“Homeschoolers Go to College Too!”
by Dr. Adam Rondeau
June 18, 2022
A common question about homeschooling goes something like this:
I have a question about the learning pods and homeschooling. Do you know if the credentials meet the same requirements for college? Does homeschooling affect a student from getting into a college program they desire?
Homeschooling does not limit the ability of students to go to college. In fact, many colleges actively try to recruit homeschoolers. (See “Why Colleges Are Recruiting Homeschoolers” for more reading on this fact.)
Colleges determine acceptance based on their ability to evaluate a student on paper, i.e., their academic records. For parents that are concerned about making sure their child has the best chance possible of getting into their desired school there are some actions that they can take to minimize their concerns and maximize their child’s chances.
- Keep good and accurate records. The student’s cumulative folder maintained by the parent or the administration of the pod, etc. should be thorough and a transcript should be created that looks professional and follows a standard template. HSLDA has some really great information about this in this article: https://hslda.org/post/the-essentials-of-high-school-recordkeeping They also offer a transcript building tool for members and there are many other online services that parents can use to make professional looking transcripts that colleges will be able to easily recognize and follow.
- Take college readiness tests. College readiness tests (SAT, ACT, and the newer for conservative CLT) should probably be taken for the college bound homeschooler and the should probably take them multiple times throughout their high school career and possibly consider test prep to help increase their scores. The importance of these college readiness tests are starting to wane in influence with many colleges (CA state colleges have stopped requiring them, for example) and the emphasis is now on a solid transcript throughout high school. Therefore, the importance of good record keeping in this area cannot be stressed enough.
- Consider taking annual norm-referenced tests. Another consideration for some parents is to annually conduct a norm-referenced test (i.e. Iowa, Stanford 10, CAT, etc.) and keep those as a part of the cumulative record that can be used to demonstrate to colleges that the student has followed a course of continued learning over time throughout the high school program. While these tests are not a great indicator to you of what the child has been learning through your program they can indeed be a valuable tool that demonstrates an upward trajectory of learning on the part of the student.
- Keep receipts for required reporting. Parents should also be careful to keep a record of receipts for any reporting that their state law requires of them. Whether you are reporting to the superintendent of the local district or the state board of education, always keep copies of their approval or certification. For example, in the state of Massachusetts homeschooling families are required to submit at both the beginning and ending of the academic year a packet to the superintendent of the district in which they live. The superintendent approves of the program at the beginning of the year and the certifies that the learning objectives were achieved at the end of the year through documentation provided by the parents. When this process is followed it gives the Massachusetts homeschool family actual approval by the local superintendent of their program. This should add weight to the records if ever there was a contention about the standing of their diploma. Be sure to obtain a document that shows this approval for a solid paper trail. Of course, if your state does not require any kind of approval, such as is the case in Texas, then don’t try and report for the sake of obtaining it. Focus on the other three steps and keep the governments involvement as limited as possible. But if your state requires it, then use it to your advantage.
There are, of course, options for homeschooling through a distance learning program (i.e. Liberty University Online Academy, ViewPoint Christian Academy, etc.). These programs offer the feel and flexibility of homeschool with the accountability and support, accreditaiton and professional record keeping of a school. Graduation from a distance learning program is just like graduating from a private school even though you homeschooled the whole time. While this will have regular tuition costs, it may be a viable consideration for many families.
Homeschoolers make great college students so don’t let that worry stand in your way. Keep good records and your child’s chances of getting into college from your homeschool program are likely just as good, if not better, than they would be if you kept them in the government schools. Take charge of your child’s education and the Lord will bless your efforts.