7 Smart College Admissions Hacks For Homeschoolers

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College admissions requirements can be absolutely terrifying.  As in, lying-in-the-bed-staring-at-the-ceiling-for-hours kind of Mom terror.   You feel as if you have been called to walk this road as a homeschooling high school Mama, but there is always second-guessing.  Thoughts of doubt like, “How can I assist my kid to showcase themselves in the best way in order to impress a college admissions counselor?” run through your mind.

College Admissions

High school curriculum, transcripts, and college planning fascinate me and I spend unnatural amounts of time researching and keeping up with the trends of what college’s expect from homeschoolers.  I’m an unusual girl, this I know, but I enjoy it.  Though I feel confident in helping my teen plan for college admissions, it is still very scary for any Mom to have this responsibility on your shoulders.  I’m right there with you, sister.

Here’s the jist of what I’ve found out in my lengthy research (and my first born’s experience) about what colleges really want from students:

Each college has very clear information of what they are seeking from students and they acknowledge home educated students as viable prospects.  Several colleges actually recognize that home educated students are typically self-motivated and acclimate to college classes very well.  And … many colleges are looking to diversify their student bodies with kids of all types.  Many colleges want to make sure homeschooled students have learned what they deem as necessary, so they require additional requirements to prove it.  Yes, this is a bummer for hard-working students that have to prove they’ve followed the rules (because of those who don’t and give the stigma), but isn’t every area in our world that way?  Such is life!

Let’s break this down into manageable chunks together …

College Admissions Hacks

Before I list the hacks that homeschoolers must do to rock the college admissions process, I’m assuming that you and your student have:

  • Followed or are following your state’s laws in all ways
  • Completed or are completing mandatory subjects for your state
  • Completed the required standardized testing for your state every year
  • Taken or are planning to take the SAT and/or ACT

{Still knee-deep in homeschooling lower grades but you are curious about what to expect?  Check out the Homeschool High School Hacks list to get you started}.

Now where were we?  Oh yes … if you’ve been following along with your state’s requirements of laws, mandatory subjects, standardized testing, and SAT/ACT testing, you have most of the battle completed, you already have most of the information that colleges are looking for.

College Admissions
Let’s get on to those tips to put it all together, shall we?!

1. Research together with your student their first choice college’s website.  

Look for the “admissions” section on the college’s website.  There is normally an option for homeschool admissions on the homepage or in a subheading in the side column.  Some colleges make this information very easy to find but with some, you have to dig around a bit to find it.  You can also google the school’s name, put a space, and then type homeschool admissions. It will normally take you right to the page you need.  The following is an example of what I typed into the google search bar:

University of Georgia homeschool admissions

2. Read carefully the requirements expected for homeschool college admissions.

This hack is so important to do as early in the high school career as possible.  Take the time to read over the requirements carefully.  For instance, Yale is not as concerned with the number of years spent on particular subjects, but the state of Georgia’s college standards are rigid with how many years are spent on their mandatory subjects.  Many college admissions will require additional documents or essays from homeschoolers to ensure that the student is indeed prepared for their college.

3. Create an exceptional transcript

Your kid’s transcript is the single most important piece of paper that any college is going to study with a fine-toothed comb.  Whether a public school or homeschool graduate, this document explains so much about each child’s gifts and weaknesses.  Make sure you and your teen start working on the transcript as soon as possible to ensure that all courses are met and that it is a very accurate representation of their academic life.  Here’s a transcript example from HSLDA.

4.  Create an organized portfolio

While some colleges don’t require a portfolio that displays assignments and coursework, why would we not keep a visual record of all the hard work our student has achieved?  For the love of all things holy, begin the organization of this portfolio as soon as possible and add to it every quarter.  The last thing you want to do is try to cram four years of college into this folder at the last minute.  What do you include?  Reading lists, varied writing papers, a snapshot of subject assignments from each year, contest awards, special classes/dual enrollment, leadership information, extracurricular information, community service, etc.  Be simple, concise, and put on display the type of student your kid is.

5.  Be prepared for the SAT & ACT

While the details about these tests are changing, it is still safe to say that most schools want to see your scores.  I know it doesn’t seem fair, but these tests prove that home educated students can excel as well as their public school friends.  The SAT can be taken many times with the highest score counted, so let your kid start early with studying and test taking.  Not sure how to prepare?  The sites, I Need a Pencil and Khan Academy are two incredible, free resources to get students started with SAT practice.

6.  Make sure their true colors show

Praise God, the tides are a-changing on what colleges are seeking for the student bodies.  For so many years, the perfect college admissions application showcased a well-rounded student that could do many things.  This led to student burn-out as they tried to be everything to all people.  Fortunately, I’ve been reading for a couple of years now that colleges are changing their view that having students that excel in one or two areas that they adore is better than being ordinary in many areas.  They want a classroom full of specialists from all walks of life.

7.  Pray like nobody’s business  

The same God that parted the red sea, gave you your child, and called your family to homeschool is the same amazing God that can guide your student to the college He wants them to attend.

An unwavering work ethic within your home will go far for your teen to complete schoolwork and prepare for college, but praying for guidance, and then listening for answers can be life-changing.  Pray as a family often to lighten the stress level of your student and your Mom’s heart.

When I am stressed out about completing an tough project, I’ve found that I find comfort in a step by step checklist strategy.  I can get to work and stop worrying when I have an actionable plan and just do the next hard thing.  I pray that these seven hacks for your homeschooler’s college admissions requirements takes a load off of your mind and enables you to do the next thing and enjoy the high school years with your kid.

Does this list of college admissions requirements ease your mind a little?


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Mother of 3
    May 11, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    My oldest is in middle school and college admission terrifies me. This helped; Pinned for later.

    • Shan
      May 12, 2016 / 11:15 pm

      This response makes my day. I want so much to relieve Mama worries. It’s so much more fun than it seems.



  2. Rachel @ Smart Mom Smart Ideas
    May 12, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    My children are years away from college, but it’s never too early to start learning and understanding the expectations. Thanks for sharing this information at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.

    • Shan
      May 12, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      No, it’s never too early to start planning! 😉


  3. Michelle Knight
    June 14, 2016 / 6:35 am

    This post holds some great tips for college admissions. This is my oldest son’t senior year and we will be facing SAT’s, visiting colleges, and more. It will be a fun year, but stressful. Prayer is always an first response when I am stressed. Thanks for linking to Talk It Up Thursday!

  4. Hazel Owens
    June 28, 2016 / 12:24 pm

    I completely agree that you should make sure that your child is prepared for the SAT and the ACT. Those test scores were a big deal when I was applying for college, and I’m sure they’ll be an even bigger deal when my kids start applying. Granted, different universities will ask for different tests, but getting your child prepared with online or physical resources is still going to be a safe thing to do. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Keith K. Moffitt
    August 31, 2016 / 7:00 am

    What a lovely post.Some extremely useful tips for college admission. Preparation for SAT and CAT is an ideal tool to improve a child’s score. Grades still hold a lot of value in terms of assessment in colleges. Transcript is also a strong indication of your child’s educational strengths and weaknesses. Thanks for sharing.

    Keep sharing and keep posting. 🙂
    Keith K. Moffitt

    • Shan
      August 31, 2016 / 11:02 am

      Thank you so much! I’m a little obsessed with CLEP and SAT prep – well, just learning in general. #nerdalert Thanks for your kind words.


  6. Atcwu
    August 8, 2017 / 2:34 am

    Love the post. It is really kinda helpful, Thank you so much.

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