Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting through the door.

While I had very confidently told critics that the path into college would be there when we got there, I knew that the details might be challenging.  I also knew that we had pursued a solid academic program and that once our children were in university classrooms, they would be able to show that they belonged there.

When Kaylin completed her twelfth year of home education, she was not sure what vocation she should seek, so she spent a year working.  Partway through that year, she visited the campus of a small university college where a friend was a student, and the size and feel of the school appealed to her, so we began to look into admissions.

At that time, some home education experts were extolling the virtues of the portfolio for college applicants.  This version of the portfolio filled a two inch binder and covered every aspect of the life of the student, from academics in tedious detail, through hobbies, volunteer and paid work, family background, travel, and anything else you could take a photo of or get a certificate for.  It seemed so over-the-top to us that we had never even begun the accumulation of the contents of such a portfolio.  (a couple of years later when our son and I were visiting a college registrar, she specifically asked me to tell home educators not to produce these books of data.  Her exact words:  "What I am supposed to do with a picture of a horse?")

Instead, we visited the college and talked with admissions people there.  Since Kaylin wanted to be admitted into their ARts program, they required proof that her reading and writing skills were sufficient for university level work.  We wrote up a basic transcript of the high school level work she had completed, including a list of the books she had read.  Even though I had not given percentage grades at the time, I reviewed her work and gave a grade for each subject.  We also submitted an essay she had written as proof of her writing skills.  She had a brief interview with a professor and she was accepted.

She attended Taylor University College for one year.  Unfortunately, it was too small a school to offer a sufficient range of classes for her to complete the degree she wanted, and she transfered to MacEwan College to have a more options.  From MacEwan, she transferred again to the University of Calgary for two specialized years in the faculty of Social Work.   Even before she had completed her B. S. W., she was researching her options for graduate studies at other universities either in Social Work or Law.  

Unfortunately, Taylor has since closed its doors, so her path to a degree is no longer available.  But the route she took can still be replicated through other schools.  We in Alberta are blessed to have the university college option, especially for our children who do not have diplomas or credits. 

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