Planning Ahead for College – Part 3: College Admission and TestsMaggie Hogan
photo credit: Cornell University Library
An article entitled “Home Education, College Admission and Financial Aid” in the Journal of College Admissions is valuable in helping us understand what colleges consider in admitting homeschooled students. “Since there is no monolithic model of home education, there is no simple formula for assessment.” Admissions officers consider factors like course descriptions, lists of projects, books, curricula, outside evaluations of the student’s work, courses taken in junior college (if applicable), community-based projects, application essay, and an interview with the student.
Widely Used Exams for College Admission and/or Credit
Send for information, then read and follow the directions carefully. Books and computer software are available to help prepare for each examination. The mega-site for college planning and test registration (except for the ACT) is College Board. Don’t miss this site!
PSAT/NMSQT– Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
This test measures verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities. It’s considered the practice test for the SAT. Eligible juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT in October are automatically entered into the National Merit Program. Merit Scholarship awards are given to approximately 7,000-8,000 students based on their scores. A number of homeschoolers over the last few years have been granted full or partial college scholarships because of the National Merit Program. Preregistration and a small fee are required.
It is traditional to take this test in the junior year (when it counts for National Merit), consider also taking it in the sophomore year for additional practice. Register with your local high school. You can find your state’s homeschool code.
For more information:
P.O. Box 6720
Princeton, NJ 08541-6720
SAT – Scholastic Aptitude Test
The SAT is a three-hour test primarily consisting of multiple-choice questions that measures verbal and mathematical abilities. It’s administered six times per year; pre-registration and a fee are required. Register directly with the College Board. The homeschool code is 970000. Some colleges also require the SAT Subject Tests for admission and course placement.
Register online, or to obtain a registration booklet and register by mail, call 1-866-756-7346, e-mail SAT@info.collegeboard.org, or check with your local high school. More information is available at http://sat.collegeboard.org/home.
The ACT is designed to assess high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. An optional 30-minute writing test is also available.
301 ACT Drive, P.O. Box 414
Iowa City, IA 52243-0414
AP – Advanced Placement Exam
The AP program offered by the College Board gives high school students the opportunity to receive college credit for what they’ve learned in high school or on their own. Tests are given only in May by participating high schools. (Although College Board welcomes homeschoolers, you might have to be persistent with the local high school.) Contact AP Services no later than March 1 to get the names and telephone numbers of local AP coordinators, and contact the AP coordinators identified no later than March 15. The state homeschool code will be provided by the coordinator on the day of the exam.
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
CLEP – College Level Examination Program
CLEP offers credit-by-examination in a wide range of subjects commonly required for college undergraduates. CLEP tests may be taken by students of any age. Taking and passing even a few of these tests can save time and money and allow capable students to get into meatier, upper-level college courses sooner. Write for the free CLEP Colleges booklet. Although most colleges accept CLEP credits, not all do. Ask colleges you may be interested in for their CLEP policy. Our oldest son received credit for all the CLEP tests he took.
P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600
Of course, there is another option entirely: college at home is becoming more and more popular with homeschoolers, but it is an article in and of itself.
Finally, think of college preparation as just another extension of your homeschooling. Continue to pray, plan, and prepare as you go down the college path.