Homeschooling is becoming increasingly common in America. As the number of these students attempting to get into colleges increases, universities are beginning to provide clearer directions for homeschoolers who apply. Families need to have a good understanding of how to stand out from the crowd as a homeschooled student, and find ways to improve their chances of being accepted.
Get to Know Prospective Colleges
A homeschooler can’t just get good grades and hope to get into the top colleges. It’s important for a homeschooled student to document their education in a reliable and clear way. You’re going to have to prove to your school, that you have the ability to complete college work. In many cases, this means taking standardized tests, providing additional writing samples, and some schools may require you to take their own entrance exams.
Design a Suitable High School Program
Homeschoolers aren’t legally required to follow a set of courses that mimic those of public schools. However, it helps if you can prove the ability to complete advanced coursework. Having a tutor who specializes in specific subjects is one way to ensure your child is getting the right education. English, math, history, science, foreign language, fine arts, and various elective courses are typical courses taken by your average high school graduate. Make sure you assign a single credit to each class. Require your child to complete from 24 to 48 credits evenly across the subject areas.
A single credit is equivalent to about 36 weeks at 50 minutes per day for every class. It works out to about 150 hours of class per year. You’ll often hear this referred to as the Carnegie unit. Keep within the guidelines, and spend your additional time engaging your child in community service, extra-curricular activities and team-based work. Keep track in a resume and find other ways to document and show the work done.
Preparing the Transcript
Transcripts should contain all the information needed to prove your child has completed grades 9 to 12. Certain programs like an online masters of higher education will probably want proof that students have taken a variety of classes. Make sure you provide a list of everything you covered and write out how they will be prepared.
Use Your Community College
Consider supplementing a few homeschooled courses with courses taken at the local community college during the student’s junior and senior years. This provides proof of the ability to complete college-level coursework, and sets your student apart. You may have to petition your community college for acceptance, but should have access to most elective and general courses.
When applying for college, show documented proof that your student has completed the coursework necessary to succeed. Decide on how each course will be tested, and have your child take all of the AP exams they can, to prove your child’s ability. This might require working with a local school.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.