College Application Process

by Dawn
(New York)

Are there any extra things you have to do as part of the college application process? I'm thinking about taking my daughter out of public high school and homeschooling her. I'm just concerned about the whole application process. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.


Diane's Reply:


The college application process is no different for homeschoolers. In fact, some colleges actively seek homeschoolers because they find them to be serious, responsible, capable students who take initiative!

Basically, you need to fill out the application form of the college(s) you're interested in. Keep in mind that most colleges charge a fee (between $35 and $50) just to apply. One can be eligible for a fee waiver. (My daughters qualified for the waiver when they took the PSAT/ACT.) Filling out the application form is easy, just fill in the blanks! Gathering the necessary information ahead of time can make that tedious job much easier. Here are a few tips to get you going...

Find out as early as possible what is required of the college(s) she wants to attend. Maybe contact a local university counselor, someone you can meet with face to face. We found them to be very accommodating. Please know that every college is different when it comes to credit requirements for admission. For instance, our local college requires 3 credits of math for admission, but the area high school only requires 2 to graduate! That would leave the student one short! So, it's very important to know this before her senior year. Also, know that their terms can sometimes be negotiable, so ask questions!

They will want a copy of her high school transcript. It's important to keep an accurate record of her accomplishments, from classes/subjects studies to extra-curricular activities. Here's a sample transcipt. Some families prefer that an accredited school take care of the transcript. Learn more about accredited home schools.

Standardized tests are required by some colleges and can be an asset for those who happen to be good at taking tests. See that she gets a hold of some kind of CD to prepare her for the PSAT/SAT/ACT. My girls all did very well on those exams thanks to Princeton Review's "Inside the SAT & ACT". It's a personalized study system that guarantees higher scores, and they aren't kidding! It comes with great tips for improving your score. When you do well on these exams, almost any school would accept you, providing you meet the other requirements.

You may also want to look into taking CLEP/AP exams. Both can be taken while still in high school, saving time and money down the road. They have their differences...

AP exams are for students who are already taking advanced placement courses in high school. As I understand, after a year-long high school AP course, a student can take an AP exam (only offered on a specific date) that will offer college credit based on the score the student receives. Each college determines the number of credits it will grant the student depending on their score.

The CLEP is similar, but you're getting credits for a class you never really take. It's a test you can study for to get out of college classes but still get the full credits once you pass. You are able to study in a shorter amount of time (on your own) and take the test any time you want. Our state law gives us the advantage to develop a high school curriculum almost entirely on CLEP tests. HSLDA would give you more information regarding your state's requirements.

The college application process is not difficult, but does take time. You are wise to start early. Even if you choose not to homeschool, I trust you'll find these tips helpful.

Good Luck!

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