The Home School Student’s Guide to College Admissions
As your home school high school career comes to a close, it is pivotal that you plan ahead to prepare and apply for college. Well-prepared home school students start the process early. The first step is deciding which type of college works for you.
There are two types of schools to choose from:
Traditional College. Perhaps you’ve grown a lot on your own, but you’re ready to enter into the classroom and interact with your peers and professors.
Distance Learning Higher Education Institutes. If you love working independently and want to continue—or maybe you don’t want to move and there aren’t programs that interest you locally—then distance learning might be a good option for your higher education, too. These institutes allow you to attend classes and complete assignments from your home.
No matter which you choose, it is crucial that you begin the process early, learning which schools you’re interested in and what they require of their applicants. Because you’re coming from home school, the requirements may vary greatly from school to school.
Check Requirements of Specific Colleges Before Applying
Before you spend money applying to college, make sure you know how that school views home school and what they require of home schooled students. Here are some things to consider:
Confirm that the college is willing to accept, and has a history of accepting, home school students.
See what the school requires of you (transcript, portfolio, etc.) to prove your preparedness.
Look into which schools are recruiting or offering scholarships to home school students. Not only does this give you an advantage in applying to those institutions, but it also shows like-mindedness. You want to end up at a college that values what you value. Those who are actively pursuing home schooled students are more likely to have educational priorities similar to your own.
According to onlinecollege.com’s “Homeschooler’s Guide to Getting into College,” a GED isn’t required for students who have not attended a traditional school. There is a myth that a GED is required to be approved for financial aid, but this is not the case. Unfortunately, there are still universities out there that believe this myth, so make sure you know the facts, even if they don’t.
Is Getting Into College From Home School Difficult?
The process of applying to college was once a much more difficult task for home school students. Today, more and more people are opting to educate their kids outside of a traditional school setting. As a result, it is easier than ever for you to apply to college, even if you’ve never been inside an actual classroom. In fact, if you are prepared, transitioning from home school can be a huge advantage when applying to college. For example, in 2000, Stanford accepted over 25% of the home school applicants, which is much higher than their acceptance rate for traditional students.
How to Get In?
Since nontraditional students may not have a transcript like their brick-and-mortar peers, many colleges are now accepting portfolios in lieu of transcripts.
A home school portfolio should include a wide variety of projects from all subjects. If you conducted any studies dealing with your desired major, then it will be beneficial to include these in the portfolio. You and your parent should both make sure that the portfolio stands out. Some states require a portfolio, so you may have a head start in this area. Portfolios for college admissions, though, should have a slightly different focus than other types of homeschool portfolios. This resource provides insight into the kinds of things you will need to include in a college admission portfolio.
Even though you may have the option to submit a portfolio in lieu of an official transcript, there will be additional requirements for you to provide to the prospective school. You will need to demonstrate mastery of all the typical prerequisites for college, such as four years of English and at least three credits in math. There is more flexibility in how these subjects are learned, however. For instance, a Shakespearean acting class could count for English credit, or volunteering at a hospital could count as a science or health class. As a home school student, you should check into this at the beginning of your high school career so you can make sure you have completed all of the necessary prerequisites.
You may also have to provide letters of recommendation with your application. Be sure to choose community leaders who are likely to be unbiased to write your recommendations, such as a local college professor, teacher, or member of a community organization. These will carry much more weight than recommendations of family members, and they will demonstrate more community involvement.
Benefits of Transitioning from School College
There are many benefits to entering college from home school. Be aware of the strengths of your high school education, and make the most of them. Here are a few advantages that home school students may have over their peers in applying to college:
More Credits. Many independently educated students enter college with college coursework already completed, since they are able work at their own pace, often pulling ahead in the areas that interest them most. This saves money and time.
Active Recruiting of Home School Students. Many colleges try to recruit home school students because they are better prepared for college when compared to traditional students.
Unique Perspectives. Home educated students may have unique perspectives as a result of their individualized education, making them stand out from the crowd.
Better Preparedness. Home educated students tend to have higher GPAs in college, and score higher on SAT and ACT tests.
Independence. Students coming from homeschool are used to learning independently and are motivated self-starters. These independent learning skills are crucial for keeping up with the workload and performing well in college seminars!
The word is getting around that home school works, but there are still some people who have the misconception that home school students are less engaged in the community. To overcome this misconception, home school students may have to educate some people along the way. This article by the National Home Education Research Institute, “Homeschooling Grows Up,” may be a helpful resource to point to.
If you want the ability to have a transcript that will be acknowledged anywhere, or you have your sights set on a school that doesn’t have simple alternatives for home school students to apply, you may want to look into accredited high school options. The most common of which is earning a high school diploma online. Accredited status validates the equivalency of diplomas and certificates to those of other accredited schools and universities. It also indicates that the curriculum and teachers meet state and U.S. standards.
Enlightium Academy is an accredited online private Christian school that allows students to work at their own pace with a flexible schedule. Our affordable tuition, individualized curriculum, and simple admissions process maintains the advantages of a home school education while also preparing students well for college.