How Does A Homeschooler Apply To College?
If you’ve been homeschooled during high school, college can be a huge step. Even if you go to a very small school or choose to commute, you’ll be in a group learning environment unlike the individual learning environment you’ve experienced in the past. In college, you’ll face multiple opinions, as well as viewpoints that you may not understand or with which you do not agree. Don’t worry too much, though – most incoming freshman feel a little out of place during the first few weeks of college, even if they’re used to large high schools. Also, rest easy knowing that there are tons of grant and scholarship opportunities for homeschoolers and traditional students alike.
Before you worry about how to cope with the stress of college and college finances, you have to apply. That raises some questions. Homeschoolers often complete high school on their own schedule, not necessarily an 18-year schedule. There’s also a question of not having traditional transcripts. So how do you apply to college?
Visit colleges that interest you. Each college will have specific policies for home school students, so not only are you finding out more about potential college choices, you’re also gathering information about how to best apply. Most colleges welcome homeschooled applicants, as long as you follow their special application process.
Take standardized tests. Most colleges require SAT scores, and some want to see ACT scores for all applicants as well. However, even if these are not required, you should take and submit your scores for both the SAT and ACT. In addition, you should take some of the SAT II tests. These are subject-based tests, and not required by most colleges traditionally. As a homeschooled student, however, these show your aptitude in multiple areas. This page is full of more information about testing for homeschoolers.
Be prepared to explain your curriculum. Colleges don’t doubt that you had a valid education, but they want to ensure that it was comparable to the education received by other students they are accepting. What text books did you use? Which subjects did you study? How many years did you study each subject?
Schedule an in-person interview. You want to ensure that you’re personable and outgoing, since the stereotype of a homeschooler is one of an anti-social, immature student. That couldn’t be farther from the truth in most cases, and an interview is your way to confirm that. Schedule your interview when you schedule a tour of the campus.
Clearly explain your community activities. Many homeschoolers participate in sports, clubs, and organizations through local high schools and community centers. Talk about these, as well as other opportunities you had for outside interaction during you time as a homeschooler.
No matter where you apply, you’ll have stiff competition from other homeschoolers and traditional high school students. Make sure that you write a great essay, and apply to multiple schools so that you have back up choices if you aren’t accepted to your first choice. For more college application tips and other resources for soon-to-be high school grads, check out this page from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest.