How homeschooled students can ace their college applications
Homeschool Students Have A Lot Of Unique Advantages When Compared To Traditionally Schooled Students…
For starters, they can work at their own pace, even if that’s faster than the national average. Additionally, homeschool students can spend longer learning concepts that are challenging to them.
Of course, despite these advantages, many homeschool students face additional challenges and a longer process when they apply for college. Without the built-in support system of a traditional school, there is a lot more work that homeschool students must do themselves. Thankfully, with the right guidance and knowledge beforehand, homeschool students can ace their college applications and build their own support system. In this article, we’ll discuss what you can do to prepare your homeschool student for college application season!
The Difference Between Homeschooled And Traditionally Schooled Students
Academically, there usually are few differences between a serious homeschooled student and a traditionally schooled student.
However, one of the biggest hurdles for homeschooled students to overcome in the college application process is that homeschool students often lack the same support system as traditionally schooled students. Students who attend a traditional high school receive support from a school counselor, college counselor, and their school administration. These support systems are harder to find as a homeschool student, making it more difficult to get through the college application process; but not impossible!
Because homeschool students often have to rely on themselves and their family to complete many parts of the college application process, it can take homeschool students longer than traditional students to complete their applications. In order to plan around this, homeschool students should start researching and preparing for college well in advance to make the application season as low stress as possible.
Another area that homeschool students face additional challenges in is documentation. Unlike traditional students, there is often no GPA or official transcript that your family can send off to colleges to showcase a student’s academic ability. Families must plan around this and keep an organized record of how the student performs academically if they want to have the best chances of being admitted into their dream college.
What Homeschooled Students Should Know When Applying To College
KEEP DETAILED ACADEMIC RECORDS
Unlike traditional students, it can be difficult for college admission offices to determine the rigor of a homeschooled student’s academic history without detailed records. Make sure that you keep detailed records of your student’s coursework, essays, test scores, and other academic achievements. These detailed records, along with a GPA system for your homeschool course, will help your student have a history to reference on their college applications.
Make sure your student keeps these documents well organized so that they can easily send them during application season. Many colleges may ask homeschooled students for additional records and paperwork in order to verify that they have completed enough academic coursework during their high school years to be prepared for the course load of a college freshman.
PLAN FOR STANDARDIZED TESTING
For many traditional students, prep work for the ACT or SAT is rarely incorporated in their existing classes. For homeschooled students, one of the biggest benefits is being able to study for the ACT or SAT during their school hours. Your family may decide to take several weeks in advance of your test date to review and refresh your child’s memory about the subjects on the test. This will help them feel more prepared for the tests and allow them to take them on with more confidence.
Additionally, homeschooled students have the advantage of being able to take as much time as they need to understand any concept tested on the ACT or SAT. With the help of their parents or other family members, they can take advantage of free test prep resources available on the web to work through areas of the test that they find challenging. This can help a student significantly raise their score after taking the test multiple times.
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LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Unfortunately, obtaining letters of recommendation for homeschooled students is much more challenging than for traditional students. This is because their instructors are either their parents or another family member, at least the majority of the time. Because close family members can’t write letters of recommendation for students, homeschooled students need to establish connections with outside adults well in advance of them needing letters of recommendation.
One great way for homeschool students to establish a connection with several adults is by joining organizations, clubs, or groups in their local area. Not only will this allow them to create a connection with an adult who could write a letter of recommendation, but it will also help establish a stronger list of extracurricular activities to fill in on their applications.
CREATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Homeschooled students will need to create their own “college application support system” to help them through the long process of applying to college. Make sure your student has a group of peers they can turn to talk about the stress and challenges of application season. Not only will this help them mentally, but they may learn tips and tricks from their peers that they can use to make their own application process go more smoothly.
In addition, you may consider reaching out to an experienced college admissions counselor. Our WeAdmit team has worked with students from nearly every background imaginable and would love to hear your student’s stories and work with them to get accepted into their dream college. We have the knowledge your student needs to make applying to college easy, and we’re eager to help students find their perfect-match school and take their academic learning to the next level!
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GET PERSONAL ON YOUR APPLICATION
It can be extremely tempting for homeschooled students to lean on their experiences learning from home. However, encourage your student to go beyond talking about their homeschool experience in their essays and other parts of their applications. Your student should give a clear picture of who they are academically, morally, and socially beyond being a homeschooled student. This will help the college admissions office better determine if your student would be a good fit for their school than if your student merely told them that they were homeschooled.
There are many different ways that students can get more personal on their college applications. Perhaps they’re deeply passionate about a social cause; this can often be incorporated into many common college application essays. If your student has worked with an organization or volunteer efforts, these are another great way to showcase more of their personality and backstory. While your student should be proud of their homeschool background and discuss it in their application, make sure that isn’t the only thing they talk about if you want your student to have the best chances of being admitted.
Homeschool Students Can Succeed During Application Season
Despite having to face additional challenges, homeschool students can ace their college applications if they are well prepared. Starting earlier than traditional students is key to success for homeschool students looking to apply to college. This means that as a homeschooled student, your child will need to spend extra time during the research phase and when preparing for their college applications than most other students. However, this extra time will also help increase your student’s overall confidence with their college applications.
Fortunately, our WeAdmit counselors would be happy to help support and guide your student through their college applications. We know it can be difficult to approach college application season, especially without the additional guidance offered by school counselors and administrators. Our team of experts is here to help your students with everything from the research phase to writing their college application essays. Get in touch with us today to schedule a meeting and see how we can help your student succeed!
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