I was meeting with a mom this week discussing what her daughter was going to be doing for high school. Her child is homeschooled and she wanted to make sure her daughter was adequately prepared for college. More importantly, she wanted to make sure her daughter could get into the college of her choice, in her case a very competitive college.
I sat down with her and shared my top 3 pieces of advice I give to parents of homeschooled children to prepare them for college. Today I’m sharing my tips with you!
Tip 1: Find out for yourself what courses are necessary for admittance to competitive colleges. Do not just speak to other parents, although other homeschool parents can be a great resource. Instead, go directly to the college’s website, open house, table at a college fair, or a homeschool college admissions officer. For some reason, rumors abound in the homeschool community when it comes to college admission. I think because the process of moving our students on to college seems a bit mysterious, we rely on other parents, who mean well, but they may not fully understand the process themselves.
For instance, I once spoke to a mom, who insisted her son was going to get a scholarship. Further, she insisted he did not need to adhere to college deadlines because he was a stellar student. In fact, she went around openly sharing her advice using her son’s acceptance. The fact of the matter was the family was in dire financial straits due to her husband’s health crisis and resulting unemployment. As a result of these factors, her son got a lot of need-based aid—not scholarships! She erroneously related to other homeschool parents that he had scholarships. Further, he was admitted to a local university that had rolling admission. The college did not have a solid deadline. Hence, there was no deadline to miss. Truly, she was blessed that he was admitted to the college so late and provided financial aid. However, her situation was not the norm.
Tip 2: Ensure your student has completed all the required classes for college admission. This sometimes means going beyond the standard homeschool regulations at times. For instance, in New York home educated students are not required to take a foreign language, and while there are some schools that don’t require a foreign language, many competitive schools do.
Tip 3: Get familiar with the application process. Some schools require supplementary essays, besides the standard application questions. It is important that you know exactly what is required. You can also help your student gain what I call “the homeschool advantage” by knowing what your student needs to do to become a standout candidate on their admission application.
These tips may seem simple, but they work. All homeschool parents can give their students the homeschool advantage in college admissions if they approach the college admission process with just a bit of planning.
Cheryl Carter has helped many students get into the college of their choice. Her advice is always practical and strategic. She prides herself on giving parents “the homeschool advantage” college admission advice.