Scholarships and Homeschooling : What You Need to Know
Homeschooling has become more popular over the past decade making it easier for these graduates to apply and attend universities that previously were wary of accepting students with this background. Today, teaching at home is one of the largest movements as parents grow more concerned with safety, social pressures and lowering standards in the public-school forum. Finding the right online accredited homeschooling platform is not just about what they can do for your student in their current grade but also making sure that they are setting them up for success in the future.
Scholarships are directly linked to academic standards and there are varying levels and types of these financial assistance programs in each state. The first step parents need to do is research is the scholarship funds available in their current state and review the requirements. There are some that only apply to state-funded colleges/universities within the state’s borders while others have a mutual acceptance agreement with wider parameters. Many of these have different levels so that an ‘A’ student receives higher funding than an A/B student who still qualifies but at a lower amount. Volunteer hours may also be part of the requirement to qualify for consideration so carefully read the information and keep up with changes as they may happen from year to year.
Another factor to consider is where your child wants to go to college. If you live in Florida but they have a goal to attend Princeton then the state scholarships aren’t going to be much help with this situation. Instead, you need to look at programs that aren’t limited by geography and are accepted by that particular school. It is still a good idea to ensure they meet the local requirements as students should always apply to multiple schools so they have options to choose from when the letters start coming in. Scholarships involve documentation which must be filled out either online or manually but an established accredited homeschooling program may be able to assist with the process due to their familiarity and expertise in the various steps. Smaller scholarships may have limited application such as for books, electronics, etc. but every little bit is helpful when you take the time to see what is open and get in early on the application deadline.
When applying for an academic scholarship, the board will take a look at the student’s transcripts and where their credits were earned. This is one of the main reasons why parents should make sure that their child’s school is accredited and/or they have followed state standards for record-keeping for every year the student was homeschooled. Paperwork is critical in showing that the child’s classes satisfied the necessary education standards and is one of the driving factors for approval or denial during the review.
Sports and extracurricular clubs can also open the door to more scholarship options and increase their chance of getting into the school of their choice. Athletes with excellent grades can be offered two types of financial assistance from each area thereby reducing the amount the parents have to pay or the size of the loan. Make sure the club has opportunities for recognized events the student can participate in and build their resume on for skills and contributions. Local schools have become more open to allowing the inclusion of homeschool students and the formal system makes it easier to track and submit the necessary documentation that scholarship committees are looking for.
Don’t wait until the last minute to check out the process or complete the paperwork as this takes time and has specific deadlines for each graduating class year. The best idea is to start researching as soon as your student enters 9th grade so that both can look at the requirements, set a goal and understand what needs to be done. Students should have a say in their involvement, what schools they want to attend and be responsible for helping do the work so they are invested in the results and the quality of work submitted. In addition to GPA, grades, hours and activities, an essay may also be part of the application so have your student practice writing these in advance so they are comfortable with the task.
Homeschool parents choose to take charge of their child’s education but they don’t have to do it alone and figure out the path to success without help. Accredited homeschooling platforms are a great resource with links to applicable sites, checklists, guides and a counselor that can work specifically with the student to set them on the right path. It’s a team effort to work through this process and help the student achieve the most amount of financial aid they can to avoid substantial loans in the future and set them up for a relatively debt-free higher education.