How can homeschooled students stand out?
When thinking of ways to stand out as a home-schooled student, the primary thing to remember is that being home-schooled doesn't necessarily mean you can't participate in things outside of the home. If you are a home schooled student (or the parent of a homeschooler), you must remember that Admissions Officers are doing the best they can to make a case on your behalf, but they need the right ammunition to do so. So consider this: The 3 main parts that are reviewed throughout the application process are: Academics, Extracurriculars and Personal Qualities. If you are able to corroborate your excellence in all of these different areas through THIRD PARTIES (this is very important, since family members will likely have a biased perspective), then you'll be able to stand out. When it comes to academics, remember that, if you have the means, you may be able to take classes early on at a local community college or other academic institution. Make an effort to take classes outside of the home, be they online or in person, and most importantly, that you build a strong relationship with a reputable academic who can speak honestly about your academic preparation. Sure, your grades will play a role in all of this, and your test scores too (yes, they still need to be excellent too), but these don't give admissions officers a full picture of your academic prowess. In terms of extracurricular activities, sure, you may not have access to some of the same resources available right on the school campus, but make an effort to find ways to get involved with your community: join a sports league, create volunteer projects, work with local government, run your own nonprofit, create your own business, etc. Whatever it is, make sure that you not only do a variety of things that create deep impact in your area of work, but also that there are third parties who can corroborate how much of a difference these make. Admissions officers need to get a sense of how different, unique or extraordinary your activities may be (at a local, state, national and international level) so be sure to explain that in the application process. Finally, in terms of personal qualities, be sure to convey how you interact with peers of your age group, and that you get to know a reliable adult outside your family so they can speak to your personality and your ease of adaptation to different communities. Colleges and universities are seeking mature young people to come to their campus and bring a positive perspective to the college experience. College tends to be a truly life-changing opportunity, in great part because of the people you encounter there-- if you don't have the maturity to maintain positive relationships with those around you (regardless of whether you are a home schooled student or not), it will be much harder to make a case on your behalf. Remember that in order to really stand out, you must demonstrate excellence in all areas. After all, you are competing with thousands of students each year, both home-schooled and not, who do wonderful things to maintain an excellente academic profile, impact their communities, and remain wonderful people to be roommates with. Use the home-schooling experience to really stretch the boundaries of what you can participate in and what you can contribute to society, and you'll certainly have the chance to stand out in the admissions process.