I speak from experience – both of my homeschool kids were accepted at the college of their choice. They both actually went to high school for a couple of years to get used to traditional schooling, but the process of getting their high school credits to transfer to traditional school is not that different than having those same classes recognized by a college.
Homeschooling Is a Great Option for College-Bound Students!
Many colleges now realize that homeschooled students, in most cases, are a benefit to their college. Many colleges are now actively recruiting homeschooled students.
Keep Good Records
This isn’t a difficult or tedious process. There are plenty of good transcript programs available that can help you save time if you’re interested in investing in one of them. While transcript programs can be helpful in keeping up with classes and grades, they can also be expensive, and they are not required in order to be successful in school. For my kids, all I did was record the title, description, and scores for each course my high school students complete.
You can look online to find the necessary information to calculate my child’s GPA for each class and his over-all GPA.
Keep in Mind That the GED Test Is Not the Same as a Diploma
Some colleges have required that homeschooled students obtain a GED before acceptance. Although it is not as common, colleges are starting to accept diplomas that are issued by the parents instead of the school. This is more likely to happen if the transcript is well organized and kept up to date. It’s not a good idea to just submit a GED score to a college, as they may think that your student didn’t do the necessary work to graduate from high school. Colleges that require standardized testing for admission will also require homeschooled students to submit those test scores.
Home schooling students are not required to have a minimum number of credits for graduation like public school students. It is a good idea to have an idea of the credit requirements for my state just as a general guide for your high schoolers, though you don’t always stick to those numbers. Always check requirements in your state as they can change over time.
Take Time to Prepare Your Child with Skills–Not Just Knowledge
Make sure your child is not only academically prepared for college, but also has the necessary skills to do well once they’re there. Make sure your child is prepared for budgeting time, studying, giving presentations/public speaking, writing papers, doing research, and using a computer. It is advisable to equip your child with practical skills such as how to cope with stress, how to get a good night’s sleep, and healthy eating habits. Additionally, teaching them household chores such as laundry and cleaning the bathroom and kitchen will also be beneficial. You have likely already taught your child several of these skills, but you could work on those you have yet to cover.
Prepare for Standardized Testing
Most colleges require either the ACT or the SAT for admission. Some states require homeschooling parents to give their children standardized tests on a yearly basis. Others require standardized testing at certain grade levels. In other states, it’s not required at all. This means that your child’s experience with standardized tests may vary widely. There are many different ways that your college-bound high schooler can prepare for taking these tests. There are study guides, courses, and online programs that can help them.
I suggest keeping in mind a couple of things.
- First, be sure to begin preparing your child for standardized testing ahead of time. You don’t want to wait until just a few weeks or even months before the test to start preparing. Many homeschoolers enjoy the freedom of not having to rush our children through school, and it’s a good idea to begin far enough ahead of time that you don’t feel the need to rush your child to cram in everything he or she needs to know to be ready for the test.
- Take advantage, if possible, of the opportunity for your child to take an in-real-life prep class in addition to whatever study guide, virtual class, or online program your child uses. Even if your child takes a half-day prep class with a practice test, it’s worth it! The class and practice test can help your child to know exactly what to expect on the day of the test in order to minimize anxiety.
Check with Colleges for Specific Requirements for Homeschoolers
If your student is hoping to attend a specific school, make sure to check what the requirements are for homeschoolers well in advance (ideally a few years before they plan to apply). You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re scrambling to gather the required documentation at the last minute.
Have Your Student Take a Dual Enrollment Class if Possible
Even for students in traditional schools, this is great advice! Millions of years ago when I was in high school, a hand full of us were allowed to start school late a few days a week in order to attend classes at the local university. It was a large, nationally known school and this experience was invaluable as preparation for starting college full time.
I firmly believe that AP classes are a horrible idea. Kids I know who have suffered through them found the work much worse than any college class AND a relatively small percentage do well enough on the test to get credit for the class. On top of that, students tend to take AP classes based on their planned major and many colleges would rather that students learn the basics of their core field of study from college professors who know the whole picture. Avoid AP classes and take any early enrollment classes they can!
If your student is willing and able, suggest that he or she take a college class during high school. This is a good way for your child to become familiar with the college experience while he or she is still at home and under your guidance and support. Many colleges offer reduced tuition for online courses, so that is an additional benefit! This is an excellent way for your child to get acclimated to the college atmosphere, as well as show the college that your student is capable of succeeding in their classes. It would be beneficial for your student to take a class that he/she is passionate about. This way, they will be more engaged and likely to retain the information. This will help ensure that employees are performing well and are willing to work hard. A classes that is either boring or very difficult is not likely to be a good class to take as your first exposure to college.
Keep Track of Extracurricular Activities
Make sure you keep a record of all your child’s extra-curricular activities, jobs and volunteer work. It will look good on their college application if they have experience in the area they plan to study. Some things to keep track of if your child is interested in music are music lessons, times when they play music at weddings or parties, and any music-related clubs or activities they participate in.
You should keep track of your child’s places of employment as well as their job responsibilities at each one. There are many opportunities for teenagers to find work. This could be something as simple as babysitting or housecleaning, or it could include a job at a grocery store, department store, or somewhere else. teenage jobs provide not only spending money, but also valuable work experience that can be helpful later in life.
Try Not to Put Too Much Stress on Your Child
Yes, college is important! But so is your child’s health and mental well-being. It is important that you talk to your child and listen to their feelings and concerns about going to college throughout the process. If you make college-prep the focus of your child’s education too much, they may become stressed and anxious. It is important to prepare your child for college, but you also want them to be excited for it and not anxious.
Please don’t listen to all the scare-mongering! For the past decade, all the teens and parents of teens I know have been fed the incorrect information that the student needs to have all A’s, loads of AP’s, volunteer hours, sports, music and have cured cancer to get into college. Just recently I had a mom reach out to me because she was feeling the pressure to get her son signed up for an arduous, months-long SAT prep course.
Since I don’t know a single student, from the homeschool world or the traditional school world, who was not accepted to at least one college, I was happy to tell her not to torture her son with all that prep! Statistically, hardly anyone goes to an ivy-league school. And we go on to get jobs and have great lives anyway!
Consider Getting Help from an Organization That Can Offer Advice and Assistance
Home School Legal Defense Association can offer you advice and assistance if you are looking to homeschool your child. I believe it is worth the money to join and maintain your membership in this organization in case you ever need their services. HSLDA also provides member homeschooling families with free legal representation if they need legal assistance due to a homeschool issue.
Keep in Mind That Not All Students Will Want or Need to Go to College
There has never been a better time in human history to be an entrepreneur. It’s not as easy as getting a job and being told what to do, but learning to build your own business when you are young is an excellent time to start!
Check out our course Learning Financial Independence. We talk about entrepreneurship, companies and investing in just about every session. There are videos on the information page from young people who started their own businesses in their teens, and what advice they have for other young people.
Common Questions About Homeschooling
How do I start homeschooling?
Many families who are new to homeschooling think about it from the literal perspective. What school supplies do I need? Which workbooks should I buy? How do I set up my home? These are all valid and important questions. However, before your family dives into all of homeschooling’s tactical components, we recommend that you focus on the legal requirements first. Depending on your state, you may need to write a letter of intent to homeschool. Some states require you to notify your local school, while others require you to submit the letter to the Department of Education. Local homeschool groups and co-ops are the best sources for specific information on your state’s homeschooling requirements. Most of these groups are run by experienced homeschoolers who will be happy to help you with your transition.
Is homeschooling the same as a virtual school?
When should I start homeschooling?
How much does homeschooling cost?
This all depends on an individual family’s budget. There really isn’t a specific amount that it
We recommend avoiding paying a lot for any homeschool program, especially without first knowing how your child learns best. Sometimes, this results in money lost if you are locked into a contract or can’t return books and software.
Should I follow a schedule when homeschooling?
How do I know if my child is learning enough?
This is a common concern for new homeschoolers. First, make sure to follow your state’s homeschooling requirements. Next, it will be important as a homeschool parent to set goals. Do you want to complete an entire grade level in your curriculum? Do you want your child to master certain concepts? For many homeschooling families, academic progress is the goal. Families who are seeking a more formal means of measuring achievement use testing services for homeschoolers. These nationally normalized standardized tests can be administered at home and are one way to see if your child is on track. Ultimately it’s up to your family to best determine how you measure progress.
Can my homeschooler go to college?
Yes! Check out any homeschool-friendly colleges and universities your child may be interested in attending. Depending on the school, you may need high school transcripts and/or a high school diploma. Some colleges and universities also require scores from tests like the SAT and/or ACT. Make sure to speak to their admissions counselors to understand their admission requirements fully.
I’m worried my child won’t be socializing with other children. What can I do?
Experienced homeschoolers will tell you that socialization is the biggest non-issue in homeschooling. Many homeschooling groups and co-ops are available for families, so socializing your child shouldn’t be a concern. Many groups offer activities such as field trips, play dates, and other fun events for families to participate together. If you are doing the teaching, homeschooling groups can help connect you with other parents who can be a sounding board when you have questions. Depending on where you live, some schools also open their doors to homeschoolers for certain events and activities. Of course, today, with social media and computer technology, homeschoolers can connect, socialize, and learn with other children at an instant, whenever, and wherever!
Do I have to homeschool forever?
How do I pick the homeschool program my child will use, and when do I need to choose it?
Understanding your child’s unique learning style will be a huge help when choosing a homeschool program. While some families use just one curriculum, others find that a blend of different curricula and resources works better.