The excitement and anxiety of applying to universities is a common experience for high school students in any school setting. Homeschooled, public-schooled, and private-schooled students all wonder if their marks are good enough, if their application is thorough enough, and if the envelope in their mailbox will be thick enough to imply the good news of acceptance.
Certainly, there are additional stresses on the homeschooled student, and, perhaps, those stresses are felt even more keenly by the homeschooling mom! You have taught them and led them through their high school courses and are now wondering if you’ve both ‘done enough’ to warrant an acceptance in to the school of choice. On top of that, you may not know the process of applying and how the application process differs for a student who is graduating from a public high school and for your child who is graduating from home.
HSLDA wants to help make this process as simple for you as possible, and also to introduce you to postsecondary options that you may not have considered before now.
The most obvious hurdle to leap over is applying to a university without a high school diploma. Even though the process is a bit more complicated, your student’s application should be considered acceptable by the vast majority of institutions. Most universities will have a different form (separate from the basic application form) to fill out for those students who are currently residents of Canada, but who are not currently attending a Canadian high school. Look for those forms on the website of your school of choice. Make personal connections with the registrar’s office, and ask a lot of questions. Examples of what to include in your student’s portfolio and the pros and cons to taking standardized testing have been covered on our pages for Homeschooling through High School. For further information on registering for, preparing for, and taking standardized tests, please see http://www.collegeboard.org/. While Application deadlines do vary from school to school, most institutions require application by January or February of the student’s last year of high school.
Many homeschooling families prefer the thought of distance learning for postsecondary education. The options in this category are very exciting!
Campus Starter is an excellent resource for students. It lists the many colleges and universities that offer degrees by distance learning. The application process for these online programs will be the same as for their on-campus counter-parts. If you are willing to do the work of putting together an application package without a high school diploma and an accredited transcript, but prefer the thought of keeping your kids at home for university, this website is an excellent resource.
A very homeschool-friendly, very economical option is CollegePlus. Affiliated with several major Christian universities, CollegePlus offers distance learning for over 50 majors, with the options of completing the entire degree online, or beginning the degree online and then having those credits transferred to a brick and mortar institution. This is a very flexible option for students wondering about the ease with which they could get accepted into a university program.
However, if you are wondering about an option for postsecondary that does not require your student to have a diploma or an intricate portfolio, or if you are interested in alternative degree options, then this will be very exciting for you. Canadian Virtual University provides a list of universities that provide fully-accredited under-graduate degrees online through what is called “Open University”. Athabasca University is one such university, and is considered the best of its kind. The admissions requirement for these Open University programs is simply that the student be the age of 16 or older. Further, there is an evaluation program your student can undertake through which previous learning or job experience can be counted for credit towards their degree, thereby shortening the time in school and reducing the cost to your family. If your child has participated in internships or work co-ops, taken continuing education courses at a community college, learned skills in a volunteer position, or achieved certificates of skill and knowledge, they could receive credits for their learning. This program is called Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). The PLAR program is well-monitored and there is a lot of assistance provided in making a portfolio that adequately represents your child’s knowledge base. This is a brilliant advance in postsecondary education, and a great help to homeschooling families.
Surely one of the most frequently asked questions that homeschoolers receive is what will you do about university. Now you can answer that the options are many, and the future is very exciting. For further help or information about these programs, contact the HSLDA office.