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How do homeschooled students attend Ivy leagues?

Behnam91Behnam91 Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
That's basically it...how is it possible for a student with no report card to even stand a chance at acceptance to Harvard, or even a school like UCLA, though not as prestigious as Harvard? Any tips on what to do and what to be careful of?
Post edited by Behnam91 on
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Replies to: How do homeschooled students attend Ivy leagues?

  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Posts: 4,327Registered User Senior Member
    UCLA would be tough because the UC system isn't very homeschooler friendly. I think there are some threads here that discuss that if you want to search them out.

    Ivy League schools, they're open to homeschoolers. Your chances of getting in, like for any other applicant, depends on how attractive you are to them. That can be based on course work and test scores and extra-curriculars and the usual things, or it can be based on the inventive and unique way you're lived and learned up this point... or a combination of the two.

    I'm not sure there are any tips, except to represent yourself and what you've done and how you've done it in a confident and honest and enthusiastic way... and then see if they bite. ;)
  • anotherparentanotherparent Posts: 1,275Registered User Senior Member
    My son got into UCLA, Berkeley and UCSD. He got turned down by UCSC, which is one of the least selective UCs.

    To get consideration at a UC, you have to fulfil the A-G requirements. This is pretty tricky, and basically impossible for HSers. There is another, rarely used approach - Admission by Exam. Here they look at your SAT scores (including 2 SAT IIs).

    I think it is easier for HSers to get into the more selective schools, because they actually look at your application, instead of just applying formulas.

    My son has a very impressive academic record - he has high SAT scores, 7 AP scores of 5 (plus was planning to take for more his senior year, but did not because the school he ended up at does not give credit). He also does extremely well in math competitions. By any one's standards he is a top student.

    The UC experience was interesting. By the time we got results, he had been accepted EA to his two top choices - Caltech and MIT. UCLA did the best job - they sent him a letter saying he was in the top 1% of the applicant pool and asked him to apply for a regents scholarship. He didn't apply, but they accepted him with honors (whatever that means). UCSD has something they do for their top applicants, and my son was not included, but after he was accepted he got a letter from the math department saying he was one of their top applicants and they hoped he would accept. Berkeley accepted him without anything extra. UCSC was the oddest - like UCLA, he received the Top 1% letter, but then turned him down.

    My son was also going to apply to Stanford, Princeton, U of Chicago, Harvey Mudd and WashU. When he got his EA decision, he dropped these plans. I have no reason to think he would not have been taken seriously.

    To get into a top school, you need to be top student. Even kids who are going to top prep schools need a lot more than just a good report card. The same is true of HSers. I think HSers need better standardized test scores, but everyone needs other interests and areas of expertise. I think many HSers find this last part easier than school kids.
  • Behnam91Behnam91 Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
    So, let's see if I have this planned right.... I took the SAT, will retake it, and also take two subject tests, along with the ACT, all before the beginning of december. I have ec's, am very good at writing (helps with my college essay), but haven't taken any AP's. I am attending school senior year (this year) and will be able to tell colleges my curriculum, and hope they approve of it. Is there anything else I should do? I really want to get the most for my money, so attending a school which fits my exact needs is my top priority. I used UCLA as an example. I'd never fly to cali to attend a pub school when I'm in NY and can find far better schools for what I want, at the same price. anotherparent, you mentioned something very encouraging, and now that I think about it, it might just seem that I have a decent chance at a great college because I'm homeschooled. I can show them more than what an avg high school student can show them, so it's good to know that this is the case. Since I'm shooting for premed, I won't apply to an Ivy, unless my next SAT/ACT scores are in the top 5% of the US. (Who knows?) I should probably look for and apply to some scholarships other than those offered by a college. How much do you think winning a scholarship, for however many dollars, would help? Thanks for your responses!
  • huguenothuguenot Posts: 514Registered User Member
    Behnam91--

    I really think being a homeschooler helps in college admissions - typically hsers have a more interesting educational background and in explaining your homeschooling, you have a greater opportunity to let them get to know you. Many homeschoolers on CC have gotten into the very top schools and many have gotten great scholarships to terrific schools.

    I would put together a transcript of your high school homeschool courses; a resume of your extracurriculars, work and volunteer experience; and a curriculum list and reading list in case you are asked for those (some schools do). It's kind of a shame you are going to an institutional school this year, as we received a lot of help from the admissions counselors that worked specifically with homeschoolers - maybe they would still work with you?
  • Behnam91Behnam91 Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
    huguenot, I don't fully understand the last sentence in your response. I really think it might be better to attend public HS this year, because I can gain more info from guidance counselors and can do things like join clubs, take AP courses, and just be around alot of kids who I like. Being homeschooled (in my case) is a little boring because no kids near my age live within a half mile of my home, so I think I'd enjoy attending HS and really feeling some sort of competition. But please expand on your last sentence, I didn't understand what you meant. Thanks!
  • huguenothuguenot Posts: 514Registered User Member
    Hi Behnam!

    Well, my ds that just graduated did all those things while homeschooling. He took AP classes (some we did at home, others he took from Pahomeschoolers), was a member of a bunch of clubs and activities both within our homeschool group (history club, 4-H club, etc) and in the community (a political party, a thinktank in our capital). I don't know where you live, but is there a homeschool support group in your area?? We only have one other homeschool family within a half mile of our house, either, but there are 700 in our county.

    I just think at some of the top schools, that had a homeschool specialist admissions officer, were more patient with us and gave us more personal attention than I think we'd have gotten as a traditionally schooling family.

    Of course, your mileage may vary. I have no idea where you live and what resources are available to you, nor where you want to apply. Public school may be a very good choice for you this year - that's between you and your parents.

    We are glad we stuck it out at home, though. And my son had a great admissions experience with his homemade transcript and resume. He was offered major scholarships at 8 of the 11 schools he applied to and was accepted to 2 top 15 schools.
  • huguenothuguenot Posts: 514Registered User Member
    Oh,meant to say, too: College Confidential is the best guidance counselor you'll ever have! I am in close contact with the guidance counselors at our county high schools as a leader in our homeschool group. I've learned lots more from CC than from them - although great folks, they are just spread too thin.
  • Behnam91Behnam91 Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
    Well I asked my mom about the homeschooled clubs, and she said that back when I was in third grade (which is when I began homeschooling), they looked for clubs of the sort for my little bro and me to join, but they were all Christian-oriented. I'm Muslim, so it's not really useful to me to join a Christian club.

    I will not attend a public school in New York because none of them offer what I want. Attending public school out-of-state isn't too great for me unless I can get enough scholarships to bring the price down to 8K/year (I'd have to do the same with private universities). So there's the situation. Sometimes I wish that I had a little gadget which could rewind time, so that I'd be able to know in eighth grade what I know now.

    Anyway, thanks for your help huguenot (is a huguenot a French Calvinist? I used to know back when I took World History). I admire your concentration on your children's college plans. I hope those lucky ducklings understand how helpful a parent really is.
  • huguenothuguenot Posts: 514Registered User Member
    Hi Behnam--

    Things have changed a lot in the homeschool community since you were in 3rd grade! We're in a rural area in a rural state, but we have Muslims in our local group (though we're predominantly Christian) and there are several secular and inclusive groups within a 45 minute drive. I'd call your state organization LEAH, Inc. and ask them if there is a group in your area that would welcome you (or your younger siblings if you are heading to an institutional school).

    A Huguenot is indeed a French Calvinist - you have a very good memory! And thank you for your encouragement!
  • Behnam91Behnam91 Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
    You know, I try to convince myself that things are totally different here, but I must be honest: they're not. ;) It's NY. The only thing that changes around here is the price of gas (I got gas for $4.03 today!!!). Anyway, I've set my sights on school this year and have left the homeschooling life behind. I think that the transition will show colleges how, as a former homescholled student, I have set my standards (taking very tough courses). I enjoy the competition, and will definitely emphasize that on my college essay. I can't stand seeing other students get scores better than mine, so I think that JHU isn't THAT far from what I'm capable of doing. My ec's are pitiful though (hospital volunteer, orchid club member (I'm not queer, tyvm), play the guitar, college courses, will be applying for scholarships from sources other than colleges, and I send occasional essays to Writer's Digest for their monthly prompt contests). If my next SAT score turn out above 1350, I will aply to JHU. If not, oh well....

    So, one last thing and you're free to ignore this thread :D. Do you know of any good sources for scholarships? I want to apply to dozens before senior year starts, but have yet to find any. The community college I took courses at offers about ten for part-time students, but they're all ridiculous. None have anything to do with academic ability. They're for specific things like students with disabilities, students who have a parent who's a firefighter, things of that sort. Any advice?
  • huguenothuguenot Posts: 514Registered User Member
    We found that FastWeb did a great job of sending us appropriate scholarship opportunities, but the best scholarships ds was offered came from the schools.

    I don't think those are bad ECs at all. My ds found that his more diverse ECs (different from his major interest) were what everyone wanted to talk about - it made him different from the crowd. I think the orchid club is really cool - especially if you grow orchids. Have you thought of entering into any of the flower shows? I think colleges want to see kids who are not so career driven that they aren't well-rounded. Just be yourself.

    I hope you have a fantastic year this year -- Show them what former homeschoolers can do!
  • filmalifefilmalife Posts: 74Registered User Junior Member
    The Home School Legal Defense organization is a very good organization for home schoolers. On the website, a parent and/or student can access many pages on how to keep a standardized transcript, what qualifications a student may need for tier 1, 2, 3,4 colleges and an email opportunity with parents who have home schooled and had their children accepted into Ivy league schools and other types of schools. It is a very helpful organization.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Posts: 4,327Registered User Senior Member
    HSLDA is an organization with a certain perspective, and is probably best suited to people that share it. All the information there is widely available elsewhere.
  • filmalifefilmalife Posts: 74Registered User Junior Member
    HSLD does have lots and lots of solid information for homeschoolers. and lots and lots of legal information that is valuable and up to date for anyone in any state homeschooling.

    It is an organized site and open to all.
  • susgeeksusgeek Posts: 1,603Registered User Senior Member
    I home educated my eldest, who is now 23, through the 9th grade.

    For her sophomore and junior year she attended public school half time, and as a senior full time. So her high school transcript reflected both home education and public education equally.

    On her Colgate admissions letter, the officer had wrote in the margin that they were impressed with how well she moved from home education to public education through high school.

    She was on the Deans list for most of her semesters at Colgate, so we must have done something right :)
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