Homeschooling in California: Preparing for College

A couple weeks ago, I spoke in length about the options available to families who choose to homeschool in California.  For some, homeschooling high school is a long way off. For others, like us, it is just around the corner.

My daughter will be entering 7th grade this year and we are committed to homeschooling through high school.  She is already far exceeding my expectations in mathematics and strives to be fluent in Mandarin.

Regardless of her career path in the future, it is crucial that we are prepared and knowledgeable in regards to the options available to us as her high school years approach. I have thereby begun to gather resources and together, we have already begun preparing for college

preparing for collegeGraduating High School

Private schools including home based private schools and private independent study programs create their own graduation requirements. Students enrolled in a PSP should check with their school for specific requirements.

Earning a Diploma

All schools, including home based private schools and public, charter and private independent study programs can issue a diploma once the requirements the school has set for graduation are completed.

Proficiency Exam

Students may also earn the equivalent of a public school diploma by taking the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), as per California Education Code section 48412. Students may take the test if 16 years old OR if the students has completed one year at the 10th grade level OR if the student will complete one year at the 10th grade level in the semester the test is taken. 

College Bound

For students interested in attending university, some additional requirements (courses and exams) are not to be overlooked. Parents and students should be certain to inquire with each university, as requirements may vary.

Course Requirements

Freshmen applicants to four-year universities in California are required to complete a minimum of 15 year long courses (or credits) for admission. However, students may also meet this requirement by completing college courses or earning certain scores on SAT, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate exams. It is worth noting that most applicants have an average of 22-26 credits when they enter the university as a freshman.

  • History/Social Science ~ 2 courses
  • English ~ 4 courses
  • Mathematics (including elementary algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra) ~ 3 courses
  • Lab Science ~ 2 courses
  • Foreign Language ~ 2 courses
  • Visual/Performing Arts ~ 1 course
  • College-Prep Elective ~ 1 course

For more specific information regarding course requirements, including specific test scores, click here.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement courses are courses that either offer an in depth, advanced study of a subject, or explore subjects outside the scope of typical high school coursework. These courses may be taken through private schools or through local community colleges; however enrolling in AP courses is NOT a requirement for college admission or for taking college Advanced Placement exams.

Homeschoolers have the option of studying any subject in depth, at an advanced level, so even if your student hasn’t taken courses labeled “AP”, they may still opt to take AP or CLEP exams at the college level to test out of coursework.

Exam Requirements

In lieu of a high school diploma, the California University system also requires the Certificate of Proficiency awarded by the State Board of Education upon successful completion of the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), a proficiency exam from another state, or a GED.

Depending upon the university, freshman applicants must also submit the following test scores:

  • ACT Plus Writing, or
  • SAT Reasoning Test

For more in-depth requirements for admission to a California university, visit the University of California’s Admission Requirements.