Monday, June 21, 2010

Portfolio University Entrance

More and more learners and their families are looking toward homeschooling as an alternative to attending brick and mortar schools. But for kids who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education and who do not want to stay within the confines of provincial curriculum (or high school DL courses), it can be a concern to figure out how to get into the university of their choice... without that Dogwood in hand.

A recent article on the Press Enterprise website discussed how American universities are moving towards reviewing portfolios for homeschoolers, rather than expecting traditional transcripts.

Robert Wilkinson learned physics and chemistry from his father.

Family vacations to his native Canada doubled as educational field trips.

When it came time to apply to college, Wilkinson was long on experience but short on written transcripts.

Robert Wilkinson, 18, was among the first group of home-schooled students admitted to UC Riverside in fall 2006 under a new policy that allows them to submit portfolios showing how they met academic requirements, instead of standard transcripts.

Not a problem at UC Riverside, the first UC campus and one of the first public research universities in the nation to recruit students who were home-schooled at the kitchen table or on the road instead of inside a classroom.

"These students are very prepared for college-level work and doing very well here," said Merlyn Campos, interim admissions director.

More colleges and universities are reaching out to home-schooled students by altering admissions requirements to accommodate their nontraditional high school experiences.

So, how does one create a portfolio?

Home Education Magazine has an excellent article online that discusses portfolio assessment. The author, Ana McDonald, shares ideas for not only what can go into the portfolio, but why the portfolio process is so helpful for the learner.

Accountability and ownership are the hallmarks of this child centered approach to learning. By providing structure, Portfolio Assessment supports children's interests while lending the objective validity necessary to bridge the gap between home and traditional education. It does so by focusing on children's successes, on what they can do instead of what they can't, on what they do know instead of what they don't. Having a visible, tangible record of what they have accomplished gives children validation of their innate abilities and motivates them to accomplish more. By giving children control, Portfolio Assessment teaches them about their own strength and power.

Years ago, I compiled a list of possible portfolio components when I worked at an alternate program for high school kids in Vancouver. It may come in handy for those kids who are looking toward a non-traditional approach to college or university entrance... or who are preparing for the job market without a high school diploma.

Your portfolio is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and give the viewer a sense of who you are and what you’ve done. It can be as creative, professional, academic, amazing and varied as you want it to be: the flavour is up to you!
You may decide to include the following items in your portfolio:
· Test scores (AP and other), transcripts (from previous high schools, OLA, correspondence, music exams/festivals) 
· Written or digital products such as essays, stories, newspaper clippings, research reports, poems, video documentaries, self-produced films, reports on campaigns (for instance, on environmental issues or in politics) 
· Documentation on the operation of a small business: business plan, accounting, etc. · Resume, marketing letter 
· Artistic products such as sketches, photographs, paintings, jewelry, tapes or records, clothes, sculptures, digital art, designs and constructions (some of these can be pictorial representations, such as photographs, or, if you are an artist, slides are preferred) 
· Other products such as architectural constructions, scientific models, gardens, inventions, a newspaper or magazine, and furniture 
· Proof that skills have been mastered, such as certificates, reports from courses, letters of testimony, and live demonstrations (or on video) 
· Proof that proposed activities have been completed, such as verified reports, photographs, videotapes and written or oral verification by supervisors or observers 
· Letters of recommendation by mentors, learning specialists, teachers, employers, instructors… anyone who knows who you are and something about what you’ve done 
· Anything else that I’ve missed that you feel is a part of your life experience that you want people to know about!

Even if you decide to never attend post-secondary schooling, it may be fun for you to have a record of the things you've done on hand. Just for fun.

Happy portfolio creating.

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