College Admissions Strategies for Homeschool Students
As a homeschooling parent, guiding your student through the college admissions process can be an intimidating task. Will he or she be properly prepared for college classes? How will schools view the homeschooling curriculum?
Luckily, with proper lesson planning and research into the college admissions realm, admissions success is possible. Whether your student is homeschooled or attends school outside the home, each individual must establish a plan of action to achieve admission to the colleges of his or her choice. Following the below strategies can help your learner feel more confident about his or her potential for admission.
Design an appropriate curriculum
Admission to the college of your student’s choice will require a four-year plan for success. While homeschooling allows for a certain degree of academic freedom, you should also ensure that your student is familiar with the typical coursework and pace of the high schools in your area. Then, design an academic and socio-emotional curriculum that is both challenging and properly paced. For instance, students should start to explore the autonomy they will possess as college students—perhaps your student begins to assume greater control of his or her major assignments as a homeschooled freshman. Aim to develop this autonomous drive early on, and remember that the goal of education is to prepare our children for the world and the workforce.
Encourage enrollment in advanced and college-level courses
Homeschooled students are particularly well placed to take advantage of college-level courses. Community college credits, for example, are transferable to many colleges, and they are a powerful addition to college applications. In addition, college-level classes can provide students with a glimpse of what to expect in university. Homeschooled students can also register for Advanced Placement exams, which typically award college credit for scores of 3 or better. Whichever option your student chooses, verify the credit policies at his or her top-choice schools.
Stress extracurricular involvement
Just like traditionally schooled students, homeschooled students should participate in extracurricular activities. This can be more difficult without the opportunities readily available in the high school environment, but it is important that your learner takes on activities that will help frame his or her admissions profile. Through sports, community service, or the arts, a student can demonstrate a well-rounded background, a willingness to shoulder responsibility, superior time management skills, and the ability to work with others. Extracurricular activities can also provide content for personal essays, and they can build confidence for admissions interviews.
Consider part-time employment or an internship
Work experience can be very valuable on college applications. Consider encouraging your homeschooled student to seek a job or internship where he or she can develop a new skill set or explore a career path. Work experience can also demonstrate to admissions officers that a student is capable of working well with others and completing tasks outside of the purview of parents or guardians.
Aim for consistency, and address problems immediately
Of course, the importance of your student’s academic performance cannot be overstated. If your student struggles in a certain subject or on a certain standardized test like the SAT, address this issue immediately. College admissions officers hope to meet students who are dedicated and consistent, and this consistency begins on day one of your high school curriculum.
With these strategies in hand, your homeschooled student will be well equipped for the college admissions process. When in doubt, consult the admissions offices of the colleges your child is interested in, and prepare yourself for the process by familiarizing yourself with it as soon as possible. Good luck to you and your student!
Sasa Afredi is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.