Sunday, March 20, 2011

Homeschoolers and College

A common concern of new or potential homeschoolers is “Will my child get into a good college if we homeschool?” The answer is a resounding, “Maybe!"
With any college applicant, so much depends on transcripts, test scores, application essays, and so on. Whether homeschooled or traditionally schooled, a student with low test scores, weak transcripts, and no evidence of motivation will not be accepted into top schools.
First, we need to make some clarifications. First, not all homeschoolers have college as their goal. Second, going to a top college is not a guarantee of future success. Third, not all colleges are prepared for homeschoolers, although this is becoming the exception, rather than the rule.
Assuming you want your child to attend a good university, and your child has the ability to succeed in such an environment, and your child's personal vision includes higher education, then your child should strive for that goal.
Many universities are now seeking out homeschoolers. They have learned that homeschoolers come prepared with "intellectual curiosity, independent study habits, and critical thinking skills" (Regina Morin, admissions director at Columbia College). And studies have shown that homeschoolers either meet or exceed traditionally schooled students on college entrance exams.

Stanford University even devotes a page to “Home-Schooled Applicant Guidelines.” It states, “The central issue for us is the manner in which you have gone about the learning process, not how many courses you have completed.” Of course, Stanford still requires testing for homeschooled students, just as it does for any applicant. But Stanford, as do many other institutions, understands the fluidity of the homeschool education. Homeschoolers are seen as an asset, and courted as such.
Many colleges want applicants to demonstrate social involvement. Traditionally schooled students often meet this requirement through school clubs, sports, band, and the like. Homeschoolers do not always have access to these activities; however, because of the freedom homeschooling allows, many participate in community-based activities, charities, local politics, entrepreneurial ventures, and others. Needless to say, these not only demonstrate “social involvement,” but show maturity, dedication, and creativity.

Of course, the decision to attend college must be made a number of years in advance, just as in regular school. An academic path cannot be started a year before college. By the time a student is 14 years old, the decision to pursue college should be discussed and decided. If higher education is the goal, look at the admissions policies of a few colleges that fit the student’s interests. This is a wonderful learning opportunity! First, check out the schools’ online policies for guidance. Next, try to talk to admissions officers for further guidance. If possible, visit the campuses of your chosen schools. Also, reach out to other homeschooling families who have “been there, done that.” Check out books on the subject. The information is out there.

For a list of colleges that admit homeschoolers, check out the Learning In Freedom website. For additional articles on homeschoolers and college, go to A to Z Home's Cool college page eHow's "How to Get Into College from Homeschool," and GHF's articles page on Teens and College.

College is no longer new ground for homeschoolers. The ground has been broken, the path laid, and now higher education is ready for the hordes of homeschoolers eager to continue their life-long love of learning.

Article by Sarah J. Wilson

No comments:

Post a Comment