Reaching High School Homeschoolers
In the past two decades, the number of families who homeschool through high school has increased dramatically. Although exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, the impact of an increased number of homeschool graduates is undeniable. A wide variety of homeschool curriculum companies now produce high school resources. Additionally, many colleges that used to require GED scores now consider parent-created transcripts to be official. An increasing number of colleges are even going so far as to ensure that their admissions counselors are familiar with the unique needs of incoming homeschool students. Each of these developments points clearly to the increase of homeschool students in the college market.
What Makes Homeschoolers Attractive?
Even with these tangible evidences of an increase in homeschool graduates, is it truly worth the effort of colleges to actively market within the homeschool community? The answer lies in the nature of the typical college-bound homeschooled high schooler.
- Work Ethic: In homeschooling, there is no grading on a curve or getting to rely on the strengths of others to boost a grade through group projects or study groups. While co-ops and enrichment opportunities do exist, college-bound homeschool students have to work hard to show that their work is valid and up to par. This often results in students who earn above-average ACT/SAT scores, know how to dig for information, intentionally seek help, and persist until they have learned a concept.
- A Love of Learning: For homeschoolers, school is not just about checking off academic boxes. It is about developing a lifelong passion for learning. Homeschool graduates carry this passion into their college years, embracing a new opportunity to continue to learn, grow, and develop their God-given talents.
- Loyalty: Homeschoolers are fiercely brand loyal. As such, homeschool graduates will frequently become highly engaged college students who fully embrace what it means to be connected to their school. They will then become alumni who believe wholeheartedly in promoting their alma mater and encouraging other students to attend. There is almost no better marketing for a school than loyal alumni, and homeschoolers are passionately loyal!
Why is Active Marketing to Homeschoolers Important?
Like with any other form of marketing within the homeschool community, word of mouth and relationship are critical. Homeschoolers will not send their students to colleges they do not trust. On the other hand, as homeschool families hear from sources they trust of colleges and universities that welcome homeschool graduates, they will be increasingly inclined to direct their students to those schools. If a school desires to attract homeschooled high schoolers, it must first partner with a trusted member of the homeschool community.
Here are a few additional keys to marketing to homeschoolers:
- Determine your market. Do you want to attract students from around the country? Or do you prefer to concentrate your attention on a more local or regional market?
- Be specific. Before seeking to market to homeschoolers, become aware of what is important to the homeschool community, and build your campaigns accordingly. Find out what resonates with homeschoolers, then highlight the aspects of your school that make those connections.
- Create targeted awareness. High school students are inundated with college information. Your partnership with a trusted member of the homeschool community can help your school stand out in the pile. This can be accomplished by choosing to establish awareness through ads in homeschool material, inserts in curriculum packages, or informational listings on targeted homeschool sites.
- Think long term. As you build your campaign, don’t simply look at juniors and seniors who are making final decisions. Start making impressions much earlier, when prospective students are in eighth or ninth grade. For instance, by using an ink pen or highlighter as a direct mail insert, you create an advertisement that remains in sight day in and day out, possibly for several years. Intentional, long-term planning can multiply impressions with a single campaign.
As an established and trusted member of the homeschool community, HEDUA offers a solid avenue for engaging with homeschooled high schoolers. And, with HEDUA, colleges can advertise in Family Magazine, includes inserts in a variety of HEDUA product orders, and list on Explore Homeschooling.
While many other high school markets may be more lucrative in the mass number of students, the homeschool community produces a high percentage of quality students. By tapping into the homeschool market, your school can increasingly attract students who will carry themselves well, represent the school well, and proudly declare the merits of their school.