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Applying via UCAS as a USA homeschooler with piecemeal classes

Hello,

I am in the middle of trying to apply via UCAS, and am a technically homeschooler in Texas. In practice I’ve done a mix of actual university classes, online MOOCs provided by universities, plus my two main subjects (History and Writing) as one on one with external teachers. I am entering my second year of this. For the previous two years, I was at two different online high schools, and had an outside tutor in French for the second of those years. Additionally, I am looking for a German tutor for the upcoming year.

I am applying for history, primarily to Hertford College Oxford.

My main issue is that I cannot figure out what to put under the qualifications section for any of my classes in the past four years. None of the humanities classes had anything like a final exam, and the only standardised tests I’ve done were the SAT (out of date, for applying to a previous high school), and the ACT (as part of my application for university). I’ve never actually taken a test for any humanities class that I can think of, unless it was in second grade or earlier and I’ve forgotten. Every history, geography, Writing, Literature, political science, and languages class that I’ve been in has been graded entirely based on work turned in and class participation.

I am in the middle of trying to find a local school that actually has three APs I have any chance of passing (ie. Not math because I am terrible at math, or literature because I disagreed with most of the answers on the practice test), and will let me take them (most say only their students, or only students who have taken the associated class.) I have however never taken an actual AP class, due to them being wildly under level for me and generally unsuited to how I learn.

I am thus in a position where I know I have a very advanced level in history and the humanities broadly, but have absolutely no idea what to put in the box labeled “Exam” in the add qualification tab for any of them.

Apologies if this is at all incoherent, I’ve been mildly panicked and frenzied googling about this due to discovering I need to totally fill out that tab before I can send the letter of recommendation form, and can’t edit it afterwords, which means that I need to do it in the next day and a half, when I had the meeting with someone to ask questions about this sort of thing scheduled for a week and a half out. I’ve not been able to find anything remotely useful on Google.
(edited 5 months ago)
Reply 1
I suggest that you contact the admissions officer at Hertford College. Your situation seems quite unique and they should be able to advise you. Make sure you also register for the HAT and find an exam centre where you can sit it.
Original post by CAG575
I suggest that you contact the admissions officer at Hertford College. Your situation seems quite unique and they should be able to advise you. Make sure you also register for the HAT and find an exam centre where you can sit it.



It’s not at all unique, and I have in fact handled the registration bit on that.

My issue is in filling out the education history of the UCAS, it has “Exam” as a mandatory box on the “Add qualifications” page. I have several high level high school or low level college credits and qualifications, but none of them had anything I would call an exam, so I am not sure what I should put in that box for those qualifications.

This is a problem many American and likely other international students applying via UCAS would have, as it is fairly unremarkable for private school or other accelerated programs to not have exams or finals in humanities classes, with grades as a summary of class work and writing being more common for these subjects. My STEM courses did and do all have exams and finals.
Would second the above that you're probably best off contacting the college(s) you wish to apply to at Oxford directly for more information about how it works for a homeschooled student.

In terms of what to put on UCAS, for US applicants normally you need to add your APs, your overall high school diploma (or GED if you are doing that instead), and SAT/ACT scores. Note that UCAS requires you declare all such qualifications attempted, regardless of the grade outcome or whether it is "out of date" - failure to do so can lead to UCAS to declare your application fraudulent, and any universities you hold offers from free to nullify them. Oxford have specific guidance about this on their international qualifications page: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/for-international-students/international-qualifications - see under "USA". Note also that this is for qualifications regardless of the assessment format- the UK has primarily or wholly non-exam based qualifications but these still need to be declared on UCAS.

Note also under "International cross border qualifications" Oxford say they do not accept MOOCs as a qualification, but welcome them as evidence of your exploration of your subject outside of the usual curriculum. Which is to say, they're something to discuss what you learned from them in your personal statement, but not something that will be considered formally as part of an offer of admission.

Also just to note, you mention you haven't done any work really which is primarily or wholly assessed by final examination - do consider then how Oxford's course is structured and taught and be sure it's a good fit for you (and not just applying because of the "brand name"!). Oxford degrees all involve a great deal of assessment by final examination, and the majority of your degree result will be based on such examinations. So you do realistically need to be well prepared for that type of assessment.

This is true at most UK universities for most subjects, but perhaps even more so at Oxford due to the structure of their courses - comprising normally a first public examination (FPE) which usually (some exceptions) does not count towards your final degree qualification, and the final honour school (FHS), which for humanities subjects normally is primarily assessed by a set of exams at the end of your third year covering the different papers you studied for in both second and third year. Thus your entire degree classification can sometimes rely wholly on your performance on two weeks of exams at the end of your three years there!
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by artful_lounger
Would second the above that you're probably best off contacting the college(s) you wish to apply to at Oxford directly for more information about how it works for a homeschooled student.

In terms of what to put on UCAS, for US applicants normally you need to add your APs, your overall high school diploma (or GED if you are doing that instead), and SAT/ACT scores. Note that UCAS requires you declare all such qualifications attempted, regardless of the grade outcome or whether it is "out of date" - failure to do so can lead to UCAS to declare your application fraudulent, and any universities you hold offers from free to nullify them. Oxford have specific guidance about this on their international qualifications page: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/for-international-students/international-qualifications - see under "USA". Note also that this is for qualifications regardless of the assessment format- the UK has primarily or wholly non-exam based qualifications but these still need to be declared on UCAS.

Note also under "International cross border qualifications" Oxford say they do not accept MOOCs as a qualification, but welcome them as evidence of your exploration of your subject outside of the usual curriculum. Which is to say, they're something to discuss what you learned from them in your personal statement, but not something that will be considered formally as part of an offer of admission.

Also just to note, you mention you haven't done any work really which is primarily or wholly assessed by final examination - do consider then how Oxford's course is structured and taught and be sure it's a good fit for you (and not just applying because of the "brand name"!). Oxford degrees all involve a great deal of assessment by final examination, and the majority of your degree result will be based on such examinations. So you do realistically need to be well prepared for that type of assessment.

This is true at most UK universities for most subjects, but perhaps even more so at Oxford due to the structure of their courses - comprising normally a first public examination (FPE) which usually (some exceptions) does not count towards your final degree qualification, and the final honour school (FHS), which for humanities subjects normally is primarily assessed by a set of exams at the end of your third year covering the different papers you studied for in both second and third year. Thus your entire degree classification can sometimes rely wholly on your performance on two weeks of exams at the end of your three years there!



Final exams are fine with me! I’ve just never been at a school that used them for history. I actually prefer exam based assessment, particularly the way Oxford does it. The reason I picked them, and Hertford more particularly, is largely because every time I go there course overview page I end up running in circles around the dining room table because I get excited about how excellent it sounds. I’ve read through pretty much every even semi relevant page on all three websites (oxford, the history faculty in particular, and Hertford in particular), multiple times in the past year. It really does seem like an absolute perfect fit, as backed up by several people who have been there and at Oxford more broadly for history.

I am aware of needing to declare things, and about MOOCs not counting (not a an issue, they’ve not been used for any main subjects, just for state level degree criteria which they meet). I’m literally just in the dark about what I put in that one box for say, my current history class. Everything I’m seeing says I should, mention that class, and fill out the modules section for it, but I don’t know what to put in the exam box. This is really the only issue I’m running into, and it feels like there is a straightforward answer I’m missing, but I’m not finding anything for it.

As previously stated, I’m in the middle of trying to work out how to get AP tests, because it’s surprisingly difficult to get permission to take the test without the class. I will of course be mentioning those on my application in the appropriate place.

My question is exclusively about what to put in the “exam” box for qualifications which I have confirmed are acceptable, but that did not have an actual “exam”.
Original post by TanzofAlaveria
Final exams are fine with me! I’ve just never been at a school that used them for history. I actually prefer exam based assessment, particularly the way Oxford does it. The reason I picked them, and Hertford more particularly, is largely because every time I go there course overview page I end up running in circles around the dining room table because I get excited about how excellent it sounds. I’ve read through pretty much every even semi relevant page on all three websites (oxford, the history faculty in particular, and Hertford in particular), multiple times in the past year. It really does seem like an absolute perfect fit, as backed up by several people who have been there and at Oxford more broadly for history.

I am aware of needing to declare things, and about MOOCs not counting (not a an issue, they’ve not been used for any main subjects, just for state level degree criteria which they meet). I’m literally just in the dark about what I put in that one box for say, my current history class. Everything I’m seeing says I should, mention that class, and fill out the modules section for it, but I don’t know what to put in the exam box. This is really the only issue I’m running into, and it feels like there is a straightforward answer I’m missing, but I’m not finding anything for it.

As previously stated, I’m in the middle of trying to work out how to get AP tests, because it’s surprisingly difficult to get permission to take the test without the class. I will of course be mentioning those on my application in the appropriate place.

My question is exclusively about what to put in the “exam” box for qualifications which I have confirmed are acceptable, but that did not have an actual “exam”.

My understanding is you don't need to declare non-AP classes that are part of your high school diploma as a US applicant. If you are taking a class at a local college though then you should add it in there - there should be some way to add in a qualification as "other", and include the result. I would assume either there wouldn't be a section to put in the date of the exam for those, or you would put "N/A" - but in either event you can contact UCAS to clarify exactly what the expectation is.
Original post by artful_lounger
My understanding is you don't need to declare non-AP classes that are part of your high school diploma as a US applicant. If you are taking a class at a local college though then you should add it in there - there should be some way to add in a qualification as "other", and include the result. I would assume either there wouldn't be a section to put in the date of the exam for those, or you would put "N/A" - but in either event you can contact UCAS to clarify exactly what the expectation is.


Thank you. This is what I was asking about, as I have done two college classes and would count my current history class as abnormal engouh to declare as well (it’s certainly well above the level of an AP class). I wasn’t sure if there was an obvious thing I was somehow missing or if putting N/A or “Cumulative of Work” would be appropriate.
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by TanzofAlaveria
Thank you. This is what I was asking about, as I have done two college classes and would count my current history class as abnormal engouh to declare as well. I wasn’t sure if there was an obvious thing I was somehow missing or if putting N/A or “Cumulative of Work” would be appropriate.

Double check with UCAS but if I recall correctly that box is for putting the exam date so if you didn't sit an exam, you wouldn't enter something I would guess. However maybe they would want you to put the "end of course" date.
Original post by artful_lounger
Double check with UCAS but if I recall correctly that box is for putting the exam date so if you didn't sit an exam, you wouldn't enter something I would guess. However maybe they would want you to put the "end of course" date.


There is a distinct end of course date box, and the “exam” box has a red asterisk marking it as mandatory, hence my confusion.
Original post by TanzofAlaveria
There is a distinct end of course date box, and the “exam” box has a red asterisk marking it as mandatory, hence my confusion.

Best to check with UCAS directly :smile:
Original post by artful_lounger
Best to check with UCAS directly :smile:


Thank you, I’ve not found how to do that on the website. Shall poke around some more.
Original post by TanzofAlaveria
Thank you, I’ve not found how to do that on the website. Shall poke around some more.

See here: https://www.ucas.com/contact-us

:h:

(note times for call centres being open etc will be in UK time, and international calling rates may apply; I'd recommend using a web contact e.g. facebook/twitter)
(edited 5 months ago)
Ask for a transcript from each of your universities.
Those details should be added as qualifications using the “other qualification” option with the qualification type written in as “undergraduate credit”.

If you expect to receive a High School Diploma then that should also be entered as a single qualification. I wouldn’t bother putting in subject details - your universities will require transcripts and will ask for them.

You’ll also need to take a best guess about where you will take your APs so that you can list that place of study to attach the pending qualifications.

You MUST list your previous SAT and ACT results too as these are formal qualifications and must be declared.

If you’ve been attended 2 high schools then you need to list both as a place of study but you need to select the one that will award your HSD to add the qualification to. Similarly you need to list all universities and then list your undergraduate credit qualifications under the appropriate university/college.

Can you post a screenshot of the page you’re looking at with the mandatory field that you’re confused about?
(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by TanzofAlaveria
Thank you, I’ve not found how to do that on the website. Shall poke around some more.

You probably have found this out by now, but UCAS is most responsive on Facebook through DM’s. They encourage everyone to ask their questions there and they get back to you really fast!

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