Austin Area Homeschoolers
Newcomers' Guide

Most major colleges and universities admit homeschooled students. Here are some tips homeschooling parents have shared about college admissions.

Suggested Schedule for the College Admissions Process
9th Grade: Start keeping good records of all academic activities. (This will make it much easier when you put together a high school transcript.) Consider taking the SAT I just for practice.

10th Grade: Take PSAT. Can also take SAT I just for the experience, or at least practice with books or software.

11th Grade: Take PSAT. This year counts for National Merit Scholarship consideration. Take SAT I. Start looking at books or software for SAT IIs.

12th Grade (Summer or Fall): Final SAT I for college consideration. SAT-IIs will also be required: Writing and Math, and possibly more, depending on the college. Put together a high school transcript. (This could include volunteer work or unusual activities as well as academic courses studied.) Final college applications generally have to be in by January for entry the next fall.

College Concerns and Ideas by Susan Frederick
I sat in on a workshop about homeschoolers and college in Conroe, Texas. Here are some of the things that I got out of the workshop:

The state of Texas requires 22 credit hours of coursework to graduate from public high school. 

A credit hour means a course of study, it doesn't have to mean physical number of days/hours. For example, if you buy a math curriculum for a particular year, and you complete it, you have completed a credit. 

Although this applies to public high schools, this site can be helpful to those going to Texas colleges: Texas High School Graduation Requirements www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/ch074b.html#74.11

Homeschoolers can get into most Texas colleges without problem. Most Texas colleges now either have homeschool placement officers or at least have a staff member who understands the homeschool experience. 

Just say "NO" to the GED, only a very, very few colleges want that now, and it can actually damage your placement efforts.  (Note from Engela: Even the US Military differentiate between a homeschool graduate and a applicant with a GED.) 

Colleges don't care about the piece of paper known as a diploma, what they do want is a transcript and your SAT scores.   (Note from Engela:  This has been varified by MANY homeschool graduates who have applied to college.)

Community colleges are good place to start; most of them love homeschoolers and it makes it easier to get into the bigger schools later, if you make good grades.  Some schools have higher GPA requirements for transfer students than for entering Freshman.  Be careful.

Some community colleges will you let you take lab sciences such as chemistry as a high schooler, thus helping you to complete some of your credit hour requirements towards high school.

Dual credit classes at community colleges may increase your chances to get into regular colleges if you make good grades. 

College placement offices have been directed to try to get more homeschoolers, so if you have problems with a school not understanding you as a homeschooler, keep shopping. 

What most homeschoolers lack is foreign language; some colleges require three years worth, so you should plan ahead. 

You should look at catalogs to see what schools require as you plan your high school years. 

Getting into the college is only part of it. That just gets you in the door; each department or college within a university is going to have its own requirements, and you have to look at those, too. 

You should know the learning style of your child. Most colleges are still lecture style and if your child is a poor auditory learner, help them by having them tape the session and then type up the notes later so they will get both visual reinforcement by seeing it on paper, and kinesthetic enforcement by typing in the notes. 

Some private colleges are going to have much stricter requirement for homeschoolers, but that's because they only take a select number of students total each year and only take the best of the best. Rice University is one example. 

One interesting idea was to keep a running book list starting from 8th grade of all the books your child has read, and attach that to a copy of your transcript. That removes any doubt about how well read the student is.

There's more, but that is just some of the highlights. The bottom line is that colleges want homeschoolers and have moved on from the days where they were concerned about homeschoolers fitting in with the "real world."

College Board Web Site by J.V. Price
This web site is very detailed; it gives lots of information, advice and food for thought. It is designed for both parents and children. It even targets parents and children before high school (implying that it is never too early to begin preparation). Some parents and students might even want to work through the site together-both learning and planning. If you go there you will see a link for parents and children; follow that link to find pages that address specific issues of homeschoolers and how they can prepare and document their course work for college applications. The main point is that it is never too early to plan. www.collegeboard.org

These other web sites are helpful for those planning the college years:
Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP) - Test for Texas college students
www.tasp.nesinc.com

Colleges That Admit Homeschoolers - Karl Bunday's FAQ
http://learninfreedom.org/colleges_4_hmsc.html

Applications
You can apply for Texas Public Universities on online at www.applytexas.org

Transcripts by Brenda Hardesty
The best advice I have found about constructing transcripts comes from two books: And What About College?, by Cafi Cohen and Senior High: A Home-Designed Form-U-La, by Barbara Shelton. Both are available from several of the bigger homeschool catalogs. They suggest formats for transcripts, and ideas for what to include beyond the ordinary courses.

In Texas, the school issues the diploma, not the state, so it is legitimate to construct your own child's transcript and diploma. Your homeschool has the right to issue these credentials, just like other private schools do for their students.

Entrance Exams
To register online for ACT tests, go to: www.act.org

SAT I. Get an SAT bulletin from any high school counselor's office and mail in your registration, or call 1-609-771-7600 to request a bulletin. The website for the SAT I is www.collegeboard.org. You can sign up for the SAT any time it's being given at the high school of your choice. They will mail the results to you directly, and they will mail them to the colleges you choose.

PSAT. The following private schools sometimes let homeschoolers take the PSAT along with their students:
Christ Community Christian School; 8210 S. 1st St.; 282-4263 
Hyde Park Baptist Schools; 3901 Speedway; 465-8331 
Hilltop Christian Academy; Hwy 183, Cedar Park; 258-0080
Check with the private school near you.

If you want your child to take the PSAT at one of these schools, call in May for the fall testing date--you can't necessarily wait until August or September.

Duke University sponsors a Talent Identification Program http://www.tip.duke.edu/

Beginning College Work Early
Some AAH teenagers take classes at Austin Community College during their high school years. ACC wants such students to be in 11th grade when they start such courses. They require an adequate grade on an entrance exam before a student can take college level classes. If your child has taken the SAT, they will accept those scores. If he or she has not, ACC offers a different entrance test. If a student makes a poor grade on the entrance exam, ACC will allow them to enroll in remedial ACC classes that do not count for college credit.
    ACC requires a school principal's permission for high school students to enroll in college classes, so you might need to write a letter of permission, signing it as the principal of your homeschool. AAH parents have had varied experiences when they attempt to enroll their high school children in ACC, depending on which counselor they see. Keep this in mind if you hear rules that do not seem right.

G.E.D. Tests and Classes
The G.E.D. is a high-school equivalency test. It is not equal to a high school diploma, but the G.E.D. can be used to meet the job requirements of some employers or the entrance requirements of some colleges. Students 17 and older can take G.E.D. preparation classes (free) through the Austin Community College (ACC). Contact ACC at 223-7528. 

Take a look at College That Change Lives for college ideas you might not have considered.
"Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. We support the goal of each student finding a college that develops a lifelong love of learning and provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college." http://www.ctcl.org/
 
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