College-Prep Homeschooling: Electives, Graduating Early, and Admission Requirements

Professor, Author

Theoretically, a student could complete high school courses in less than four years—perhaps in as little as two years. However, you should seriously consider why you would want your child to do so.

Unless there is an overwhelming reason why your child should complete high school and try to enroll in college or to enter the workforce at around age 16, you may want to give your child the last two years of high school to continue to mature personally and academically. You may also want to keep in mind that admission guidelines for many colleges and universities also include the age of the applicant to avoid enrolling students who are not emotionally, socially, or otherwise developmentally ready for higher education. You may want to spread out your child’s high school curriculum over a four-year period for her benefit.

Beyond the academic courses required for admission, any other course that a student takes in high school will probably be considered extra by colleges. So if your child studies religion, music, art, or physical education, or if she actively pursues a hobby or other interest as part of her educational program, the result may be a well-rounded child, but these courses and activities may not directly apply toward the academic admission requirements. If you have the minimum academic requirements for college admission well covered, then it’s great for your child to take extra classes or participate in sports, employment, volunteer work, apprenticeships, and other activities that contribute to a more, well-rounded individual rather than one who is focused exclusively on academics. Sometimes a school’s decision between two equally qualified students is based on one student exceeding the minimum requirements of high school. Colleges want students who are going to be academically successful, but they also want students who will participate in school activities and who will represent the school well after graduation.

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