Preparing for College

Mark your calendars! HLN offers an “After High School” meeting each January for parents of HLN students in 6th-12th grade. Attendance is strongly recommended.

HLN students in grades 8-12 are required to be registered with HomeLife Academy as their umbrella program. HLA provides annual transcript reviews and document services.

For college, students need a well-rounded portfolio that includes more than just academics. Keep track of their volunteer hours, jobs, extracurricular clubs and sports. You can track this in the students’ Portfolio section under their name in HLA’s Applecore program.

See HomeLife’s Guidelines for College Applications here.

See a sample High School Transcript from HomeLife Academy here.

See three sample HLN Book Lists here: sample 1sample 2sample 3

Suggested timeline:

8th grade

  • CLT8: an end-of-grade assessment for 8th-grade students as they prepare for high school.  We get a CLT discount. Ask us for the code.  Classical Learning Test (CLT).

9th grade

  • Visit colleges starting now and for the next few years. Just have a little fun and take some notes.
  • Much of what you “need” to do in high school is based on the college(s) you plan to attend, if any. Call colleges you are interested in and get their exact requirements for homeschoolers; some specify, some do not.
  • CLT10: a preparatory assessment for 9th and 10th grade students.
  • If you want to take the PSAT in October of 10th grade as practice, contact a testing site (possibly a private school in the area) to register in the spring of the 9th grade year.

10th grade

  • Take ACT/SAT in April or June (no prep necessary) for baseline testing. Important registration information on HomeLife’s page here.
  • Use this feedback to see what area(s) needs work.
  • Do ACT/SAT prep as needed (HLN recommends Greg Landry’s ACT Bootcamp courses)
  • Trevecca University offers free ACT prep on Saturdays in the fall each year (
  • SAT prep is available and free through Khan Academy.
  • Some private schools offer test prep courses for non-students, as well as students.
  • CLT10:  a preparatory assessment for 9th- and 10th-grade students. Creates eligibility for certain scholarships (like the PSAT). 
  • If you want to take the PSAT in October of 11th grade, contact a testing site (possibly a private school in the area) to register in the spring of the 10th grade year. Taking this test in October of 11th grade determines a student’s eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship. See below. 
  • Continue college visits.

11th grade

  • Take ACT/SAT as soon as possible. Important registration information on HomeLife’s page here.
  • Take CLT, if desired. HLN can provide a discount code for HLN students to register.
  • Take PSAT/NMSQT – qualifying test for National Merit Scholarship in October (1-2% will qualify).  You must register in the spring with a testing site. Some private schools allow homeschoolers to sit for this exam, but you must contact them the spring before.
  • Continue college visits.
  • Many colleges offer summer academic camps. Look into these winter/spring of 11th grade.

12th grade

  • FAFSA applications open October 1.
    • Important information on HomeLife’s page here.
    • TN Hope (part of the FAFSA application), try to apply as early as possible, no later than January 15.
  • College applications are due in the fall, some due as early as November 1st!
    • Ask teachers early for recommendation letters. HLN requires a 4-week notice.
    • Write application and Common App essays.