Planning High School. . .  For College       (top)

1. Before You Plan Your High School Years 

2.  How to Plan Your High School Years:  Subjects and Courses

3.  Building A Transcript

4.  What and Why? Extracurricular Activities  

5.  List of Colleges Who Have Accepted Home Schooled Applicants


1. Before You Plan High School. . . Realize These Dimensions of College Admission

       College admission for home schooled applicants is rising.

          -  This is true at religious schools, as well as at secular, (public and private) colleges, universities, and specialized training programs.  

          -  The Christian colleges we talk to unofficially say a range of between eight and twenty percent of their currently enrolled students were homeschooled during high school.  

          - Secular schools are less likely to track the number or the percentage of their homeschooled applicants, or enrolled students.  However, at the private and public institutions we speak to admissions counselors say they've been admitting more homeschooled students in recent years, compared to five to ten years ago, and that the applications of homeschooled students are getting stronger, and more complete, each year.  (2007)

          -  The reason we don't hear or see "the number" of homeschooled students now enrolled in higher education is due to two factors.  Even schools who do keep track vary on how they define "a homeschooled student."  Some schools count their homeschooled students as those who homeschooled during their senior year in high school.  Others identify their homeschooled students as those who homeschooled for 11th and 12th grade.  Others count their homeschooled students as any who were homeschooled "for any amount of high school."  

          -  Examples of Christian colleges/universities where the  percent of homeschooled students is unofficially said to be between eight and twenty percent:  Bethel College (Indiana), Gordon College, Nyack College, LeTourneau University, Messiah College, Point Loma Nazarene University, Taylor University, and Wheaton College.  (2007) 

          - The University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) (2007): “Approximately 30-40 home schooled students are admitted each year.  A limit is not set on how many home schooled students can be admitted. The best qualified applicants from the applicant pool will be selected for admission.” 

          -  Swarthmore College (2007): “Every year, and in increasing numbers, we receive very strong applications from students who have been home schooled, for a significant period of time, if not all of their lives.”    

          - Massachusetts Maritime Academy (2007) Roy Fulgueras, Director of Admissions: 
           "Yes, we do have homeschooled students and we welcome them.  Many aspects of our school including high expectation for achievement, our honor code, and drug testing, tend to appeal to homeschooled students and their families."

            - Nyack College (2007) Ruth Baisden Crutch, Co-Director of Admissions:
               "Over the years we’ve seen that homeschooled applicants are for the most part high achievers and are obviously well-prepared for college. We want to encourage and invite homeschooling students to apply, and we also reward them with scholarships." 

  • College admission requirements for everyone are subject to change.    

               When asked what advice they have for homeschooled applicants, admissions counselors often say: "Call each school directly to ask questions and to get information about that school.   Requirements can change, deadlines can change, financial aid can change, and programs and courses can change.  Students can miss out on opportunities when they rely on what others say about a particular school."

               - In 2007, George Mason University adopted a score optional review process for certain, highly-qualified applicants. 

               - Beginning with 2008 applications, the State University of New York (Fredonia) will require students applying for scholarships to complete Part 2 of their application, regarding extra-curricular activities, which had previously been optional  

  • College admission policies and requirements for homeschooled applicants can also change, from year to year. 


         -  In 2007 applicants to George Mason University who cannot choose the score optional review process include those applying for Mason’s Honors Program, Scholars and Scholarship program, certain engineering and computer science majors, and homeschooled applicants. 

         -  California College of Art did require home schooled applicants to have a GED. They no longer require homeschooled applicants to have a GED.   

  • While admissions rates for homeschooled applicants are rising, so are expectations for the academic strength and depth of a homeschooled student’s application.


          - Many colleges do not require, but like to see, that a home schooled applicant has taken at least one or two courses at a local institution, such as a community college, or another local college, or another local public or private high school.  

          - Many liberal arts colleges require foreign language competency of all applicants.  Which languages a school will accept, varies.  Some colleges, such as Biola University, will accept American Sign Language as a substitute for foreign language competency. However others, such as Gordon College, will not.

          - Many colleges and universities require all applicants to have had one or more lab sciences in high school.  Some colleges ask homeschooled applicants to specify the components of the lab work in their science courses, to be sure the course does qualify as a lab science.  

          -  In addition to a high school transcript, many colleges require a detailed syllabus from a home schooled applicant.  Some schools require this for all four years of high school, and some for just grades 10-12.  Typically, what they mean by syllabus, is for the applicant to annotate the transcript with detailed descriptions of textbook names, course descriptions, lab science descriptions, plus qualitative and quantitative descriptions of papers, essays, and tests.    
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2.  How to Plan Your High School Years:  Subjects and Courses

a. What Courses Do Colleges Require of High School Students?
-  When you apply to college, you don't want to be surprised to find out that this school requires 2 years of lab sciences, if you only have taken one year of lab science. For anyone, and for homeschoolers as well, coming up with a full year of a lab science, at the last minute, can be a challenge!  The best way to prevent this scenario is to jump ahead and look at what college will require of you, right as you begin to plan your high school program.  

-  A good way to begin is to choose three colleges where you might want to apply.  You may not actually apply to these schools. However, the exercise of looking at what these schools require will help you be prepared for the schools where you will apply!  The purpose is to find out, from these three colleges, what they require for high school, college-preparatory work.  Look at the 3 lists. Unless they are identical, and they probably won't be, combine them into one list.  This list will be your starting point for the courses to plan for in your high school program.

-  It's easy to find what a college requires of high school students.  Just go to the websites of these three colleges and click on admissions.  Right here, in our College Corner, we include a large list of schools, by state, who have admitted homeschooled students.  You can click from this list--to the school--to check out admission requirements, and then click back again.  

-  Colleges will tell you two things about high school course work they require:
      1.  The minimum number of high school units they require.
      2. The number of units from different academic disciplines, that they require.

- The term  "high school unit" may be new to you.  One unit equals one year of high school instruction and study in a particular course or subject.  One unit is short-hand for one Carnegie Unit, the official name for high school units.  

-   One unit  =  One credit (One Carnegie Unit)  
     One year of high school English would be one unit.
     One semester of high school English would be one-half unit.  
     If a college wants you to have four units of English, they mean four years of high school English.   
     One year of an honors class does not mean any more credit.  It is still one unit.

Sample Description of  College Requirements for College-Preparatory High School Work

Total: 18 academic units  (one unit = one year of a subject)

English:              4 units  (four years of English)
Mathematics:     3 units (three years of mathematics)
Science:             3 units (two years w/lab science)
Social Studies:    3 units (three years of classes such as history, economics, government, and more)
Foreign Language: 2 units (two years of foreign language, schools may also ask for a competency test)
Electives               3 units (meaning three other, year-long courses)

TOTAL:              18 units

- What the above means is that this sample college asks you to take at least 18,  year-long courses and to include, at least, courses from the major categories described above. 


b. How To Make Your Own Plan For High School
-  Now that you know what you're shooting for, in terms of numbers of courses that colleges will require, you can start to make a plan. In this early stage do not worry about where you will take these courses, or how you will get them.  Example: If a school requires two lab science courses, as you plan your high school years, make your plan to take those lab science courses. After you come up with one version of your high school plan, then you can start to juggle and figure out when and how you can take those lab science courses.

- Sources of high school courses for homeschooled students include:
   a. Buying curriculum and learning at home.
   b. Joining forces with a few other families and creating a co-op.
   c. Distance learning programs, both public and private.
   d. Correspondence programs.
   e. Local community colleges (Dual enrollment)
   f.  Local colleges (Dual enrollment)

- Dual enrollment means that you can take the course and count it as a unit in your high school transcript, and that you may also be able to transfer that credit in to a college, and gain college credit for it as well.  Increasingly, colleges offer Dual Enrollment to high school students, and charge for less tuition to a high school student who takes the course as a special student. 

"We recommend that homeschooled students take Dual Enrollment courses whenever they can.  Not only does taking a college-level course strengthen their application, but it's helpful in other ways.  Being on a college campus gives them a 'warm-up' for navigating through the daily life of college.  They learn about using a syllabus, finding buildings and classrooms, how to hand in assignments (the way professors require), and how to participate in class." 
Beth Rountree, Assistant Driector of Admission, LeTourneau University,  Longview, Texas (2007).  (Beth Rountree, herself, was homeschooled!)   

Do Colleges Evaluate The Level of Difficulty of  The Subjects You Take?

- Yes, they do. Amy Atcheson, Assistant Director of Admissions, at Rice University. comments (2007):  
"For all applicants we evaluate their curricular choices as much as we evaluate students on their grades.  When home schooled applicants take college-level courses at local institutions, in order to fill out their high school program, their applications are stronger. We advise them to do that when they can."

Three Examples of a High School Curricular Program - With Increasing Strength

Weakest Program: 14 Units, before electives are added:
9th Grade          10th Grade         11th Grade               12th Grade
Pre-Algebra      Algebra               Geometry                  (no math)
Earth Science     Biology               (no science)               (no science)
English               English                 English                      English
                         World History     U.S. History               Government/Economics
Foreign Lang.     Foreign Lang.     (no Foreign Lang.)     (no Foreign Lang.)
Elective(s)          Elective(s)          Elective(s)                    Elective(s)

Solid Program: 18 Units, before electives are added
9th Grade          10th Grade         11th Grade               12th Grade
Algebra I           Geometry            Algebra II/Trig.         Pre-Calculus
Phys. Science     Biology               Chemistry                  Physics          
English               English                 English                       English
                          World History     AP U.S. History         Government/Economics
Foreign Lang.     Foreign Lang.II   Foreign. Lang III        (no For. Lang.)
Elective(s)          Elective(s)          Elective(s)                    Elective(s)

Stronger Program: 20 Units, before electives are added
9th Grade          10th Grade         11th Grade               12th Grade
Geometry          Algebra II/Trig.    Pre-Calculus             Calculus
Biology               Chemistry           Physics                     AP Biology/AP Chemistry            
English               English                 English                      AP  English
World History    U.S. History        Government/Econ.     Sociology/Psych./Political Sci.
Foreign Lang.     Foreign Lang.II   Foreign. Lang III        Foreign Lang IV or AP
Elective(s)          Elective(s)          Elective(s)                   Elective(s)

Physical Education/Driver's Education

- In college requirements, you notice that physical education and driver's education are not included.  Most colleges do not require these courses, and they will not count in the college-preparatory units required. .  State Boards of Education set what is required for public high school graduation.   The college itself my require physical education in college, but typically they do not count physical education or driver's education, when they are evaluating an applicant's high school transcript.   

- As a homeschooler, if you do take a physical education program, or if you join a team, include this work and these activities in your list of extra-curricular activities. You do not need to include them in your official, academic transcript.  If you do include them, especially if you'll be applying to be a physical education major in college, that's fine, but do not include your high school physical education courses in your count of college-preparatory, academic units required by that college. 

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3. Building A Transcript

      "We expect that homeschooled applicants will prepare a transcript that looks like other transcripts, that includes grades, and a grade point average based on a four-point scale. We also want to see a graduation date, written clearly in the transcript."  Ruth Baisden Crutch, Co-Director of Admission, Nyack College, Nyack, NY.  (2007)

-  Colleges know that homeschoolers take courses in unsual ways and at unusal times.  What they ask is that homeschooled applicants translate their work into a transcript format that makes their school record comparable in terms of units and grades, to the work other students are providing.  By adding an annotation, or syllabus, which you see following the Sample Transcript below, the homeschooled applicant can explain exactly what they did in each course.
- There are many acceptable forms a transcript can take.  Our PER at Home School, Inc. will provide a generic transcipt, using work previously entered in PER.   Transcript service providers will also be available, for a fee, beginning in summer, 2007, through our Network of Professional Services Providers, at our site.  

- Below is a sample transcript of a hypothetical student's Secondary School Record, grades 9-12.   This one is followed by Course Descriptions of the ninth grade courses.    

Click Here To View A Sample Transcript (PDF)

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4.  What and Why?  Extracurricular Activities

Colleges and universities, private and public, secular and religious, large and small, all report that they look for strong community involvement on the part of homeschooled applicants.  They want homeschooled applicants to show that they are more than just good students, and that their interpersonal skills and abilities are strong, and have been tested. 

Not only do Admissions Offices advise homeschooled applicants to get involved in extracurricular activities because they strengthen the applicant's life and abilities, but also because then there is a greater possibility that another adult, besides a parent, will be able to write an informed recommendation letter for this applicant.  

"We look to extracurricular activities, and community involvement to see leadership development in our applicants.  Volunteer work in outreach organizations, employment, community music groups, and sports teams all provide the opportunity for homeschooled students to show us the leadership skills they've gained."  
Jeffrey Lantis, Director of Admissions, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan (2007).

"We want to see that a homeschooled applicant has been involved in the community in a productive way.  We've seen homeschooled students do this by volunteering at local museums, in hospitals, participating in community sports leagues, and more."  Amy Atcheson, Assistant Director of Admissions, Rice University, Houston, Texas (2007). 

"Community involvement, in whatever the homeschooled applicant is passionate about, is important to us. Their interest could be in community theater, volunteering and leading in children's clubs, and many other aspects of community life.  These activities show the applicant's ability to build relationships with all kinds of people.  To flourish in college life means having the ability to work together with groups, with teachers, other students, roommates, and in campus activities. Future employers also look for students to have the ability to work well with a variety of people." Dusty Di Santo, Admissions Counselor, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana (2007).   
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5. List of Colleges Who Have Accepted Homeschooled Applicants

    While there are likely more colleges and universities who have accepted homeschooled applicants, these are schools who have been known to accept homeschooled applicants.


Auburn University

Birmingham-Southern College

Judson College

Oakwood College

Stillman College

Talledega College

University of Mobile

University of Montevallo


Alaska Pacific University

Sheldon Jackson College

University of Alaska Southeast


Arizona State University

Grand Canyon University

Prescott College

University of Arizona


Arkansas Baptist College

Arkansas Tech University

Henderson State University

John Brown University

Lyon College

Ouachita Baptist University

Philander Smith College

University of the Ozarks

Williams Baptist College

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DeVry University (Pomona)

Antioch Southern California (Los Angeles)

Antioch Southern California (Santa Barbara)

Biola University

California Baptist University

California Lutheran University

California Institute of Technology

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo

California State University – Los Angeles

Claremont McKenna College

Point Loma Nazarene University

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Colorado College

Colorado School of Mines


Florida State University


Atlanta Christian College

Augusta State University

Berry College


Brigham Young University (Hawaii)


Albertson College of Idaho

Lewis-Clark State College


Augustana College

Benedictine University

Bradley University

DePaul University

DeVry University

Eastern Illinois University

Elmhurst College

Eureka College

Greenville College

Illinois State University (Bloomington-Normal)

Illinois Wesleyan University

Judson College

Knox College

Lake Forest College

North Central College

Northern Illinois University

North Park University

Northwestern University

Olivet Nazarene University

Quincy University

Rockford College

Shimer College
Southern Illinois University

Trinity Christian College

Trinity International University

University of Chicago

University of Illinois – Chicago

University of Illinois (Urbana Champaign)

University of St. Francis

Wheaton College 

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Bethel College

Anderson University

DePauw University

Earlham College

Franklin College

Goshen College

Huntington University

Indiana Wesleyan University

Manchester College

Marian College
St. Joseph's College

Saint. Mary's College

Taylor University


Buena Vista University

Coe College


Kansas State University


Asbury College

Berea College


Bowdoin College

College of the Atlantic


Berklee College of Music

Boston College

Boston Conservatory

Brandeis University

Gordon College

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

New England Conservatory of Music

Simmons College

Smith College

Williams College

Worcester Polytechic Institute

University of Massachusetts (Amherst)


Calvin College

Central Michigan University

Finlandia University

Hillsdale College

Hope College

Kalamazoo College

Kettering University

Michigan State University

University of Michigan

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Bemidji State University

Bethel University

Carleton College

College of St. Benedict

College of St. Scholastica

Concordia College

Gustavus Adolphus College

Macalester College

St. Olaf College

University of St. Thomas


Millsaps College


Carroll College


Creighton University


Dartmouth College


Drake University

Drew University

Princeton University

Rutgers State University of New Jersey

Seton Hall University


Cornell University

Elmira College

Fashion Institute of Technology

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Ithaca College

New York University

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rochester Institute of Technology

State University of New York (Geneseo)

State University of New York

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Davidson College

Guilford College


Antioch College

Capital University

Case Western Reserve

Cedarville College

College of Wooster

Denison University

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Hiram College

University of Cincinnati

Ohio State University

Oberlin College

Muskingum College


Eastern Oregon University

George Fox University

Oregon State University

Southern Oregon University

University of Oregon

University of Portland

Willamette University


Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University

Carnegie-Mellon University

Delaware Valley College

Dickinson College

Drexel University

Franklin and Marshall College

Gettysburg College

Grove City

Haverford College

Messiah College

Muhlenberg University

Pennsylvania State University

University of Pennsylvania

Ursinus College

Villanova University

West Chester University

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Brown University

Rhode Island School of Design


Clemson Unversity


Maryville College

Vanderbilt University

Christian Brothers University

David Lipscomb University


Austin College

Baylor University

LeTourneau University

Rice University


Brigham Young University


Bennington College

Goddard College

College of William and Mary

George Mason University

Patrick Henry College

University of Virginia


Bethany College


Beloit College

Lawrence University

Marquette University

University of Wisconsin (Madison)


Evergreen State College


Catholic University of America

George Washington University

Georgetown University

Trinity College

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