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How To Prepare A Homeschool Child For College

As more and more people choose to homeschool their children, providing them with a quality education that meets their individual needs, they often may wonder how they can best prepare their children to confidently take the next step in their education journey: college. Obtaining a college degree can open up a world of opportunities for young adults, and help them reach their goals and dreams.

Parents who have opted for a homeschool education for their children may be unsure how to approach the college preparation process, and seek out resources to support their child in making a successful transition from homeschool to college. In this article, we will explore 15 essential questions parents should consider when preparing their homeschooled child for college. We will examine topics such as academic advisement, portfolios, transcripts, standardized tests, extracurriculars, internships, and even what to do if a student’s first choice college does not accept them.

Throughout this article, we will provide tips and suggestions for parents to help them create a college-bound program tailored to the needs of their children.

1. What Academic Advising Should My Homeschool Child Receive?

Academic advising is an important part of any college preparation curriculum. It is important to provide your homeschooled child with guidance from knowledgeable professionals who can help them plan and prepare for college. Academic advisors help your child assess their academic and personal strengths, determine goals, and develop a plan to reach those goals through rigorous course-taking.

Advisers can also suggest extracurricular activities and internships to help students gain the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful in college. In addition to seeking out an academic adviser, parents should also ensure their child is getting the right mentoring.

Mentors can provide wisdom and insight that no book or online education can provide. They can offer valuable advice on topics such as career planning, college selection, and networking.

Parents should find mentors who have experience in the subject matter their child is interested in and can provide valuable input on the college preparation process.

2. What Academic Portfolio Should My Homeschool Child Create?

A strong academic portfolio is an important part of any college preparation program. It serves as an oft-used tool for colleges to determine the strength of applicants’ academic backgrounds.

In order to create a strong academic portfolio, students should collect items such as course credits, test scores, essays or writing samples, letters of recommendation, awards and honors, as well as other academic achievements that illustrate their growth and learning. It is especially important for homeschooled students to take extra care when creating their academic portfolio and highlight any activities that may not easily be found in a traditional school setting. For example, if your child studied a subject or took classes not traditionally offered in school, such as graphic design or coding, they should be sure to include these skills in their academic portfolio.

3. What College Credit Should My Homeschool Child Consider?

Students looking to leverage their academic achievements may want to consider earning college credit while still in high school. Earning college credit can save time and money by cutting down on the length of that student’s college experience and provide the opportunity to graduate early. This is especially beneficial for homeschooled students who may have taken advanced courses in certain subjects and may benefit from earning college credit while still in high school.

Students looking to earn college credit may want to consider taking accredited college courses offered remotely, such as online courses or virtual high school classes. They may also want to consider taking tests, such as the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or Advanced Placement (AP) tests, which allow students to obtain college credit for their knowledge and understanding of certain subject areas.

4. How Should My Homeschool Child Create a Transcript?

A transcript is a document that lists all of a student’s coursework, awards, and achievements. Many colleges use the transcript to assess a student’s academic qualifications and course of study. This is especially important for homeschooled students, who do not have a traditional high school transcript to reference.

Creating a transcript can be a daunting task, but is best accomplished through an organized and detailed process. Parents should begin by creating a master list of all their child’s courses and achievements, including each subject they studied, credits earned, grade achieved, and honors or awards they have earned.

Once this is created, the transcript should include an introduction, student information, course information, any awards and honors earned, and year-by-year summaries.

5. What Standardized Tests Should My Homeschool Child Take?

Standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, are important when considering college applications because they help admissions counselors determine which students are most likely to succeed in a college program. Homeschooled students should take standard entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT in order to demonstrate their knowledge and qualify for admission and/or scholarships. Additionally, students should also consider taking subject-specific tests, such as the Advanced Placement (AP) or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

These tests measure a student’s knowledge and understanding in various content areas and can also demonstrate skills and competencies needed in certain college courses.

6. What Extracurriculars Should My Homeschool Child Pursue?

Extracurricular activities are a great way to showcase a student’s interests and talents, and can be advantageous when applying to college because they demonstrate a student’s commitment to learning. Homeschooled students should consider joining clubs, teams, or organizations that meet their individual interests.

Pursuing activities that align with the student’s career goals or interests could be beneficial when preparing for college as well as seeking out internships or scholarships. Additionally, volunteer services or leadership activities can also be beneficial for college preparation. Volunteering at an animal shelter, for example, may demonstrate a student’s empathy and compassion for others, which can be seen as desirable qualities in a college admissions application.

Participating as a youth group leader may demonstrate strong leadership skills and organizational abilities that could be beneficial to a college program.

7. What Internships Should My Homeschool Child Explore?

Internships can provide valuable experience and exposure to various career paths that can be beneficial for homeschooled students in their college journey. Through an internship, students can explore potential career paths, gain the skills necessary to be successful in the workforce, and gain valuable networking opportunities.

When looking for an internship, students should consider internships that align with their interests and skills. Internships in business, marketing, computer science, engineering, or research laboratories can provide valuable knowledge and experience in these fields. Students should also consider internships that could lead to full-time positions after college.

8. What Types of Scholarships Should My Homeschool Child Look For?

Scholarships can be a great source of financial support that helps alleviate the burden of paying for college. There are scholarships tailored to homeschooled students, as well as others that focus on specific areas of study or extracurricular activities.

When looking for scholarships, parents should contact organizations in their local community or research online for any relevant scholarships they could apply for. Additionally, they should contact their child’s college and ask about any scholarships or grants they offer that homeschooled students may qualify for.

9. What Should My Homeschool Child Do If Their First College Choice Does Not Accept Them?

While it can be discouraging for students to find out that their first-choice college does not accept them, it is important to remain optimistic. If a student’s first college choice does not accept them, they should consider any other schools that may still be a good fit for them. Students should create a list of schools they are interested in, and research any admission requirements that may apply to them.

Additionally, students should contact other schools and inquire about transfer programs to see if they offer courses similar to their first-choice school. Many colleges accept transfer students and will consider their previous academic achievements when evaluating an application.

10. What Should My Homeschool Child Do to Stand Out in a College Application?

Homeschooled students have unique qualities that at first glance make them stand out in the college admissions process. These include qualities such as self-discipline, resilience, and the ability to work independently. To stand out further, students should create a strong resume that highlights any internships, extracurriculars, awards, and test scores.

Additionally, students should also reach out to any faculty members or professionals in their desired field and inquire about any potential research or volunteer opportunities that may benefit them in the admissions process.

11. How Should My Homeschool Child Choose a College Major?

Choosing a college major can be a difficult decision for any student, but can be especially daunting for homeschooled students since they may not have had the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects or interact in a social setting with students from different backgrounds. When students are choosing a college major, they should determine what subjects interest them, what career paths they may want to pursue, and what skills they possess that could be beneficial to the degree program.

Additionally, students should take advantage of any career counseling services offered by their college or research online to gain information on career paths they may want to explore.

12. What Social Engagement Opportunities Should My Homeschool Child Seek Out?

Homeschooled students should consider taking advantage of any social engagement opportunities available to them during the college preparation process. These may include attending college fairs or networking events, or even participating in extracurricular activities like clubs, sports, or volunteer work.

These activities can provide students with the opportunity to meet other students and gain valuable insight into potential career paths. Additionally, attending college fairs or networking events can be beneficial for students to meet and discuss future goals, dreams, and aspirations with other students and professionals.

13. What Financial Aid Should My Homeschool Child Apply For?

Financial aid can be a beneficial form of support and should be considered for any student looking to attend college. College can be expensive, and students should be diligent in exploring all potential financial aid options available to them. First, students should consider filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine any aid they may qualify for.

Additionally, they should look into scholarships, grants, fellowships, loans, and payment plans to determine what resources may be available to them.

14. What Are the Benefits and Challenges of Homeschool to College?

The transition from homeschool to college can be both exciting and challenging for a student. Homeschooled students may have unique advantages not present in traditional learning environments, such as their ability to manage their time, their self-discipline, and their resilience. However, they may also face challenges different from traditional students, such as gaining access to college preparatory courses and materials.

Homeschooled students may have difficulty creating solid study habits, learning to work independently, and finding mentors during their college search process.

15. How Can Parents Design a Homeschool to College Program?

When designing a college preparation program, the parents should consider their child’s interests and skills, as well as any future aspirations they may have. It is important to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the student is exposed to various educational materials and experiences and prepares them for college.

Parents should consider engaging their child in activities such as volunteer work, extracurriculars, or internships. They should also consider researching college-level courses and tests, such as the College Board’s Advanced Placement exams, to see if their child may benefit from them. Additionally, parents can seek out an academic advisor or mentor to provide guidance and support throughout the college preparation process.


Preparing a homeschooled child for college can be a challenging task for parents, but by taking the time to research and look into resources, they can ensure their child is well-prepared to tackle any challenges they may face in college. Parents should consider providing their child with academic advisement, creating an academic portfolio, taking college credit, taking standardized tests, pursuing extracurriculars and internships, researching scholarships and financial aid, and helping their child choose a college major and stand out in a college application. By considering the questions outlined in this article and creating a personalized program tailored to their child, parents can ensure their child is prepared to take the next step in their educational journey and find success in college.

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