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Last updated September 26, 2023

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How do homeschoolers get into college?

Key Takeaway

Homeschool students applying to college need to submit a transcript and school profile. What yours looks like will depend on what your homeschooling situation looks like. And when it comes to letters of recommendation, you should seek recommendation letters from non-family members to provide outside viewpoints.

In 2019, homeschool students accounted for 2.8% of kindergarteners through twelfth graders across the United States.

Despite having different curricula than their public and private school peers, many of those homeschool students will go on to apply to college.

But applying to college requires input from a lot of school officials: teachers, counselors, maybe even school registrars. What do you do when those roles are all filled by a parent or guardian?

If you’re a homeschool student, you’re probably wondering how to navigate the college application process. And, more significantly, you’re probably asking how you communicate your educational experiences in a way that will help you get in.

Let’s dive in.

What Type of Homeschool Student Are You?

The first thing to figure out is what kind of homeschooling you've had. Most homeschool students either follow a standardized curriculum or platform, often online, or learn independently with a parent or guardian. These two types cover most homeschooling situations. Your situation will determine your college admissions strategy.

If you're using a standardized homeschool program, your curriculum has course descriptions and transcripts. These can be sent straight to admission offices, which is a straightforward and easy way to share your coursework with the colleges you're applying to. If there are administrators through your online curriculum or platform, they may also be able to help you out.

But if you're learning with a parent or guardian, things are a bit different.

If You're an Independently Homeschooled Student

If you're an independent homeschool student, you'll need to take the initiative.

The person teaching you—usually a parent or guardian—should make a transcript and a school profile equivalent. They’ll need to list the courses you took and the grades you got. In the school profile equivalent, they should also break down information about what was available in the curriculum.

Taken together, these documents should give admissions officers an overview of your academic journey. They should show your coursework, the learning objectives you've had, and what you've achieved.

Making a Transcript and School Profile

Making a transcript might seem a little strange, but it’s an important part of the college application process. You want to give admissions officers a clear and correct picture of what you’ve studied and how well you’ve done.

Your transcript document should have:
  • A list of all your high school courses
  • The grades you got in each
  • A quick description of what each course covered

In addition to this document, you’ll want to send in a document similar to a school profile.

The school profile should be a short summary of your homeschooling situation. It can explain things like:
  • Your homeschool philosophy
  • Your grading scale
  • Your curriculum options and structure
Colleges can use both of these documents to better understand your academic background. The better they understand your background, the more they can advocate for you.

Homeschool Letters of Recommedation

In addition to a transcript and school profile equivalent, you also need to think about your letters of recommendation. Since the teachers in these kinds of homeschooling situations are often parents or guardians, it’s helpful to give admissions officers outside viewpoints, too.

These letters should be from people who can support your abilities and progress. Think of private tutors, coaches, community leaders, or bosses. They should be anyone who can provide a fresh view of your abilities and achievements.

Of course, if your parent has been the primary one teaching and counseling you, it may make sense for them to submit a letter. But of course your parent will be biased—they’re your parent! And unless your parent has worked as a teacher or counselor in a larger setting before, they may not have the same toolkit to explain what makes you unique compared to your peers.

Letters of recommendation are a great reason to seek outside education through things like private tutoring, community engagement, or even community college or dual-enrollment courses. Having an outside recommender to show admissions officers how great you are can be a big help.

No matter what your specific homeschool situation looks like, be open about your coursework, how it was taught to you, and what you learned.

Taking the time to give admissions officers a clear view of your academic journey will contribute to your cohesive narrative and only help you and your application.


As a homeschool student, it's important to present your coursework to college admission officers accurately. If you're using a standardized homeschool program, use their resources to communicate your coursework to colleges. If you're learning independently, have your educator make a transcript and a school profile equivalent. Also, get recommendation letters from non-family members when possible. And remember, your extracurriculars can also have a huge impact on your college application. So don't forget to emphasize what you did outside of your homeschool classroom, too.

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