5 Tips to Prepare Your Student for College

Homeschooling a high school age student can be challenging, as subjects become increasingly harder for parents to teach. Moreover, college preparation might seem daunting to many homeschool parents, with seemingly little resources available that are geared toward homeschool students. As many homeschooled students apply to colleges, however, a growing number of colleges are offering specific guidelines and requirements for homeschooled applicants. In this post, we will share some tips on how to prepare your homeschooled student for college.

1. Start your research early

It is good to start gathering information about college admissions in eighth or ninth grade, just so you have enough time to plan curriculum and activities according to admission requirements for colleges your student is interested in. At this level, you should also help your student research their interests. Your ninth grader might not know the exact career path they want to take, but the earlier you encourage them to explore their interests and research colleges on their own, the more motivated and prepared they will be for college admission.

2. Make a long-term plan

Once you have a general idea about your student’s interests, lay out a four-year high school plan. This plan can cover an array of goals including curriculum, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, volunteer hours, and other accomplishments. Mapping out what your student needs throughout their homeschool career will help them allocate their time better and stay motivated and confident.

3. Keep a detailed transcript

Transcript is one of the most important parts of college application. Keeping a detailed transcript is a good way to show the admissions committee your student’s academic rigor and diligence. In addition to student information and course information on the transcript, you can also keep course descriptions that you can submit to colleges, as some colleges find them helpful and even necessary.  

4. Take standardized tests          

It can’t hurt to start getting your student ready for the necessary tests. Have your student take the SAT or ACT and identify where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and decide which standardized test to take and include in the college application. There are many standardized test resources for homeschoolers, including free webinars like How to Ace the SAT by Jean Burk, creator of College Prep Genius, or Everything You Need To Know About College Entrance Exams by Jeremy Tate, president of the Classical Learning Test.

5. Hone essay-writing skills for college applications

Essays are one of the most important factors that can sway the admission decision in or against the applicant's favor. It is the best way to prove the student's ability to think critically and write clearly and persuasively, and tell their unique story that sets them apart from the rest of the applicants. Writing skills take time and practice, so better to get started early. There are many resources both online and offline, from accepted essays offered by the college admission websites, to homeschool writing courses like Learn Essay Writing the Fast Way or Essentials in Writing. Make sure to utilize these resources and curricula to help your student broaden their perspectives and enhance writing skills.