High School Electives and College

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My daughter is working on a group project this week, for her college leadership class.  It is part of leadership honors program, which will be offering her the chance of doing an internship next year.  She is hoping to do one at our state legislature.  We were so glad that she got into this program.

  Did you know that her high school electives and activities helped her get her there?  Whatever your child is interested in, high school electives are an important part to them getting into college.

AND, there is so much more to homeschooling high school than just meeting your college admission requirements.  Our teens want to explore the world around them, follow their interests, and delve into new subjects. There's nothing better than watching your teen delve into a subject of interest, seeing that wonderful spark as it is ignited....  

Colleges want to hear about their applicant's interests and special skills.  And often, your teen's activities can also lead to that all important college recommendation letter. 

 Sharing Electives with the College
Sharing electives helps the college admissions dept. get to know your student and her accomplishments.  This can happen right on the application, through the homeschool transcript, or as part of the college essay. 

On the Application -  There is a section for listing activities, volunteering, etc, right on the common application.  It is easy to do, just filling in the blank...

On the Homeschool Transcript - Special interests can be made into electives courses, and listed on your teen's transcript.

In the College Essay -  There are essay questions to answer here, for sure, but the colleges also want to hear about your teen's unique interests and skills, as well.  Depending on the essay question that your student chooses, the college essay can be a place to share special interests as well.  

So,  back to the fun of electives..... Here's what we did for my daughter's high school activities and electives:  

I encouraged my daughter to explore her interests and to try out different activities that she might be interested in.  Isn't that what homeschooling is about anyway?  

These were her choices during middle and high school.  (We are an only child family, so we had more time than most families for outside activities.)

Assisting in a Science Class

In middle school, my daughter was particularly interested in science, so when an opportunity to assist in a science class came up, we went for it!  

My daughter developed her confidence through this experience.  The  teacher helped her to assist with the science labs, and to lead one class by herself each semester.  She liked doing this, but decided that she didn't want to become a teacher after all!  She wanted to explore being a leader in another way..., and maybe not in science...

This TA experience resulted in a  college recommendation letter from the science teacher. 

The common application for college usually requires a letter from a teacher and the school counselor.  
 But for homeschoolers, we can often use letters that come other sources, such as coaches, co-op teachers, or other leaders in our student's activities. 

Irish Stepdancing

My teen started irish dance in 3rd grade, and then continued with it through high school.  This was an interest of hers, and her friend was in the class.  She took irish stepdancing until 17, then took a modern dance class.  

We included the irish dance activity in the college application, as she had done this for over nine years. And she showed a progressively developed skill.  This showed perseverance and a skill in an area of interest, which is one of the things that colleges are looking for. 
Modern dance was also a help in our homeschool, as it was a great way to get in PE.  These activities can be counted for PE credit.

Irish also helped in another way...One of our prospective colleges asked for an essay on multicultural issues.  My teen decided to share her experiences in irish dance, and how she had learned about the irish culture, and developed an appreciation for cultural differences.

Video Production  

My teen wanted to learn how to make her own videos, so we just made our own homemade course for that.  It was easy. We just kept track of the hours that she spent researching and making videos. 

Vidomaking was the most fun activity that we did together, during her senior year.  It developed her skills in photography and videomaking, added to her college application, and  helped her to develop organizational skills as well. 


My daughter loved volunteering at our local Museum of Flight, for a couple of summers.  She worked with others to make a video, and helped with their camp program.  Volunteering is such a great way for teens to gain experience, and our college choices loved to hear about her volunteer efforts.  

This experience included counselor training, which got my teen interested in developing her leadership skills further.  

Youth and Government

Then my daughter heard about a Youth and Government delegation that was led by a homeschooling mom, in our area.  So my daughter joined.  She ran for office, starting with secretary, then committee chair, then VP. What great experience for a teen!

She also went, with her delegation, to district and state events, where she got to serve in other roles as well.  She found a number of friendships there.  And this resulted in another college application recommendation letter! So helpful!

All dressed up to participate in the Youth Mock Legislature.

Youth and Government is offered in 33 states.  I highly recommend it, if your teen is interested in leadership and/or wants to learn about state government.

There are so many places to volunteer and learn leadership skills in our communities.  Parks Depts. have youth boards, and counselor-in-training programs.  Then there is the YMCA, YWCA, Scouts, church and co-op activities, and Speech and Debate, etc.  Leadership skills is something that many colleges look for, as well as special interests and electives.

What are your teens interested in?  What are your favorite high school electives?  Link up and share your story!  And I love hearing from you, too, so feel free to leave a comment or even two. 

Have you seen my new book yet?

Get my best tips on college from a homeschool perspective!  Make your high school planning easier! 

Kindle is $7.17 on Amazon   

"Betsy's book is a terrific resource for homeschooling parents who are planning to send their teens to college.  As a homeschool upperclassman advisor, I can attest that the information is spot on.  Also the book is chock full of resources with links and lots of helpful forms.  Be sure you are ready to take notes while you read!"
........Vicki Tillman, from www.7sisters.com

More high school posts are on Pinterest here: Homeschooling High School Pinterest Board

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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  1. The Irish Step Dance class looks like it was a ton of fun!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  2. Thanks, Jill R.! I love reading the posts on the Thoughtful Spot, full of great ideas. Hope you have a nice Memorial Day weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Awesome post! I can't believe I am getting close to having high schoolers again.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Wow, Dawn Rebekah, high schoolers again! You must be quite the expert. I hope that your second time with high schoolers is a great one! Thanks for stopping by,


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