Home-schooled students’ college applications are not in the minority any longer. In fact, colleges are now recruiting home-schooled students. But, because homeschoolers may not have peers and guidance counselors shepherding them through the complicated process of applying to college, they may need to plan more carefully during their application process, and maybe even years before.
Step one is to check college catalogs and websites for their policies that are specific to homeschoolers. Also note all deadlines and applications for financial aid.
Step two is to ask if there is an admission officer who deals with non-traditional students who might give you extra guidance.
Step three is to make sure you have all the necessary information. Below are the things you will need to collect for admission in addition to filling out your application, all with advice about completing them as a homeschooler.
College Admission Tests – You will need to take the SAT or the ACT. It might benefit you to take both. Because your records are not easy to compare with a public high school’s records, these tests may bear more weight for you. It is wise to consider college admission test preparation, especially as many public high schools offer classes in taking these tests.
Transcripts – You may not have an official transcript as high school students have for grades 9 through 12. However, there are ways to facsimilate a transcript. Here are the things you should document for these grade years:
o List of classes taken, grades, and credits
o Description of annual programs
o List of textbooks used
o Reading list
o A portfolio that includes samples of your work and photos of projects completed.
Resume – Because there is worry that homeschoolers are not as socialized as high school students, this is the place to show how involved you have been. The resume should include
o Activities and experience you have had
o Volunteer work
o Descriptions of hobbies
o Public speaking you have done
o Awards received
o Leadership positons you have had
Recommendations – These should be written by adults outside the sphere of your home. Be sure to ask leaders or advisors of clubs you have participated in, adults from community service, or teachers of classes you have taken online, at a college, or in public high schools.
College Essay – This will allow you to demonstrate you writing skills. You can also use this as an opportunity to explain how homeschooling has prepared you in a unique way for a college experience.
Colleges are looking for BWRKs (bright, well-rounded kids). Homeschoolers can demonstrate this in many unique ways. All it takes is planning ahead so you have documented your experiences.