A portfolio application to university

This is the second post in a three-part series called From Homeschool to University.

To apply to Concordia, Céline used her homeschool high school transcript and portfolio of academic studies. As a homeschool graduate she was required to submit reference letters to prove her academic and social readiness for university level study. Additionally, because she had not gone directly from high school to university she needed a resume. In a nutshell, a bunch of paperwork was required.

She also had to present her artistic portfolio (not the same as her academic portfolio) in an interview and submit a letter of intent for the theatre department in specific. And because she wasn't sure she'd get accepted into that selective program she also applied into the general design program, writing a letter of intent and submitting an artistic portfolio online for that program also.

It was a season of gathering, sourcing, creating, and uploading many documents.

Just a note here about homeschool transcripts and portfolios. The year after Céline finished high school I made her transcript, a one page summary of her high school education. I also compiled a comprehensive portfolio showcasing her high school work and providing evidence for the transcript.

Roughly half of Céline's high school education was course based. Some courses were offered through our homeschool co-op, others were online. Any grades given were included on the transcript but only a few of her high school courses were graded. The rest of her education was activity or project-based. All of these were listed on her transcript, without grades.

The portfolio (not to be confused with the artistic portfolio) explained and showcased all the elements of Céline's high school education - projects, courses, hobbies and personal pursuits, and employment-related learning.

This portfolio and transcript were partial components of Céline's university application. Like I mentioned above, she was also interviewed and presented her artistic portfolio, as part of the admission requirements for her particular program.

A couple weeks after her artistic portfolio interview in March she was invited into her first choice program, Design for Theatre, with approximately 12 other students. It's a small class in a small program, which is perfect for Céline's interests and temperament. And then we waited to hear confirmation of her acceptance into the university, which took another couple weeks.

Natsumi, summer 2012

Individual programs conditionally accept students based on their qualifications for that program, but the students must meet university entrance requirements also. By mid-April we received confirmation of Céline's acceptance into Concordia and she started registering for fall classes.

After all that work I was so happy for Céline, and also relieved. High school success is not defined by university acceptance. There are many paths after high school and through life. But it was my goal for her high school, and schooling in general, that Céline would have what she needed in terms of academic experience, skills, and attitude to successfully enroll in post-secondary schooling (not necessarily university), if that's what she choose.

Her acceptance was a validation that we met that goal.

While Céline was applying to Concordia we were waiting to hear from the National Theatre School.

Initially Céline wasn't even going to apply to the National Theatre School. It's a highly selective program. Out of approximately 200 applicants less than a dozen are accepted into the theatre design program each year. It was a long shot but after we toured the school last fall Céline felt emboldened to at least try, which is our educational philosophy anyway, keep trying things. The application process, where you design a set and costumes for a play, would be good experience alone.

Céline took the challenge and applied. She made it to the second round, the interview and portfolio review, but in the end she was not accepted into the program. It was a disappointment but not unexpected either. By this stage she had already been accepted to Concordia so the disappointment was mitigated with her successful university application.

This post was the longish story of her application process and the first post in this series was the shortish story of her post high school years thus far. Up next is the series conclusion.

Céline's decision to study in a creative field wasn't a foregone conclusion but it also felt like a natural next step in her education and life. She's been sewing since she was five or six and has never lost her interest in making things.

Over the years I've written about her projects and creativity and here are links to some of those posts showing the progression of her interests and work.

« And then it was summer
Spiritual journeys and surviving crisis with compassion and community »

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