Can Homeschoolers Get Into College?

Many colleges have special tips for homeschooled applicants.  Here are links to a few colleges in Washington state.  Colleges in other states have similar tips on their websites.  Google your prospective college, then search for a homeschool link from the admissions requirements page.

Consider, too, that there is more than one way to earn a college degree.  The path your student chooses will depend on the type of life-work desired after college.  Regardless of which path your child chooses in pursuing a college degree, you will need to keep good records during high school.  The parent/teacher should write a syllabus for every high school course that your student completes.  Some colleges want to see a portfolio, so have your student keep materials to compile a portfolio.

Traditional Four-Year Degree
For some highly specialized fields, a traditional four (or five) years of college after high school graduation is the only option.

At the time of this writing, minimum admission requirements to state universities in Washington are:

English 4 years
Math 3 years
Social Science 3 years
Foreign Language 2 years
Science 2 years
Fine, Visual, or Performing Arts ½ year
Academic Electives ½ year

These requirements will change.  Students beginning college in 2012 (high school freshmen in 2008) must also earn one credit of quantitative math during their senior year.  See the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board’s website for more information about minimum College Academic Distribution Requirements

Check the admissions requirements of the college or university that your child wishes to attend, since the CADR’s are minimums and colleges are free to set higher standards.  One Ivy League school we checked (obviously not in Washington) requires four years of foreign language for admission.  High school graduation is often not a college entrance requirement, and students can go straight to college without completing high school.

Another thing to consider is that many colleges have specific admissions requirements for homeschoolers.  As mentioned above, check the institution’s website for details.

To complicate matters – or simplify them, depending on your point of view – one quarter of college (for instance, at a community college, or at a four-year university through Running Start) can substitute for one year of high school when applying to a four-year university in this state.  This means that a student who does not have the required high-school classes can still get into a four-year university by first attending a community college.

Some students are able to schedule classes wisely enough to earn their associates degree through the Running Start program, then transfer to a four-year university as a junior at age 18.  This significantly reduces the financial cost of obtaining a four-year degree. 

Another option is to earn one year’s worth of credits through a combination of credit-by-exam, earn two-year’s worth of credits at a community college (preferably through Running Start so that the state pays tuition), then complete the final year at a four-year university.

Obviously, there are many options available.  For students whose college major permits distance learning, that is an excellent method of earning a degree.

However your student earns college credit, it will cost less money and take less time if you do some careful advance planning.

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