by Jennifer Corgan, The Old Schoolhouse
You have worked for thirteen long, hard years and have finally arrived at your destination: graduation day! It was not an easy road, but with strength and perseverance on the part of you and your child, you have finally achieved the goal you have been working on for so long. Some people will think that this is the end of the road and that there are no other options for a homeschool child. But as a homeschool parent, you know that this is just the beginning. And that new beginning is college.
It is a misconception that homeschoolers cannot get into college or have a much harder time than their traditionally schooled peers. This could not be further from the truth. Colleges are looking to diversify their schools, and they are welcoming homeschoolers with open arms. Homeschoolers are still a tiny percentage of overall applications, but admissions officers say their applications usually stand out from the rest. Colleges are realizing that these well-mannered, high-achieving students are a boon to their academics and student life.
Recruiters recognize homeschoolers’ high achievements, and this is from the full spectrum of colleges. Some of the best and most competitive universities are actively recruiting homeschoolers. This includes Harvard, MIT, Duke, Yale, and Stanford, to name a few. Homeschoolers represent a desired level of talent, and they usually have an impressive reading list, letters of recommendation, AP credits, and experience in volunteering and the arts. Recruiters are noticing this.
Colleges are adjusting their admissions policies to make them friendlier to homeschoolers. Instead of just relying on transcripts, many are now accepting portfolios and various educational proofs. Another common misconception is that homeschoolers must get a GED to be eligible for federal financial aid, but homeschoolers are exempt from this. They can receive federal funding and loans, just like their traditionally schooled peers.
Homeschoolers typically earn more college credits than their peers before they enter college. On average, they earn 14.7 college credits compared to 6.0 credits from traditionally schooled students. Homeschooled students also do very well once they are in college. They outperform their peers from start to finish. First-year homeschooled freshmen have an average GPA of 3.37 compared to their counterparts who earn a 3.08 GPA. Homeschooled college seniors receive a GPA of 3.46 compared to their peers who earn a 3.16.
Following are six ways you can increase the chances of your homeschooled student getting accepted into college, even an elite one.
1. Plan for a balanced curriculum. Colleges will look for areas of weakness in a student’s curriculum. This is especially true for math, sciences, and foreign languages. Most colleges will have requirements in these areas, so it is essential that a student have a well-balanced transcript in these areas.
2. Create a portfolio. Homeschooled students should assemble examples of their best work across a wide range of subjects. This will allow an admissions officer to see the quality and extent of the student’s work and not just grades and courses.
3. Consider attending a residential college summer program. This will give them an excellent introduction to college life, and will prove to a college admissions officer that they can function and thrive in a conventional classroom. Another alternative is for students to attend a local community college for some classes during their academic years.
4. Prepare for standardized tests. SAT/ACT scores are significant for homeschooled students. They should take the SAT subject tests and the ACT for an opportunity to score high.
5. Schedule a campus interview. Not all schools do this, but homeschooled students should make every possible effort to get one. Ask to speak to an admissions counselor directly. Most college counselors will accommodate the student for an interview.
6. Let your child take center stage. Parents have been involved in their children’s lives for eighteen years, and it may be hard to relinquish that control. But it is vital to let your child handle adult responsibilities, and this includes college and all that it entails. You can still help your child, but let him or her take the lead.
In the past, homeschoolers faced considerable hurdles to getting into colleges, especially highly regarded ones. But what was true thirty years ago is not true today. Colleges, including Ivy League ones, are rolling out the red carpets to home-educated students. They know these students have excellent track records and a deep commitment to academic success. The road is completely open for homeschooled students to attend college just like their traditionally schooled peers.
Jennifer Corgan is an experienced freelance writer and copywriter. She loves her writing to instruct, inform, and engage others and give them the best content that they need. She has done articles, blog posts, sales letters, email marketing, social media posts, sales funnels, Facebook ads, white papers, and case studies on a wide variety of topics and genres. She is especially experienced in the health and wellness genre. Follow her at jennifercorgan.com.
Copyright 2020, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2020-21 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.