With high teacher-to-student ratios in public high schools, it’s no surprise that a number of parents in North Carolina opt to home-school their children. The advantages of 1-to-1 teaching and an intensive yet personalized curriculum can have dramatic benefits for students.
Parents often find themselves scrambling, however, when it comes to college applications. College admissions can be a difficult, stressful and labor-intensive process for both parent and student, regardless of whether the parent is also the educator. Although most colleges are “home-schooled friendly”, it requires addition effort on behalf of parent and student to provide the proof that the student is an exceptional candidate for college.
Fortunately, parents who are educators can overcome these obstacles with additional planning, information, and attention to detail.
1) Be Prepared to Test and Test Again – In addition to standard SAT testing in the senior year, you may wish to consider sophomore and junior year testing. Some colleges require subject-specific testing to prove that your child has both the breadth and depth of knowledge that is expected from college admission candidates. This may be additional cost to the parent, however the results are well worth it when you can prove a consistent results that show that students are life-long achievers.
2) Research Colleges Early – Your child may be the smartest, cleverest, most hard-working student in the world, however if they’re not focused on the right material, they may have difficulty getting into their top school. No later than junior year, contact the colleges that your child is considering and ensure that the school has clear guidelines for home-schooled students and that they’re able to provide you with a list of required courses, so you can devise a final year curriculum that will meet their admission needs.
3) Manage Due Date and Deadlines – As a home-educator, you don’t have the advantage of frequent updates from a Guidance Counselor. Be sure to keep a coordinated list of the due dates and deadline for admissions criteria for college.
4) Keep up the Extracurricular Activities – Often parents may be so focused on academic performance that they neglect the extracurricular activities of their children and the effect on college admissions. Most colleges strongly consider students who can demonstrate that they’re well-rounded individuals, so be sure to encourage your child to participate in activities with public organizations that match their interests.
5) Gather Third-Party Letters of Recommendation – Although parents may feel that they can write unbiased letters of recommendations for their children, colleges can be leery when the teacher is also the parent. Be sure to cultivate relationships with community and organization members who can write an exemplary third-party recommendation for your student.