HOME EDUCATORS of Greater Little Rock HOME EDUCATORS of Greater Little Rock HOME EDUCATORS of Greater Little Rock HOME EDUCATORS of Greater Little Rock

High School Documentation

Colleges need written proof of homeschooling. Documentation includes portfolios, transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and student essays.

  • Diploma
  • Portfolio
  • Transcript


A diploma is simply a certificate of completion and not a documentation of coursework.


A portfolio consists of descriptions and examples of the student’s work and accomplishments. Usually the parent also writes a detailed description of the homeschool program.

Pros: A portfolio may work well for unschoolers – those whose homeschooling is based on student-directed projects and real-world experiences. It may also be best for a student who has developed and/or run a business or who has pursued an interest in-depth.

Cons: Due to time constraints, most admissions officers follow specific formulas for admissions (grade point averages, standardized test scores, high-school class requirements) and simply will not take the time to analyze the contents of a portfolio.


A transcript is the standard format used to document course work. It involves a list of coursework along with the grade given for that course. Some transcripts also list course descriptions, the student’s interests, and other outside activities. A thorough transcript should include:

  • The specific name of the course, not the text title.
  • Completed high school courses and letter grade.
  • The words “with Lab” if the science course included a full complement of labs. Without this, admissions officers may assume no labs were done.
  • Use of correct terminology. It is also important that both student and parent know what the terminology means (such that the student will be able to provide any explanations during a college interview).
  • Additional information such as test scores, student interests and activities, and community service hours can also be documented.

Pros: The transcript is a familiar format for colleges, making it easy for them to understand and categorize your student according to their criteria. Transcripts also serve several other purposes: you may use them to obtain lower driver’s insurance rates for good grades; some states require them to obtain work permits; and you may need a transcript to apply for some scholarships.

Cons: The transcript will not provide the depth of information that a portfolio will show. This may be a deterrent for students who have chosen less traditional paths of education.

Making a Transcript