How to Go From Homeschool to College
Preparing for college when homeschooled.
Students who are schooled at home are taught by their parents and follow a curriculum that may be far different from what is offered in public school. Millions of students are homeschooled every year, some for religious reasons, others for academic reasons, with many for both of these reasons.
One area of concern families have regarding homeschooling is college. Parents are preparing their children for life beyond homeschool, fully expecting that their students will attend college and pursue a career. However, homeschooling may not require the comprehensive record-keeping some colleges expect, which means homeschool families must explore ways to overcome these barriers.
Fortunately, academia is keeping up with the needs of future students including those who were taught at home. If you’re a homeschool parent, you can help your child be ready to apply for college, provided that you provide the resources colleges require to enable your student to get in.
Record keeping — Yes, college admissions officers are interested in how your student was taught and what he or she learned. This means keeping track of each class, by creating a portfolio outlining the highlights of each course. Without the benefit of a transcript, admissions departments will accept a portfolio particularly at those schools which regularly admit homeschooled students.
Research early — Your freshmen or sophomore student may already have a college in mind. For example, if your daughter wants to become a veterinarian, there are just 28 universities across the United States offering these programs. Contact the schools of interest to your daughter to find out how the school handles homeschool applicants. Even if the college doesn’t have a published policy for homeschool students, an academic advisor can offer guidance on what is expected of homeschooled applicants.
Volunteering & Other Activities — Homeschool students can enhance their “portfolios” by taking part in volunteering endeavors and similar activities. Chances are your student is already active with his church youth group and may have taken a missions trip abroad. Students need to be able to demonstrate volunteerism, an attribute college admissions staff will consider as part of their entire application.
Prep Tests — The SAT and ACT are the two college admissions testing options for students. Most schools want the former, some the latter, while others allow for both. When your son or daughter is a junior, he or she should take the PSAT, which is a preliminary test that shows academic progress and readiness for later testing. If your child scores well with either the SAT or ACT, he or she will be in an excellent position when applying to college.
Certainly, measuring academic progress is important to all families, something homeschool families have learned to do and do quite well. If you belong to a homeschool co-op, parents who have sent their children to college can offer invaluable guidance to help you navigate the college application process.