The P's and Q's of High School Portfolios
- Thursday, November 19, 2009
Is it time to start putting together your graduate's high school portfolio? If so, do not be worried. All you have to do is mind your P's and Q's.
The primary purpose of putting together a high school portfolio is to be fully prepared if a portfolio is required for admission to a college or university. (Incidentally, many junior colleges don't even request transcripts if you are still in high school and taking dual credit classes.) Even if your child is not making plans to attend college soon, he may change his mind years later, and then it will be much more difficult to create an effective portfolio. Also, many employers may ask for a high school portfolio, including government employers. A good high school portfolio also can provide a beautiful way to commemorate and celebrate all of your student's achievements.
Your graduate's portfolio should be professional. Include all the traditional elements of a portfolio. Portfolios should be typed. Use a clean, traditional font and print it on crisp, white paper. There will be plenty of opportunity to focus on your scholar's personality later. In the first few pages, show that you can conform to normal standards, and present the facts clearly and concisely.
Celebrate the fact that your scholar is home educated. Include personal information to the extent that it reflects the unique and positive attributes of your student. For example, if your child has been taking piano lessons for twelve years and works with the local symphony, include that information. If your student has a grass cutting business, is the town babysitter, goes on mission trips every year, or volunteers at the public library, include that information too.
Cite your graduate's work experience. Some work experience can be applied toward high school credits. Include work experience on the course list, along with corresponding grades. If the work does not represent enough hours to count toward class credits, then record those experiences as extracurricular activities. Also include things such as significant travel. If your family goes on educational trips to Washington, D.C. or to state parks, document that information. Brainstorm about what makes your student unique and find ways to present those attributes succinctly.
When applying for admission to colleges or applying for scholarships, your child may be asked to provide several personal references. Ask numerous people for references and then use the best ones. Start collecting these letters in your student's early high school years. Ask coaches, teachers, Scout leaders, youth leaders, employers, mission trip coordinators, and others to write letters about your children as these relationships occur and as they come to their natural conclusions.
You can use these letters for a variety of purposes (e.g., college admissions, scholarships, and job applications, as well as scrapbooking). If your student is already approaching graduation, you can still ask for these references, but when you do, offer a bullet point list of your child's achievements to date so that the individual will have some pertinent information to include in his letter.
Consider the typical questions that a college admission person would want to know before admitting your child. Make sure you can answer these questions before they are asked. For example, if you include GPA records, also provide the scale you used and state whether it is weighted or unweighted. If your child took some classes outside the home, include footnotes citing when and where each class was taken. If your student participated in outside activities in which others assigned scores or evaluations, be sure to include those scores and briefly explain how they were assigned and by whom, if possible.
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