A Homeschooler's Guide to Getting Into College

Guest post by Jennifer Smith

Homeschooling has many advantages for families that include being able to tailor a curriculum to a student’s needs, more time for schoolwork and opportunities for real-life experiences that support a student’s academic goals. However, when it comes to applying for college, many parents feel at a loss. It can be difficult to maneuver through many of the college application requirements such as transcript requests and academic references when a student has been homeschooled. Therefore, the following guide has been created to enable homeschoolers and their parents to clear up any confusion so that they can be successful throughout the college application process.

Start Planning Early. Most families choose homeschooling with the expectation that their child will go to college. Therefore, it is important to begin planning for college when a student first begins high school. This can enable homeschoolers to take advantage of opportunities such as volunteer work and extracurricular studies that can help to bolster a student’s college application. For example, a student who is interested in studying in a medical program may find that volunteering at a nursing home or hospital can make them stand out among all the other applicants.

Choosing the Right College. Homeschooled students have the advantage of being independent learners before they ever set foot into a post-secondary school. For this reason, many colleges and universities are currently seeking out homeschooled students. Finding a school that recognizes the value of a non-traditional education is as simple as visiting their websites and looking through the programs that they have to offer. For example, www.sanfordbrown.edu offers several degree programs in the medical, business and arts fields that blend on-campus courses with online classes.

When a college makes the extra effort to ensure that their degree programs are accessible to everyone, then they are also likely to recognize the contributions that a homeschooled student can bring to their campus.

Acing the Application. The college application process usually includes a paper application, a personal essay and an interview with the admissions staff. This process is extremely important for homeschoolers who are seeking admission to college. One of the best ways to stand out is to maintain a transcript or portfolio of work throughout high school that can be used to show the subjects that a student has studied. Additionally, volunteer work, part-time jobs and community involvement will show a college that a homeschooled student has obtained a well-rounded education.

Applying for admission to college as a homeschooler is a time to stand out and make it clear how homeschooling was beneficial for a student's education. As more colleges begin to recognize the value of non-traditional types of education, homeschoolers are gaining an edge for college admissions when they emphasize the benefits of a homeschooled education.

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