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Issues Library—College & Employment

College Admissions

How Successful are Homeschoolers at Gaining College Admission?

As homeschooling grows in popularity, and more students than ever before graduate from home education programs, college admissions departments are becoming more familiar with and accepting of homeschoolers. While the size of the homeschooling movement has contributed to this effect, another significant factor in this attitude change is homeschoolers’ proven academic performance—higher-than-average scores on standardized achievement tests and college entrance exams, impressive applications, and exceptional academic performance while in college.

A 2004 article from the Journal of College Admissions noted that an increasing number of college/university personnel welcome homeschoolers. In one survey of college educators, the article reports, most of those surveyed rated homeschoolers as far more academically successful, somewhat more academically successful, or on average with their non-homeschooled counterparts. No respondents ranked homeschoolers below average or unsuccessful. A majority also agreed that homeschoolers were emotionally prepared and socially adjusted to college life.1 Firsthand experiences like these with homeschooled students make colleges increasingly willing to look on homeschool applications favorably.

Despite the welcome reception most homeschool graduates receive, some college personnel are still unfamiliar with home education and thus attempt to require an accredited diploma or GED as a prerequisite for admission. In most of these cases, a simple explanation of homeschool law—and federal requirements—is sufficient to resolve the situation. HSLDA often serves as a liaison between colleges/universities and homeschool graduates during the admissions process.

May Colleges Discriminate Against Homeschoolers?

Federal standards are different from institutional requirements. Colleges and universities are free to set their own admissions policies, which can include completion of specific high school credits, college admissions tests, and/or possession of an accredited diploma or GED.

The federal government does not have direct authority over education, but institutions that accept federal funding must comply with any requirements set as a condition of receiving that funding. Before the 1998 Higher Education Act Amendments were passed, homeschoolers had to take the GED or an ability-to-benefit test to qualify to receive federal financial aid. However, this is no longer the case, and federal guidelines explicitly recognize that homeschool graduates have completed a secondary school education.

For more information on homeschoolers and college admissions, see the articles below.


1. Ray, Brian D., (2004). “Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us.” Journal of College Admission, Retrieved from;col1

 Related HSLDA Articles

HSLDA’s Homeschooling Thru High School College Admissions Resource Page

HSLDA’s Homeschooling Thru High School Resources on Finding the Right College

A Few For-Profit Colleges and Cosmetology Schools Demand GED
December 13, 2013

Department of Education Letter: No GED Needed for Federal Financial Aid for Homeschoolers
August 20, 2012

Does My High School Grad Need a GED in Order to Receive Federal Student Aid for College?
March 1, 2012

Help for Homeschool Grads: The College Bound and Job Seeker
January 21, 2011

Colleges Now Required to Determine “Validity” of High School Diplomas
November 2, 2010

Issue Analysis: Federal Requirements for Homeschoolers Seeking College Admission and Financial Aid
October 2010 (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Homeschool Graduates Overcome Obstacles
August 27, 2008

Issue Analysis: Preparing for College
September 13, 2007

Issue Analysis: Homeschoolers Excel in College
August 23, 2007 (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

National Center Resource on Homeschool Admission to Colleges and Universities
August 2007

Homeschoolers Score Well on ACT
July 31, 2007

House Subcommittee Proposes to End College Discrimination Against Homeschoolers
June 19, 2005

Bad Info Jeopardizes Scholarships
January 14, 2004

HSLDA’s Response to a Chronicle of Higher Education Article
January 21, 2003

Homeschoolers are a Growing Force in Higher Education
January 16, 2003

2003 Breakthrough for Homeschoolers Seeking College Admission or Financial Aid
January 2, 2003

Breakthrough for Homeschoolers Bound for College who are Under 17
April 30, 2002

Memo from the Department of Education on Financial Aid Eligibility
April 19, 2002 (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Federal Financial Aid Law Revised to Recognize Homeschool Diplomas
December 4, 2000

Even in 2000, Homeschoolers Saw Success in the Ivy Leagues
May 3, 2000

College—Bound Homeschoolers Make Headlines
April 18, 2000

 Helpful Reading from Outside Sources

The College Board’s Tips for Homeschool Admissions

The College Board’s Standardized Tests Information Page

ACT Test Information Page

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s College Guide

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Resources for Homeschooled College-Bound Stuents

The ACT Exam’s Official Website

The SAT Exam’s Official Website


Homeschool Students Excluded from Scholarship Program in 2003
March 2003

Victory over College Discrimination
June 17, 2002

1998–99 Average ACT Scores for Homeschoolers
March 22, 2000