Applying to College as a Homeschooler: Three Things You Need to Know
The transition from high school to college is a big one for any and all students. You are away from your loved ones, taking on new responsibilities, forming new friendships, and making decisions about what your future will look like. This can be especially difficult for the homeschool student who might not be ushered through college preparation like a public high school student is.
If applying to college as a homeschooler feels like a big obstacle for you, it doesn’t have to be. Your transition from homeschool to college can be smooth and simple. Keep reading for insight on standardized tests, transcripts, and precollege opportunities.
1. You will need a transcript.
A transcript is one of the first things you’ll need to submit to the colleges. This is a listing of all the classes you took and the grade you received organized by semester, year, or subject. This is a very important document because it displays that you are ready for college level classes and it also allows you to gain transfer credits for college level courses you take prior to high school graduation. While transcripts are automatically produced for students by their high schools, homeschoolers need to make ensure they have a transcript created by the time they start applying for college.
There are many websites and templates on the internet that are designed to help homeschoolers create a professional transcript to submit to colleges. Most well known is Transcript Maker, which includes informational blog posts and paid plans to help create transcripts. There are also free templates and samples available on Homeschool.com and Homeschool Freedom. Whether you are designing your own transcript or using a template, the most important thing to remember is that your transcript should display your academic experience as a student.
2. Standardized tests are helpful.
Applying to college as a homeschooler includes taking steps to prepare for and pass standardized tests. While many colleges have become test-optional, applications still have a place where you can provide SAT or ACT exam results to help determine if you are eligible for scholarships they offer. When you’ve decided which schools to apply to, check to see if they have minimum requirements for standardized test scores so that you know what to aim for. Websites like College Board and Khan Academy provide great resources so you’ll know what to expect and how to prepare.
As a homeschool student, you will need to take the initiative to schedule these tests. It is recommended you take your first standardized test in the fall of your junior year. The sooner you take it, the more time you have to try and improve your score. To get started, you can register for your SAT here and ACT here.
3. Take advantage of precollege opportunities.
Applying to college as a homeschooler is becoming easier and easier as new opportunities arise to earn college credit prior to your freshman year. Local colleges and universities have special programs in which high school students can learn alongside college students to gain knowledge and to get a taste of colleges for homeschoolers. This is the best way for any student to get a sense of what college life and classes are like.
Here at Grace, we have two main opportunities for high school students. Jump Start is an on-campus module available to juniors and seniors. We have a specific list of classes that these students can take to maximize their college experience. College Launch is an online or on-campus track for juniors in high school to earn their associates degree and their high school diploma concurrently.
Another great way to experience college life is through scholarship competitions. Some colleges offer a scholarship competition to students with a certain GPA and/or standardized test score. These competitions are an amazing way to see the campus, meet students and professors, and gain scholarship money in the process. Grace College offers Presidential Scholarship Days, during which students have a personal interview with faculty members as well as a campus tour and an academic group meeting.
Homeschoolers at Grace
Applying to college as a homeschooler can come with a lot of uncertainty. Will I feel out-of-the-loop? Will I be the only student with a homeschooling background? You can rest assured, at Grace College, you are not alone. The fall semester of 2020, we welcomed a record 31 freshmen homeschool students to Grace, and we have continued to see strong numbers of homeschoolers commit in years following.
The homeschoolers who have come to Grace aren’t just surviving here – they are thriving. You can read a few of their stories to learn more:
Homeschool student and journalism major Carolina Keegan had five articles published on the front page of the Times-Union in Warsaw her senior year.
Cassadi Colbert, who was homeschooled nearby in Claypool, Indiana, transferred to Grace from the University of South Alabama to play volleyball in a Christ-centered atmosphere.
Kyrsten Newlon enjoyed traveling with her family as a homeschooler. Through Grace’s study abroad program, she was able to study in Budapest, Hungary, for a semester and keep that passion alive.
Are you interested in going to Grace College, a college for homeschoolers? Click here to learn more about our admissions process.