I’ve been getting lots of questions about what colleges like to see on homeschool transcripts.
How do you make your homeschooler’s high school transcript college attractive?
What Colleges Like to See on Homeschool Transcripts
I have graduated all five of my kids from homeschool high school. Each of them went on to college (two of them have PhDs, one has an MEd, one has a BFA, and the youngest recently completed his BA in Education). So, we learned some things about homeschoolers going to college!
I have also served for 18 years as junior and senior advisor for our local homeschool umbrella school. In that role, I have helped hundreds of college-ready homeschool high schoolers successfully apply and receive acceptance to various kinds of colleges. Along the way, I have talked to college advisors when we go on college tours, by phone and fax and at conferences on behalf of my homeschool senior advisees.
Here is what I have found about what colleges like to see on homeschool transcripts.
1) Solid GPA.
We have the luxury of teaching for mastery, so my high schooler can spend 1 hour or 3 hours per day mastering algebra equations or chemical formulas if need be. He can stick with it until he has solid mastery. Then his test scores and papers look good.
2) Strong SAT or ACT Scores.
Not all colleges require these, but those that do look for competitive scores. My high schooler is working on SAT vocabulary and reading challenging books- even over summer break. Next year he’ll do a prep course. (My kids’ favorite SAT prep is SATs for Dummies – take a look at their cool cheat sheet.)
3) Academic Challenge.
Many colleges want to know that my student is challenging himself academically. Are most of his courses at least College-Prep level? Is he taking some Advanced, Honors, or AP classes?
Wondering about levels for a high school transcript? Click here to learn more.
4) Non-generic Courses.
College admissions officers have often told us that they look at thousands of transcripts each year that all look fairly identical. Course titles are almost identical. They tell us they long to see transcripts with courses that *sparkle* or *pop*! In other words, not generically-titled courses and some courses that are unique or interesting-sounding.
You can give your college-bound homeschool high schoolers an edge with by doing that. Instead of 9th Grade English (Language Arts), why not title the course after the major literature studies of the year. How about:
- Great Christian Writers
- British Literature
- American Literature
- World Literature
- Cinema Studies for Literature Learning
For more information on non-generic courses, check out this post.
We still have to avoid the stereotype that homeschoolers are well-educated misfits who never left the basement for 12 years. Rich extracurriculars are absolutely necessary to show that my student is community minded and has good social skills.
Learn more about the difference between electives and extracurriculars by clicking here.
College is a competitive place. Competitions show drive and diligence in my son’s character. He doesn’t have to win, just enter. Here’s a post that explains how and why of competitions for homeschool high schoolers.
Service hours show the college that my homeschooler is involved in his community and lives a balance lifestyle. Research shows that people who are active and service-minded have lower levels of depression than the general population. So, besides showing that my student is a good kid who cares, service hours show some health on his part.
8) Development of a Specific Skill.
Some colleges really like to see that a child has given special time and attention to a specific skill or interest.
This is important in the arts where portfolio reviews and tryouts will occur, but it may also give an edge in some science and history majors (according to the college). Click here to learn more about adding fine arts to your homeschool transcript.
More encouragement to help you prepare for what colleges like to see on homeschool transcripts.
Have you discovered the Homeschool Highschool Podcast? Join us weekly where we love to talk about homeschool high school, college prep and transcripts. Here’s a fun episode on what to include on your homeschool transcripts.
Is your student wondering about the future? Career Exploration can help!
Want more information? Check out these resources.
- To read more about what colleges say they want to see on high school transcripts, click here.
- Also, you can get awesome information on college-attractive high school with our friend Betsy’s materials at BJ’s Homeschool.
- Encouraging general information on preparing to homeschool high school at our friend Marcy’s BenandMe.com.
- Here’s a lovely episode about homeschooling high school with gifted teens at our friend Colleen Raising Lifelong Learners podcast.
- If you have a friend or family member who doesn’t appreciate homeschooling high school, share some homeschool success facts with them from this response to Harvard Magazine’s “Risks of Homeschooling“.
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What Colleges Like to See on Homeschool Transcripts