Transitioning from homeschooling to college can be pretty daunting as students face several unique challenges. Not only does it entail preparing for a whole new environment, but the application process can also be a little more complicated compared to regular students. That’s because parents or teachers will have to collate all the college admissions requirements with their students independently, without the help of traditional high school counselors and college application experts. And if a step is missed, a student may get rejected. 

Despite these issues, the number of homeschooled kids in the US is growing. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are currently more than 2.2 million homeschooled students across the country. This means families with homeschooled children can have access to a bigger support network and resource pool.

So, if you’re a parent or guardian of a homeschooled teen nearing this important transition in life, it’s important to understand that the challenges of the college admissions process can be overcome with the right preparation. Below are some common challenges for homeschooled college applicants and tips on how to deal with them. 

Picking a College

Beth Whitson, a mother of four homeschooled children in Ohio, told NBC News that some colleges are friendlier to homeschoolers than others. Although many colleges and universities are welcoming of homeschool students’ applications (albeit with a few extra requirements), others are not as considerate. For instance, one college required an official diploma, which it defined as one administered by an accredited school. Another college refused to accept homeschooled students from out of state, explaining that each state has its own laws and standards for homeschooling. 

As a precaution, it’s best to phone a college’s admissions department and inquire about the process for homeschool applicants from the get-go. Many universities do not have instructions specifically listed for homeschoolers on their websites. By asking early, you can determine whether the particular college is homeschool-friendly or not. 

Preparing Documents

Assume that colleges will require the same papers from a homeschool student as they would from a traditional student. This means that parents or tutors will have to prepare detailed transcripts, which include grades, GPA, and records of yearly and cumulative credits. 

Other documents that should accompany the transcript are course descriptions, which detail the materials used and textbook ISBN numbers, as well as recommendation letters from accredited instructors. Again, it doesn’t hurt to inquire with the admissions department what specific documents homeschoolers should prepare.

Taking Standardized Tests

Regardless of whether the student’s intended college requires it or not, taking standardized tests should be a priority. The results from either the SATs or ACTs can help universities create a more accurate picture of the student’s abilities. 
Additionally, the selection process for merit scholarships often factor in the scores from these tests. 

As to which test you should take, advises letting the student decide. Perhaps they may be more comfortable with the sections of SAT over the ACT, or vice-versa. They are also free to take both, as doing this will increase the chances of getting a scholarship. 

Earning Advanced Placement (AP) Credits

Homeschoolers can get a good head start by earning college credits even before enrolment. College credit may help ease your way through the admissions process as it proves the student’s ability to handle advanced coursework offered by higher education institutions. 

In preparation for AP tests, for instance, homeschooled students can sign up for online AP courses. Maryville University explains that online learning allows students to learn advanced material at their own pace. It also encourages them to take greater responsibility for their coursework. This setup may be appropriate for homeschoolers as is resonates with the flexibility of homeschooling while also helping them get one foot in the door in terms of the admissions process.

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Contributed by: JBatchelor