Make sure to read 15 Ways to Position Your Child for College Scholarships, Part 1 

 

Here are four more important components to build into your home-school program that will result in competitive applications for college funding.  More importantly, these are life-changing experiences that prepare your children to embrace what God has in store for them:

 

3.      Learn to write essays that are engaging and reflective and show potential for intellectual growth.   A writing-intensive program from the elementary grades onward will produce fluid, confident writers.  And that will come across in college application essays.  Writing is a great learning tool. Use it in your program regularly to help kids process what they are thinking about, observing, feeling, and experiencing. 

 

     Since kindergarten, I’ve always had my four children engaged in at least 1 writing assignment weekly. These assignments were usually not drawn from a composition program, but rather were suggested by them.  Sometimes it came from our science studies; sometimes from our history; sometimes from field trips, family reunions, or humorous adventures with pets or friends; but always, it was something my kids were already interested in.  I might help them brainstorm on a possible topic, but in the end the writing piece was about something they wanted to say. Writing is, at its core, a form of self-expression – that’s what we want to emphasize as we teach our children to write.

 

That’s also the purpose of college and scholarship application essays – to reveal the character of the student.  Face-to-face interviews are just not possible. So it is important for our kids to learn how to put their best foot forward in an essay. This means learning to use the English language to reveal who we are.  It means finding our unique writing voice (similar to our spoken voice, but more thoughtful, deliberate, and formal).

 

Scholarship committees use the essay to look for indications of leadership potential, intellectual curiosity, initiative, and openness to growth. These are characteristics necessary to make the most of the opportunities that scholarship committees are making possible for students. They are also looking for students they’d enjoy having in their classrooms.  If these are strengths your children possess, then help them emphasize them through what they reveal about themselves in their essays. 

 

There are several good books on the market that include examples of successful college application essays. I recommend How to Write A Winning College Application Essay by Michael Mason (available at Debrabell.com).