Getting into college is a big step in most people’s lives, and for homeschoolers, there are many extra questions. Can homeschoolers go to college? What if your child wants to go to a prestigious university? The good news is that preparing a home learner for college isn’t much different than any traditional school child, and yes, they can absolutely go. Better still, homeschool kids tend to thrive in a higher learning environment. There are plenty of reasons to stress over applying to colleges, but being homeschooled isn’t one of them. However, it pays to prepare well in advance because those last four years of homeschool will make the difference between applying successfully to a top tier university and going to a local college. Thus, if your children have lofty aspirations, then you need to make sure they do the work so they’ll qualify. Even though won’t be harder for them than a public or private school student, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
Is it harder to get into college if you are homeschooled? It is a myth that it’s harder to get into college if you’re homeschooled. The entry requirements don’t change, but being properly prepared for college can take more forethought if you don’t attend a traditional school. Homeschool kids can even go to Ivy League schools, and some have special admissions officers to assess and process homeschool applications differently.
Requirements to Get Into College
Getting into college has some basic requirements that are no different for homeschoolers than traditionally educated kids. Some colleges don’t have entrance requirements beyond filling out the application and paying. However, we’ll assume you want to know about schools with all the usual entrance requirements.
According to U.S. News and World Report, homeschool students in college or university get higher grades. Moreover, about 67% of home learners graduate. Alternately, less than 58% of students from public and private schools finish college.
To get into college, you will need a diploma or equivalent like a GED, and typically you need an SAT/ACT score above a certain threshold. Good schools want you to write an entrance essay, and often ask for letters of recommendation. Beyond that, there’s financing and a lot of paperwork to fill out.
What about the GPA? The best schools don’t accept anyone with a GPA below 3.7, but it’s better to have a 3.9 or higher. These schools also want to see a well-rounded extracurricular profile. Volunteer work, activities, sports, and learning languages, arts, or instruments are all part of this process.
Those homeschool students who are college bund might do best to take independent study through a certified diploma issuing school their last two to four years to make things easier. However, it’s not strictly speaking necessary. Most schools have a system for assessing home learners these days, and those who don’t may still work with you on an individual basis. In those cases, it could be a little more difficult to get in.
If you’ve done no college preparation, and you only ever attended your classes, then you are not going to be in a good position to go to a university. Many community colleges will still accept students without the added requirements of top tier schools, and even those with poor grades. You can work toward transferring to a better school from there if necessary or desirable.
Applying for college is more tedious and time-consuming than it is difficult. If you’ve planned and done the necessary preparations for admission, there’s no real reason to worry about how a homeschooler can get a higher education.
Taking the ACT/SAT
Students who wish to go from homeschool to college or university will need to take the SAT or ACT. More importantly, they should focus on scoring well. I highly recommend committing a serious block of time to study for these exams. Moreover, you may want to include it the same as any other course and spend a month or more working on just this subject before signing up to test.
According to Thoughtco, “The homeschool high school code for the ACT is 969999. Homeschooled students can also register online for the SAT. The SAT is offered seven times a year in the United States. Testing dates are available in October, November, December, January, March/April, May, and June.”
How My Kids Got Into College
As a former educator and homeschool parent, I can’t speak to everyone’s experience. However, I can share how I helped my kids get what they needed to get into college and succeed in life. Although it took some effort, it wasn’t what I’d call difficult. Anyone willing to do the work should be able to follow this process and attain a diploma to get into a good university.
Since so many schools consider the GPA, we elected to do independent study through some well-rated and respected distance learning high school programs. You can choose one or utilize multiple institutions as we did. The American School of Correspondence, Seton Home Study School, and Citizens Online High School all have excellent curriculums for students to work on pen and paper assignments at their own pace.
Naturally, there are plenty of outstanding options, but the advantage of independent study high school is that you get more traditional grades for your transcript. Having this certainly made it easier for my family. However, schools will still look at your home learners’ test scores, essays, and other vital information to determine admissions without these documents.
Once the high school requirements were met, we applied to one of the schools for a diploma and had little trouble receiving it. By going this route, we avoided the need for GED testing, and it looks great on their permanent records to have an actual diploma. Additionally, we asked the schools for a reference. You can get your references from other sources as well. For example, if your home learners opted to volunteer with a local organization or hospital, asking the director to write a recommendation is a fantastic source.
The rest of the process involved choosing and visiting schools. This is as simple as calling ahead and requesting a time to look around campus. Then we sat down together over several evenings and did all the relevant paperwork. My kids opted to apply to several schools and had to write more than one essay, but ultimately it paid off. Most importantly, it was not any more difficult than it would be for any other sufficiently motivated student.
Almost all colleges and universities are homeschool friendly, though some put more effort into easy access than others. You can often find a link on school websites for homeschool admissions. I suggest checking out these links at least a year before your home learners are ready to apply. Doing this will tell you if you need to contact the school by phone to request information. However, you’ll find there’s no particular bar preventing the equal opportunity for homeschoolers.
Because home learners have to be self-motivated and self-disciplined, they tend to do exceptionally well. The maturity and well-rounded extracurriculars are typically present as well. Plus, homeschoolers have more leeway in their schedules to work on their non-school activities, leading to an impressive list of activities. You’ll find a list of homeschool-friendly colleges by the state, courtesy of Homeschool Facts when you click here.
Going directly to their favorite higher education institution isn’t going to happen for every homeschool student, just as it doesn’t always happen for public and private school attendees. Getting a rejection letter isn’t the end of the world, and it’s not a permanent situation. It is only a lack of admission for that year. Additionally, other paths also lead to success.
Those who don’t get into their school of choice may want to look at an inexpensive option like a local community college as a stepping stone on their way to the school of their dreams. For others, technical and trade schools are a better fit. However, you may also want to suggest your child consider interning for a major business in heir field of interest. The experience is an outstanding way to make inroads to their future career options, and it also looks outstanding on a transcript.
Not every homeschool student wants to go to a university or not right away. Some may even want to work a part-time job and save for a gap-year trip. Support those normal inclinations because your student will learn through work and life experience. Moreover, they will expand their horizons and make new friends and contacts for the future.
Preparing for colleges is about much more than merely graduating high school and deciding to further your education. Homeschool students are often more mature and prepared to complete higher learning degrees. However, they need to work hard and excel if they want to go to ‘the good schools.’
There’s nothing wrong with going to a community college. Truly motivated students can transfer from there to a more prestigious university with hard work even if they don’t start out there. Moreover, there are plenty of trade schools and alternate options for children who have particular interests.
As a homeschool parent, you are probably deeply invested and involved in your children’s academic lives. Instead of worrying about how homeschool affects their future (positively), focus your energy on good college preparation and studying for the SAT/ACT instead.