How do Homeschoolers Apply to College?

Instructor: Kristin Fromal

Kristin is a school counselor and has a Master's degree in Social Work.

Homeschool students interested in attending college should ensure that they fulfill all application requirements, including the development of a transcript, completion of standardized tests, and submission of an essay and letters of recommendation.

Complete a College-Preparatory Homeschool Curriculum

Students who are homeschooled should focus on completing a rigorous, college-prep high school curriculum. If a student is participating in a cyber charter school or other correspondence program, these types of courses will often be required for graduation. If the homeschool curriculum is self-designed, the student and the adult supervising the homeschool curriculum should ensure that the coursework meets college admission requirements. Coursework will also need to fulfill state graduation requirements. Typically, a student should take classes equivalent to the following standards:

CourseNumber of Units
English4
Mathematics3-4
Social Science3-4
Natural Science3-4
Foreign Language2
Physical Education 1-2

Prepare a Transcript

Parents or other guardians of students who complete a self-designed curriculum will be responsible for creating a transcript that documents the subjects taken by course name and credit. A description of these courses, including what materials were used, a reading list, or what concepts were mastered will supplement the transcript. An instructor should assign grades to the work completed and calculate a final GPA. The final transcript should be signed and notarized. Some universities may require students who have not completed an accredited program to submit a portfolio demonstrating attainment in the curricular areas outlined above.

Take Standardized Tests

Standardized tests can provide a good point of comparison between a homeschooled student and a student who is enrolled in a traditional school. In fact, these tests may play more of a role in the admissions decision for a homeschooled student. Students who are homeschooled should plan to take either of the two most common college admissions tests, the SAT or the ACT. To prepare, they might want to consider taking advantage of a comprehensive SAT Practice & Study Guide or an ACT Help & Review Course.

In addition, homeschooling may have given students the opportunity to take an in-depth look at an area of significant academic interest. If this is the case, students may wish to consider taking an Advanced Placement (AP) exam. These exams can be taken in a wide range of subject areas, including:

Compose Your Admissions Essay

The admissions essay required by colleges can be a great opportunity for students who are homeschooled to provide a look at their personality, interests, and readiness for college. The essay is often on a required topic and will demonstrate a student's writing skills. If the opportunity exists to provide a supplemental essay, it's best for homeschool students to complete this as well to provide additional insight into their curriculum or academic interests.

Seek Letters of Recommendation

Recommendations should be completed by adults who have a good knowledge of a student's academic abilities, intellectual curiosity, and social readiness for college. Consider seeking out objective references. Some possible considerations might be a coach, scout leader, tutor, teacher, or youth group pastor. Be sure to request recommendations early and provide these adults with any specific forms they may need.

Participate in Extracurricular Activities

Engagement in community-based extracurricular activities can be a great way for homeschooled students to meet their peers and to explore a range of areas of interest. Examples of extracurricular activities that a homeschooled student might seek include club sports teams, church youth groups, community orchestras or choirs, and volunteer work placements. Students can build a resume describing these activities or mention them on their college applications.

Earning College Credit

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

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