Preparing a Homeschool Child for College

Homeschooling can adequately prepare a student for college. Unfortunately, many families don't know how to guide their homeschooler through the college admissions process. Read on to learn more about preparing a homeschooled child for college.

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A homeschooled student can get into any college they wish, as long as they have test scores and required admissions materials. Most homeschool parents and students have similar questions and concerns about the college admissions process.

Researching Colleges

Students can start to search for colleges as early as they wish. Researching colleges when students are in late middle school can be a huge motivator for your child to excel with their studies. There are numerous college searches available online. Many of these programs provide basic information about the specific colleges and links to their official Web sites.

When your children show interest in colleges, help them research the programs that each university offers and learn about the applications process. Most schools have admissions statistics on their websites that will indicate the average grade point average and test scores of the students who attend their programs. It's helpful to learn this information early in high school so your student will know what to strive for.

Tutoring Can Help Test Scores

If your student has math or reading problems, a professional tutor will know which skills to target and how to help your child master them. Online tutoring is an option for homeschool families because your child can complete the lessons from home. These programs typically provide measurable results in a child's understanding of math and reading skills, which will help them score better on college aptitude tests like the SAT and ACT.

The SAT and ACT

When your student begins their junior year of high school homeschooling, it's time to start researching the required tests. Many colleges require homeschool students to take the GED tests which assess understanding of the skills taught in the public school system. The GED is usually quite easy for homeschool students. But they should also consider taking the SAT or the ACT. Most universities accept either of these standardized tests. Some schools also require specific SAT II subject tests.

The ACT, SAT, and SAT II tests can be taken a number of times and the highest results earned are reported to colleges. Plan ahead to take the test more than once. Homeschool students can also take AP tests to receive college credit for specific classes. These tests can be expensive, so it's wise to choose those best suited to your child's goals and achievement.


Transcripts are also a major consideration for homeschool students. There are computer programs that parents can buy to create transcripts. Many universities will also accept a portfolio showcasing the best examples of your student's work, including any published articles or essays or any awards. You can also include science lab reports and art work. Submitting a portfolio represents your child's talents and skills in a way than test scores and transcripts alone can't.

College applications are typically due in late fall. Make sure your child has thoroughly researched all of the application requirements for the universities of their choice so that they have all of their materials prepared ahead of time. Many schools have applications available online. If your student wants to submit a portfolio, you may contact the school admissions office to see how this may be done. Your child can also have sports coaches, club leaders, or work supervisors write letters of recommendation. The more your homeschooled student does to show how involved they've been in the community the better their chances will be of being admitted to the school of their choice.

Financial Aid

To qualify for federal assistance you'll need to fill out the FAFSA form, available online and requiring data from your yearly taxes. The filing period for the FAFSA starts in early January and ends in March. The earlier you submit the forms, the greater the chance your student has of receiving this aid. Even if you don't anticipate receiving any federal aid, the FAFSA helps to qualify your family for loans. Many private scholarships require students to fill out the form. There are numerous scholarships available for homeschool students. Additionally, while many scholarships ask for a student's GPA, they often make an exception for homeschoolers.

The college application process doesn't need to be intimidating! If you follow these guidelines, you and your student will be well on the way to a smooth admissions process. The main advice to give to your child is to take their homeschool studies seriously. Universities will be able to tell when a student is serious about school and will succeed in taking their education to a higher level.

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