Applying to college as a homeschooled student is not significantly different than applying to college as a traditional student. Homeschooled students will follow all the same steps as traditional students: compiling a transcript, taking college entrance exams, and finding letters of recommendation.
Compile Your High School Transcript
Perhaps the most difficult part of applying to college as a homeschooled student is compiling your high school transcript. Depending on who oversaw your homeschooling, you can have your transcript compiled by one of the following entities:
- Your parents
- Umbrella organization or online platform that oversees your homeschooling
- An outside group that produces transcripts for homeschooled students
Your transcripts should provide adequate details about your course history and progress, and it is imperative that your coursework conforms to state homeschooling requirements. The HSLDA provides a handy list of state regulations, but you’ll want to confirm the information with your state.
While some programs will offer a high school diploma, diplomas aren’t a requirement for homeschooled students to apply for college.
Take College Entrance Exams
Just like traditional students, you will need to take standardized college entrance exams. You will need to take at least the SAT or the ACT, while some schools may ask students to sit for both exams, and other schools may ask that students also take SAT subject tests.
You should be prepared to take your college entrance exams in the spring of your junior year of high school, and possibly retake the examinations in the fall of your senior year to improve your scores.
Find Letters of Recommendation
Finding letters of recommendation can be difficult for homeschooled students. Traditional students typically ask their favorite teachers and guidance counselors for letters of recommendation, but homeschooled don’t have access to those individuals, and they aren’t allowed to get a letter of recommendation from a parent or family member.
You should look to tutors, coaches, or community leaders from other organizations in which you have been involved to write your letters of recommendation. In fact, getting recommendations from a variety of sources will allow your application to show to colleges a fuller picture of who you are outside of the classroom.
Filing a FAFSA® as a Homeschooled Student
Homeschooled students are allowed to file their FAFSA® to receive federal student aid for college. In fact, the application process is exactly the same.
When asked about your high school completion status, simply select “homeschooled”. You will not need to provide further details about your high school career on your FAFSA®.