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How to Diplomatically Explain Lack of Opportunities?

bluejay123bluejay123 Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited October 2017 in Home Schooling and College
Hi everyone. I have been homeschooled since 2nd grade, and now I am a senior in high school. In my area, a lot of opportunities are readily available to public school kids. For instance, they have summer programs only available to them, a bunch of in-school clubs (like robotics, mock trial, debate), guidance counselors, etc. I don't want to come off as regretful of my homeschooling experience, because I'm not--I'm just saying that by choosing to be homeschooled, I gave up a lot of the opportunities I could have. How do I diplomatically explain this on my application? And, should I even try to include this on my application?

For some context, I'm female who has a 1500 SAT and 23 on the essay. I've taken 9 AP exams, one for each class that I self-studied. I am applying to the Ivies, MIT, and some in-state schools and am looking to major in history (of science) and chemistry.

Replies to: How to Diplomatically Explain Lack of Opportunities?

  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,413 Senior Member
    Not sure you can explain it. Some home schooled kids take advantage of the flexibility of home schooling to pursue deep interests and activities on their own, like music or an individual sport or writing a novel. Others do things like 4H, or scouting, or club sports. Many school districts allow (sometimes required by law) homeschooled students to participate in school ECs.

    Maybe you have some activities that are less formal that you can list. Things like art, dog training, etc. Admittedly, the very top schools are looking for "pop" -- something besides good test scores and grades. But school based ECs often don't provide that pop anyway.
  • me29034me29034 Registered User Posts: 1,547 Senior Member
    Top schools expect you to make your own opportunities, not explain why you didn’t have any. I’m surprised you couldn’t participate in public schools ECs. Where I live it’s common for homeschooled kids to participate in clubs, sports, etc. at the public high school.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 5,063 Senior Member
    1. If you had limited opportunities, your parent(s) should explain that in the counselor letter and/or school profile.
    2. I agree that you should talk about the opportunities that you did take advantage of and participate in.
    3. Here in CA (don't know where OP is from), it's actually very difficult to participate in ECs at public schools if one is a private homeschooler. You have to join a public charter school before you're allowed to participate in most school-related activities (though I've heard of two exceptions, FRC at a particular high school, and a particular math competition).
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 3,574 Senior Member
    You need to focus on what you did accomplish, not call attention to what you didn't do.

  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,459 Forum Champion
    You had opportunities outside school: job opportunities, camp opportunities, community service opportunities, music and sport opportunities perhaps clubs with other home schoolers...but hopefully you took advantage of those.
    What DID you do?
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 36,000 Super Moderator
    Yeah, some of the homeschooled kids I know did MUCH more than a lot of public school students.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,470 Senior Member
    You're getting spot-on advice from some top-drawer CC posters, @bluejay123.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 505 Member
    You never want to make excuses on your application. Choosing to focus on your academics and not making your own EC's is a fair choice. I personally think it's fine and great to apply to high end schools with those stats but be realistic at the same time. You might be in a fabulous position to take advantage of honors programs that might rain money down on you. There are many ways to get an excellent education and being about to graduate debt free is a HUGE gift.

    My homeschool junior has a crazy number of EC's. Tons of music (3 instruments) and musical theater. Leadership boards on community theaters, etc. There is stuff out there and it doesn't need to be traditional stuff that school kids do.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,459 Forum Champion
    Not sure if anyone said it directly: Colleges won't care if you didn't do in-school ECs as long as you did some ECs.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,164 Senior Member
    Your ECs don't have to replicate ps kids' ECs. My kids have lots of things they are involved in or do in the spare time bc they enjoy them. They aren't on team sports or presidents of typical high school clubs. It hasnt hurt their applications. They just list/write about what they actually are involved in outside of the house.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,186 Senior Member
    What do you do with your spare time?

    You have internet access-- lots of opportunities! Have you done freelance writing? Taught yourself a language? Become active in some sort of online charity?

    Do you have a part time job? Great. What do you do and how long have you done it?

    Are you involved in your church or synagogue? Great. What do you do and how long have you done it?

    What do you do with all your spare time?
  • lisabeeslisabees Registered User Posts: 492 Member
    Agree with all of the above. OP, did you do any independent study work? Did you spend free time researching something and becoming an expert at something? Did you write for hours a day? If so, you can include those as ECs. As a homeschooler, schools want to see how you took advantage of your situation. You said, "that by choosing to be homeschooled, I gave up a lot of the opportunities I could have." That's just not true. My kids have had tons of opportunities because they chose to learn at home, not only academically, but extracurricularly.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,470 Senior Member
    @bluejay123, your other thread (http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/20795536#Comment_20795536) lists a ton of ECs- including being on a HS tennis team that went to states, orchestra, captain of a quiz bowl team, a bunch of prizes, etc. What, exactly, do you feel that you have 'given up' or missed out on?
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,236 Senior Member
    Home schoolers who attend ivies are known to do kitchen top research in their homes looking for cures for cancer, running for mayor or selectman in their towns or running businesses out of their dining rooms. Give it some thojght.
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