Parents are often a little hesitant to home educate during the high school years. Many feel challenged to handle the "tougher" subjects at this level or are worried that their children will miss traditional high school experiences. Just like the elementary years, there is no need to go it alone. There are a bunch of resources - many of which we list here - and the homeschool community is very generous with sharing experiences and connections. There are lots of educational and social opportunities to support our older homeschoolers as they continue along their educational journeys.
High-school homeschoolers are positioned to create customized learning plans that are specifically geared towards their post-secondary goals. They can incorporate a wide range of resources -- classes that are specific to their interests, dual-enrollment, technical education, hands-on programs, volunteer opportunities, classes through their local district, online programs, or anything else in their educational journeys. GSHE has a helpful article to help plot out a plan based on your teen's post high-school plans. Their path does not need to replicate public education; the home ed requirements allow homeschoolers to self-certify graduation. Other than the list of subjects that must be covered at some point along the way, the law does not say homeschoolers must accumulate particular credit hours in specific subjects to graduate.
For teens who are pursuing college, a GSHE member wrote great advice to help with the application process. Read it here.
Success After Homeschool
It is a common apprehension that homeschool graduates will be at a disadvantage when applying to college. In fact, many top colleges are receptive to home educated students and have friendly application processes. Here are several articles regarding how universities are open to home educated students. When applying to any college, check with their admissions office for specific requirements. Employers and the military are also increasingly homeschool-friendly. They recognize the self-initiative and discipline that many homeschoolers demonstrate and value the wide range of educational experiences that often distinguish homeschoolers from their peers.
NH Equal Access
Local School District
Home educated students, those who follow RSA 193-A, can benefit from offerings at their local schools. Per NH statute RSA 193:1-c, they may participate in curricular and cocurricular activities offered at their local public schools such as sports, music, theater, dances, volunteer activities, clubs, and statewide testing. The districts’ policies must not be more restrictive for homeschoolers than it is for the general student population. In other words, if public school students must maintain a particular GPA, provide a health certificate, or sign an honor code to participate in sports, home educated students must meet the same requirements.
See our page on Equal Access for details.
Online Charter School
NH residents under age 21 who are not yet high school graduates may enroll in the state's only online charter school, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS). They offer part and full-time enrollment for students through 12th. Enrollment is not limited to the traditional school year. They do not charge tuition to NH residents and have nondiscrimination admission policies. Note that full-time enrollment is not homeschooling because VLACS is part of the state's public school system. See their website for information about classes and registration details. GSHE also interviewed a senior administrator with VLACS about their part-time enrollment options for homeschoolers and you can find the video here.
Career and Technical Education
As part of New Hampshire's public education system, homeschooling students are also eligible to participate in Career and Technical Education (CTE). The same Equal Access statute, RSA 193:1-c, applies. To enroll, home educated students must apply through their local high school's guidance office. There are CTE programs across the state. Many programs are highly competitive and have prerequisites and enrollment limits so it is very important to initiate these conversations well in advance.
Apprenticeship NH is a program through the state community colleges that offers "pre-apprenticeship" experiences to students in 10th and 11th grades. They have opportunities to learn in any of six industry sectors -- advanced manufacturing, automotive technology, business and finance, construction and infrastructure, healthcare, and hospitality.
Alternatives to Public CTE Programs
New Hampshire youth are not limited to public CTE programs to explore various technical careers and incorporate hands-on learning opportunities. They may utilize apprenticeships, internships, volunteer positions, as well as employment as part of their learning experiences.
Some businesses welcome older teens to do job-shadowing opportunities or other observations that can lead to internships and careers. GSHE did a virtual event with various experts in NH trades to help teens and their families explore these options.
Bring Back the Trades is a nonprofit that offers post-secondary students opportunities to pursue training in the trades. They have scholarships and community events to help connect trade vendors, families, and students with training programs in construction, transportation, manufacturing, and service.
Group Learning, Learning Centers, and Co-Op Providers
Homeschooling does not mean that parents must be the only people providing instruction to their children. Families may utilize any resource they wish! They can pool their knowledge and expertise with other families to form informal, small learning groups, take field trips together, create study groups focused on a particular subject, utilize experts or tutors, or anything they choose to provide a customized learning plan that fits their children's needs and goals. GSHE has an extensive list of local and family-based community groups on our Support Groups page.
Students can also tap into enrichment programs for their social and educational opportunities. There is no limit to what may be part of your child's home education program -- theater programs, robotics teams, Civil Air Patrol programs, regional 4-H, martial arts classes, nature and farm programs, music and art classes, and more! Children can explore their interests and it "counts" towards their home-ed program and can be noted in their portfolio records. There are also more extensive programs available for families looking for drop-off, multi-day learning settings. Some of NH's nonpublic schools offer part-time enrollment to home-educated students. You can find fee-based and drop-off programs of all sorts on our Enrichment Classes & Programs page.
Families may also work with teachers and tutors directly to support their children's learning. We have a large list on this page.
Online Course Providers
Most states, including New Hampshire, consider distance (online) learning as homeschooling, even if it is full-time in an accredited program. This is because these programs are not approved or reviewed by the states' departments of education. College Board, the organization that issues the SAT exam and Advanced Placement program, follows this same standard. There are thousands and thousands of online education providers. Some offer individual classes while others offer entire curricula across grade levels. See our page on Online Classes for additional information.
New Hampshire students can earn college credit while in high school through dual-enrollment programs.
The state of New Hampshire and the Community College System of NH, have scholarships for eligible high-school students to take up to two courses per academic year for free (no tuition fees).
Early College at Your Local Public High School (formerly Running Start) -- Students can take up to two dual-credit courses per tuition year through the State of NH can be taken at no cost. Classes are taught by high school teachers who have college-level credentials and use a college syllabus and course materials.
Early College on CCSNH Campus (formerly Early College) -- High-school level students can take take classes on the campus of a CCSNH institution at a discount of half the regular cost. Students earn college credit. Courses may be eligible for dual and concurrent enrollment scholarships.
Early College Online (formerly e-Start) -- This program allows teens to earn high school and college credit with the same online course. The cost is $150 per course, not including the cost of textbooks and other materials. It is a partnered with the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS).
Project Lead the Way -- This program is for high-school students exploring programs and careers in engineering or engineering technology at NHTI.
NH Career Academy -- This two-year program allows teens to earn a high-school diploma, an Associate's Degree, an industry credential, and a job interview with a NH employer. It is available at no cost to families.
Dual and Concurrent Enrollment Scholarships -- This scholarship is available through the State of NH and the CCSNH to give qualifying teens (homeschooled students must be age 15 or older) to take up to two courses per academic year at no cost, not including textbooks, and course materials. See their page for which classes are included in this program.
Southern NH University also offers a program called SNHU in the High School. It allows qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors to take college classes and can earn college credit that may transfer to other colleges. They allow up to two classes per semester at a discounted rate.
Other universities are friendly to home educated students, but check with them individually for their particular information.
The University of New Hampshire offers introductory college-level classes to motivated and academically strong high school juniors and seniors. The program is called Challenging Academically Talented Students (CATS) and is intended to supplement high school curriculum, not replace courses. For more information about the program and qualifications, refer to the UNH-CATS page.
As of spring 2019, Plymouth State University offers high school juniors and seniors with B grade-point-averages the opportunity to take classes at half the cost of regular tuition and earn college credits. It is called the Accelerated High School Student Program and application information is available here.
NH high-school students may also utilize free college classes and exams through a new program offered by Modern States. College Level Examination Program (CLEP) classes and tests are similar to advanced-placement programs and exams. They may count towards college credit in a variety of topics. These exams are accepted at nearly 3,000 colleges and universities across the country, including several in New Hampshire.
College Entrance Exams
College Board is the non-profit organization that creates and administers many of the college admission exams including the PSAT, SAT, the Advanced Placement (AP) curricula and tests, as well as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam. College Board has good information for homeschoolers here.
Homeschool students may participate in the PSAT exam, typically in mid October of their sophomore and junior years, but may be able to participate earlier. The PSAT is often used for distinctions and scholarship qualifications including the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students may participate with their local high schools, but make these arrangement in spring of the previous school year so additional tests may be ordered. Fees may apply. Refer to the PSAT pages on College Board for additional information.
Most students take college entrance exams during the spring of their junior year to allow for any re-takes over the summer. Registration is through the organizations directly, not the local public schools, and students have options regarding locations and exam dates.
For exams through College Board, a student may request accommodations for an IEP or documented disability. The request must be filed and approved by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). The process takes at least seven weeks, so file all documentation early. See College Board's SSD pages for more information.
The ACT test has slightly different content than the SAT and is managed by a different organization. See their website for registration, fees, test dates, and practice exams. They also accept homeschoolers' requests for accommodations. See this page for the process.
Some colleges have additional requirements for home educated students such as additional recommendation letters and essays. It is important to check with each institution for their admissions requirements.
Be sure to have test scores sent directly to the intended universities.
The two major college entrance tests - the ACT and SAT exams - are aligned with Common Core (aka College and Career Readiness Standards). For that reason, homeschoolers who do not follow those standards may wish to consider alternatives.
A new test was launched in June 2016 to provide an option for college-bound homeschoolers, the Classic Learning Test (CLT). So far mostly small, private universities accept this exam, but the list is growing.
Students may forgo testing completely, called "test optional." More universities including top-named schools such as the University of Chicago, George Washington University, Bryant University, Columbia College, Brandeis University, Lewis & Clark College, and Roger Williams University allow students to skip the common entrance exams in favor of completing an additional essay question or two. If a student is considering this option, it is best to check directly with the institution’s admission office or website for details. For an updated and comprehensive list, refer to FairTest.org. Some universities are "test optional," meaning that applicants may forgo tests or submit alternatives if they meet certain criteria such as a minimum GPA or applying for a specific program. Policies vary greatly.
AP Classes and Exams
Homeschooled students may enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams through their local public schools or online providers. AP exam arrangements must be made early in the school year, so do not delay to find a test host school. Additional fees may apply. Check the College Board site for more information. Be sure to have scores sent directly from College Board to intended universities.
In New Hampshire, homeschoolers may self-certify their children's completion of high school per Ed 315.16, the rules that govern home education.
Homeschoolers that follow RSA 193-A do not need to fulfill credits, take particular courses or tests, or pass a final matriculation exam in order to graduate. The requirement is to cover a list of broad subjects found in statute at some point in the child's grade 1 to 12 learning -- science, mathematics, language, government, history, health, reading, writing, spelling, the history of the constitutions of New Hampshire and the United States, and an exposure to and appreciation of art and music.
If a student completes the equivalent of high school prior to turning 18 years old, parents must file notice with the state Department of Education to satisfy compulsory attendance requirements per RSA 193:1, I(f)(2). If the student is 18 years of age or older, there is no need to file a notice with the NH Department of Education because the student is above the education attendance requirement age per RSA 193:1.
See our Graduation page for complete details, including sample notification forms of the completion of high school.
Transcripts and Applying for College
There is no one correct format for home ed transcripts and many resources for creating one that best reflects your student's work. It is highly recommended to include the following information:
- student's name and birth date
- homeschool name, address, and phone number,
- number of credits earned - typically 1 for a full-year course and 0.5 for half-year classes
- GPA, cumulative and by year
- grading scale
- graduation or completion date (use anticipated completion date for pre-graduation applications)
- name of the class and grade earned for each
- course weight, if additional weight is given for honors or other higher levels
- number of credits for each class
- GPA for each class
Additional Information to Consider
- Course description
- Format - organized by year or by subject
- Outside information such as awards, letters of recommendation, test scores, work experience, community and volunteer activities
If the student takes college entrance exams, be sure to have results sent directly to the colleges; scores will not be accepted from other sources.
The NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) offers several services and resources to help with the prep and application process. They also host an annual spring event called Destination College that helps high school juniors and their families prepare for entry into college. It is a statewide college planning convention and is free to students and families.
GSHE has held a few events with NHHEAF that are particularly geared for homeschoolers pursuing college. The recordings are available below.
- Early College Planning
- Applying 101: Exploring Higher Education Options for High School Students
- Homeschool to College: Transcript Insight from Admission Officers
Below are additional excellent resources to help with transcripts and the application process. Some private school Participating Agencies offer transcript services.
True North Homeschool Academy - info specifically for students with special education differences
Federal law recognizes that NH home educated students may self-certify graduation to be eligible for Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds. NH homeschool students meet the requirement of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) Sec. 484(d)(3), 34 CFR 668.32(e)(4) and the Federal Student Aid Handbook Volume 1, Chapter 1, page 6 in compliance with New Hampshire law, RSA 193-A.
The NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) has many resources to support families in the financial planning and aid application process. They also have information about scholarships available on their website.
The NH Higher Education Foundation (NHHEAF), based in Concord, is a free resource to families for the college search and application process, and can offer financial aid supports. They have publications and online resources, host workshops and seminars, and other supports for college-bound students. GSHE occasionally co-hosts special events with NHHEAF especially for homeschool families.