Homeschooling the high school years is more common than ever before. The flexibility to select courses and experiences to meet high school requirements makes high schooling much easier, too.
Though variety is a good thing, it sometimes leaves parents wondering how exactly to prepare children for college when so many fabulous opportunities exist. Are some courses more “geared toward” college that others? Does every student/transcript have an equal opportunity for college acceptance?
On the one hand, yes — every homeschooler has an opportunity to attend college. From highly structured curriculum users to free-range learners of all kinds, somewhere there exists a perfect college match-up for every unique student and transcript.
On the other hand, the truth is that the majority of colleges still expect to find at least a basic set of core of courses on the high school transcript before even considering the application minimally eligible. Transcripts which do not list these traditional courses (math, English and foreign language, for instance) may be rejected before the student is even given a chance.
The question for parents, then, is whether duplicating public high school at home offers students a better chance at being accepted to colleges than preparing students in a non-traditional way. Should families ignore the real benefits of homeschooling and the opportunity to customize a child’s education in order to lock in a chance to attend college the way the other kids do?
TRUE, traditionally-prepared high schoolers look like the other applicants, making them easier for colleges to understand — not a bad thing.
But TRUE again, homeschoolers presenting with non-traditional transcripts stand out in different ways — a bonus as well.
As if homeschooling didn’t come with enough decision-making already, a high schooling approach is a choice that families need to make on their own. Preferably toward the end of middle school, if they haven’t talked about it already. Planning for high school is necessary to achieve the type of outcome one expects at the end of the four years. Taking a traditional versus non-traditional high school path helps determine that outcome — and how students will be perceived by college admissions officers later on.
Don’t wait to talk about student goals after high school until high school has already begun. Doing some research and planning now will ensure you’re ready for the kind of course work your high school student needs — and the kind of work it may be to find the best-fit college later on.