Serving the Home Education community.

Home Education Through High School in Preparation for Postsecondary Studies

How will my child ever get into postsecondary studies if they’re home educated through high school? Surely they’ll need to obtain a government school diploma to do that, right?

Most home educating parents ask themselves these two questions at some point — sometimes before their children have even started kindergarten!

An Alberta High School Diploma is a piece of paper that certifies that its holder has demonstrated proficiency in the scope and sequence laid out by the Alberta Program of Studies (APS) for the high school years. When home educating families for whom following the APS has not been a priority reach the high school years, they are faced with a decision: Do they give up the educational freedom they have enjoyed in order to obtain the credits required for a government diploma, or do they continue on as they have been? While some high school graduates are not interested in entering postsecondary studies immediately following high school (and will perhaps never consider it), many home educated students have career aspirations that lead them in this direction.

While it is possible to obtain the 100 credits required for a government diploma while home educating under the Alberta Home Education Regulation, it can be reassuring to know that students in Alberta can be home educated throughout high school and still gain entrance into postsecondary institutions without an Alberta High School Diploma (and even without any high school credits)

Methods by which Home Educated Students Might Pursue Postsecondary Studies

  1. Take one or two postsecondary courses in your field of interest during your high school years. (Note: As of this writing, Alberta government policy dictates that home education funding may no longer be used towards postsecondary courses during Grades 1-12.) It is advisable to ensure that credits for any postsecondary courses taken during your high school years (or later) are transferable to the postsecondary program that you will be pursuing after high school by means of the Alberta Online Transfer Guide at
  2. Enroll in courses with Athabasca University or in Open Studies at another willing postsecondary institution after high school in order to demonstrate your ability to handle college-level material.
  3. Apply to a postsecondary institution that will consider a home education portfolio for admission purposes. (After one year of full-time studies at such a postsecondary institution, some students have used those marks and credits to transfer to a different postsecondary institution.)
  4. Write the equivalency/entrance exams that are offered by some postsecondary institutions to assess the prior learning of applicants, including that of home educated students.
  5. Obtain the requisite high school credits for the postsecondary institution and program of your choice (for instance, the University of Alberta typically requires credit in five specific 30-level subjects, whereas other institutions may require specific 10-, 20– or 30-level courses). Some home educated students complete these credits in their Grade 12 year, while others work on them throughout high school.
  6. Write the Trade Entrance Exam through Trade Secrets and find an employer if you are interested in pursuing an apprenticeship.
  7. Apply to a postsecondary institution as a mature student once you turn 21.

Remember: Check the entrance requirements of the postsecondary institution that you wish to attend, ideally before you begin Grade 10. Do they have an entrance policy for home educated students? Do they require specific credits? Do they have entrance exams that you can write to demonstrate evidence of prior learning? Do they have a homeschool entrance policy that enables them to consider a portfolio of your high school work, and if so, what documents do they require/prefer that it contain?

What Might Be Included in a High School Portfolio

(by no means an exhaustive list)

Transcript(s) of high school courses and marks, which may be:Parent-generated; and/orSchool board- and/or AlbertaStandardized test marksStatement of grades for any postsecondary coursesWriting samplesSealed letter from facilitatorReading listsResumeLetters of recommendation from employers, instructors, etc.Career aspirationsVolunteer certificatesLetters of thanks for volunteer workCommunity servicePersonal achievementsRelevant extracurricular activitiesPersonal goalsFirst aid certificationLifeguarding certificationRoyal Conservatory of Music certificates and exam resultsOther certificationsClubs (e.g. Toastmasters, 4-H)