How Does My Child Get a Diploma?
There are several ways to get a high school diploma. From easiest to hardest they are:
- Make your own diploma or order one from HSLDA, sign it and present it to the graduate. See our Resources page for a sample.
- Use the diploma found on the PA Department of Education web page.
- Apply for a diploma through one of the diploma organizations registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Enroll in a correspondence school.
- Apply to the state after your child has received 30 college credits from an accredited college. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Education will grant one based on GED equivalency.
The value of these diplomas is not yet clear. The diploma issued by Mom and Dad will probably be least recognized, but it is likely to be the only one you will need. The GED offers some problems because your child can’t take it until age 18 (16 if needed for a job or college). So far, parent-issued diplomas have worked well, with few problems. By statute, the Department of Education homeschool high school diploma is equivalent to a PA public school diploma.
Pennsylvania is unique in that there are state-recognized diploma programs. The state-recognized diploma organizations may be helpful in formulating transcripts for students wishing to go to college. Recently, HSLDA’s work with the U.S. Congress has led to legislation which makes it illegal for colleges to discriminate against students because they are homeschooled. This fact limits the usefulness of these diploma programs.
The correspondence schools’ diplomas will be viewed with varying degrees of acceptance. The United States military doesn’t generally recognize correspondence schools but is now recognizing homeschool diplomas.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education diploma (#5 above) will probably be the best recognized and best regarded. The only way to get this is to earn 30 college credits at an accredited college or to complete the GED.
Some homeschoolers are getting more than one of these diplomas, but the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers are doing well with just one of the current options. It seems likely that, as homeschoolers succeed academically and professionally, they and their diplomas will be even more widely accepted.
Will My Child Be Able to Go to College?
Yes, if you can afford the tuition. Virtually all colleges will accept homeschoolers. Many colleges are actively recruiting them. Harvard has had several homeschooled graduates. It might be helpful to contact some of the colleges in advance so you know what they require.
Does My Child Need to Take the PSAT?
If you are absolutely sure that your child will never go to college, he doesn’t need to take the test. If you think your child will go to college, he probably should take the test. You may want to have your child take it in his sophomore year for practice. Then in his junior year he can take it for credit. There is a special code number for homeschooled applicants from Pennsylvania to use. It is 993999.
If your child does well on the PSAT, he may qualify as a National Merit Scholar Semi-finalist and eventually a NMS finalist, possibly offering a free ride to the college of his choice.
What About the SAT?
The SAT is a test for those who want to go to college. It is likely that homeschoolers will be dependent on good test scores if they want to go to prestigious schools. Most colleges will accept homeschoolers, but a few will have quotas. The higher the score on the SAT or ACT, the more likely your child will be to get their top choice of colleges. Good scores may also help them get financial aid.
There are many options to use to prepare, such as Jim Stobaugh’s SAT Preparation Course for the Christian Student. It emphasizes problem solving and vocabulary. One of the best preparations is to study Latin. The Latin vocabulary will help your student puzzle out the meaning of various words.