College Prep for Teens
Homeschooling high school? Freshman
year is the best time to start looking toward
college. Here’s how you can begin
preparing for college now.
LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com is the premiere
website for the homeschool high school
community. We offer forums for both parents and
students, easy-to-browse information about high
school homeschooling and post-graduation
preparation, and tons of free printables that you
can download and use today. Stop by our main
site to see all that we have to offer!
Annotated Reading List
In my experience, many colleges prefer for homeschoolers to include an annotated
high school reading list when they are in the application process. In fact, several
colleges and universities require the reading list of homeschoolers, so just to make
sure, it’s a good thing to keep up with one during the high school years.
A teen’s transcript is perhaps the most important document for applying to a college
or university. Every college will require a transcript for each student, and it’s very
important that homeschoolers make sure the transcript is clear and concise. You
can create your own, or easily use a template like this. This transcript FAQ article
also has very helpful information!
Grade Record Spreadsheet
A grade record spreadsheet is an easy and simplistic way to keep track of your
student’s grades throughout high school. It’s helpful to include it with the transcript
during the college application process to show your student’s journey through high
school and definite proof of their academic abilities. Some colleges require
samples of the schoolwork, portfolios, or test grades, so this is a great way to
showcase your student’s work. You can find the spreadsheet for free here.
Taking these tests may be one of the most nerve-wracking moments of the high
school journey, but it’s honestly very important. Nearly every college and university
require these test scores for admission, unless the student was already enrolled at
another college during high school. It’s helpful to consider future college choices
when deciding which test is right for the student to know which one the school
requires or prefers. It’s also always a good idea to take both exams. Keep in mind,
they can be taken more than once! The first time jitters are bound to make things
more difficult anyway. You can read more here about the ACT versus SAT (scroll
down) as well as information on the new SAT as of 2016.
High School Credit Log
Keeping track of your student’s time not only gives proof to the validity of the
credits you are recording on the transcript, but it also gives you, the parent, a
peace of mind that your student is truly spending the time necessary to earn that
credit. A credit log can also come in handy when you fill out the transcript at the
end of the year! You can find a template here.
Dual Enrollment Credit/CLEP
Something to consider during high school is dual enrollment at a community college. Dual
enrollment has a number of benefits, including earning credit for college and high school
simultaneously, teaching a subject with which mom/dad struggles, providing more social
interaction, and knocking out prerequisite college courses (your post-high school self will thank
you!). You can learn more about dual enrollment here.
Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is taking CLEP tests. CLEP tests are
designed to help students earn college credit through taking an exam for a single course.
Students use these exams to “CLEP out” of early college courses by earning the credit for those
courses from passing the test. Learn more about CLEP here.
Including community service/volunteering opportunities on the student’s transcript is
really where your homeschooler has a chance to shine. The more competitive
schools definitely look for this area because it gives the college a chance to see
your student in action and shows more specifically where their priorities and
interests lies. Learn more about building those volunteer hours here, as well as a
template for a community service time log.
Have a Four-Year Plan
A four-year plan is something that will help every teen and parent of that teen. It’s
hard to know what’s necessary to study if you don’t have a goal with a checklist. A
key aspect of this four-year plan would be knowing more about which credits most
colleges expect high schoolers to have studied. It also means knowing the high
school requirements for higher education goals so you know what you need to
accomplish during those four years. With having a post-high school goal in mind,
each year will start with a vision and a plan. The eBook for teens may come in
handy as well, which is a roadmap of sorts to help teens navigate the high school
Senior Year: Apply & Tour
Senior year is the time to apply to those college and universities you’ve considered
through your high school journey. Make sure you apply to more than just one
school; it’s always a good idea to have more than one pending application in case
you don’t get in. Another good addition to senior year is campus tours. I’d
recommend touring the campuses of your preferred schools before submitting an
application just to have a better idea. Campus tours can do wonders for excitement
And now, for the final, and most iconic part of finishing the high school journey: the diploma.
Though many people think homeschoolers can’t have a diploma, that’s definitely not true!
Many states give parents the right to assign a diploma to their graduated homeschool
student. In fact, you can even print one using a template if you’d rather not design it. My
only recommendation is to avoid using the term “homeschool diploma.” It looks much more
professional to just use “high school diploma”--they did, after all, graduate from high school,
regardless of at home, private, or public school. I’ve noticed that several colleges ask
homeschoolers for a copy of their diploma, so it comes in handy!
Your homeschooled high schooler made it--and earned that diploma!
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