Homeschoolers Getting into College


Posted on : 8:24 PM | By : Anonymous | In :

We are beginning a journey as a family to help Dad go back to school.  We both have interesting educational records... he left public school in 10th grade and was unschooled.  In that time he started companies and learned everything any high school student would know, and more.  

I was homeschooled more traditionally and I got two diplomas: one from my parents, one from a well-known correspondence high school diploma program.  The correspondence one isn't worth dirt. I then applied to several universities, and got into all of them: Penn State, University of Central Washington, University of Montana, and Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University).  The only college I attended was a community college in Arizona, because I had a family and that's a priority.  I will go back to school when my family responsibilities aren't so great, but now I know a lot about the college admissions process as a homeschooler.

Canadian universities don't have much experience with homeschoolers, and they don't like it, although if you are going to one of the open universities that guarantee everyone admissions then there's no trouble.  If you are Canadian it is much easier to go sit in on the Grade 12 exams so you can get a diploma.  When I was admitted to VIU, I had to fulfill the typical application requirements for a homeschooler (see below) except that I wasn't fully accepted into the program, and it was hard for them to understand what I was without actually being there in person.  If you can walk on campus to apply to a university, it is much easier.  I had to go through a probationary time in which they would make sure I could do the work, and then I would be fully accepted into the program.

American Universities knew all about homeschooling, and they were very welcoming... in fact, I felt like I got special treatment.  I had:
  • A good score on the ACT.  I didn't study (and I wish I had), but I was in the 90th percentile.  The ACT is way better than the SAT and accepted by all universities, although the top ones like Harvard and Stanford want you to take three SAT Subject Tests also.
  • A homeschool transcript.  This is just like a high school transcript but has subjective grades based on what your parents think you did.  You can add any extracurriculars you want, and your GPA is simply compared to the national scale.  Some universities have a special application so that you don't need to make an extra transcript, but it's nice to have it written out to keep it standard.  If they ask for a separate one, have your parent take it to a notary and get it notarized, which holds extra weight for legitimacy. 
  • A good essay.  The essays are probably the most important part of the application process.  Write out a really good essay about yourself, something original but not cute, something that tells how you stand out but not boastful.  Keep this essay so you can modify it for each university or scholarship you apply for.  There are many examples online.
Many people (homeschool students included) have many fears and self-doubts about applying to top universities, or any university, and often choose to go to a community college first, or a state school rather than a private one.  Often this fear is unfounded as ivy league schools are actively recruiting homeschoolers because they are independent learners, and have so many extracurricular activities.  Community college may be an easy ticket into the institutionalized education system, but it really pays to have the self-confidence to go for the big schools.  All of the top universities now offer complete financial aid packages that allow students from families that make under $60k to graduate debt-free.  I say go for it!

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