Can your homeschooled child attend college? Absolutely! Here are three things to consider as you prepare your high school student for life after homeschool.
Planning is part of any successful homeschool endeavor. When you are trying to figure out how to prepare your student for college, planning is vital. So you might ask when to plan and additionally, what to plan.
When your student is in middle school is a great time to start planning high school and beyond. If you have been homeschooling for any length of time you have figured out how best to meet your students learning style and that will help you begin the process of charting your student’s path through high school. Begin researching. Below are just a few of the questions you will need the answers to as you work through the planning phase.
- Does the current curriculum have high school coursework available? If not, can you find a similar program? If the current curriculum does offer high school will you continue to use it?
- Does your child know what they might want to do when they grow up? It doesn’t have to be nailed down to a specific such as, “I want to be an astrophysicist.” It can be more like “I love science and want to do something with that when I grow up.”
- What are the admission requirements for a college or university that has programs in the area your student would want to study? Some colleges require a simple transcript; others have more specific requirements such as requiring that high school science courses must show proof of lab participation. The more you know about the requirements the better able you will be to prepare your student.
It is important to note that a college preparatory course through high school will generally have four English courses, four Math courses, four Science courses, four Social Studies courses, two Foreign Language courses and six to ten elective courses.
If you live in a state that requires routine standardized tests then your student will be exposed to them throughout their educational experience. Some states do not require testing or reporting at all, while others list it as an optional practice. It is important to prepare your student for standardized tests if he or she intends to attend college. Most colleges require the ACT or the SAT. Some require both. It is possible for your homeschooled student to begin taking the ACT at around seventh grade, though this is probably young for most students.
There are several ways to help your homeschooled student prepare for these admission tests.
- Attend a test prep class. There are a number of places that offer these courses. Libraries, community colleges, and high schools are among the places where you can find test prep classes. These classes teach test taking strategies and time management strategies as well as give the student exposure to what types of knowledge will be tested.
- Read test prep books. Your local library may have study guides and other materials that will help your student prepare for the ACT and SAT tests. How to guides for test prep are also available for purchase through book retailers.
- Practice tests. It is possible to incorporate practice tests in the test prep. Practice tests can often be found online. It is also possible to take the actual tests more than once. If you have your student take the tests early the results may show where your student needs to concentrate in order to improve test scores.
Your student should know what the target scores are for the standardized tests. Check with the colleges to which your student intends to submit applications. In addition to the college requirements, some scholarships require a certain score. Check for odd rules, for example, one state offers state scholarships to high school students with certain ACT scores. The odd part is that a public school student and a homeschooled student do not have to have the same score to qualify. The homeschooled student must score two points higher than the public school educated student in the overall ACT score to qualify for the same level of scholarship in that state.
Since homeschooled students generally do not have a school keeping up with their high school transcripts this will be the homeschooling parents’ responsibility. Important things to include in the student’s transcript is the course title, the material source (what book, course, online entity did you get the instructional materials from?), the basic course outline, and the student’s scores in the courses.
Other important records to keep for your homeschooled high school student are records of field trips, work-study experiences, outside course participation, volunteer and charity participation, club participation, and records of independent study projects. You might also consider compiling a student portfolio which would include samples of the student’s work. This would be of particular importance if your student is an artist, writer, or musician.
Finally, though it seems like a lot of extra work to prepare your homeschooled high school student for college, it is generally not any more work than is normally done for public or privately educated students. What is different for homeschoolers is that generally a lot of this preparation is done by the school. Since you are a homeschool, all of the responsibility falls on the homeschooling parents. It is very possible to homeschool high school and expect that your student can excel in the college environment with a good planning, good test scores, and good record keeping.