Thursday, August 27, 2009

The real world.

Geez... where to begin? Ok, first thing's first, I've got to tell you guys about trying to get into this college.

It all started when I saw a tiny ad in the local paper. "Become a computer certified technician", it said. "Ok!", I replied. So I visited the campus, started the process, and even took the tour. At the end, the admissions rep sat me down, went over some general info about the school, and decided to let me go ahead and take the entrance exam. Although, maybe "entrance exam" is too strong a phrase... it was more of a basic skills test to make sure I'm not worthless. It was the SLE(Scholastic Level Exam), for those of you who have heard of it. It's the same test given to football players at the NFL combine. It's basically set up like one of those online IQ tests, if anyone's ever taken one, but it was timed. 50 questions, 12 minutes. So, about 15 seconds per question. It's not expected that you get through all of them. In fact, for Kaplan at least, you only need to get 14 to pass. I got 36. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in that result, but apparently, it's pretty good. I say that because, when I came in the next week, I had a little encounter with another Kaplan employee who stopped, looked at me a moment, and said "...Were you here last week?
"Yes..." I respond.
"Are you the 36er?!"
I looked in alarm at the admissions rep, who laughed and said "Yeah, there was a little buzz around the office about your high score. It's one of the highest I've ever seen."

Heh. Wacky.

So, moving on. I finally met with financial aid, who asked me a long series of questions about my education, upbringing, etc. When none of my responses included the words "food stamps" or "emancipated"(seriously), he hung his head and said I didn't qualify for any grants.
I rolled my eyes. So much for the posters all over the place that show Obama talking about how everyone should go back to school for career-orientated education and how the government would help.
Ok, so a student loan is the route for me. We get the ball rolling on that, and once I gave him all my and my parents' tax info, he hung his head again and told me I had to apply for the loan as a dependent student. That wouldn't be an issue if my parents and I didn't need my parents to co-sign a bunch of forms with me. That, in turn, wouldn't be an issue if my parents weren't halfway across the country, and LITERALLY had to put pen to the same paper I put pen to.

Several complicated mailings later...

At my next meeting with Kaplan, I was told to bring in some forms:
*Driver's license
*Birth Certificate
*Some other things I forgot
*Diploma from my high school graduation

Roger. When I first read that list, I shrugged mildly and thought "Meh, I'm sure college degree will be fine."

Boy, was I wrong.

I called the admissions rep to confirm that a COLLEGE DEGREE would be sufficient. She said she wasn't sure, but to go ahead and bring it in anyway, and we'd see what happened. I brought it all in, she looked at it, and blinked.
"Yeah," I said, "it's in Latin. Is that OK?"
"Um... I'm not sure. Can you bring in the translation? Either that or I can just send it to the head office, but they might have to charge you to translate it there."


No, it's fine, I'll just get the translation. So, I went home, fished it out, and e-mailed it to her. Great!
Not great. She heard back from the head office that it wasn't good enough - they needed proof of HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. Which apparently isn't implied in PROOF OF COLLEGE GRADUATION!!! I told her I was homeschooled and don't have a diploma or anything like that. She asked for a homeschool certificate. I said I don't have one. What about college transcripts? She told me that should work, since most college transcripts have a date of high school graduation on them, and that would be proof enough.

You read that correctly. They want to look at my college transcripts to prove I went to high school.

So, I called the registrar at Christendom(most of you know him as Walter). I told him the situation, he and I shared a good laugh about it, and I asked if the date of high school graduation is stamped on Christendom's transcripts. He told me no. I asked if he had whatever forms we sent him from as my high school grades. He searched for a moment, and actually FOUND THEM! Of course, it was a little one-page, mostly-unofficial form which I vaguely remember filling out with my mom as we made up some grades that I theoretically had. But hey, it was something, so he faxed it over to Kaplan. I called the admission rep, and she gave me a hopeful "maybe" as to whether that would be good enough. That later changed to a dejected "no."
Oh, before I forget, she also suggested I simply take a GED, as that would be acceptable in place of a high school diploma. I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to shell out $50 to take a GED after 4 years of college. Ok, moving on.

Now, as you all know, I was homeschooled. What you may NOT know is that I was homeschooled in such a way that I took no government-issued tests, so I didn't really get a Homeschooling certificate of graduation. How did I manage this, you ask? It turns out, Virginia is the only state in the union that allows for Religious Exemption(source). What this means is(as you can find from the provided link), if my parents are homeschooling and one of them has at least a BA in education(which my mom does), they can say that they don't agree with the tests the government is sending in to them to judge my intelligence, and assume complete control over my education. That makes my mom teacher, principal, and school board. The government has NOTHING to do with it, which means no diploma OR homeschool certificate.

*deep breath*

After learning this(I hadn't realized all of that Religious Exemption stuff), I looked over the rules for acceptance into Kaplan. In addition to the basic skills test and all of that, the applicant must:
"a. be a high school graduate, or
b. possess a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or
c. possess a Home Study certificate or transcript from a Home Study program that is equivalent to high school level and is recognized by the student's home state"

And there, I found my beautiful loophole. According to the religious exemption law, ANYthing that my mom writes becomes an official high school document if she says it is. Which means that simple little form we filled out for Christendom was an OFFICIAL HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT, and if Kaplan doesn't like it, they can talk to my lawyers.

I passed this all on to the admissions rep, who was quite excited and hopeful that it would work. She PERSONALLY sent them a letter with all the info that I told her and that she looked up herself.

That was on Tuesday, August 11. Three days after my orientation. Since then, I've done all my homework on time, gotten 100% on both quizzes, and helped the other students, but during and after class. Today, I got a glowing student review from my teacher that had "Thanks, Joe!!!" written on it.

Halfway home, I got a call from the admissions rep. She just heard back from the head office. They want the proof of religious exemption form that my mom received from the Virginia DOE over 22 years ago.

My question is, do they WANT to lose me as a student?

More later. Work now.


Blogger Bridget said...

Wow. That's terrible. And to think I'm in the same situation...cuz I don't have a HS diploma, GED or official VA DoE documentation either. Wow. Guess I'm not applying to Kaplan anytime soon... =/

2:16 PM  
Blogger Colin and Jenne said...

Holy man flying monkey crap!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Rand said...

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity, my friend, hang in there ...

2:45 PM  
Blogger Ibid said...

That is so freaking hilarious.

See what happens when you aren't normal schooled? And they said college would be a step up. Ha!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous PianolaGirl said...

Considering that you seem to have received my rabble-rousing genes (I'm getting ready to take action against a towing company), I say, "Have fun!"

1:36 PM  
Blogger Bowman the Black said...

Holy crap . . . Okay, obviously I ain't doin' nothing with Kaplan. I'm not certain my parents kept the forms they signed for my home school.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

hello Scarcely, nice post & good blog, truly like it. i think u must try this site to increase traffic. have a nice day & keep blogging!!!

5:56 AM  

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