Tips for How to Prepare for College While Homeschooling

Homeschooling with college prep in mind can be a tough yet rewarding experience. Doing so calls for rigorous work, focus, and organization. Ultimately, homeschooled students complete the admissions process and thrive in college. We’ll provide tips on how to prepare for college while homeschooling.

Teenager on phone planning college

Dual credit programs allow students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Students who earn college credit are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and complete college degrees.

Washington Student Achievement Council

Juggling college classes while still in secondary school can seem overwhelming, but it is also an energizing occasion to begin your schooling earlier and potentially finish college sooner.

You may be anxious about the additional responsibilities and workload, yet it’s key to keep in mind that you are capable of taking on this task and that help is accessible.

Talking with a trustworthy teacher or your school advisor concerning your options and how to balance both high school and college courses might be useful.

Tips for How to Prepare for College While Homeschooling

Reach out to the school you are thinking about attending classes at to discover the services they provide for students taking concurrent enrollment courses. Remember to care for yourself and prioritize your well-being as you manage this new experience.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Start Planning Early

Begin by constructing a timeline of the measures you must take to get into college. This could include taking the SAT or ACT, applying for financial aid, and filling out college applications.

Ensure you allot ample time for each task and make an effort to stay on track by setting deadlines for yourself.

Applying to college demands a lot of effort and organization, so it’s essential to plan ahead and keep track of deadlines.

To make this happen, set aside some time every week to work on college applications, such as exploring universities, writing essays, and submitting forms.

Creating a calendar or schedule is recommended in order to keep track of deadlines and avoid missing important dates. This could encompass college application and financial aid deadlines, as well as test days and other crucial occasions.

For more college admissions advice, visit an article on US News that goes into how to complete a college application.

Take Challenging Courses

Gaining a competitive edge for college admissions involves taking steps that make you stand out to universities during the application process, such as taking advanced or honors classes in high school, being involved in extracurricular activities, doing community service or volunteering, and achieving good scores on tests like the SAT or ACT.

Along with taking demanding classes, keeping a high GPA is also essential. This requires putting in the time and energy to do well in your studies as well as getting help whenever you need it.

For a list of high school courses that colleges are impressed with, visit BigFuture for more information.

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Advantages of Taking College Courses in High School

To stay ahead of other competitors, a good idea is to try college-level studies.

This would include attending advanced placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes in high school, which are similar to the level of education in universities and may provide college credit when you achieve a high score on the corresponding examinations.

Another option to gain exposure to college-level coursework is by enrolling in dual enrollment programs, which enable homeschooled students to take courses at a nearby university while they are still in high school.

Doing so can prepare them for the obligations and standards of university-level education and foster the talents and skills they need to succeed at university.

High school students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of their local community college, regardless of where they eventually plan to attend college.

Community college classes are more affordable, and it’s a great way to get a head start on credits while still in high school. Community colleges tend to have more relaxed college requirements for enrollment as well.

Taking college-level classes in high school can be an advantageous opportunity for students, as it allows them to familiarize themselves with college-level coursework and possibly gain college credits while still completing their high school curriculum.

High school students can take college-level classes through dual enrollment programs, Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and International Baccalaureate (IB) plans.

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college-level classes and earn college credits while attaining their diplomas.

This is a good choice for those who are ahead in their studies and want to get an early start on their university education.

AP courses are like college-level classes in high school. If a student takes an AP exam and passes, they can receive college credits at some universities.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers rigorous coursework, service learning activities, and a capstone project to high school students. As a reward for completing the IB program, participating colleges and universities may offer college credits.

Taking college-level classes while in high school can be very beneficial, as it may provide a better understanding of college coursework and also award college credits, saving time and money later on.

Students should think carefully about their academic goals and capability of handling the extra workload before deciding to commit to any college classes.

You may be interested in an article by EdSurge about dual-enrollment courses.

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Managing College Courses While Homeschooling

High school students who are homeschooling and taking college courses must establish objectives and make a plan in order to balance their responsibilities and prosper.

Students who have defined objectives and a sense of direction are more likely to be motivated and stay on course with their education.

These objectives could be short-term, like finishing an assignment by a given deadline, or long-term, like getting a certain mark in a subject or being ready for a particular career.

Students can have a clear academic path and are more likely to achieve their goals by defining precise, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

High school students can ensure they dedicate enough time to both homeschooling and college coursework by creating a schedule. It can help them organize their time and tasks, prioritize their responsibilities, and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Scheduling can also encourage them to focus on the most important tasks first.

Setting goals and creating a schedule is important for high school students, but they must also cultivate good study habits to stay motivated.

These could include dedicating a quiet place to study, breaking down large tasks into smaller components, and seeking help when necessary. This will help them remain focused even in the face of difficult obstacles.

For high school students who are homeschooling and taking college classes, setting goals and creating a schedule is critical to being successful.

Establishing a specific plan of action and an orderly way of studying helps them manage their studies along with other commitments.

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young lady reading

Strive for Top Grades

Achieving excellent grades is of key importance to a homeschooler, as it will prepare them for their academic future after homeschooling. During ninth grade and 10th grade, getting good grades is essential in order to build a strong academic transcript. Evaluating performance relies on different grade scales used by varied groups and establishments.

No matter which one is used, attaining superior grades during ninth grade, 10th grade, and 12th grade will assist them in entering a university with strong homeschool grades.

Join Extracurricular Activities

To make an impression, get involved in your community through extracurricular activities, volunteering, or taking on some leadership roles.

Not only can this help you stand out from other college applicants, but it will also give you the chance to gain valuable skills and explore your interests, which can be beneficial for college and later in life.

Generally, colleges favor extracurricular activities that demonstrate a student’s capacity for leadership, collaboration, and initiative. Following are some examples of extracurricular activities that colleges might favor:

  • Showcasing your leadership skills and ability to work collaboratively by taking on the role of president or another leader in a club or organization is a great way to illustrate your leadership abilities
  • Community service demonstrates a dedication to aiding others and creating a beneficial effect on the community
  • Through sports, individuals can demonstrate diligence, teamwork, and commitment
  • Creative activities such as music, art, or theater can show creativity and a love of the arts
  • Demonstrating entrepreneurial skills and risk-taking can be done by launching a business or working on an issue that requires problem-solving and creativity

It’s essential to remember that universities appreciate an individual who is well-rounded, which means it isn’t about being involved in as many events as you can.

It has more to do with having a real interest in the activities you partake in and making a valuable contribution.

Being a homeschooled student may give you more freedom to try different extracurricular activities outside of what’s offered at school, which is a great chance to follow your interests and passions.

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Look for Chances to Earn College Credits

High school students can take advantage of various programs offered by colleges and universities to gain college credits while still in high school, such as dual enrollment, AP classes, and other crediting programs for college-level courses.

It is beneficial to explore earning college credits while still in high school, as it can save time and money and give you a head start on your degree. You may want to consider if this path would be suitable for you.

Establish Connections with Your Tutors

Your homeschool educators can be invaluable as you prepare yourself for college. They can help with picking out classes, give recommendations for universities, and even lend assistance with college applications. Make certain to maintain contact with them and stay connected with them throughout the college application process.

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Utilize Digital Resources

Numerous virtual possibilities await homeschoolers who are getting ready for college. These range from online courses to testing preparation materials and digital college fairs.

Leverage these resources to get a preview of what life at a university could be like and to start on your coursework early.

Begin Your College Apply-To List

As you start searching for colleges and universities, it’s essential to build three college lists.

  • One list should be of schools that may be hard to get into
  • Another list should be of the schools that fit your profile and are doable for getting accepted
  • The third list should be of schools you’re almost certain to get into

This will help you maintain a sense of organization and control over what may otherwise seem to be an overwhelming list of options.

Applying to college demands a lot of effort and organization, so it’s essential to plan ahead and keep track of deadlines.

To make this happen, set aside some time every week to work on college applications, such as exploring universities, writing essays, and submitting forms.

Even if you plan on taking local community college classes in the beginning, you will still want to research your options as you move forward with your college plans.

Achieving college readiness while being homeschooled may seem difficult, but it’s achievable with the right strategies and a lot of dedication.

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Homeschooling for College Credit

Homeschooled students can earn college credits in a few ways:

  • Many schools participate in dual enrollment programs, which let high school students take college courses for credit, either online or on-campus. Credits earned can typically be used towards a college degree later on
  • Homeschoolers may take Advanced Placement (AP) exams as a way to showcase their knowledge of college-level material. Doing well on these tests can earn college credits at various universities
  • The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) provides students, including those who are homeschooled, with the opportunity to earn college credits by demonstrating knowledge in a particular subject, similar to AP exams. These credits can be used toward a college degree
  • Online college courses are a great way for homeschooled students to earn college credits. Most online universities and colleges offer classes that can be taken at the student’s own pace, and these credits can typically be applied to an in-person college or university

Keep in mind that homeschooled students who are looking to get college credits should check with their desired college or university first to make sure that their credits will be accepted.

How Do Homeschoolers Get Into College?

Much like any other student, homeschoolers are able to apply to colleges by submitting an application, transcripts, test scores, and other necessary documents. Moreover, many schools offer special admissions processes specifically tailored to homeschoolers.

To apply to college as a homeschooler, you may need to submit evidence of your academic credentials, such as high school transcripts, standardized test scores, portfolios of achievements, letters of recommendation, essays, and writing samples.

Before applying to any college or university, it is essential for homeschoolers to research the specific requirements that their favored institution has and make sure they meet them, which may include having a minimum GPA and attaining a certain score on tests.

Along with regular college admissions requirements, homeschooled students might need to submit documentation showing their status as homeschoolers.

This can include a copy of relevant laws, a declaration from parents or guardians about homeschooling, and details about the curriculum studied at home.

Generally, the process of getting into college as a homeschooler is similar to that for traditional students. However, there may be additional steps needed to prove academic success and a homeschooling background.

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Do Colleges Accept Homeschool Diplomas?

Colleges and universities typically accept homeschool diplomas, provided the homeschool program is similar to traditional high school education, wherein the student completes courses in English, math, science, and social studies.

Additionally, they may require transcripts or other paperwork to verify academic progress as well as meet any other requirements laid out by the college.

It is essential for homeschooled students to investigate the admissions criteria of the universities that appeal to them.

Some colleges might have tailored guidelines or policies for homeschoolers, whereas others might address homeschooled students in an equivalent manner to those who are traditionally schooled.

To be on the safe side, it would be beneficial for homeschoolers to be constructive in verifying their academic successes and formulating a compelling application.

This may involve taking college-level classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and obtaining letters of recommendation from educators or other mentors.

Dilploma and books

Does Homeschooling Look Bad to Colleges?

Homeschooling can provide an exceptional educational experience, but it is sometimes seen as a disadvantageous option by college admissions officers because homeschooled students may not have the opportunity to join extracurriculars, athletic teams, or other group events that could be beneficial in the college application process.

It’s important to note that homeschooled students still have the potential to be successful in college and do well.

Colleges and universities may offer resources specifically for these students, while at other times, they can demonstrate their capabilities through advanced courses, participating in online or local programs, or taking GEDs or other standardized tests.

Instead of worrying about how colleges might view homeschooling education, the best interests of the child and the family should come first.

Top Homeschool-Friendly Universities

Here is a list of the top homeschool-friendly universities:

  1. Brigham Young University (BYU) – Provo, UT
  2. Patrick Henry College – Purcellville, VA
  3. Grove City College – Grove City, PA
  4. College of the Ozarks – Point Lookout, MO
  5. New St. Andrews College – Moscow, ID
  6. Hillsdale College – Hillsdale, MI
  7. Bob Jones University – Greenville, SC
  8. Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA
  9. Thomas Aquinas College – Santa Paula, CA
  10. Belhaven University – Jackson, MS

Keep in mind that each university has its own regulations and qualifications for admissions, so always make it a point to ask the particular school if they are accepting of homeschooling and if you meet their criteria.

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling can be both a difficult and gratifying learning process for students preparing themselves for college.

By practicing the advice set forth in this article, such as organizing, setting objectives, and searching out socialization and extracurricular opportunities, homeschooled pupils can prepare with ease for the struggles of college while also taking advantage of the personalized education approach that homeschooling offers.

Moreover, it is essential for them to search for assistance from college admissions offices and reach out to their guidance counselor for resources and support to ensure a simple transition into higher studies.

With commitment and hard work, homeschooled learners have the potential to efficiently move through their college preparation processes and be successful in achieving further academic goals.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.