From Application to Acceptance: 4 Tips for Homeschooled Teens Going to College – Guest Post

March 7, 2011

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Being homeschooled from grade school through high school, I did not have access to as much college application counseling as my peers attending public school did. While many of my friends going to school had teachers, administrators, and counselors offering advice to high school seniors, I, for the most part, had to figure things out on my own with the help of my parents. However, I did have a singular advantage I had the time and focus to rigorously study for the SAT without having to worry about taking state standardized tests or attend a strict set of classes that took up many of my public school peers’ schedules. Here are a few things I did that helped me make it through the application process, culminating in being accepted to several competitive universities:

1. Start practicing for the SAT a year in advance.

While many students find the prospect of taking a timed, standardized test overwhelming, the test itself is not as difficult as many make it out to be. As many have noted before, the SAT does not measure intelligence; it measures you’re ability to take a standardized test. That being said, the only way to excel at the SAT is to take as many practice tests as you can. Buying an SAT guide, like Princeton Review’s or Kaplan’s, can be very helpful in teaching you test-taking strategies. When I took my first official SAT, I had taken maybe 30 or 40 practice tests.

2. Develop adult relationships outside your family in order to get solid recommendations.

Universities understand that homeschooled students won’t be able to provide letters of recommendation from teachers in the traditional sense, but many institutions do require letters from adults who are not relatives. As such, you’ll want to start thinking of adults who can assess your strengths and abilities, whether it’s a piano teacher, a boss from a summer job, a pastor, or a supervisor from a volunteer stint. Don’t ask your recommenders in the last minute (five to six months before the deadline is a good rule of thumb), and be sure to thank them afterwards.

3. Pay special attention to your personal statement.

Unlike many of your high school counterparts, you won’t have traditional venues to express the strength of your academic record, so make sure to take as much advantage of the personal statement as you can, since it’ll be a space in which you can distinguish yourself among other applicants. Write several drafts and show it to others for feedback. Aside from obvious considerations, like making sure it’s error-free, be sure to be creative but not gimmicky, professional but not stilted or pretentious.

4. If you want to qualify for federal aid, be sure to check your state and each school’s guidelines for homeschoolers.

Financial aid can be a huge asset, especially if you are hoping to get into a top-tier school. You could stand to qualify for tens of thousands of dollars in grants (which you don’t have to pay back) as well as loans. Some states require that you take some sort of certification test that stands in for a GED or high school diploma.

These are just a few basic guidelines for homeschoolers who are hoping to apply and enroll in an institution of higher education. Even though you’ll have to go through the application process on your own, by enlisting the support from your parents and your community, as well as doing plenty of your own research, you’ll prove to be as competitive an applicant as any traditional high school student.

Thank you to our guest writer:

Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

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Posted under Homeschool College Prep, Homeschool Teens

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