Posted in 2024, HS4CC

Free College Application Fees

If your teen will graduate in 2024, you’re probably looking for some free application fees to help offset the cost of applying to colleges. We have a crowd sourced list of colleges with free application codes/weeks/months, and statewide initiatives.

Do you have a free application code for an institution or a statewide initiative to report? Please comment and we will add it to our growing list!

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Posted in HS4CC

Animation Careers and Colleges

Some of you may know that one of my kids is on an art track – likely something in Animation. I posted some of these links already in the HS4CC CS/IT Cybersecurity and Tech Facebook group, but I thought the resources might be useful to our blog readers and families in the other HS4CC groups. If you have useful resources you’d like to share, please add them to the comments!

Career Research

Here is a great interview we did in the HS4CC CS/IT Cyber Tech group April 2022 with Mark Anderson of Archetype Entertainment – worth watching for students interested in Game and Animation art! My daughter and I still talk about this interview – he shared such great information with us!

Careers in Animation Profiles – make particular note of the average salaries and consider using an ROI calculator such as PayScale, or research independently using to compare these degrees to others (or no degree).

Join our HS4CC CS/IT Cybersecurity and Tech Facebook group – we discuss anything tech related – that includes digital art mediums! Last April was Animation and Game Design month and MANY resources were posted!

If a college sends you an invitation to their Alumni events – GO! We recently attended one for Ringling College and it was fantastic! Alumni were very willing to talk about what they were doing, right/wrong paths, networking, career insights, some offered feedback on my daughter’s portfolio on the spot! Thankfully, she had some of her work on her phone, but next time she might bring her sketchbook like 1 or 2 other kids did. She walked away with contact info for 3-4 alumni who were happy to mentor or give portfolio feedback. We only saw a handful of prospective students – I was surprised so few showed up. I will warn you though, I walked out of there trying to figure out how to pay to send her to Ringling. 😉

Building a College List

2023 Top 50 Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S. – Animation Career Review has MANY different college lists – by state, by country, and by a few different majors. Some of the state schools that didn’t make it on the Top 50 list might be useful to fit a budget. This is a great place to start, but don’t forget about your local in-state colleges! It’s what you can do with your skills that matters in the end.

The Academic Background of Pixar Animators

Look for Animators names on movies or reels or comics you like and check out their online portfolios, which often includes their academic backgrounds. Art Station, Instagram, etc are great places to search for them. If you frequently see a college name come up – consider adding it to your college list!

Look at the 2022-2023 Women in Animation Scholarship winners and note where they’re all attending school!

2023 Pre-College or Summer Camps

Below is a list of possible pre-college or summer camps – this is obviously not an exhaustive list. Following this chart is a series of additional options! I do NOT have specific feedback on the quality of any of these camps. They’re research I’m doing for my own student that I’m sharing. A few of these do offer college credit (in bold), but they’re 1-3 cr total and will almost certainly be electives only. Deadlines are rapidly approaching on many of them, and some had sections with waitlists already, so it’s best to act asap if interested in any of them. A few required portfolio submissions. Most had a need-based scholarship option and a couple had merit based scholarships – all of which have earlier deadlines than the cut off for the camp.

DatesCampLocationAgeLength in daysCost
7/17 – 7/28Univ of Central FLOrlando, FLgrades 10,11,1211$950.00
Ringling Pre-College programSarasota, FLhigh school7$6,200.00
7/3-7/8The Animation Workshop – 3D drawing & AnimationViborg, Sweden16 – ?5$516.00
7/3 – 7/14Gobelins – Summer School in Character AnimationParis, Franceany age. under 18 must stay off campus w/parent11$2,794.00
7/10-28SVA Pre-college – lots of choicesNY, NY14-18yrs (thru rising seniors)18$3,125.00
?VFS Vancouver Film SchoolVancouver, CA16+5$500.00
6/25 – 8/25CalArts Summer Intensivesonline asynch14+56$1,000.00
6/30 – 7/22Parsons – Paris Summer programParis, France16-1822$9,500.00
6/26-6/30GnomonHollywood, CA14-185$895.00
7/10-8/3The Cooper Union Summer Art IntensivesNY?15-1816$4,000.00
6/25-722 or
NY Film Academy 3D Animation (4wks)NY and LAteens20$5,425.00
6/5-9 or
6/12 – 16 or
6/20 – 23
UT Austin Animation & Art CampsAustin, TXhigh school5$800.00
7/10 – 8/3LCAD Laguna College of Art & Design Pre-College Animation JamLaguna Beach, CAhigh school16$750.00
6/5-16UNT (Texas) CVAD Summer CampsDenton, TXhigh school10$820.00
7/12-30MCAD Pre-College SUmmer SessionMinneapolis, MNcompleted 10, 11 or 12 grade18$3,500.00
7.10-14 or 7/17-21Lesley College Pre-College ProgramCambridge, MA10,11,125$395.00

List of programs by ArtProf

The Best Animation Summer Programs for High School Students

Animation Mentor – while not really summer camps, we’ve heard professionals have used their courses to update their skills.

Story Xperiential – $150/yr Youth membership. Lessons from Pixar storytellers, livestreams, peer and support feedback, etc.

Elite Animation Classes

Vertex School – year round classes similar to Animation Mentor above

Tips on Choosing a Summer Animation Program

I think the “best” summer camp is the one you can afford and your student learns comfortably at. Here are a few other considerations:

  • I look to see who is teaching the camps – are they just undergrads or grad students? I’ve sometimes had sketchy results from things taught exclusively by undergrads. It could be creative and fun or it could be a gab fest in which your kid is allowed to play Minecraft all day and goof off – which I don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for.
  • Are they being taught by actual instructors at the colleges?
  • Is it being outsourced to a “camp company” who is just using space on the college campus or elsewhere?
  • What skills does my student NEED and will the course teach them that?
  • What skills are my student expected to already know before arriving for the event?
  • What software will they be using?
  • Am I providing a laptop and software or is the program?
  • Is the software something actually used in the industry or just something free they’re using? At high school level it should be industry standard software, not Alice or scratch or something like that. I think Blender is fine though – it’s very similar to Maya. Maya is common, sometimes Adobe products, Zbrush, etc.
  • Will my student be working on things that will help build their portfolio for college or career?
  • Might my student end up with a nice Letter of Recommendation? (will other colleges care about that LOR?)
  • Is room and board included or separate?
  • What are the days/hours of actual instruction?
  • Can my student optionally work in their lab after camp? Is there a fee for it (yes a couple had an extra fee!)
  • What are the ages – a few camps I came across included adults – several were in Europe, but still a good thing to be aware of
  • Would my student rather do online or in person camp?
  • If online, is it all pre-recorded or is there an opportunity to interact with the instructors, and other students?
  • Will we need to pay extra for transportation? (one had an option to include a transportation pass or not – it was in Paris, I think).
  • Are there any planned activities or excursions? Opportunities to make friends?

Hungry for more resources?

You might be interested in our wrap up blog post for Animation and Game Design month last April.

What resources have YOU found? Share them in the comments to help your homeschool community!

Posted in HS4CC

ASU Study Hall Program

Study Hall (SH) is a separate learning offering recently launched by Arizona State University that utilizes Universal Learner Courses (UL). Building on an existing partnership, ASU, Crash Course, and YouTube have launched Study Hall, which aims to become the destination for college hopefuls to understand how to navigate college, explore majors and fields of study, and start earning credits for first-year college general education requirements with as little friction as possible.

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Posted in HS4CC

ASU Universal Learner and ASU Study Hall Live Info Session

On April 4th, 2023 at 7pm CDT, Homeschooling for College Credit is hosting an information session with Arizona State University’s Universal Learner team to discuss what the Universal Learner and Study Hall programs are, how they can be used by homeschoolers to earn college credit, and answer any questions attendees may have about the two programs. Sign up for the information session here

Here is the Recording from the event and the Q&A Document.

What is the Universal Learner (UL) program?

ASU’s Universal Learner program, formerly known as the Earned Admissions program, is a unicorn in the college world. Students of any age in any part of the world can sign up for regionally accredited (the gold standard) college courses with no hassles, no need to send your transcripts, no red tape, no placement tests, and no risk to a student’s GPA. If the student doesn’t get the grade they want, simply do not pay the $400 at the end of the course and there is no record of the course. Retake the courses as many times as needed for just a minimal $25 sign-up fee and pay the $400 to transcript the course when you are satisfied with the grade. Find out the full scope of the program.

What is Study Hall?

Study Hall (SH) is a separate learning offering recently launched by Arizona State University that utilizes Universal Learner Courses (UL). Building on an existing partnership, ASU, Crash Course, and YouTube have launched Study Hall, which aims to become the destination for college hopefuls to understand how to navigate college, explore majors and fields of study, and start earning credits for first-year college general education requirements with as little friction as possible.

Continue reading “ASU Universal Learner and ASU Study Hall Live Info Session”
Posted in HS4CC

ASU Prep Digital Live Information Session for Concurrent College Courses

On March 27, 2023 at 7pm CDT, Homeschooling for College Credit is hosting an information session with Arizona State University’s Prep Digital team to discuss their concurrent college courses program, how they can be used by homeschoolers to earn college credit, and answer any questions attendees may have about the programs. This program allows homeschool high school students to take college courses at a discounted rate from the regular ASU college course catalog ($200/cr + books/fees) versus ASU’s Universal Learner/Study Hall programs that offer a shorter list of college courses at an even deeper discount ($425/course inclusive of books, plus GPA protection). Sign up for the ASU Prep Digital Information Session here. The zoom event will be capped at 100 attendees and will be recorded for those who cannot attend. Live Q&A from attendees will be at the end of the event.

There are a couple of great advantages that I think will help many of our families using this program:

  1. This program allows students to take almost any course from the ASU regular course catalog, including upper-level credit, as long as prerequisites are met, and the course isn’t restricted. Upper-level credit is much harder to get access to at a discounted rate, and as a high school student, so this potentially opens many doors for degree planning and savings on college tuition!
  2. Students can send the transcripts from other colleges to ASU for evaluation and to fulfill prerequisites for other courses at ASU
  3. The student can get assistance from their success coach to determine what classes are needed for the degree plan – this is a great advantage for students planning to attend ASU for their 4yr degree!

These courses are available to our homeschool community as part of the “part time” program at ASU Prep Digital. ASUPD will be specifically discussing this part-time program, the college courses our students can take from the full regular catalog at ASU at a discounted rate while in high school, and a tiny bit about their high school courses for high school credit only. (ie if you’d like them to teach Algebra 1, or 9th grade English, etc… – for high school credit only).

ASUPD does have a full-time online virtual school, but we will not be discussing that program tonight, as it’s outside the scope of our group. Families interested in their full-time school would need to attend one of the information sessions posted on their website for questions about that.

For those interested in also attending the ASU Universal Learner/Study Hall information session to learn more about this unique program, sign up for that session being held on 4/4/23 at 7pm CDT here!

Both the ASU Prep Digital Information Session and the Universal Learner/Study Hall Information Sessions will be recorded and made available along with the Q&A document from each session.

Here is the RECORDING from the 3/27/23 Information Session with ASU Prep Digital.

Join our HS4CC with ASU Courses Facebook group on Facebook for help selecting courses, course reviews and discussions, and much more! We discuss ASU’s various programs such as Universal Learner, Study Hall, and ASU Prep Digital from a homeschool point of view.

Posted in HS4CC

Differences between ASU’s Various Portals, ASU Prep Digital, and being a student at ASU?

Arizona State University has several programs, and each has pros and cons. If you’re wondering about the differences between the various programs offered by Arizona State University- this post explains how each works in your HS4CC program.

Read more: Differences between ASU’s Various Portals, ASU Prep Digital, and being a student at ASU?

A bit of History

A little history might help! In the early days of MOOC’s, ASU created a program called Global Freshman Academy on edX – the last vestiges of the program can be seen in the link provided. Students could choose from a small selection of classes, pay a small fee, take the course, and pay $600 (at the time) to transcript the credit at ASU. The Earned Admissions program spun off from this, originally targeting adults returning to college, and addressed, to a certain extent, the concerns of many adults to pass the 3 areas that are traditionally blockades to earning a college degree: English, Maths, Sciences. The pitch was to earn 24 credits with a C or higher and receive auto admissions to ASU.

What is the Universal Learner (UL) program?

As word spread, the courses began to gain traction among a wider group of students, such as gifted students, homeschools, and public schools. ASU’s renamed the Earned Admissions Program to the Universal Learner program last year to better encompass and represent this widening demographic. The program is a unicorn in the college world, we know of no other program that includes all of the features this program provides. Students of any age in any part of the world can sign up for regionally accredited (the gold standard) college courses for $25, with no hassles, no need to send in your transcripts, no red tape, no placement tests, and no risk to a student’s GPA. If the student doesn’t get the grade they want, simply do not pay the $400 at the end of the course and there is no record of the course. Retake the courses as many times as is needed for just a minimal $25 sign-up fee. Students can sign up with a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, public school ID, or some have used homeschool ID’s. Find out the full scope of the program.

Students who solely take ASU UL courses at ASU are considered “visiting students” and are NOT considered a regular “fully enrolled” student at ASU. We discuss these differences deeper in the “fully enrolled” students section below.

What is the HS4CC UL Portal?

By 2020, our regular contact with the (at the time) Earned Admissions Support team led to new opportunities for our members, such as access to beta courses not open to the public, and it was determined that we needed a better way to manage these special options for our members, rather than adding each individual student to each new option. Initially, our members’ students were temporarily placed in the “hs” portal (the URL had in it, once logged in), which sort of lumped us together with other related groups. Later we were given our own HS4CC portal (the URL has in it once logged in), which is what we see today when we log in to and arrive at the student dashboard.

The HS4CC UL portal is a an educational partner portal that allows ASU to easily deliver special courses, pacing options, etc to our members. Students in the HS4CC UL Portal have access to ALL of the courses available in the main “public” Universal Learner Portal. We also have access to a growing number of courses ONLY available for enrollment from our HS4CC portal. At the time of this post, we currently have two different Poetry in America courses that will run back to back Fall and Spring semesters, as well as ENG105 Advanced First-Year Composition, which combines ENG101 English Composition 1, and ENG102 English Composition 2 into a single self-paced course, with faculty feedback, designed to run with a normal school year (August – June). Students must be in the HS4CC portal to see these courses and enroll.

Please note that Homeschooling for College Credit volunteers run the HS4CC with ASU Courses Facebook group and the HS4CC ASU UL Portal. We do not make money from ASU or the HS4CC portal; these are run as a service to the homeschool community.

What is ASU Prep Digital?

ASU Prep Digital is another unrelated program from ASU for smaller cross-section of the UL demographic: primary and secondary aged school children. Prep Digital is ASU’s virtual online school program, which is free to Arizona students or for a fee any primary or secondary school student outside of Arizona can join. While they also offer the virtual school for lower grades, for our purposes, we will focus on the high school/college credit portion of the program, which ASU refers to as “concurrent credit”. Full-time ASU Prep Digital students can take high school courses, and concurrent credit college courses at a discounted rate from ASU’s regular catalog of college courses. Prep Digital also allows students who don’t wish to be a full-time Digital Prep student, to take ala carte courses as a part-time student through their program. Students can optionally choose to take ala carte concurrent credit college courses from the main ASU catalog (along with fully enrolled college students). They charge about 1/2 rack rate, so ~$600/3cr – it’s charged per credit, plus fees, plus books, and unlike the Universal Learner (UL) courses, there is no opting out if you don’t like the grade. It’s like taking them at any other college for dual credit/enrollment/concurrent credit – there are drop dates, you pay upfront for the course, buy your own books, etc. If you withdrawal from a course, you will have a W on your transcript.

There is one other unique advantage to ASU Prep Digital concurrent credit courses that may make this option attractive to some students – nearly all of the ASU course catalog is open to their students to take, including upper level courses, provided prerequisites have been met, and there are no restrictions on the course. Upper level credits are extremely hard to source for concurrent/dual credit/enrollment students – Columbia College is the only other college that allows their dual credit students to take upper level courses, that I know of. If you’ve found other colleges/universities that allow access to upper level courses via dual credit, or if Columbia’s policy has changed, please share in the comments!

If your student is planning to attend ASU, and they have run out of UL courses to take, using extra courses through ASU Prep Digital would be another way to save money on tuition.

Students seeking discounted dual credit rates outside of their home state might find more attractive discounted rates on our Nationwide Dual Credit list (Under Type 1 RA Graded Credit | DE Master List — there are 3 separate classifications, revised annually).

To find out more about ASU Prep Digital programs, we suggest parents attend one of their Live Information Sessions. Be aware of some potential lingo changes while communicating with the college, as each state varies in how they define the terms dual credit, dual enrollment, and concurrent credit. While this is an old post, I believe it still holds true in how ASU defines these terms.

What’s the difference between taking courses in the ASU Portal and being a Regular “Fully Enrolled” ASU Student?

Students strictly taking courses through any ASU UL portal are considered “visiting students” at ASU, just as a student would be considered a visiting student if taking community college courses over the summer break from their regularly enrolled 4 year college. This means you do not have access to all of the services available to “regularly enrolled ASU students”, UL students can’t live in the dorms, and UL students aren’t eligible for financial aid.

A “regularly enrolled”, or sometimes we say “fully enrolled”, student at Arizona State University, has applied to ASU through the normal application process, and been accepted. Students can be admitted directly from that process, or admitted via the “earned admissions” route if the student fails to meet standard admissions requirements, but has completed the 24 credits via the Universal Learner program. “Failure” to meet standard requirements could be something as simple as not having the required number of documented high school science “labs”, exam scores, or it could be for other reasons. Once enrolled, they are an ASU student, rather than a “visiting student”.

ASU is a well known tier 1 research university that offers traditional on-campus degrees, and they have a sizeable list of fully online degrees. Note that students pursuing fully online degrees are still eligible for Federal student loans and grants, but they are not eligible for scholarships open to on-campus students (often called “merit aid”). ASU does have unique relationships with some businesses, such as Starbucks, and Uber to provide free tuition to their employees.

One other note! Do keep in mind that being admitted to ASU doesn’t guarantee that the student will be immediately admitted into the program of study of their choice. For instance, if the student is targeting an engineering degree, which is traditionally a highly competitive program to enter at any university, “earned admissions” does not guarantee admissions into the engineering program, only the university itself. Students may need to take courses and apply to the program again later for possible admissions into that specific program. Likewise, students planning to pursue degrees in less competitive programs may automatically be admitted into the program without issue.

How Can I Tell Which Portal I’m in?

To verify the student’s account is part of the HS4CC portal look at the URL after the student logs in – there should be “HS4CC” in the URL. See the URL example at the top of the image below (it has as the beginning of the URL):

Continue reading “Differences between ASU’s Various Portals, ASU Prep Digital, and being a student at ASU?”
Posted in HS4CC

Review of National Portfolio Day 2022!

National Portfolio Day (NPD) allows prospective students to meet one on one with professional representatives from a large selection of accredited art colleges and universities and receive valuable feedback and guidance on your portfolio prior to submitting their applications.

Read more: Review of National Portfolio Day 2022!

I had the privilege of escorting 2 aspiring artists through our first National Portfolio Day in Dallas, Texas in September. Both are Juniors in high school this year, and both considered this an excellent exploratory activity, with useful feedback from colleges.

We arrived after noon and left at 3:30pm, exhausted, but better informed than when we arrived. Portfolio feedback varied widely, from encouraging words to actionable advice. I had a pearl clutching moment as I listened to one of the college reps proudly announce a 50% employment rate after graduation, therefore I have included a link to independent statistics on each of the schools we visited. Please also note what fields graduates are primarily employed in when reviewing the stats. If your student is unwilling to become a teacher (the top employer from most art schools), these statistics might leave you scratching your head, as they did me. In fact, Jennifer Cook-DeRosa and I had a long discussion about the financial viability of such a path the next day!

Student 1 had a portfolio that included a sculpture, a charcoal drawing (observational piece), a pastel self portrait, several digital character designs on a white background, a photo of a 2 page sketch of a graphic novel page spread, a piece of digital fan art, a digital painting done from a vacation photo, a character design with different profiles, and a single digital graphic novel page with 2 inset frames overlapping a larger scene.

Student 2’s portfolio was primarily fan art (I didn’t see most of it, this is what she told me). She later said that was a big mistake, based on feedback from the day.

I wasn’t with Student 2 most of the time, so feedback below is primarily from Student 1’s portfolio, or what Student 2 chose to share with us.

Feedback given:

  • Common to all schools: add backgrounds to the work
  • some wanted more details in the work
  • most weren’t thrilled w/a lot (or any) fan art in the portfolio
  • some wanted to see a full body of work including things in the student’s major
  • some wanted foundational skills pieces primarily (RISD!)
  • Most offered Merit aid up to about 50%. Most based aid 50% on portfolio, 50% on GPA, essay, letters of recommendation, etc.
  • Most (all?) allowed transfer of about 12-15cr of gen eds. AP or dual credit. Possibly more could be accepted at a few of them if coming in as a transfer student rather than a freshman.
  • All of them commented positively on the giraffe mask/sculpture, the white on black charcoal observation piece, the colorful pastel self-portrait piece (color shift), the character design page with the character in several rotated positions, the graphic novel page with a full page and 2 insets, the 1 full page digital art piece with a background (from a vacation photo)
  • There was heavy emphasis on demonstrating the student can produce finished work rather than perpetual works in progress.


Montserrat Stats

  • Small school near Boston
  • He liked the piece w/full background from a vacation photo and the single person focus in the piece (it was a busy street but she included only 1 woman in red on Beale Street in Memphis)
  • He said be sure to include at least 2 pieces from direct observation (drawing from real life not photo)
  • Encouraged them both to move past fan art – he considered it good skill building, but move on to create your own work

School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC)

SAIC Stats

  • They want 10-15 images of your strongest pieces. No restrictions. Just looking for your style.
  • A theme or concept is sometimes helpful
  • She loved seeing the story unfold in the panels.
  • Student 1 described her love of color palette changes as you turn to a new page or to evoke an emotion, and non-standard page layout designs. She loved that and suggested maybe including that and her thoughts behind it. She noted a couple of teachers at the school who work in the industry who could help her expand on that.

Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD)

MCAD Stats

  • He liked the variety of work in the portfolio, stating it showed a broad spectrum of skills.
  • Suggested adding 1 or 2 short works of graphic novels in a completed state – perhaps 3-8 pages max.
  • He said Minneapolis is home to a large graphic art/novel community and the city hosts Autoptic Festival bi-annually.

Ringling College of Art & Design

Ringling stats page – I hear about high employment rates from Ringling, but I have to say their stats don’t reflect the praise I see online.

  • Suggested adding facial expression to the character design w/the character standing in various turned positions.
  • Suggested adding more texture w/the bees in the graphic novel page w/multiple scenes (and adding backgrounds)
  • B&W Digital piece- add more detail in some of the areas; complimented the eye twinkles and details in the eyes – they wanted to see more details in areas outside of the face (shoulders, etc)
  • Add to portfolio: sketches of things like hands and feet, more observational work (things you’re looking at in real life and drawing/painting/etc vs doing from a photo)
  • Add backgrounds to work!
  • They handed us a brochure on their $6k summer program and suggested applying early – Nov 1. There is financial aid available. The classes are taught by actual instructors from Ringling, not students/TA’s. She said sometimes the instructors will write letters of recommendation.

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD):

RISD Stats

  • focus on foundational skills (basic drawing, painting, etc skills). Everyone starts with the basic skills 1st year. 2nd year they move into courses in their major. Also, one of the admissions reps/recruiters was walking around to those in line emphasizing that their portfolio needs to demonstrate these basic skills, not just examples from your major!
  • She zoomed in on specific areas of a few pieces. On the scene that nearly every school seemed to like and commented favorably on, she zoomed in and showed the parts she liked with more color/shading details, and parts that needed more detail/shading/blending. We found this to be a very helpful action item.
  • on the white charcoal on black piece that most liked as a “observation” piece, she noted that the flat surface looked curved, and the can needed more details bc she couldn’t tell what it was, and more curvature added. Again, on point actionable advice! I honestly didn’t notice these things until she noted it.
  • She wasn’t terribly excited about fan art.
  • She liked the giraffe sculpture, but zoomed in to show where she would like to see more details added and gave specific suggestions. Actionable items! <3
  • Add backgrounds to work
  • In terms of just developing skills in the major (this wasn’t for the portfolio, just skill development in the area of interest), one of the RISD folks also enjoyed drawing comics/manga/graphic novels gave some suggestions. He suggested taking action figures with light sources and practicing drawing poses. Also, taking work you like and then redrawing it to see how favorite artists accomplished the lighting, shading, movement, etc. – then take it to the next step and do your own. He also suggested drawing to show movement by sketching things like leaves blowing, a piece of fabric blowing, or a character in motion.

Side note from RISD: There was an admissions person giving feedback to a student who wasn’t with us and I have to praise her feedback! We’d been watching the student show her portfolio all day – she’s very talented and happened to be in line with us frequently. The admissions officer gave her valuable portfolio feedback (add backgrounds, more details, tie tones together, etc) – but she also suggested that the student broaden her scope from just a Studio Art major and consider Illustration as a major because she said it had more employment opportunities. She would be able to go into a wider variety of fields like illustrating a children’s novel (she had a piece that looked like that), illustration for marketing/advertising, concept art, etc. She rattled off a long list of job opportunities and encouraged her to look at job listings to see what they were looking for. Folks – this is the ONLY time I’ve heard any college representative at ANY college fair we have attended talk about the job market and marketability in this way! I wanted to hug her! I turned to my companions and gave them a quick summary of what I’d overheard and we discussed the importance of looking at the return on investment. College is a means to an end – gainful employment and independence – it’s not the destination! More importantly, we’d like to achieve that goal without becoming lifelong indentured servants to student loan companies. We also discussed that these schools are $100-200k/4 years easily, each offering potentially up to 50% in merit aid (but don’t count on that), and that the maximum federal student loan total $27,500 over 4 years. So, that means scholarship applications are your new hobby, unless mom and dad are going to either foot the bill, take out parent loans, or cosign a loan – keeping in mind the latter options can have long term impact on your family relationships!

Strategy for the next NPD:

  1. Review the list of colleges expected in advance and see if they have a degree of interest – note Cost of Attendance numbers (so we can ask about merit aid/scholarships and what they’re based on), location, any specific questions about program, classes, housing costs and requirements, acceptance rates, any notes on portfolio requirements in case we need clarification, does aid stack or will outside aid reduce internal merit aid/scholarships, post graduation employment rates within their field and/or in general, will there be internship opportunities, etc
  2. Form a ranked list of colleges by urgency for review and discussion
  3. Note any summer programs, and any questions (are the classes taught by actual instructors from the school? Students/TA’s? Outside employees or vendors? Is there any college credit given and how does it apply to the degree? Will the instructors give letters of recommendation? What is the goal of the courses and variety? Will those pieces be used to build their portfolio for admissions or just for skill building or fun?)
  4. Upon arrival at the event, circle those colleges on the event map to find them quickly.
  5. Put ? on those for whom we have questions
  6. We noted many of the “high end” schools like RISD and Ringling had long lines most of the day, but by about 3pm their tables had short lines of 1-2 persons per line, so we were able to visit more schools by visiting them last. There is a cut off time that they’ll stop allowing more people to lineup for a review, so be aware of this, but we heard some saying their cut off to line up was about 3:15p – 3:30p and others were not busy so they didn’t appear to cut off lines early.
  7. Most of the schools had us fill out cards or an online form w/a QR code. Bringing standard address/BIO labels might speed things along, if that’s acceptable. The students received QR codes to show the schools, but none of them scanned it, unlike other college fairs that do use them. If they DO use the QR code, we suggest taking a screenshot of it and making that your cell phone’s lock screen image to hasten things along and not have to unlock your phone every booth.
  8. They both brought their portfolio in digital form on their iPads and none of the colleges seemed to have a problem with this. I even point blank asked several, including RISD and she said that the portfolio would be submitted digitally anyway, so bringing it in digital form is perfectly fine. Just be sure that any photos taken are the highest quality.
  9. Bring a clipboard and pen
  10. Bring a small backpack or bag for all of the brochures you’ll college

What is National Portfolio Day?

Continue reading “Review of National Portfolio Day 2022!”
Posted in HS4CC

FREE Self-Paced Training and Exam Voucher from (ISC)²!

Last Spring HS4CC members were given the opportunity to participate in the pilot program for the Entry-Level Cybersecurity certification by (ISC)². The certification has been renamed to: Certified in Cybersecurity. (ISC)², is the world’s leading cybersecurity professional organization known for the CISSP®. You don’t need experience for the Certified in Cybersecurity certification — just the passion and drive to enter a field that opens limitless opportunities around the globe. Free access to the self-paced training course for this certification is available through their free Candidate membership level now offered by (ISC)².

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Posted in HS4CC

NEW! ASU UL Courses in Architecture!

We are thrilled to add TWO new Architecture courses available starting in Spring 2023 in the HS4CC UL Portal!

ARC111 Architecture of Architecture I (anticipated term: Spring A, 1/10/23 – 3/8/23)

ARC 112 Architecture of Architecture II (anticipated term: Spring B, 3/7/23 – 5/3/23)

* Spring A =the first 8 weeks of the Term. Spring B = the 2nd 8 weeks of the term. one or both should be available for enrollment in the student Dashboard sometime AFTER 10/1/22.

** As these are NEW courses, please note that these are anticipated launch dates for the courses, and they *could* slide to a different semester. Please plan accordingly.


We do not yet have course briefs or syllabi for these courses. In the interim, the description from the main ASU course descriptions should provide a general sense of courses. Please note that these descriptions might not fully match the what is released in the UL platform, they might have different projects and utilize different resources.

ARC 111 main catalog listing

ARC 112 main catalog listing

As always, we will post the course documents in the Files section of our Facebook group HS4CC with ASU Courses as soon as we receive them from ASU.

Course Format

We expect these courses to be released as a teacher-paced course rather than self-paced. All ASU UL courses are asynchronous, due to their global availability, and we expect the same with these courses.

Earning College Credit

This course appears on your transcript identically to how it appears on the transcript of an enrolled ASU student.

These 3 credit courses will fulfill requirements at Arizona State University in several degree plans, such as Architecture Studies BSD, and BA in the Arts degrees. We also think the courses might make nice risk-free high school electives for career exploration!

In order to receive academic credit for this course, you must earn a grade of “C” or better. You have one year to add the course to your transcript.

How to Succeed

To be successful in this course, we recommend English language fluency and computer literacy. We also encourage you to make sure your laptop or desktop computer meets the technical requirements.

How will these Courses Transfer?

We can’t answer that for any course or college. It’s up to each individual college to determine how transfer credit is accepted and applied to a degree plan. You can search for the “school name transfer tool”, or a tool like Transferology and often colleges will list courses they’ve already evaluated for transfer from other institutions, and how it transfers. These courses are not new to ASU, only the Universal Learner platform, therefore some colleges may have evaluated them for transfer already. ASU’s courses, in general, should be highly transferrable to other colleges. It’s regionally accredited credit from a 4 year Tier 1 research institution.

Do keep in mind these are not general education courses, but rather represent something that might appear as a course for the major in a degree plan. Therefore, the second part of your search, after verifying if the course will transfer involves looking at the degree plan to see how the course(s) apply to the degree plan.

What is the UL program?

ASU’s Universal Learner program, formerly known as the Earned Admissions program, is a unicorn in the college world. Students of any age in any part of the world can sign up for regionally accredited (the gold standard) college courses with no hassles, no need to send your transcripts, no red tape, no placement tests, and no risk to a student’s GPA. If the student doesn’t get the grade they want, simply do not pay the $400 at the end of the course and there is no record of the course. Retake the courses as many times as is needed for just a minimal $25 sign-up fee. Find out the full scope of the program.

How to Sign Up as a New Student:

For more detailed information about how to sign up for to take courses in the Universal Learner program, formerly known as the Earned Admissions program, please visit our post “How to Sign up for ASU Earned Admissions Courses”. Again, please note that students in the HS4CC portal have access to ALL of the courses in the regular Universal Learner portal, but we have EXTRA course offerings, such as Poetry in America courses, the pilot of ENG105 Advanced English Comp, and occasionally we have additional pacing options (ie self-paced vs teacher-paced), etc. The list of courses on the sign-up page is just a sample of what’s available and is not the full list available to HS4CC students in their dashboard. We do not make any money from this program or ASU in any way. The HS4CC portal was created to facilitate special offerings from ASU to the homeschool community.

Join our ASU Course group for Homeschoolers community on Facebook for help selecting courses, course reviews and discussions, and much more!

Posted in HS4CC

Exciting Changes with ASU Universal Learner ENG101 and ENG102 English Composition Courses!

We were notified in the Spring that there were changes on the horizon for the popular English Composition 1 (ENG101) course. At that time, the self-paced version was pulled from the lineup as they made modifications. The self-paced version has returned, and the Fall 2022 course has also been given an upgrade! The biggest change is additional teacher feedback on writing assignments – something long requested by our members!

Continue reading “Exciting Changes with ASU Universal Learner ENG101 and ENG102 English Composition Courses!”
Posted in HS4CC

NEW! ASU UL Advanced First Year English Composition ENG105

The HS4CC ASU UL Portal has a new English course option: ENG105 First-Year Advanced Composition! This is a unique course based on a new “classroom model” ASU is piloting. ASU provides the central curriculum for the course through videos,
readings, and assignments, and all grading is done by the ASU faculty, while optional discussions, collaborations, and peer review are handled in the classroom (not the online course site).

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Posted in HS4CC

TWO Poetry in America Courses for HS4CC Portal Students Only!

For our HS4CC families only. You can only enroll in these special course when you use the HS4CC portal. Offered for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023.

We are thrilled to announce Homeschooling for College Credit, in partnership with Arizona State University and the ASU Center for Public Humanities, is offering two for-college-credit English Course to high-school students: Poetry in America: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop this Fall 2022 and Poetry in America: 1850-1945 will be available in Spring 2023.

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Posted in HS4CC

Math and Perfectionism

Math. It brings anxiety, tears, and frustration to a large swath of this country. I’m no stranger to these emotions – we’ve experienced them in our homeschool, also. One thing I see fairly consistently amongst struggling math students is a vicious case of perfectionism. An expectation by the student is that the math must be done without error or all is lost. Conclusion: “I’m terrible at math.”

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Posted in HS4CC

Monthly Computer Panel: Programming, Robotics, and more!

Register now for our monthly Computer Panel! This month’s special guest speaker is Dr. Patrick Michaud! His resume includes vast technical experience in many fields, including international lead developer for Perl 6, programming professor at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and robotics! Our monthly “town-hall-style” panel will bring HS4CC families face to face and one on one with experts from all over the world to provide insight and guidance in the different aspects of computer science and technology-based careers.

Continue reading “Monthly Computer Panel: Programming, Robotics, and more!”
Posted in HS4CC

Monthly Computer Panel: Game Design & Development Part TWO

Register now for our SECOND monthly Computer Panel for April! This session’s special guest speaker is Chris Curra! He is credited on 20 video game titles such as Medal of Honor Airborne, 007: Quantum of Solace, Luxor Adventures, The Office, Sin Episodes: Emergence, Galactic Bowling, Rocket Racing League, Inception: Mind Crime, and Alien Monster Bowling League, and his studio Lunarfall has a new game releasing soon! Our monthly “town-hall-style” panel will bring HS4CC families face to face and one on one with experts from all over the world to provide insight and guidance in the different aspects of computer science and technology-based careers.

Continue reading “Monthly Computer Panel: Game Design & Development Part TWO”