According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are approximately 5 million homeschoolers in the United States as of 2020. This number continues to rise each year despite the challenges that come along with homeschooling.
One such challenge is getting accepted into college, as many people don’t know what colleges think of homeschoolers. In this article, we will be discussing colleges’ views of homeschoolers so that homeschooled students know what to expect upon enrolling in higher education.
What the Admissions Process is Like for Homeschoolers
One of the first things to consider when looking into admissions for homeschoolers is the process itself. Generally speaking, the admissions process is the same for homeschoolers as it is for traditional students. This means that they’ll need to provide things like high school transcripts, college entrance exams (SAT or ACT), academic recommendations, and more.
However, homeschoolers might experience a few differences. For example, some colleges might ask for samples of their work, or require a portfolio or additional written materials to showcase their achievements.
What Admissions Officers Look for in Homeschoolers
In addition to the standard admissions process, admissions officers will also be looking for certain traits in homeschoolers. One of the most important qualities is independence. Admissions officers want to make sure that homeschoolers can work on their own, and that they’re comfortable with navigating unfamiliar situations.
Homeschooled students will often be relying on their own research and resources to help them succeed, so showing that they have the mental fortitude to do that will go a long way. Admissions officers also want to know that homeschooled students are well-rounded.
This means they need evidence of participation in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and internships, just like other applicants. It’s specifically important for homeschoolers, who have less access to traditional school activities, to show that they have taken part in activities outside of the home and their studies.
These activities should demonstrate their passions and highlight the skills that make them unique.
How Homeschoolers Can Demonstrate Their Skills and Potential
There are a variety of ways in which homeschoolers can demonstrate their skills and potential to admissions officers. The first is by earning standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT. These scores provide admissions officers with an objective way to compare home school and public schooled students on their academic performance.
Another way for homeschoolers to showcase what they can bring to the college is through special projects and portfolios. Many admissions officers will allow for homeschoolers to submit special projects that they’ve completed as part of their academic studies, such as research projects or essays.
These projects can show an admissions officer the homeschoolers’ commitment to learning and give them an insight into their strengths and work ethic. Finally, admissions officers want to hear about the student’s extracurricular activities.
Since homeschoolers don’t have access to the same activities as traditional students, they have to look for alternative ways to demonstrate their passion and participation in activities. Examples of these activities can include volunteer work, freelance projects, and online courses.
What Employers are Looking for in Homeschoolers
In addition to college admissions officers, employers also want to know what is expected from homeschoolers. Generally speaking, employers look for the same things both in homeschoolers and traditional students. The most important quality is an ability to think critically and solve problems.
Employers want to know that a potential hire is able to use their independent knowledge and skills to be successful. Communication skills are also an important factor for employers when looking into homeschoolers.
Employers want to see that the candidate can work in a team environment and effectively communicate with their peers. Homeschoolers should work to demonstrate that they have excellent communication skills, and the ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly.
Finally, employers look for someone who is reliable and responsible. Homeschoolers should show that they are organized and able to complete their tasks in a timely fashion. They should also be highly disciplined and have an understanding of deadlines and expectations.
What Homeschoolers Need to Know Before Applying to College
Before applying to college, it’s important for homeschoolers to understand the differences between themselves and traditional students. One of the most important things is that homeschoolers should make sure their transcripts are up to date and accurate.
Admissions officers need to know if the homeschooler’s coursework is the equivalent of a traditional student’s, so the transcripts need to clearly indicate the courses taken and the grade level of work completed. Additionally, homeschoolers should reach out to admissions officers and ask for guidance on how to best showcase their abilities and skills. Homeschoolers will likely want to provide additional materials like portfolios or special projects as part of their application, as this can give admissions officers a better picture of their level of achievement.
Lastly, homeschoolers should start to build relationships with current students early on. Finding a mentor in the college they’re applying to is an excellent way to get a better understanding of what is expected of students, and to find out what colleges look for in terms of qualifications.
How to Use Homeschooling to Your Advantage When Applying to College
Homeschoolers can use their unconventional learning experience to their advantage. One way to do this is by highlighting the skills that were gained through homeschooling.
Many homeschoolers learn how to take initiative when researching and studying, and how to think critically and independently. These are all qualities that colleges will be looking for in an applicant, and should be included in an application. Additionally, homeschoolers should focus on any extracurricular activities they have taken part in.
Because they typically have fewer resources available to them than traditional students, they should work harder to participate in activities beyond their studies. These activities should help to fill in the gaps by providing an admissions officer with an understanding of their passions, commitment, and unique experiences.
Home schoolers should also take time to explain their learning experience in their applications. This can include talking about the curriculum they were taught, the skills they learned, and why homeschooling was the best choice for them. Doing this can provide admissions officers with a better understanding of the homeschooler’s learning experience, as well as how their homeschooling has prepared them for college.
How to Find Colleges That Support Homeschoolers
Many colleges understand the unique experience of homeschoolers and are willing to support them. To find these colleges, homeschoolers should start by researching and reading up on the admissions requirements for different schools. It’s important to look for schools that understand homeschooling and provide specific guidelines and admissions processes for homeschoolers.
Homeschoolers should also reach out to other homeschoolers and find out which schools they have applied to and where they have gotten accepted. Doing this can give insight into which schools have better acceptance rates for homeschoolers, which can help in the college search.
Finally, it’s important to attend college fairs and information sessions, even if you’re a homeschooler. These events provide the opportunity to talk to college representatives in person, as well as get a better understanding of what to expect.
As the number of homeschoolers continues to rise, it’s important to understand what college admissions officers and employers are looking for when it comes to homeschoolers. The most important qualities for admissions officers are independence, well-roundedness, and the ability to communicate.
Employers are looking for thoughtfulness and the capacity to think critically and solve problems. Finally, homeschoolers should take advantage of the skills and experiences they have gained to make their applications stand out. With the help of this article, homeschoolers can be confident and ready to apply and thrive in their college journey.