Unconventional Education: 8 Tips to Stand Out as a Homeschooled Student

July 11, 2016

Did you know that the number of homeschooled students has increased by 64% in the last decade? As of 2015, 3.4% of the school-age population are educated at home instead of attending high school. With no other school resources, what can these homeschooled students do to stand out in their application?

The college application process for homeschooled student was once a tedious and lengthy process. However, with the growth in the number of homeschooled students, many colleges are making adjustments to their application processes, such as accepting work portfolios over transcripts. In fact, data shows homeschooled students do better in college than students who attend high school, where they average a 3.46 GPA at graduation while non-homeschooled students average a 3.16 GPA. This has resulted in active recruitment of homeschooled students from top universities like Harvard, Yale, MIT and Duke. 

Even so, building a college application that is different from vast majority of students can be hard, especially when it’s difficult to find good advice and tips on what they can to improve their chances. So, here’s 8 tips to help you stand out as a homeschooled student: 

1. Be as descriptive as possible

It’s important you paint a very clear and concise description of your academic and personal experiences as a homeschooled student. Assume they know very little about your day-to-day habits.

2. Go beyond the application question requirements

Often the required questions won’t be enough for you to give them a complete picture of your academic life, so provide your own questions that will!

3. Get great outside references

References are crucial for homeschooled students to show their personal and academic drive. Considering your parents have been your teachers, try and get references from outside sources. If you have taken a college course or are involved with a sport club then ask your instructors.

4. Send a reading list

College admissions officers may not know what curriculum you have worked on, so it’s advisable to send in a complete reading list. This will show how your literary skills compare to conventionally educated students.

5. Take more tests

SATs and ACTs are the best way for admissions officers to gauge your academic level, so try and give them a wide range of SAT II subject tests or ACT exams. Show off your most impressive fields of study!

6. Get college credit

On average homeschooled students earn twice as much college credit prior to enrollment than other students. So make sure you are enrolling in local college courses.

7. Focus on the essay

The personal statement is where the student’s individuality shines through, and and this is arguably even more true for homeschooled students. Don’t be afraid to be original, being homeschooled sets you apart from the pack which you can use to your benefit!

8. Get out and get experience

Volunteer, join clubs, find internships or summer jobs, do whatever it is that you are passionate about. Just because your school isn’t pushing you to join activities, doesn’t mean you can’t gain outside experiences for yourself. Showing initiative and dedication can go a long way.

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About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




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VivienneEve23
UC Berkeley ‘20


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Brown, Claremont (CMC), Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Pomona, Stanford, San Diego, Vanderbilt, UCSC, UCSB, UCSD, UCLA, Cal Poly, Cal Poly Pomona, Washington

UC Berkeley Class of 2020
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NYU ‘19


Accepted to NYU, BU, Ohio State

Chicago-->Cincinnati-->New York City. Dancer. Rower. Volunteer. Future Teacher.
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Williams ‘20


Accepted to Williams, Claremont (CMC), Amherst, Swarthmore, Pitzer, Northwestern, Tufts, WashU, Grinnell, Rice, Emory, LMU

I’m an Econ & Bio major who’s passionate about STEM, social issues, and design. As a transfer, I learned a lot from navigating this hectic process twice, and I’m excited to help!
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Rice ‘18


Accepted to UNC, Amherst, Northwestern, Case, Illinois, Wisconsin, Miami, Rice

I'm super cool and you should come to Rice

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