Online students, like all high school students wanting to attend college, need a strong application to qualify for a competitive school. Parents and students may wonder how to strengthen an online student’s college application.
Personal Statement and Recommendations
A strong personal statement or essay can go a long way in making a student stand out. Students can demonstrate writing skills as well as give personal insight. Colleges want students who demonstrate grit, so if an online student has extenuating circumstances or obstacles that have been overcome, this is the place to talk about these. Also, online students have learning coaches, teachers, and mentors that know them well enough to write a personalized recommendation.
Grades, Curriculum, and Test Scores
There’s no getting around it - grades and test scores are important measures colleges use to determine acceptance. An online student should try for the best grades possible. Students should do their best and work with teachers to bring up low scores. Standardized tests, like SAT and ACT, are optional for some colleges, and this is a growing trend, but many still require them. Parents can make sure to choose an online school with adequate test preparation and a challenging curriculum including Advanced Placement, Early College, or Concurrent Enrollment.
Some online schools offer Early College or Concurrent Enrollment courses to qualified students. Students are able to take college courses while in high school and earn dual credit. “Guaranteed transfer” courses are available at some community colleges. The credits earned in these courses are guaranteed to transfer to state schools, giving students a head start. Students who participate in any of these programs can already have college credits on their transcripts when applying for college!
Online students should make sure to list all their activities, including work experience, internships, and volunteer work. Sports, dance, music, and other arts should also be included so the college can see that the student is well rounded. Afterall, a college is accepting a whole person to their unique learning community - not just a set of scores!
Online students have many opportunities to strengthen their college applications. It’s never to early to start taking advantage of these and preparing a path towards higher education!