College Planning for Homeschoolers

Although homeschooled students do most of their formal learning at home, there's very little difference between them and students at traditional schools when it comes to preparing for college and planning for the future.

Homeschoolers and College Board Tests

Homeschooled students and traditionally schooled students need to master the same knowledge and skills to be ready for college.

  • They practice for tests the same way.
  • They register for and take the tests the same way.
  • They qualify for test fee waivers the same way.

One of the few differences between how the two groups of students prepare for college is that homeschooled students need to contact a school counselor or test coordinator at a local school to get fee waivers and arrange to take College Board tests.


Homeschooled students register for the SAT online or on paper, just like any other student. When asked to enter their high school code, they should use 970000.

One of the best ways your child can prepare for the SAT is to study with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy®.

  • It's free.
  • It's online.
  • It creates personalized practice plans for each student based on previous test scores or the results of short online quizzes.

Students who study with Official SAT Practice for just 6–8 hours see an average score increase of 90 points, compared to their score on the PSAT/NMSQT or a previous SAT.


All the PSAT-related tests measure the same knowledge and skills as the SAT, but in ways that are appropriate for grades 8–11. Taking any of these tests is a great way for your child to become familiar with the types of questions they’ll see on the SAT and learn which of their skills they most need to improve.

Your child will also find out which AP courses they’re most likely to do well in based on their test scores.

Only the PSAT/NMSQT qualifies students to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, where they can win scholarships and recognition for their hard work.

Homeschooled students should reach out to a counselor at a local school to arrange to take any of the PSAT-related assessments.

AP Exams

The Advanced Placement Program (AP) gives your child the opportunity to take college-level classes before they get to college. As a homeschooled student, your child can be guided through AP courses at home or take online AP courses. Talk to a counselor at a local high school to find an approved online AP course provider.

Each May, students can earn college credit, advanced placement, or both by taking AP Exams and getting a qualifying score. Your child can arrange to take AP Exams at a local high school by contacting the AP coordinator at that school before October 4.

To get a list of names and phone numbers of local AP coordinators, email AP Services for Students.

Fee Waivers and Reductions

Homeschooled students from low-income families may be eligible for all the same fee waivers and reductions—including college application fee waivers—as traditionally schooled students. We offer PSAT-related fee waivers, SAT fee waivers, and AP Exam fee reductions.

And if your child uses any of our test fee waivers, they'll automatically get college application fee waivers that let them apply to college for free.

Contact a school counselor at a local high school for more details on income eligibility and how to get fee waivers for your child.

College Planning Resources

Homeschooled students and traditionally schooled students also research and apply to colleges the same way. BigFuture™ provides simple, straightforward advice on all aspects of the college planning process, including:

  • How to find the right college
  • How to apply to college
  • How to get financial aid

There are also video interviews with college students and college admission professionals that give your child insider information about the college application process.


Do admission officers accept letters from religious mentors or extracurricular instructors for homeschooled students?

Yes. Admission officers understand that most homeschooled students don’t have a school counselor. They accept letters of recommendation from any adults who are influential in the students' lives. That said, they're interested in hearing from somebody who understands the applicant’s academic skills, so your child should try to get a letter from one of their course instructors—colleges prefer this not be the parent.

Students who aren’t homeschooled may also be able to submit recommendations from adults who aren't affiliated with their school, but some colleges ask specifically for one letter from a teacher and one from a school counselor. Students may have the option of providing a third letter from any other adult who knows them well.

Read more

Can students who are homeschooled take AP Exams?

Yes. Email AP Services for Students or call 888-225-5427 by September 4 for a list of schools in your area where your child may be able to take the exam.

Read more

How do homeschooled students create College Board accounts?

Homeschoolers can create a free College Board account by providing all the same information that traditionally schooled students provide. Instead of answering the question "Where do you go to school?" they should check the box next to "I am no longer in high school/My school is not listed."

Read more

What's the "high school code" for homeschooled students?

When your child registers for the SAT, they'll be asked for their high school code. The high school code for all homeschoolers is 970000.

Students who attend traditional schools can look up their school code online or get it from their school counselor.

If your child's school doesn't have a school code, they should use 000003 (in the U.S. or U.S. territories) or 000004 (outside the U.S.) when they register.

Read more

Where can I find more information to help my homeschooler apply to college?

BigFuture has lots of information to help any student through the college application process. It includes sections on how to find and compare colleges, apply for scholarships, get effective letters of recommendation, and more. It also features video interviews with college students and college admission officers to help your child navigate the application process.

Read more