You are nearing the end of your homeschool career and are ready to start applying to colleges. This may feel slightly intimidating if you have not attended any type of formal schooling in the past, but the process is similar regardless of how applicants received their primary education.
You should also know that many colleges actively recruit homeschooled students because they tend to be self-directed, hard workers, and advanced in many subject areas. In this blog, we outline what you need to know about college applications as a homeschooled student.
Preparing and Submitting Your Academic Transcripts
Although you do not have a formal academic transcript as a homeschooler, you have several options for meeting this requirement. These options include:
- Asking your parent to prepare an official transcript of your high school classes
- If your parents registered under a homeschool charter, you can request an official transcript and high school diploma from that organization
- Hire a service that specializes in transcript and diploma creation
- Join a homeschool group while in high school that offers transcript and diploma creation
Once you decide on how to acquire a transcript, make sure that it includes each of these details:
- Your full name, mailing address, and name of your homeschool if it has one
- Your expected date of graduation
- Courses you completed in grades 9 to 12 in chronological order
- Number of credits earned per course
- Whether you completed the course at home, through a community college or organization, or online
- Your overall GPA for all four years of high school and the scale used to determine it
- Signature of a parent with the current date
You should also contact each institution where you completed courses to request a transcript from them directly. Keep in mind that you do not need to have a diploma or GED for college applications or financial aid. However, you do need to demonstrate that you have met the minimum educational requirements for your state.
How to Include Extra-Curricular Activities with College Applications
College admission departments typically want to see that applicants can balance courses while retaining a strong commitment to extra-curricular activities. The flexibility of homeschooling gives you an advantage in this regard.
When including this information, focus more on describing the activity and what it meant to you rather than trying to list as many extra-curricular activities as possible. Admissions counselors want to read more than a list, and providing these details helps them to understand your goals and motivations better. If you have participated in multiple activities, be sure to highlight the ones that relate to your intended major such as a volunteer position.
Obtaining Letters of Recommendation
College applications typically require students to submit one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher. This can be challenging when a parent was your primary teacher. Consider courses you have taken as part of a homeschool co-op or another facility outside the home. These instructors would be the best people to ask to write you a college recommendation letter. Other people to consider asking to include a coach, priest or pastor, youth group leader, or the supervisor at your job or volunteer position.
Writing an Essay for College Applications
Colleges require essays for applications to learn more about prospective students. You can really shine in this area as a homeschooled student. One possible topic to elaborate on is how homeschooling provided you with a unique approach to learning and the skills you developed because of it. You might also consider highlighting how your unique educational experience allows you to bring a fresh perspective to the college environment.
The South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools wishes you well with your college applications. You or your parents are welcome to contact us at any time with additional questions.