What Homeschoolers Should Know When Applying to Colleges
While the exact number of American students currently homeschooled is up for debate, even conservative estimates place it at more than 3% of school-aged children. So every year hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers are going through the college admissions process just like their traditionally enrolled peers.
How is a homeschooler’s college admissions search and application process different?
It’s not. Homeschoolers should go through the search following the same path as anyone else.
Make decisions with their families about what they do and do not want in a school.
Narrow their list of possible choices to a small group of schools to visit.
Decide where to apply.
Apply for admission.
Apply for financial aid.
Consider acceptances and decide where to enroll.
So if there's no difference, why am I writing a whole blog post about it?
While there is not a different process or procedure homeschoolers take when applying to colleges, their applications are looked at a bit differently by admissions offices. The job of every admissions office is to compare the students in their applicant pool and decide who is qualified for acceptance. If they are a competitive school, then they have to decide who among the qualified applicants are the most qualified.
We know that high schools vary greatly in their level of quality, so admissions offices have to consider a student’s educational performance in the context of their place of education. This is why admissions counselors are typically assigned to a territory in which they get to know the high schools. A college should have an admissions counselor assigned to work with homeschool applicants. Ask to be connected to that person. If they do not have someone who can talk to you about being a homeschool applicant, it’s a sign that they may not be able to adequately evaluate you.
How do colleges evaluate homeschool applicants?
Be honest with the college. Tell them you are homeschooled. Describe in great detail what your curriculum is like. Do you get a curriculum from your local school district? Do you buy a curriculum from an educational publishing company? Do you employ private tutors? Do you get together with a cohort of other homeschoolers for group work, group lectures, educational trips, etc…?
You don’t need to divulge personal information to justify why you are homeschooled. You need to prove that you are prepared to succeed at their school.
But understand that since you are not coming from a standardized institution, they may rely more heavily on your test scores. Take a test prep course.
It may also be helpful to take some courses for credit at a local community college or accredited online program. BONUS: You enter college with some credits on your transcript and potentially shorten the length of time you need to complete a degree.
Any way you can have an objective party vouch for your capabilities is helpful for your application.
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