Rigor, it is all about rigor.
This means courses that encourage critical thinking, hard work, and high standards. This is easy in traditional schools. They lay the groundwork and prepare the courses. But for homeschool students rigor can come in many shapes and sizes. A student can take a traditional set of courses through online work, dual enrollment, online or live AP courses, and they can also take a more less traditional approach and follow their own interests. The student that delves into women’s literature, creative writing, in depth science exploration, advanced coding, they are also showing rigor. A unique program does not exclude a rigorous program.
Colleges want to insure that their students are ready for college level work and parents want to know students will have a successful transition. Admission officers, specifically from schools that use seminar style classes, want to see that students are able to participate and add to a discussion.
Each college has different requirements. Some will accept sample papers or projects; others will look toward letters of recommendations. Many selective schools will want standardized testing. It is important to note that every single school has different requirements. While one will ask for simple transcripts with course descriptions, other might ask for samples or book lists, so as your student travels through their high school journey, keep records including work samples, book lists, and special projects. If you use a text book, make a copy of the table of contents. If you use a course, keep the syllabus. You may not need them but it helps to have information at hand.