How Do I Make Sure I Meet All College Requirements When Home-Schooled?

If you have been home schooled, then you need to plan ahead for the transcripts and recommendations required with most college admissions applications. Advance preparation and planning can help you ensure that you meet all college requirements. Read on for some advice on what you'll need.

Overview of Home Schooling

Home schooling is the method of educating children inside the home away from a public or private school. Parents and students take part in home education for greater flexible learning options, with reasons ranging from living outside nearby school districts to supporting learning with disabilities. Even though home schooled students lack a traditional high school transcript and diploma, they can participate in the college admission process by presenting materials that show their academic capabilities. Find out more on the college application process below.

Important Facts About College Requirements for Home-Schooled Students

Prerequisites Academic portfolio; GED or letter of recommendation may be required
Examinations SAT or ACT scores; advanced placement exams
Total Students (2012) 1.77 million, 3% of US students

Source: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics

College Transcript and Testing Requirements

If you are a college-bound student who has been home schooled, you need to ensure that you have a proper transcript for acceptance. A transcript lists the courses you have taken in school, along with your grades. It lets the college know your educational background, so they can see if you are a good fit for their college.

Home schooled students may not have an official transcript like a student would at a public or private high school. Instead, your teacher may need to create a detailed portfolio to ensure that the final transcript submitted to colleges meets requirements. However, some colleges will require a GED along with the student's transcript.

You may also be required to take the SAT or ACT examination before seeking admission to the college of choice, according to the U.S. Department of Education (www.college.gov). The ACT measure what you have learned in school. The SAT is a bit different. It measures skills, more so than specific knowledge of topics. Some schools have strict standards about what you must score on the ACT or SAT in order to be admitted.

College Prep Curriculum

If you decide early on in your education to attend college, your home school teacher should stay in contact with the admissions office at your preferred colleges. This will help your teacher to create a teaching program that parallels the educational requirements of your chosen college or colleges.

Typically, colleges look for a home school program similar to public high schools. Most home school program content must follow the criteria certified by the state. A home school teacher should avoid focusing on a particular subject area and ensure a well-rounded education that includes math, science, English, history, foreign language, health and physical education, among other common courses.

Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges require letters of recommendation from teachers, but a recommendation from a home school teacher, who is most often a parent, is considered biased. CollegeBoard.com recommends that home schooled students obtain a letter of recommendation from unrelated adults, such as a coach, club leader or employer who has known the student for a significant amount of time.

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