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21 Things You & Your College Bound Homeschool Junior Can Do Now

Every January, I start working with a new crop of Juniors. They’re excited to share who they are and to plan the first steps of their homeschool to college journey.

The system works beautifully as all families follow the same general timeline.

Unless, of course, tasks aren’t done on time.

Then we fall behind, playing catch up or skipping over things because there’s simply no time.

It’s stressful. And it keeps me up at night.

If you have a homeschool junior, use this college planning checklist to get a head start on what needs to be done before you head into the summer. You’ll be glad you did.

homeschool college planning books on junior's bed

Got a homeschool junior? This college planning checklist will get your homeschooler on track for college applications.

1. Start your homeschool transcript

Time and time again, I’ve witnessed the power of creating a homeschool transcript. Once you see your teen’s high school years listed on that one page document, you’ll feel empowered. Confident. Ready to tackle your other documents.

Use my Fearless Homeschoolers Transcript Template or create your own. Enter freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Update credits, grades, and GPA at the end of the year.

2. Start your course descriptions

Once you tackle the transcript, course descriptions are a natural next step. If you don’t have details for each course, start digging for them.

Grab my Course Descriptions Toolkit for samples and templates.

3. Create a plan for junior and senior year

Sit down with your homeschooler and create a timeline. Get organized by creating a central spot for college application work. I use and love Google Drive. It’s free and you can work in collaboration with your homeschooler.

4. Save your teen’s best work

You likely won’t need to share work with colleges, but a few schools do ask. When they do, they typically request a graded essay with comments.

5. Start a collection of anecdotes and quotes about your homeschooler

Or FROM your homeschooler. These will help tremendously in creating a great counselor recommendation letter.

6. Check out what colleges want from homeschoolers

You’ll often find homeschool-specific requirements on a college’s admissions page. If there’s no designated page for homeschool applicants, call admissions and ask.

7. Create a Common App practice account

Actually create two practice accounts. Or three. One as a student, one as a counselor, one as a teacher recommender.​ Take a peek around and become familiar with what’s expected. Learn how to navigate the Common App.

8. Take SAT and ACT practice exams

Most students do better on one over the other. While taking a full practice exam for both is time-consuming, it’s also revealing. Schedule a spring date for the preferred exam.

9. Prep for SAT and/or ACT

Develop a test prep plan and put it on your teen’s calendar. If you’re not using a tutor or test prep class, check out free resources for independent practice.

10. Prep for AP exams

AP Exams take place in May, often at the same time as SATs and spring performances or championships. Keep your teen’s schedule in mind when scheduling and prepping for exams.



11. Choose teacher recommenders

Most schools ask for one or two recommenders. A handful ask for three. The best recommender is one who can share insight into a student’s in classroom and out of classroom strengths. Encourage your teen to cultivate strong relationships with those instructors over the course of the spring semester.

12. Run the NPC Calculator for a few schools

Do this before you add them to your list. Find out what your family’s SAI (Student Aid Index, formally EFC) is by using their Net Price Calculators. Know which schools require only the FAFSA and which ones require the CSS Profile. Educate yourself on financial aid lingo. Know that schools are under no obligation to meet your EFC.

13. Be transparent about finances

Have honest conversations about money from the very beginning. Tell your teen the budget and consider taking schools off the table if you’re certain they’re unaffordable.

14. Research summer opportunities

Plan for summer fun. Search for summer programs, workshops, internships, international exchanges, university classes, jobs. (Many summer program applications are due in January and February.)

15. Register for fall courses

Course registration for the upcoming year usually begins in early spring. Make sure you’re aware of any prerequisites needed for those fall classes. Note: Keep work load in mind. College application season is heaviest in the fall.

16. Seek out mentors

Is there a mentor that can provide support in a class or independent project? Ask friends, universities, online communities. Bonus: Mentors make great recommenders!

17. Understand merit scholarships

Know which schools offer and don’t offer them. And know which schools offer a lot to a large percentage of their applicants.

18. Understand early applications

Know the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision. Understand how they impact acceptance rates; choose what’s best for your family and your timeline.

19. Extracurriculars — go further, go deeper

Make sure your homeschooler devotes plenty of time and energy to the things they love most. Encourage them to find ways to improve their favorite communities.

20. Keep the balance

Be aware of your homeschooler’s stress level. Spring of junior year can be a busy one.

21. Join the Fearless Homeschoolers Facebook Group

We’d love to have you in our awesome community, where we share and encourage and support one another during the college admissions process.



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Your Turn

Is your homeschool junior keeping on top of their college plan? Share in a comment below!


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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