by Cheryl R. Carter/April 2022

This week I met with a mother whose daughter was transitioning from a brick-and-mortar high school to homeschooling. She wanted to make sure her daughter was adequately prepared for college. More importantly, she wanted to make sure her daughter could get into the college of her choice—a very competitive, top-tier college. 

I suggested the following:
One: It is imperative that you find out for yourself what courses are necessary for admittance to competitive colleges. Do not just speak to other parents, although other homeschool parents can be a great resource. Go directly to the college’s website, open house, table at a college fair, or a homeschool college admissions officer. For some reason, rumors abound in the homeschool community regarding college admission because the process of moving our students on to college seems a bit mysterious, we rely on other parents, who, though meaning well, may not fully understand the process themselves.

For instance, I once spoke to a mom who insisted her son should receive a scholarship. Further, she insisted he did not need to adhere to college deadlines because he was a stellar student. The fact of the matter was the family was in dire financial straits due to her husband’s health crisis and resulting unemployment. As a result of these factors, her son got a lot of need-based aid—not scholarships! Further, he was admitted to a local university that had rolling admission. The college did not have a solid deadline. Hence, there was no deadline to miss. Truly, she was blessed that he was admitted to the college so late and was provided financial aid. However, her situation was certainly not the norm. Lesson to be learned: College admission as a homeschooler can be quite an individual matter.

Two: Make sure that your son or daughter has taken all the required classes for college admission. This effort sometimes means going beyond the standard state homeschool regulations. For instance, in New York, home-educated students are not required to take a foreign language, and while there are schools that may not require a foreign language, the more competitive schools do.

Three: Become familiar with the application process. Some schools require supplementary essays and alternative admission assessments, such as videos, portfolios, and standardized testing, such as the SAT subject tests. Note that post-COVID, some colleges have altered their admission processes. You can also help your student gain what I call the homeschool advantage by knowing what your student needs to do to become a standout candidate on their admission application. 

These were just some basic tips I gave her. All homeschool parents can give their students the homeschool advantage in college admissions if they approach the college admission process with just a bit of planning.

Cheryl Carter has helped many students get into the college of their choice. Her advice is always practical and strategic. She prides herself on giving parents the homeschool advantage college admission advice. She is the author of Homeschool College Prep. Visit learn4college.com for information on her. Cheryl and her husband, Derek, are featured speakers at this year’s Thrive! Conference.