Homeschooled applicants should take the initiative to explain their circumstances. Being different is often an advantage in college admissions because most schools attempt to assemble a class with the widest possible range of backgrounds and experiences. Any student who can speak convincingly about his or her history is sure to impress an admissions officer.
Keys to Success for Homeschooled Applicants
1) Strive for a balanced curriculum. Colleges will probe for areas of weakness, especially in math and foreign language. Many colleges have graduation requirements in one or both of these areas.
2) Create a portfolio. Students should assemble examples of their best work across the widest possible range of subjects. A portfolio will allow admissions officers to see the quality of the applicant's work rather than grades or course descriptions.
3) Attend a residential summer program at a college. Such programs provide a nice introduction to college life and proof that a home-schooled student can function well in a conventional classroom. As an alternative, students might consider enrolling classes at a local college during the academic year.
4) Prepare diligently for standardized tests. In the absence of a conventional academic record, SAT scores become more significant. Consider taking the SAT II Subject Tests and the ACT for additional opportunities to score high.
5) Schedule a campus interview. Not all colleges routinely offer campus interviews. But I recommend that home-schooled applicants make every effort to get one. If the secretary who answers the phone does not seem receptive, ask to speak to an admissions counselor. If you call far enough in advance, most colleges will accommodate.