One of the major concerns of parents who are considering home school is the availability of scholarships. It is certainly no question that home school students can get into colleges throughout the country. Their ability to complete the required courses and be competitive on entrance exams has been proven over time. But what about scholarships? Are home school students able to compete for the same scholarships that traditional students have available to them? We’ll explore that question in this post.
In short, any competitive scholarship that does not have the requirement of graduation from a traditional high school is open to all home school students. Any entrance exams, resumes, interviews, or other requirements of these scholarships can be met by all students regardless of where they graduate from high school.
The problem for most home school students will come from the institutional scholarships offered by all colleges. These scholarships are usually sensitive to graduation from an accredited high school; most public and private high schools meet this requirement and for the ones that don’t, the colleges treat them as if their diplomas are accredited. Diplomas are awarded by the institution which the student attended, and for home school students this is generally done by the parents themselves. The states with HOPE scholarships funded by the local lottery commission do not allow participation for home-schooled students as entering freshmen. Some, such as the one sponsored by the state of Georgia, will retroactively qualify a home school graduate after they complete their first year of a college with a ‘B’ average or better.
An option is to complete your high school curriculum with a charter or private institution. Many of these offer a home schooling option for their students so their accreditation allows them to issue diplomas to those students who successfully complete the prescribed home school program. Your child may have to take some classes specifically offered by these schools in order to complete the program, but this gives you the accredited diploma that colleges, employers, and the armed forces recognize.
One other option that you might consider is the GED. The GED is a functional equivalent of the high school diploma, and according to the Wikipedia article on the GED, approximately 95% of colleges accept the GED. Realize, however, that the GED does have a negative connotation in some circles because it is perceived that the student took the GED because they could not pass their high school requirements.
A third option for your college-bound student is to take some dual enrollment courses. These are classes that are offered through your local junior or community college, which upon completion award both high school and college credit. These are a great way to economically earn college credit, establish your credibility (and GPA) with taking college-level courses, and build towards your degree before even finishing high school. As mentioned earlier about the Georgia HOPE scholarship, completing these classes also gets you closer to completing your first year of college that much sooner.
In summary, college admission is no problem for home-schooled students. There are avenues into scholarship awards for home school students, but exploring those takes a little more planning and consideration. As is our common theme throughout The Affluent Student, start early and be intentional about your scholarship search and you’ll be just fine.