Informing Colleges About Independent Study Classes

Question: I m graduating early and will be doing independent study for health and English. For my college applications, according to my transcript I am missing classes. How do I inform colleges (and the Macaulay Honors Program at CUNY) that i am doing independent study and I will have all the requirements done by the end of the year?

Your independent-study classes need to go on your high school transcript, just as if they were “real” classroom courses. Speak to your guidance counselor to make sure that he or she has put them there. It also wouldn’t hurt for you to notify all of your colleges (including the Macaulay Honors Program, of course), alerting them to this anomaly and explaining how you’ll be conducting your independent studies (time involved, material to be covered, whether or not you’ll be working with a faculty advisor, etc.) .

You can use “Additional Information” sections of applications for this or you can send a separate letter to each school. But it’s most important that your guidance counselor include these “classes” on your transcript. Ideally, he or she would add a brief explanation of what you’ll be doing to your letter of recommendation as well.

(posted 11/14/2010)