This is an update of our popular post about the School Profile. In the last year, the Common App has changed many things about how they address homeschoolers, but most of our advice remains the same.
The Common App has multiple places for you to provide information about your approach to homeschooling. These are in your account as your student’s school counselor. They offer three places: The profile section that all schools must complete, the ability to upload a School Profile document in the profile section, and the homeschool questions.
We strongly recommend that you create a school profile document and refer to that document in the homeschool questions. This allows you to control the narrative, edit the information into the format you want, and give colleges the type of documentation that they expect from schools.
The School Profile is a document that does two things. It will contextualize your homeschool approach and give the college some basic information. Except in rare cases, it should not be more than 2 pages long, so keep it short.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of what to include:
Step 1: Contact information
You’ll want to ensure that you provide:
- Your senior’s name
- Your homeschool name
- Homeschool address
- Phone number and email address
- Names of school officials (parents’ names and if you like, titles such as director or principal of school)
Step 2: Homeschool Philosophy and Context
- Explain why you homeschool — keep it simple, providing at most one or two examples. Avoid ranting about the local public schools. Instead, focus on some of the positive effects of homeschooling on your child.
- This is not the place to talk about your student as an individual. That’s what the counselor letter is for. This is all about why and how you homeschooled.
- Describe the curricula you used and if you chose outside classes, dual enrollment, or student-led opportunities and why.
- Include information about any local communities you might have been part of, such as if you were part of a homeschool co-op.
- With the proliferation of online programs, colleges are especially interested to hear what level of teacher interaction was common for homeschool students, so include that information here.
- Include information that contextualizes your homeschool choices, such as if certain resources were not available to you locally, like AP exam sites or dual enrollment, or if certain opportunities were available to you like internships and you prioritized those over more traditional requirements.
Step 3: Graduation Requirements
- Put your graduation requirements down. It’s fine to copy these from your local school district or copy and tweak them for your situation.
- Graduation requirements usually include at least 4 years of English and math, and at least 3 years of science and social studies.
- PE and health don’t matter much to colleges, but if you required them, you can include it here.
- You can additionally include any other requirements you set for your homeschooler, like that they complete an internship or do community service.
Step 4: Grading Scale, Weighting, and Test Scores
- Include your grading scale, including what number grade was equal to what letter grade, if your scale included +/- and what point value you assigned to each letter grade. Typically A = 4.0.
- State if you weight courses and how much, such as dual enrollment and AP courses.
- A single sentence statement about how grades were awarded often makes sense here for home-based grades, such as that home-based work was done to mastery.
Step 5: Homeschool Partners and Providers
- You should include all the places your student took outside courses, including co-ops, tutorials, online providers, and dual enrollment colleges.
- Many parents additionally provide a sentence or phrase of context for each provider, but it’s more important to be sure you’ve contextualized how you used providers in general in your opening section about your homeschool philosophy and approach.
Step 6: Proofread and Format For Legibility
- Use an easy-to-read font that’s not too small to read.
- Use a table or good headings to break up the text clearly. Lots of school profiles from brick and mortar schools use things like tables and color dividers.
The School Profile is a much shorter document than the Course Descriptions. It should be kept factual and not be emotional or long-winded. Admissions will not have hours to devote to these documents and will simply glance through to understand the most important features of your student’s application and to gain quick insight about your homeschool.
See our Course Descriptions how-to here.
Looking for more support? If so join our Facebook group College Confident Homeschoolers where we discuss everything related to homeschooling the high school years.