the conventionally-schooled students.
But homeschoolers do have a big disadvantage: their "school" experience is so outside the norm, they need to find a way to communicate all that they are to Admissions officers. Colleges who are unable to see that you are ready for higher education and capable of doing the work will not admit you. Traditionally, this explanation has been done via physical portfolio. It still is, but there's a much easier way to create and share all this information.
Creating a website
For those who have not done this before, the very idea is intimidating. "I don't know how to code! What is HTML? Don't people do this for a living?" New free hosting sites like Weebly and Wix take all that scary coding stuff and replace it with easy to use templates and drag-and-drop functionality. I'm going to focus on Weebly because that's the site I used to build the sample portfolio website, but the same thing can be done with Wix or Wordpress. (Another option is a Linked In resume, but I find having a website is more easily customizable and less unwieldy.)
Lessa Scherrer is an college admissions consultant who has worked with college-bound students for many years. She is a member of NACAC and WACAC and also teaches ACT Prep, speed-reading, college study skills and college-level writing.
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