Homeschoolers and College Admissions Policies

When it comes to College Admissions Policies, we can find quite a few Homeschooler-friendly Colleges. They either throw out the welcome mat or at least don’t make the application process more difficult for homeschoolers than for other applicants. Homeschooling students will need to learn how to maximize their competitive edge in the college admissions process explains Dr. Bernstein in the following video. Let’s check it out:

Belhaven College, Mississippi, regional admissions counselor emailed me: “Belhaven is a private, four-year liberal arts college. . . We love homeschoolers!  We have found that the home educated students we recruit . . . show a remarkable level of social, academic, and spiritual maturity.” Belhaven offers scholarships to all homeschooled enrollees and requires no unusual documentation or additional test scores beyond what they need from all applicants.

Clark University, Massachusetts, favorably impressed at least one homeschooling family, who wrote, “They were very kind to us. They offered substantial scholarship money, and we did not do anything different from the typical application. No GED, no diploma, no SAT II’s, and no AP courses. Just a homemade transcript.”

Colorado College (highly competitive), Colorado, sees one or two homeschooled applicants each year and has admitted several in the past few years. They are used to seeing portfolios, particularly from public school students Jefferson County, Colorado, so portfolio submissions from homeschoolers do not throw them for a loop. They are looking for a breadth of experience in all their applicants — students who write well and can handle both science and non-science courses. SAT II scores, while not required, may enhance some homeschoolers’ applications.

Denison University, Ohio, received the same excellent comments from the homeschooling family who wrote about Clark University (above). They say homeschoolers could perhaps earn a GED to make the application process even more smooth.

Huntington College, Indiana, rates high with one homeschooled teen, who says, “My dad is a professor and assistant dean at Huntington College (Indiana). My family has lived here 8 years, and from what I have heard from Dad, felt from the campus, and seen on their website, they not only admit homeschoolers but seem very friendly toward them in general. I am considering attending Huntington for at least my first year of college so I asked them about the percentage of homeschoolers in the student body. They say it is approximately 5%. (Student body is 1000.) Their web-site also has a page specifically welcoming homeschoolers. One part of the page states that ‘One obvious hurdle for college-bound homeschoolers is the lack of a traditional high school transcript. At Huntington, this isn’t really a problem.’ ”

Judson College, Alabama, writes that they are homeschooler friendly. As a liberal arts Baptist college for women, they provide a personal yet challenging setting where students can use their gifts to accomplish their goals. They write, “We understand homeschoolers’ needs and want to be known by high school homeschoolers as a college that welcomes them.”

Judson College (competitive), Illinois, offers a scholarship specifically for homeschoolers.

Kenyon College, Ohio, received the same excellent comments from the homeschooling family who wrote about Clark University (above).

Nyack College (less competitive), New York, offers a scholarship specifically for homeschoolers.

Occidental College (highly competitive), California, has admitted one homeschooler each of the last two years (one applied, one admitted!). They have no formal written policy for evaluating homeschoolers. Their preferred documentation includes course descriptions and/or course syllabi, reading lists, and a graded analytical writing sample. Generally, applications are handled on an individual basis, with no prejudice for or against homeschoolers.

Oglethorpe University, Georgia, rates high with a homeschool mom in Atlanta: “They actively recruit homeschoolers and have awarded their top scholarships to homeschoolers the past few years.” From their website: “Oglethorpe University encourages academically talented students from home school programs to apply for admissions to the University. Candidates will be evaluated individually on the basis of their academic accomplishments and potential for success at Oglethorpe.”

Southern Methodist University, Texas, has moved from the Bad News into the Good News column. A recent homeschooled applicant wrote that he felt very welcomed by the admissions staff, that he had to submit no GED or SAT II scores and was in all ways treated like an applicant from accredited schools, eventually admitted, awarded both a Mustang Scholarship and a Physics Scholarship, and placed in the Honors Program.

Stanford University (most competitive), California, has a form letter that they mail to potential homeschooled applicants. Main points: (1) Stanford has no required set of courses applicants must complete prior to applying; (2) The admissions director characterizes all homeschooling programs he has seen as reasonably good, but emphasizes that it is not necessary to follow a prescribed curriculum; (3) Stanford looks for evidence of “intellectual vitality,” in all applicants; (4) reflection about the effect of the student’s homeschooling is important; (5) standardized test scores are more important for homeschoolers than for other applicants; (6) while not required, SAT II subject test scores are highly recommended. Read excerpts of the form letter, reprinted courtesy of Growing Without Schooling.

Vanderbilt University (highly competitive+), Tennessee, estimates that they have had 3 homeschooled students apply over the last 5 years and have admitted one or none homeschoolers each of the last 3 years. They have no special requirements of homeschoolers but say that SAT II testing (although not required for admission) will definitely enhance the application. SAT II’s are also very important for scholarship applications (as they are for all applicants). The Admissions Director also said, “Evidence of interaction in a routine way with chronological peers is important.” Vanderbilt is interested in learning why homeschoolers are being homeschooled and would discourage from applying anyone who is homeschooling to “limit their exposure to viewpoints other than their own. . . if that’s important, [Vanderbilt] may not be a good match.”

Wesleyan University (most competitive), Connecticut, admits roughly 1/3 of the homeschoolers who apply each year, the same percentage as the general applicant pool. For the past several years, they have accepted 2-3 homeschoolers each year. They prefer “as formal a transcript as the homeschooler can provide.” They also prefer a transcript to a portfolio, although they have admitted students with just portfolios. Like other colleges, they are especially interested in why a student is homeschooling.

Wheaton College (highly competitive), Illinois, has a special packet of information for homeschoolers. They require the same documentation of homeschooled students that they require of other applicants (SAT plus application plus letters of recommendation). Additionally, they ask for information on the type of curriculum used and the reasons behind the decision to homeschool. They evaluate homeschoolers with the same criteria they use to assess other applicants. Their acceptance rate for all students is just under 50%; for homeschooled applicants, the rate is 60-65%. Currently, they are admitting 12-18 homeschoolers each year. In evaluating homeschoolers, they place considerable emphasis on the interview, recommendations from individuals outside the family, and standardized test scores.

But there’s also some Bad News. Let’s take a look at a few colleges that require Homeschoolers to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Columbia University, New York, has the following admissions requirements for homeschoolers: SAT or ACT; scores on 5 SAT II’s (Writing, Foreign Language, History, Math, Science) — other students need only submit 3 SAT II scores; homeschoolers must also submit a syllabus and a “plan of action”.

Georgia Institute of Technology (highly competitive+), Georgia, has just published a set of guidelines for homeschoolers. Their regular applicants are required to submit scores from the ACT or SAT (no SAT II’s required). Homeschoolers must submit a GED score, SAT I and ACT scores, and scores from six SAT II tests, including English, Math I, Chemistry, and a Foreign Language. Also from the guidelines: “Homeschoolers must have credentials comparable to the upper 40% [emphasis mine] of freshmen at Georgia Tech.” This generally means a minimum SAT score of 1360 and a minimum score of 650 on each SAT II achievement test. As discriminatory as it gets!

University of Notre Dame (most competitive), Indiana, requires the SAT of all applicants and 5 (count ‘em, 5) SAT II Subject Test Scores for homeschoolers, no SAT II scores for their “regular” applicants. Homeschoolers’ SAT II’s must be distributed among English, Math, Social Studies, Science, and Foreign Language. They adopted this policy because of a “need for [a] consistent measure of achievement.”