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It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of college applications, dorm-essentials shopping sprees, and college tours. But the pride of sending your child off to college is often muddled by feelings of uncertainty. The thought of your teen facing the world alone can strike fear into the heart of any worry-wart parent, especially when communication between you becomes less and less frequent.
When soon-to-be-freshmen embark on their first solo adventure and finally flee the nest, parents often experience separation anxiety. Learning to let go is a challenge every parent must face as their high schoolers leap into this new phase of life. As parents sort through their feelings of all- consuming doubt and pre-move-in-day jitters, students often struggle to adjust to college life.
This transition is arduous for all teens, but especially those who have spent their academic careers at home. Homeschooled children face different obstacles as they acclimate to rigid schedules and classroom structures. On top of complicated admissions paperwork, parents of
at-home learners must prepare their children for socialized learning communities.
While the passage to higher education may feature unique twists and turns for homeschool children, their potential success keeps pace with traditional learners’. Despite the misconceptions monopolizing airtime in the higher education conversation, the relationship between a parent-teacher and a student facilitates a positive learning environment.
In many cases, homeschooled children score above average on the SAT/ACT and often outperform their public-schooled counterparts. These extremely high acceptance rates further debunk the common misconception that at-home learners face a lower likelihood of gaining admission to top-ranked universities.
After helping your homeschooled highschooler surmount self-doubt (instilled by public-school skeptics), you’ll need to help your college hopeful navigate the maze of the application process.
A Homeschooler’s Survival Guide to College Applications
With this guide, your child will tackle college admissions with courage and composure.
Encourage your child to apply using the Common Application
The Common Application is an online app that streamlines the process for undergrads. The application is accepted by hundreds of global institutions. It allows your college-bound child to keep up with deadlines and critical documents. The app is beneficial in that it will enable your child to apply to multiple schools effortlessly. While the Common App is generally intuitive, it will look different through a homeschooled student’s eyes.
As a homeschooler, you agree to assume the role of a guidance counselor, coaching your first-year student through the process of compiling transcripts and drafting course descriptions. By filling out every question in a way that accurately reflects your homeschool set up, admissions experts will recognize your unique situation and refrain from penalizing your student for their unconventional learning environment.
Prepare your student with the right documents
Research what each school requires for the admissions process. Format the at-home transcripts to fit the needs of each school. Some may permit a simple transcript, while others require detailed course descriptions in addition to grades. Determine if your child will need a
formal GED diploma to demonstrate their understanding of high school topics. Note that many higher-ed institutions don’t necessitate a physical document.
Remind them to ask for letters of recommendation
Most higher education institutions require letters of recommendation from their applicant pool. Plus, these testimonials of your homeschooler’s work ethic and academic resilience can give your student a competitive edge with admissions experts.
For many at-home learners, finding a reliable recommendation outside the home is tricky. To avoid this dilemma, prepare ahead of time by encouraging your child to take a few classes outside the house. Employing a part-time private tutor will benefit your student’s academic progress. It’ll also provide an invaluable source for letters of recommendation down the road. When advising your future undergrad, suggest asking a community service comrade or current employer for a meaningful reference letter.
Preparing your child for an independent future takes time and precaution. For parents of homeschoolers, ensuring your students feel ready to take on a communal learning experience is crucial. With this survival guide, you and your homeschooler will tackle those pesky college applications with a smile.