College Requirements For Homeschoolers

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Every year, thousands of homeschool students complete their high school diploma requirements and prepare for the college experience. The college requirements for homeschoolers present unique difficulties that public or private school students don’t face.

If your child is homeschooled and looking at going to college, then take a minute to familiarize yourself with these basic college requirements for homeschoolers.

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college requirements for homeschoolers

Basic Hurdle For Homeschoolers

The college application process for homeschoolers has one important hurdle versus traditionally schooled students.

The biggest issue that homeschool students face when applying to colleges is supplying the necessary paperwork and records. Record keeping is the biggest stumbling block for students. Why?

Because admissions officers need to receive an accurate accounting of students’ time in school. Since there isn’t as formal a process for record-keeping, as opposed to regular school districts, students come up short when asked for their transcript.

Keep that in mind and organize your records as early as possible before sending out applications.

Transcripts

Admissions officers need a clear idea of what you’ve worked on.

Because homeschoolers can’t ask a high school to forward their transcripts, parents have to take on this role. Transcript requests vary by college, so keep that in mind when researching schools.

In general, you will likely need to provide one of the following:

  • Compiled high school transcript (organized and submitted by parents)
  • Detailed course descriptions with the transcript record

A helpful tip is researching a school’s admission page for application requirements, and then format your home transcript to mirror those requirements.

GED / High School Diploma

Don’t worry too much about your diploma requirements.

Previously, many homeschool students took the General Educational Development (GED) exam, in order to have formally documented their high school subject exposure.

However, many states today formally approve homeschool programs, which recognizes them equally with public and private schools.

With that approval in place, all you really need diploma-wise is a parent-issued certificate once all required coursework has been successfully completed. There is no longer a need to take the GED exam for the external credential.

Recommendation Letters

Plan ahead to get effective references.

Sometimes homeschoolers are unsure of who to ask for the necessary letters of recommendation. Normally, admissions officials want to see at least one non-familial academic reference. Thankfully, you can accomplish this by taking some outside classes through:

  • A co-op
  • College dual enrollment courses
  • Private tutor sessions

The point is to have someone who can provide an accurate academic evaluation of your performance over time. For non-academic recommendation letters, consider asking:

  • A current or past employer
  • Community service or Extracurricular official

Again, the point is having someone who’s worked with you in some capacity that can speak to your personality and work ethic but isn’t familial in nature.

Standardized Test Results

Master these tests with at-home preparation.

Homeschoolers can have a distinct advantage versus traditional peers in standardized tests. Entrance exams, like the SAT and ACT, are still a standard measuring tool for students’ college course preparedness.

To do well on them, every student has to prepare for multiple factors:

  • Subjects being tested
  • Test format itself
  • Time constraints

Most public and private schools do not set aside enough time to handle test prep alongside regular subject matter. Students devote significant time and energy outside of class to do so.

Homeschool students have the advantage then because all coursework is already done at home; folding in test prep work isn’t as much of a burden time-wise as it is for regular students.

Extracurriculars

Use outside experiences to provide a shine on your application.

While public and private school students have readily available extracurriculars to join, homeschoolers don’t need to worry. The key to building an effective extracurricular resume is choosing key interests early and demonstrating growth within them over time.

Common non-traditional extracurriculars for homeschoolers include:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Part-time job
  • Internship
  • Local sports teams

Remember to not tackle twenty different things at once. It’s better to have a couple of activities you stick to for a significant amount of time and demonstrate character growth through them.

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College Requirements For Homeschoolers FAQ

What the biggest problem homeschoolers face when applying to college?

The biggest issue that homeschool students face when applying to colleges is supplying the necessary paperwork and records. Record keeping is the biggest stumbling block for students. Why? Because admissions officers need to receive an accurate accounting of students’ time in school. Since there isn’t as formal a process for record-keeping, as opposed to regular school districts, students come up short when asked for their transcript.

What’s the first thing parents can do to help the college application process?

Because homeschoolers can’t ask a high school to forward their transcripts, parents have to take on this role. Transcript requests vary by college, so keep that in mind when researching schools. In general, you will likely need to provide one of the following – Compiled high school transcript (organized and submitted by parents), Detailed course descriptions with the transcript record. A helpful tip is researching a school’s admission page for application requirements, and then format your home transcript to mirror those requirements.

Who can we ask for letters of recommendation?

Normally, admissions officials want to see at least one non-familial academic reference. Thankfully, you can accomplish this by taking some outside classes through – A co-op, College dual enrollment courses, Private tutor sessions. The point is to have someone who can provide an accurate academic evaluation of your performance over time.

Will I have problems with the SAT or ACT prep?

Most public and private schools do not set aside enough time to handle test prep alongside regular subject matter. Students devote significant time and energy outside of class to do so. Homeschool students have the advantage then because all coursework is already done at home; folding in test prep work isn’t as much of a burden time-wise as it is for regular students.