The 9 Things Homeschoolers Must Do for College Admission
All colleges, even Ivy Leagues, are incredibly tolerant of educational variety. Home schooled students are getting accepted and excelling in universities across the country. In fact, more than 900 colleges, including "highly selective" ones, regularly admit homeschooled students. To give your son or daughter the greatest chance to get accepted to college after homeschool, use these 9 techniques:
- Remember the homemade "transcript" - Keeping a detailed portfolio on your child's education is vital to creating the eventual 'transcript' that will be submitted to colleges. Very often, the same program outline you design for state certification is sufficient, but greater detail is always better. Also remember that while many colleges will accept this portfolio you generate, some will require a GED on top of it.
- Take advantage of other application materials - Many colleges acknowledge that certain parts of the application portfolio, such as SAT/ACT and SAT II test scores, letters of recommendation, and the personal statement and application essays, are given greater weight for homeschooled applicants. The totality of the applications file is even more important for a homeschooler.
- Teach with breadth - A university admissions officer will want to see a program with a similar educational breadth as a public high school. In other words, don't put too much focus on any particular subject. Former Senior Associate Director of Stanford Admissions, Jonathan Reider suggests that you, "imagine that they go straight into 'life' after high school. In that case, what educational setting will best give them the tools for lifelong learning, which one will stimulate their curiosity, provide some realistic competition and honest feedback? That's the right 'education' and preparation for that student, and that will be the best choice."
- Keep in contact with preferred colleges - Some universities that you or your child may be interested in have special admission requirements for homeschooled students. Knowing these requirements ahead of time will allow you to construct an application packet with confidence.
- Take advantage of homeschooling in the application essay - Most colleges provide a prompt asking applicants about past experiences that have shaped them as a person. The homeschooling experience is a perfect topic. Writing about how being homeschooled has shaped his or her background and has uniquely prepared him or her for college is an excellent thesis for your child.
- Earn CLEP credits - The College Level Examination Program will allow your son or daughter to earn college credits by taking qualified examinations. Because the typical homeschooler will gain topical understanding on a level far deeper than their public school educated counterparts, they are in a unique position to excel on these CLEP exams. This can potentially save you thousands in college tuition and help to give them a head start.
- Be aware of college cost - Many of the same financial aid opportunities available to non-homeschooled students will be available to your child as well. However, because homeschoolers lack a high school guidance counselor with experience in financial aid, utilizing resources from preferred colleges becomes even more important. Make sure you know the answers to the seven questions you must ask of financial aid officers.
- Be cautious if considering distance learning and other online college programs - While your son or daughter is already familiar with a more personalized approach when it comes to learning, and while it may seem that distance learning is a perfect fit, you should not immediately jump to this conclusion. Future employers may (perhaps unfairly) assume that a homeschooled student who also received an online diploma lacks proper social skills necessary for a workplace environment. If your child has a shy personality, they may benefit from the social rigors of a brick-and-mortar college experience. Online education may work, but only you and your son or daughter can make this determination. Make sure to do some research to find out whether an online degree is right given your situation.
- Attend college fairs - The best way to network with college admissions officers and learn information about the process for homeschooled students is to attend a college fair. The National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) holds several free, public fairs full of college representatives. Their website, nacacnet.org lists all upcoming fairs. Keep your ears open for regional and major-specific college fairs as well.
Remember that while homeschooled students are almost always equal in every way to public educated students during the admissions process (i.e. they suffer no penalty), the process is often a little bit different. By keeping abreast of the changing college landscape, and by maintaining contact with admissions officers at preferred colleges, you and your child maintain the best chance to get accepted to a top university.Have any insight on this topic? Want to ask a question or make a suggestion? Click here to leave a comment.
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