As a parent of a college-bound homeschool student, it’s important to remember that preparing your homeschooler for college will take a significant amount of your personal time and effort. Because your child is homeschooled, you are their de facto guidance counselor. Your efforts to prepare your child for college attendance should begin as early as their 8th grade year. At this time, you should be conscientiously assessing your child’s aptitude and interests and considering what should be included in a four-year program that directly addresses those interests.
Course of Study
By the time your child reaches the 9th and 10th grades, it will be important to be sure the course of study he/she has selected for their high school years is adequate as a college prep program. Now is the time to check out a variety of colleges your child might attend and research their requirements for homeschooled children. (NOTE: This information can generally be found on a college’s website and many colleges have set up information pages specific to homeschool students.) You might also consider the possibility of teaming with a local community college to “dual enroll” your student so they have the opportunity to earn college credit while still attending high school. Dual enrollment credits are generally transferable to colleges and universities, so your child will have a “jump start” on accumulating credits towards college graduation.
If your child will be taking a PSAT test, 10th grade is the year it should be done. 11th grade is the time to schedule ACT/SAT tests so your student can take the test(s) at the end of the year. Students should also be practicing their essay writing skills during their junior year in high school. Most colleges and universities require a student essay as part of the application process and the essay tends to be weighed somewhat heavily during the admissions process. Students should also be involved in community work during their junior year if they have not already gotten started. Colleges, overall, consider a student who has been involved in their community as a strong candidate for admission. Additionally, as a parent now is the time you should be traveling with your child to colleges they may wish to attend.
By the time your homeschool student enters their senior year, it’s time to begin college applications and to apply for scholarships. Both of these tasks will require a significant level of parental involvement to complete in a timely and complete fashion. This is also the time to schedule any necessary ACT/SAT “retakes.” It’s important to do this as early as possible during the senior year. Deadlines and timetables are extremely important at this point in the high school-to-college transition. Work with your homeschooled student to be sure they do not miss any crucial deadlines that may be relevant to the acceptance process. Once you have narrowed down the college selection to a few real possibilities, contact the financial counselor at your college of choice to discuss options for payment of tuition, fees and, if your student will be living on campus, housing costs.
Generally speaking, a homeschool graduate can attend any college of their choice, as long as they have created a documentation package that includes a high school transcript and all the required test scores and application/admissions materials for that school. Homeschoolers do have the capacity and education to thrive in college, but it’s up to you, as the homeschool parent/manager/teacher to make sure they are prepared to work through the application and admissions process and to successfully adjust to college life.
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