It’s no secret that many educational institutions frown upon homeschoolers. To be fair, some parents who homeschool for religious reasons are actually seeking to fulfill their religious obligations.
But most homeschoolers do it for reasons such as not wanting their kids to be indoctrinated with current trends in education, lacking confidence in public schools to effectively teach their kids, or simply because it’s cheaper.
Depending on the path your child wants to follow, you may still wish for them to attend a traditional college or university once they come of age and you feel that homeschooling is no longer appropriate or necessary.
For many parents, that tends to be after their GCSEs or high school. But, as it goes, many parents ask, ‘can a homeschooled child go to college or university?’, ‘how does it all work?’
The good news is yes, absolutely. A home-educated child can and often does go on to attend college and university if they choose to.
In this post, I will help you understand the process a little better. But, first, let us explore the different ways you can apply for college or university.
- Applying As a Homeschooler
- Common Application
- Standardized Tests
- Extracurricular Activities
- A Letter Of Recommendation
- School Report
- How Do I Increase My Chances of Being Admitted Into College?
- Can I Get Scholarship As a Homeschooler?
Applying As a Homeschooler
Generally, when applying for college as a homeschooled student, you will need to produce evidence of high school education through transcripts and also reports from your educators and parents.
To put this into more context, let us see what two top universities from the US and UK require to admit a homeschooled student.
If you are a homeschooled student looking to join Oxford University in the UK, you would need to do the following;
- Find someone, other than your family members, to give a detailed and impartial UCAS academic reference which includes a comment about your academic abilities.
- Take an admission test in a registered facility. If you can find a registered school near you, you can register there as an external student so you can take the test.
- Submit written work from your A-levels or the AP examinations if applying from the US. You can read through the school’s requirements here.
On the other hand, if you’d like to apply to Yale University as a homeschooled student, you’d need to fulfil these requirements;
- Submit letters of recommendation from educators you have interacted with in your schooling.
- Your strengths in major high school courses. A recommendation from a local college you attended can be a great addition here.
- Excellent personal qualities in both academic and non-academic fields. These are recommendations about extracurricular activities and how well you can socialize with other students and educators.
Hundreds of colleges in the United States now accept the Common App. It is a platform that allows students to carry out applications without filling in specific paperwork for each application.
Thus, you can easily fill out an application to a majority of colleges and Universities in the United States without hassle. Details that you will be required to provide include your academic performance (including GPA scale used; you can convert your scores here to understand what you need for universities in the UK and US), ranking, and the number of Honor classes taken.
The Common App application will require more information on your behavior and your disciplinary history. In addition, a clean bill of health is important so that schools can be sure they’re enrolling an all-round productive student.
It is imperative that you research these requirements early on to have it easy when using the Common Application. No documentation and requirements should be ignored as they might be the deciding factor when college time comes.
Most homeschoolers don’t do ACTs and SATs as part of their curriculum. However, the college application program may require a report on the same to evaluate your preparedness for college. Thus, it is imperative for students and tutors or parents to look keenly into these requirements.
If you have an opportunity to sit these tests as a homeschooler, you will need to preserve all the necessary documentation about them. Video clips on reading and creative tasks, written essays, completed courses, and achievements will help inform the college or university your child wants to enroll in.
In the US, you might need to have passed your SATs in grade 12 before proceeding to college and university education. It is not the case in some countries, such as Canada where you will not need to sit any SATs to qualify for college-level education.
In the UK, however, SATs are administered at age 7, 11, 14, and 16. Since these tests are compulsory in most schools, you will need to ensure the college or university you want to join does not ask for their results in the application. As a parent, if most top colleges you’d like your child to attend ask for the standardized tests, you can ensure your child sits them to make college application easier.
An advantage that homeschoolers have is that of being in charge of their learning time. Most students will have better chances to incorporate hobbies and other extracurricular activities into their learning programs than those in a traditional school.
Traditionally schooled students may have built-in opportunities for extracurriculars, and it should be no exception with homeschoolers. Your homeschooler will have a wider scope to choose from when it comes to fun activities to do, and if one activity no longer excites them, they can move on to the next.
Parents and tutors should document all extracurricular involvement in a student’s resume early on, as this helps strengthen it, which may come in handy later in life.
In both the USA and UK, you can join local sports teams, find a high school internship, take up a part-time job to improve your skills, or even volunteer with a non-profit organisation to improve your extracurricular resume.
Most homeschooled students may worry about not having a high school diploma or a GED for college admission. But, the truth is as long as you can prove that your homeschooling has met state or country law requirements, you have nothing to worry about.
Some top universities in the US and UK insist on valid transcripts and test scores. Depending on your homeschooling facility, you can get a diploma if your transcripts show that you indeed met all the educational laws.
If you have attended an online/virtual school or an organized homeschool facility, your teachers will issue you your diploma. However, if thoroughly homeschooled, your parents or tutor will be responsible for issuing you with a diploma.
A Letter Of Recommendation
Institutions that require a letter of recommendation ask for a teacher’s recommendation instead of a homeschooling parent’s letter. It is always advisable to confirm with the college what they are looking to see in a letter, so you go to the right person.
A letter of recommendation depicts that you are a valuable member, a team player and that you will contribute positively to the college’s academic, social, and cultural ambitions. Depending on requirements, you can approach a teacher, a mentor, a member of the clergy, or even a volunteer coordinator.
For instance, if you are applying to Harvard University, it is possible to submit a letter of recommendation from your parents, while you will need a detailed letter of recommendation from an educator or another person other than your family members when applying to Oxford University.
Your parent or tutor, in this case, will have to write your school report. For traditionally schooled students, the report is usually filled out by the guidance counselor.
Details about the GPA method used, standardized test reports, and the number of Honors or AP courses issued are highlighted here. Needless to say, this form will entail a lot of N/A for homeschooled students as they just need valid and duly signed transcripts.
If accessing this feature online, find the ‘Education’ section under Common Application. Then, under the ‘Find School’ tab, scroll down to click on ‘Homeschooled.’ When asked for your counselor’s contact information, fill in your parent’s details.
An email will be sent to your parents, who will set up a My Recommender Account. The details your parents will be required to download are your comprehensive transcript, your homeschooling philosophy, courses description, and standardized tests, if any.
Only after the School Report has been submitted does the Counselor Recommendation Form become available.
How Do I Increase My Chances of Being Admitted Into College?
In addition to adhering to these crucial steps during your application, there are other ways you can greatly improve your chances of admission. These include:
Providing Information About Your Academic Curriculum
Most colleges in the US and UK want to understand why a student settles for a certain curriculum over the other accepted curriculums. This gives them insight into how the student’s thought-process works, their individuality and independence, and generally a sense of what kind of student they are.
Generally, institutions want to admit students they’ll have an easy time with. However, because of the misconceptions about homeschooling and social isolation, it helps if you can be bold enough and show that you are a purpose-driven individual.
For example, if you are applying for a spot at Yale University, one of their requirements is a report from yourself and other people involved in your high school education that details your personality and how well you socialize with others.
On the other hand, UK’s St. Andrews University can ask for additional information in your letter of recommendation plus an application essay and interview to guarantee you are a good fit.
Having A Community College Course
Many experts in the UK and US root for homeschoolers to sign up for community college. Taking advantage of the dual-enrolment courses at community college provides homeschoolers with a feel of what college life entails and comes with more advantages.
Signing up for a short course allows you to create connections, which can later come in handy when you need letters of recommendation.
A community college course will also help you gain college credit and further facilitate the process of admission into college or university.
Can I Get Scholarship As a Homeschooler?
Yes! Homeschooled students, just like traditionally schooled ones, have access to scholarships. There are several types of scholarships available to students, whether home, private or public schooled.
- Need-Based Scholarships are open to all students. They are federally subsidized programs, and homeschoolers are eligible to apply. However, they may require you to prove in a semester or several attempted credit hours, so it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the requirements.
- Merit-based scholarships are offered by the institution or by privately sponsored scholarships. As long as a homeschooled student meets the criteria, the National Merit Scholarship program is friendly to homeschoolers.
- Athletic Scholarships are available to students based on their athletic performance. This is a great way for many homeschoolers to access aid. A scout or a representative from the college will be sent in to evaluate the student’s merit.
- Career-specific scholarships are offered based on the degree, major, or field a student chooses to pursue. This scholarship is accessible to homeschooled students too.
- Student Specific Scholarships aim at a student’s specific qualities and encompass races, affiliations, religions, gender, people with specific backgrounds, and military involvement.
- Brand Scholarships and Creative Content Scholarships are offered by companies or brands looking to market themselves or create awareness. Students can then participate in competitive essay writing, for example, and win themselves a scholarship program.
When it comes to scholarships and homeschooling students, there’s really no limit to what’s accessible. New opportunities keep coming up every day, and especially in this digital age, scholarships pop up even where least expected. You can tune in for the latest scholarship awards here.
Most colleges review homeschooled students, and more and more students are choosing to homeschool over the traditional school. As long as all considerations are met by parents and students, admission into college should not be anything to worry about.
Many Ivy League colleges are actively looking to find homeschooled students these days, and this has a lot to do with these student’s unique approach to learning and problem-solving.
So, when you are ready to join college, you will only need to familiarize yourself with the methods mentioned above of applying to college or university as a homeschooler. Then, when you meet a university’s requirements, you are guaranteed to find a spot without too much hassle.