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How to Apply to Colleges as a Homeschooler

When my first homeschooler was applying to colleges, I scrambled for all the information I could get my hands on. I mean, there had to be an all-in-one resource for homeschoolers applying to college. I was shocked to find that there was none.

Sure, I pieced things together the best I could, but dang it wasn’t easy. There were so many unknowns.

Now, after working with hundreds of homeschoolers and seeing tons of homeschool applications and documents, you could say I’ve learned a few things.

homeschool college books and coffee

What I’ve Learned

  • There isn’t one, right way to get your homeschooler into college.
  • Many of your decisions will be based on what best reflects your homeschooler’s story.
  • Many of your decisions will be based on what feels right to you.
  • The more support you receive, the more joy you will find in the process.
  • There IS a clear path that you can follow to make this easier for you.

And that’s what I hope you will find here. A clear path for your homeschooler’s journey.

Your Role as Homeschool Counselor

Traditional high schools have guidance counselors. Among other things, these counselors act as the main source of communication between students and colleges. Many help students in their college search, their college applications, and their supporting application documents.

Your job is not much different. As homeschool counselor, you will…

  • Prepare your homeschooler with a college prep high school curriculum.
  • Keep track of your teen’s high school records and standardized test scores.
  • Research and fulfill each college’s homeschool requirements.
  • Plan so that your homeschooler has at least two academic teachers write compelling letters of recommendation.
  • Create and submit a homeschool transcript to each college on the student’s list.
  • Write a counselor letter of recommendation, providing insight on your homeschooler’s best academic and personal qualities.
  • Compile a list of course descriptions, giving details on your homeschooler’s high school course work.
  • Create a school profile, providing insight on your homeschool’s educational philosophy.
  • Create a counselor account through the Common App or a college’s online application.
  • Support your homeschooler through the application process with details and deadlines.

Homeschool High School to College Planner

When to Start Planning

Ask any homeschooler what they would have done differently and they would say start earlier. But what exactly does that mean?

In Middle School…

  • Understand what your role as counselor really means.
  • Research what colleges typically require of homeschoolers.
  • Plan - as best as you can - a high school schedule that will prepare them for colleges they might consider.
  • Understand financial aid lingo and realities.
  • Start documenting all high school level work.

I know it can feel overwhelming, especially when you have an 8th or 9th grader. That’s why I created the 100-page Homeschool to College Planner. I want you to keep track of all the moving parts during the high school so when the time comes, you’ll have great homeschool records that seamlessly turn into great college applications!

More on Preparing Your Homeschooler for College

3 Things Colleges Want to See on Your Homeschool Transcript

How to Prepare Your Homeschooler for College Admissions

The Best Way to Boost Your Homeschooler’s College Chances

How to Stay Organized

  1. Plan out your high school years with college prep classes.
  2. Keep track of high school level course names, instructors, grades, and materials used.
  3. Keep track of all extra-curriculars, awards, and recognition.
  4. Collect a few samples of work - a couple of graded essays and a lab report or two.
  5. Use an Application Tracker to collaborate with your homeschooler and stay on top of all tasks and deadlines.
  6. Or create as many spreadsheets or checklists as you need: financial aid, college list, audition requirements, etc.

Homeschool High School to College Planner

College Requirements for Homeschoolers

Some schools have no special requirements for homeschoolers. Others do. But here’s the thing. YOU have to do the legwork and find out. How?

Check each school’s website. Many have information specific for homeschool applicants.
Find out who your homeschooler’s admissions rep is. Many reps are assigned to a particular region of the country. Sometimes, though, you’ll find a specific rep for homeschoolers.
Call or email the admissions office and ask!

Check out this example of College of Wooster’s homeschool requirements.

Creating the Homeschool Documents

When I use the term homeschool documents, I’m referring to four documents that you’ll send from your guidance counselor accunt.

  1. The Homeschool Transcript is a 1-2 page document that records grades, credits, and GPA.
  2. Course Descriptions are a detailed document, often 15-20 pages long, that describes courses, materials used, and the methods of evaluation.
  3. A School Profile is a 1-2 page document that describes your homeschool history and philosophy, curriculum and state graduation requirements.
  4. The Counselor Letter of Recommendation is a letter, written by you, that highlights your homeschooler’s best qualities: academically, extra-curricularly, and personally.
get your homeschooler into college infographic


Dealing with the Common App

The Common Application is an online application that many institutions use for submissions. As guidance counselor, you will create and maintain your own account - separate from your homeschooler’s account.

Here, you will answer questions about your homeschool and upload the four homeschool documents I describe above. You will then submit your report to the colleges by the application deadline.

The good news is you can create a practice account so you get a feel for how it works and what’s expected of you as guidance counselor! Check it out!

homeschool college books and coffee  

Read My Ultimate Guide to the Common App!

What You’ll Need Most

Being the homeschool guidance counselor is NOT for the faint of heart. There are a lot of balls to juggle in the air.

I created Fearless Homeschoolers for you - the homeschool parent who is doing their best to tackle all that’s required of them.

For more support, check out my 1:1 consulting or join our active Facebook Group. There are lots of fabulous homeschoolers, just like you, ready to support you on your journey!



Your Turn

What is the one thing you wish you had a better grasp on when it comes to being the homeschool guidance counselor?


Lisa Davis Fearless Homeschoolers

I'm Lisa Davis, Founder of Fearless Homeschoolers and proud member of IECA. As a college admissions consultant who's worked with hundreds of homeschool families, I believe you should know exactly how to go through the homeschool to college journey without second guessing yourself. Join me and I'll show you the way...

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