This spring my daughter went through a huge application process for a highly selective scholarship for high school expenses. Being homeschoolers who plan to continue homeschooling through high school, we didn't exactly fit the profile of past recipients. I knew this going in, but I was told that online tuition would be considered applicable expenses, though the organization was really looking for students to attend a brick and mortar school (I later found out many recipients attend boarding schools, which is definitely not in the future in our situation). Honestly, though, it was too big of an award not to give it a try, since my daughter met all the academic criteria (it was strictly merit-based) and we could really use some financial help to see us through high school.
Today was the day that semi-finalists were to be notified. Sadly, but rather expected, no one contacted us. I don't regret going through the lengthy process, though. I was told this particular application was quite similar to an application at the more selective colleges. As a result, I learned a lot. For starters, I learned that my record keeping was not up to par for an easy transcript process. I knew that to some extent, but my planned adjustments would not have been enough. I'd much rather know this now than at the end of high school! I also learned how to be more proficient with a graphics program in order to create a school logo (I know this sounds crazy, but the results looked great!) and that I really need to clearly document course descriptions for a future transcript legend. Since we discovered the scholarship a bit late in the process, I learned that college application time will likely be very stressful if it is a rushed process. (It won't be!)
Of course, it wasn't just mom learning; my daughter learned quite a bit too. This application required quite a bit of paperwork, essays, and projects from her. Reflection on past and current academic and extracurricular activities and ranking them in importance was a part of the application. She had to think about past honors and awards and again judge them on personal value. She had to carefully select which topics, some quite thought-provoking, to use for her essays. Also, a sample of previous work was to be selected and included. By the time the whole process was done, we were both glad to see the portfolio off.
In recognition of her hard work, I wanted to share one of her "essays". Applicants had the option of using an alternate form of media for at least one topic. For one question, "If you could talk to anyone who you have read about, who would it be and what would you ask?", my daughter decided on a video project about Anne Frank. She skipped a monthly art class to have some focused work on the project. When I returned home with my son, it was nearly completed. I think she did a fabulous job and just had to share! Please click the link to the right of the photo below.
Note: There is one rather graphic picture from a concentration camp in the video. Please make sure you don't have any unprepared children within viewing range and use your own discretion. I was going to embed the video in this post, but YouTube has selected this particular photo for the preview photo.
Sure, we would have loved to have received a call today to schedule an interview for the next step, but things don't always work out that way. I have no doubt that she would have received the scholarship, if that is what would have been best for her. Perhaps not having the funds will allow more freedom in our selections or will spark creativity that will result in better resources that we wouldn't have found otherwise. Either way, I'm thankful for what we learned with the process of applying and I feel much more confident about future college applications!