Tips for Parents

From Home School to College: A Parent’s Guide

The transition from high school to college is significant for any student, but students coming from home school have a unique situation – with a few more logistics and emotional factors to consider. As a parent of a homeschooled student, consider these steps to ease the transition for your student:

Learn What Schools Need from your Student

During the college application process, your student will need to contact prospective schools’ admissions offices to find out exactly what they need from your student. Many universities focus less on home school students’ GPAs and instead require a certain level of performance on standardized tests, admissions interviews and personal essays. Colleges also might require completed course material and curriculum.

Consider Compiling a Portfolio

While some colleges will ask to see a portfolio of your student’s work, including projects, tests, volunteer work, etc., it might be beneficial for your student to create one regardless of if it’s required for admission. A portfolio will encourage your student to take pride in her work and feel confident in her level of academic accomplishment.

Enroll in Community College Courses

As your student approaches the last years of high school – or after high school graduation – taking courses at a local community college will help her try out college classes and build up a transcript beyond the home school curriculum. This is a helpful way to ease the transition from a home environment to a large university class of several hundred students.

Network with Other Homeschoolers.

Talk to other homeschooled students and parents on the same track. Share tips for working with admissions offices, building up portfolios and preparing for a different educational experience. Tour colleges together and encourage each other during the application process.

Be Aware of your Student’s Preconceived Notions

Just like any student, homeschoolers will have attitudes and beliefs that will affect their college experience. Talk to your student about what she expects from a formal education, what the challenges and benefits will be from attending college, how she will relate or compare to other students who weren’t homeschooled, etc. While it can be easy for homeschooled students to feel different or alienated from other students, their experiences are significant and usually very much valued by colleges.

For more information about general requirements to apply to college and what schools accept home school applicants, check out Student Aid on the Web and College Board.

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