Homeschooling and Higher Education
If you homeschool your children, and they’re approaching the right age for GCSE or A Level work, it’s time to start considering whether university could be the next step. There are many misconceptions around homeschool students and university – from whether they can attend to what qualifications they need.
Keep reading as we look at common misconceptions around this subject, and break down the requirements, scholarship choices and alternative higher education options for homeschoolers.
University Requirements for Homeschool Students
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It’s often thought that homeschool students find it harder to get into university, but with homeschooling rapidly rising in popularity, this is no longer the case. Almost all the universities in the UK – including Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions – accept students from a homeschool background every year.
Getting a place at university might be easier if your children go down the traditional route, and take formal qualifications like AS and A Levels. For some more technical degrees – such as medicine, architecture or chemical engineering – universities are unlikely to admit students without A Levels. That being said, there are many other subjects – such as the arts and humanities – which may be more flexible, and accept a detailed portfolio of work alongside a personal statement, or UCAS points derived from other activities.
It’s worth noting that some universities will also accept other qualifications in lieu of A Levels, like B.Techs, foundation degrees or the International Baccalaureate.
Homeschooling and UCAS
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Going through UCAS (the university and colleges admissions service) is the most popular method of applying to university in the UK, and also the simplest. UCAS works on a points-based system; offers from universities and colleges are given on the basis that an applicant will achieve a certain number of UCAS points.
The higher the grade achieved in a qualification, the more points your child will receive. However, points can also be issued for extra curriculars, like grades in musical instruments, voluntary work, becoming a tutor, as well as taking exams in activities like dance or horse riding.
If your child chooses to apply for university through UCAS, the process is much the same for homeschool students as it is for students from state and private schools. They’ll be required to provide an estimation of their grades, a personal statement and a reference, and they can apply to study at up to five separate universities or colleges
Homeschool Students and Scholarships
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There are plenty of scholarships which accept applications from homeschool students, and many which are set up specifically to enable homeschooled children to pursue higher education. In fact, homeschool students are often at an advantage when it comes to scholarship programmes, as they have the benefit of a unique curriculum and more independent study to recommend them than most pupils who attend conventional schools.
In the UK, a wide variety of organisations, charities, religious institutions and private funds offer university scholarships and bursaries for homeschool students. These vary hugely in their financial value – some might cover the whole cost of tuition fees while others will provide a small percentage, but your children can apply for multiple scholarships, and may even be awarded more than one.
Alternative Higher Education for Homeschool Children
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While plenty of homeschool students attend and enjoy college every year, the prospect of a traditional university experience – leaving home and living in halls of residence – might not feel right for your children. If this is the case, there are plenty of alternative forms of higher education to consider. Here are some of the most popular paths open to homeschooled students, if they’re not ready to move:
- Studying remotely with the Open University
- Attending a university nearby, and living at home
- Volunteering or interning in a relevant industry
- Alternative qualifications, like foundation degrees, degree apprenticeships, sponsored degrees and National Vocational Qualifications.
How Oxford Home Schooling Can Support You
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At Oxford Home Schooling, we’re committed to helping your children succeed – not only at Key Stage 3, GCSE and A Level, but beyond that. If your children wish to look into higher education, and how to apply as a homeschool student, our student advice team can offer guidance on how best to approach this, and also give some insight into the alternative opportunities available.
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Do universities accept homeschooled students?
Yes, most universities in the UK accept homeschooled students, even if their education hasn’t covered the National Curriculum, and they haven’t sat formal qualifications. This will vary from course to course – as some degrees require A Levels for entry, and some don’t.
Can homeschooled students get scholarships?
There are many university scholarships open to homeschooled students, or even created especially for them. Plenty of organisations, funds and private donors offer financial aid to homeschool students, to help them gain access to higher education.
How do homeschoolers apply to college?
This depends on the course, but if your children have taken AS and A Levels like traditionally schooled children, they can apply for university or college using the UCAS system. UCAS works on a points based system, but if your children don’t have formal qualifications, they can get points from other activities, like volunteering or learning an instrument.
Is it harder for homeschoolers to get into college?
No, it’s not generally thought that homeschooled students find it harder to get into college or university anymore, especially if they have A Levels and GCSEs. Without these qualifications, your children could also go to university via an Access to Higher Education course.