Secular Homeschool College Acceptance

Homeschooling doesn’t last forever. The day will eventually come when students either move on to a college or start job hunting. Recently it has become much easier to be a homeschool student and make the transition to college. In the past, homeschoolers were often met with difficulties when they attempted to apply or gain admission to many universities. In some scenarios the tables have actually turned and homeschoolers have easier admissions. Thanks to their home education, many homeschoolers are able to dual-enroll during high school and enter college with a handful of credits. Sometimes a homeschool student will have even finished an entire AA degree when they graduate from high school.

What Colleges and Universities Accept Homeschool Students?

A better question might be, “Which colleges don’t accept homeschooled students.” More often than not, whatever college or university you or your child is interested in attending accepts homeschool students. There is a possibility they even prioritize them. Colleges like Amherst report that homeschooler’s usually have very thick folders — in a good way — and are often innovators who have lots to offer.

Some colleges like Dartmouth brag that their homeschooled applicants usually have “outstanding” applications. Homeschooling gives these students an advantage because they have received “individualized instruction.”

All homeschool diplomas are ‘official’ as long as they are within the compliance requirements and records of the local county’s school district. However, some college admissions do not even require a high school transcript.

Colleges often seek diversification

Some universities have diversity requirements and readily welcome homeschoolers. Homeschool students only comprise a small fraction of the total applicants. This helps homeschool applications stick out even if the university is not specifically looking to meet a diversification quota.

Tips for Homeschool College Applications

When colleges look at homeschool applicants they rely on materials that help justify a ‘lack of high school grades.’ Colleges love to see portfolios of student work, well written personal essays, personal recommendations, and extra curricular activities.

“Any way a student can demonstrate her or his interests or activities outside of the classroom will help.”

Just like any student, homeschoolers should usually provide colleges with SAT or ACT test scores. SAT Subject Tests are also very useful to colleges. Universities also want to know about high school curriculum including foreign language, science, social sciences, math, etc. Every school is different — some prestigious schools will even accept anyone who has a good enough SAT/ACT score.

One of the best ways to prove yourself to a university is by having early college classes or SAT subject tests under your belt because both of these can count as credit hours for the institution that is reading your folder.

The more challenging extracurricular activities that homeschool applicants can include, the better. This is especially important when applicants are hoping to qualify for scholarships.

Always, always do some research on the university’s website before applying. They will almost always specify if there are additional loops that homeschoolers need to hop through. Some colleges even have special pages purely devoted to helping out home educated students.

Why Colleges Like Homeschoolers

Colleges have reported that homeschools are often more mature than  their public school peers. And many colleges believe homeschoolers are just as well socialized. [source]

Lots of homeschoolers enter into college with more credit than their peers. This is usually because homeschooling offers more opportunities than mainstream education for early college enrollment.

Statistically, homeschooled students often do better than their peers on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Their GPAs are consistently higher. However, GPAs are quite subjective even among public school applicants.

Statistically, homeschooled students are also more likely to graduate college! 66% of homeschool students graduate compared to the 57% average.

People exaggerate just how much colleges like homeschoolers

It has become very popular to over emphasize just how much colleges enjoy having homeschoolers. It is absolutely true that some colleges favorite students are homeschoolers. And some universities heavily advertise themselves as homeschool-friendly. This does NOT mean they will accept any homeschool student. What this usually means is that the college will be overjoyed to accept a homeschool student that has developed his or her talents. The students that are accepted to great universities have stellar records across the board — public school, private school, or homeschool. A well-documented academic record that includes difficult courses, high test scores, and out-of-the-home activities can compete with any public school student.

Start Researching Today

The best piece of advice homeschoolers can take is to make a list of colleges that they are interested in, and then visit their websites. Its usually very easy to find out what colleges want from you.

Theresa Ryder originally wrote an article about college acceptance with a few insights about how her son was accepted into Texas A&M.

I think it’s a fear that plagues many homeschoolers– how will my homeschooled child get into college? The answer for us was pretty much the same way any other kid gets into college.

One thing that made it easy for him is that for the last year and a half, he’s been attending a Richard Milburn Academy. This is not homeschooling, but at the time he entered, I pretty much considered him done with school. He, however, wanted an official state issued high school diploma and this was a relatively painless way for us to get it. He took a few classes that for whatever reason the school/state thought he needed, got stunning grades in them, and poof. He’s accepted into a great college on the basis of that and his good SATs. He knew most of the material in almost every class he took, but he enjoyed the experience nonetheless. He’s graduating next week, top of his class.

I think he could have got into college without the RMA alternative school experience, but it was really personally important to him that he have a state issued high school diploma. There are ways to submit your homeschool transcripts and get a state issued diploma in some states, but not in ours.