Going from Homeschool to College in 6 Easy Steps

Summary:  Sharing 6 steps for going from homeschool to college, including college entrance requirements, transcripts, and sharing electives and activities with admissions. 

Does your high schooler want to go directly to a 4 year college?

When we were in the middle school years, my husband and I began thinking about the possibility of college for our daughter.  And I was nervous about approaching the colleges.

But I wanted my teen to have the option of going directly to a 4 year college, if she felt that was the way that she wanted to go.
How would I, as a homeschooling mom, help her get there?  

I knew that the homeschool transcript was now widely accepted by colleges.  But the colleges seemed so big, and I, in contrast, felt so small.  

Do you ever feel that way?

I wanted more information, so I began to research about homeschoolers and college.  

And I found that there were many homeschool friendly colleges out there, that wanted the type of kids that homeschooling produces - motivated, independent learners. 

My husband and I helped our daughter to apply to multiple colleges, including an ivy.  She chose her favorite one and just graduated college this spring.  

We found the process of applying to college to NOT be that hard. 

By taking it step by step, we kept our nurturing homeschool style, prepared our daughter for college, and going through the college application process at the same time.  

Here's the steps that we followed to homeschool to college, starting with the most obvious one, the college entrance requirements.
1.  College Entrance Requirements

Our first step was to research the college websites.  We needed to find out what our daughter's college entrance requirements would be, at her most likely college choices.

This information was easy for us to find, just by looking at college websites, and clicking on the freshman admission requirements. 

We found these requirements to be similar from college to college, with some variance.  

For example, some asked for specific courses for social studies, and others gave us a wide range of choices.

How did we find this information?  We just clicked around until we found a heading like this:

College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR)

I looked up the most likely colleges that my daughter might attend. The requirements were similar, but not consistent from college to college.  

And some colleges had extra requirements for their homeschooling applicants, and some didn't. 

Starting this research early is a help, but it is still possible to do this any time in high school, by just recalling info from their previous studies, and going from there.  

And you can always add in an extra quarter or two, to make up for any requirements that you might have missed.

Our second step in the process of aiming towards college was to make a flexible 4 year homeschool high school plan.

2.  Making an Overall High School Plan

With our list of admission requirements in hand, we sketched out what our high school years might look like.....with our best guesses of what we wanted to do when.

3.  Choosing Your Homeschool High School Curriculum 

It is not hard to find our curriculum as the available homeschool high school curriculum has expanded so much over the last few years.

There are video based courses, dual credit courses, and we found that many of our favorite curricula from middle school worked just as well for high school.

My daughter interests in high school focused on film making, and political science. We made sure to center her electives around those interests.  

At the same time, she needed to complete her college entrance requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math, foreign language and science), for either path.

It is important to know the specifics that your colleges are requiring.  

For example, does your college ask for labs to be done with each science course?  Do they require two science courses, or three?  What do they ask for in math?  

Once we had our curriculum selected, we just needed to keep track of what we had done, and assign high school credit to her work. 

Having these records made it much easier when it came time to make our teen's homeschool transcript. 

Keeping records for making our teen's transcript was our fourth step in this process.

4.  Making Your Teen's Transcript

Knowing what the college’s want to see on your teen’s homeschool transcripts is key to getting into college. 

I recommend that your transcript to be just one page. The homeschool transcript should include all the courses taken, at home, and any outside courses, too.  That way, your homeschool transcript serves as the clearinghouse for all of your teen's high school coursework.  

Be sure to include your grading scale and your student's GPA on your transcript.  If you have any special courses, such as AP or courses from a community college, just note them with an *, and mention that at the bottom of your transcript.  It is also helpful to put your teen's best scores on their SAT or ACT somewhere on your transcript.

Besides your homeschool transcript, another important part of applying to college is the college entrance essay.  

Here are my best tips for that which was our fifth step in the process.

5.  Writing the College Essay

I was feeling more than a little nervous about this task, and my teen was, too....

As it turned out, the essay was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and my daughter was able to write an essay that she could use for multiple colleges applications. 

The college essay is a personal essay, based on the essay prompt that your student chooses.  

If your teen is using the Common Application, they will just have to write one essay.  

But if your prospective college has their own application, then they will have their own essay prompts, different from the Common Application.

Once your teen is finished with their essay, it is advisable to get someone to edit it, and give feedback to your teen, and that is allowed.

Sharing my teen's activities and electives was our sixth step in the process of aiming towards college.

6.  Sharing Activities and Electives

Colleges want to see what activities and electives your student has completed.  Whether it is in music, art, drama, web design, medieval history or Latin, colleges want kids who show initiative and perseverance.  And activities are a great way to show that your student is able to work well with others.

Having the time to delve deeply into my teen’s interests is one of the reasons that we homeschooled all the way.  

One of the things that colleges like to see is some leadership skills.  I have a number of links to leadership activities for homeschooled teens in my e-book, below.

Taking each of these steps, one at a time, let us keep our own homeschooling style through high school. And we still had time for the fun, and lots of time to explore my teen's developing special interests.  

And isn't that what homeschooling is about anyway?

Have you seen my book on high school and college yet?  This article is just an introduction to what is needed to help get your teen into college.

What do homeschoolers do about college reference letters?  
Do you need to complete our state's graduation requirements?  

Where can you find leadership activities for my teen?  What does "validation" mean?  Do you need to use accredited courses in my homeschool?

All of these questions and more are answered in my book below:
I have gathered together all my best tips for high school and college and put it into my book.

This book is an easy-to-read guide recently updated with 7 NEW chapters, including:

- Homeschoolers guide to the Common Application
- How to write the Counselor Recommendation Letter
- Where to find college scholarships
- SAT/ACT Prep
- How to make your own homemade courses
Included are also 12 homeschool high school 
planning printables to make your record-keeping easier.

Amazon The high school and college planning forms include:

College Entrance Requirements Form
Overall High School Plan
Curriculum Planning Sheet
High School Credit Record Form
Transcript Form
Activities and Awards Form
Homemade Course Form
Writing the College Essay Form
Course Descriptions Record Keeping Form
Reference Letter Request Form
PE Record Form

For more information, click here - Frugal College Prep for Homeschoolers or to buy it here - on Amazon 

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition.  

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