Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Over three million students in grades K-12 were homeschooled in the 2021 to 2022 academic year and this number only continues to grow.
There are many reasons why parents may choose to homeschool their children throughout grades K-12 but every child faces the same challenge of how to get into college.
The route to college in the United States has been firmly established in previous decades and is built upon more traditional schooling.
Applying for college as a homeschooled student can seem confusing and daunting and although it may not be as straightforward as it is for kids schooled in traditional ways, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
In this article, we will look at how homeschooled students can get into college. We’ll explain what you need to do and how to do it.
Let’s get started!
College Applications For Traditional Students
Before we explain what homeschoolers should do, let’s look at how traditional students apply for college as this will help us to understand why it can be tricky for homeschooled students.
College applications are easy for traditional students as they have a great amount of support from their high school.
They simply need to notify their school’s administration office of where they are hoping to apply and the school will compile all of the needed documentation.
This means that any school reports or transcripts submitted as part of their application are prepared by guidance counselors or administration officers from the records the school already holds.
The student doesn’t need to gather any evidence or information themselves as the school already has it.
Traditional students also have more information to put on their applications. They have teachers willing to write letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities to include, and standardized test scores to rely on.
College Applications For Homeschoolers
As you can see from the last section, the odds are stacked against homeschooled students when it comes to applying for colleges.
As there are no school records or administrators that keep the necessary records ready for college applications, it means that homeschoolers need to do a lot more work to get their college applications in shape.
The responsibility for creating the documents and transcripts for a homeschooled student’s college applications lies with whoever is conducting the schooling. Let’s look at this in a little more detail.
Many kids who are homeschooled follow an external homeschool program. If this is the case for you, then you should contact the program administrators.
These types of programs usually keep hold of records and should have someone on staff that has the responsibility of compiling information for college applications.
This is a little more complicated than asking a school administrator and can take more time to get the documentation together, but is still pretty straightforward.
However, they will only be able to supply you with documents about your educational performance. For the other parts of your college application, such as letters of recommendation or extracurricular activities, you will still be on your own.
If, however, the homeschooling isn’t part of an official program and is instead completely administered by family members, then they are responsible for the documentation. Records of the student’s progress, schoolwork, and test scores should be kept throughout the years of homeschooling.
Let’s take a closer look at the documentation that is needed for a college application and how to obtain this.
GED And Diploma
The good news is that you don’t need a formal GED or diploma to make a college application. Instead, homeschooled students need to simply display that their schooling meets the requirements of their state’s law.
Organized homeschool programs can provide a diploma (or similar) of their own to confirm you’ve met their standards. Homeschoolers taught by family members can have a diploma issued by them instead as long as their transcripts indicate they’ve reached state standards.
When you complete your college applications, make sure you check the box that states you are “homeschooled” when asked about your high school completion status. If you miss this, the college will expect a GED diploma and not having one will greatly delay your application.
Letters Of Recommendation
The vast majority of colleges do not rate letters of recommendation from parents or family members. It is best to avoid these and get letters from other sources instead. These can include:
- Volunteer coordinators
- Clergy members
- Community leaders
We recommend contacting your desired college directly to ask for further advice if you’re struggling to find appropriate people to write a letter on your behalf.
This can be difficult for homeschoolers as they have less easy access to activities when compared to traditional students. Homeschooled students should find some activities they can do outside of their studies, however, as it will show your college that you have commitment and interests.
Check what is happening in your local community to see which activities are available. Sports clubs, volunteering, and community activities all look great on your college application.
When completing a school report for homeschooled students, be aware that there are some sections that will not be applicable. For example, any questions that ask for class rankings should be marked N/A.
Instead of entering the details of a school counselor to complete this form, it should be the details of the homeschool instructor.
They can then explain in detail about the homeschooling program and explain how grades were rewarded. Specific details such as course descriptions, reading lists, assignments, and materials should be included.
In this article, we explained how homeschooled students can apply for college.
College applications are more difficult for homeschooled students but they’re not impossible. We hope the tips in this article will help with your college application!
Applying for a scholarship for college? Check out our scholarship recommendation letter guide.
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