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The college application process is hard on homeschoolers

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Replies to: The college application process is hard on homeschoolers

  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @MusakParent I disagree. The tests are important. Imagine being in traditional school all day, doing sports, and community service - all on a defined schedule - and finding time for SATs, AP Exams and for some students, SAT Subject Exams.

    Your homeschooled kid has a huge advantage - lots of time to study for the SAT Subject Exams. It's more than fair. Be thankful that you can be flexible.

    I say this having done public HS, private HS, and also homeschooling one year. That year he homeschooled (10th) was so nice, because my son could allocate time however he wanted. I often read @Mom2physicsgeek 's posts and wanted to continue homeschooling on a similar path as she did but we decided on boarding school instead, as he needed to be around other kids more. But I felt that the homeschooled path would have given him a better chance at MIT, due to test scores, college courses, intellectual curiosity, etc.

    The fact is, a lot of MommyGraders of homeschooled kids give their students all A's - and only a small fraction of those kids would have all A's in a competitive/rigorous high school. The tests are objective and measure the student's academic ability/learning.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    @sunnyschool Keep in mind many Homeschoolers today, including mine, do actually have scheduled classes (online and in person), sports schedules, competitive traveling teams, community service, and they have to make time for SATs, AP tests, and SAT2 test. My kid has absolutely no free time at all - her schedule seems far more packed than her traditionally schooled friends. We have no Mommy grades at all here - all courses are done with outside accredited/Board of Ed approved providers, and they will all send official transcripts. So for kids like my daughter (and many many other homeschooled kids we know), the extra requirements for Homeschoolers is unnecessary. I understand the requirement for kids who have Mommygrades in core courses, though.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 735 Member
    Yes, my homeschooled kid is dual enrolled, takes other online classes, takes music lessons for 3 instruments, regularly involved with community to professional theater, does community service and deserves somewhat of a social life and would like to find a job. He HAS a transcript with a 4.0 from a well rated community college. So no, I don't think it's reasonable that he has to jump through additional hoops when he's already jumping through MANY hoops and is not less busy than the average high achieving high school student.

    And there are programs that have this additional hoop JUST for homeschoolers. I'm less bothered if the requirement is consistent, though I think in particular SAT subject tests are a bit silly. The ACT is an achievement test. AP's are at a higher level than subject tests. In theory, so are well done dual enroll classes. I think they are redundant for many hgh achieving kids and almost feel like they exist to pad the coffers of the College Board. For kids that don't have AP, dual enrollment, CLEP, external classes with grades, etc I can see the additional requirement makes more sense. I have no problem with a requirement for some external achievement data of some kind.

    USoCal and Northwestern come to mind in having this requirement just for homeschooled applicants.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    Are you guys aware that Community College courses are often *easier* than AP classes at rigorous/competitive high schools? All CC's are not equal. The scores are the most objective way to determine subject mastery (though do think if AP exam in same subject, one OR the other should suffice)

    Homeschoolers still have the flexibility that brick/mortar students do not. The extra testing should not be such a big deal. SAT Subject Tests are usually for more elite schools. And if you don't like the requirement in some cases that is just for homeschoolers, then maybe just don't apply there.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 735 Member
    Well, AP class quality at many schools are often brought into question and CCs can be measured individually. I know more than one kid at a public urban school that ended up hiring a tutor to muddle through an AP test because their class was junk. Many schools including top ivy allow a more holistic application process that can be beneficial for many kids in out of the box programs or homeschooling. It's pretty easy to find out the standing of any particular CC program or the quality of high schools which also vary widely. It's the very specific requirement I have issue when not look at a kid's application as a whole. Any school can reject you for any reason, which is fine. My kid is already done/doing plenty of testing and has a rich application.

    It's great your kid had a flexible schedule when you homeschooled. For a kid doing everything through their house having some sort of requirement makes more sense. I don't get the feeling there are many if any kids getting into ivies on mommy grades alone.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    I have had 5 kids graduate from our homeschool after homeschooling k-12, and I wouldn't make some of the definitive statements made about homeschooling or the homeschooling college application process made in this thread. I have been homeschooling for almost 25 yrs and across multiple states and I can't stereotype homeschoolers into 2 main categories. I have encountered way too many different types of educational styles to even begin to pigeon hole homeschoolers so narrowly. The same goes for the college application process. There are as many application processes as there are colleges to apply to. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

    FWIW, not all homeschoolers DE through CCs. My kids who have actively pursued DE have typically done so through our local 4 yr universities precisely bc of the quality of our CCs. (Some states have great CCs, so poor quality is another stereotype.) The assumption should not be that DE is automatically related to poor quality CC enrollment.

    I personally don't have a problem with asking for 2 subject tests. Math, English lit, and foreign lang tests are easy to take with no prep. More than 2 I personally think is excessive and my kids won't pursue applications at schools that require more. (Ironically, many of the highest ranked schools don't require any and then you have schools like URichmond that wants something like 4 or 5.)

    @MusakParent May I present an alternative perspective? My kids have been awarded numerous scholarships and admitted to competitive academic programs without having many outsourced classes. My current college freshman only had 1 outsourced class (a foreign language) plus a planned spring semester (at the time of application, but completed in May of her sr yr) DE course. Her entire transcript of "mommy grades" was not questioned. Neither have any of her older siblings faced issues with their homeschooled at home courses. DD was actually awarded many top competitive scholarship (and did not receive a single rejection).
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 735 Member
    @Mom2aphysicsgeek I have zero problem with mommy grades. That tends to be a phrase I heard thrown around by non-homeschoolers, so I shouldn't have used it myself but I was responding to the other poster. My kid does have some mom made grades and will be reporting some to colleges!

    But like you said, your kid had some subject tests as outside verification. My kid is in a very high quality DE program, has some other accredited grades, and has a couple ACT scores. I think schools have more than enough to go on with that info without me sending more money to the college board. And again, we will likely not be applying to most of these programs. It's my kid's decision ultimately. I have heard a couple stories about people who managed to bypass a homeschooling specific requirement by having a particularly strong and well supported application in other ways so if my kid really wants to throw in an app somewhere without jumping that hoop, I'd be fine with it.

    I agree with you 100% that homeschoolers cannot be easily categorized. The majority I know personally have a good sense of their own kids strengths and weaknesses and are not abusing their ability to write a transcript to get their kids into programs they aren't actually qualified for. An ACT/SAT score alone can be a good indicator along with some other evidence of rigor. Many homeschoolers educting to a high level have a much more personalized and detailed transcript/course description document than would come out of a kid in a B&M school and I think schools can pretty easily assess that. I don't think fraud is at all commonplace in homeschoolers applying to colleges.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    I'll agree fraud likely is not an issue -- more of an overestimation of the kids' abilities in some (not all) families who do Mom grades. I repeat my sentiment of understanding why numerous SAT2 scores just for homeschoolers would be asked...of homeschoolers without much other outside verification. However, for homeschoolers with numerous AP exam scores, grades from accredited programs like CTY, grades from colleges, etc. etc., why would the multiple SAT2 scores be needed? Feels a bit ridiculous. My dd will take the extra tests and jump through the hoops, since she feels if she can do extremely well on those exams then that only makes her a stronger applicant anyway.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    @JanieWalker Most universities disagree with "understanding why numerous SAT2 scores just for homeschoolers [being] asked for." Most don't ask for them. As I stated several posts back, by far most universities only want a transcript and the regular SAT or ACT. By far, the minority want a transcript, course descriptions, and subject tests.

    I have never had a child take more than 2 subject tests. My kids have varied between 0 outsourced courses to almost all math and science (and only those subjects) b/c he entered high school at a very high level and graduated high school with AP science/BC credit plus 5 additional cal+ physics credits and 4 additional math credits. We have never DE'ed for a humanities course. But, by far, the vast majority of my kids courses are done at home and with grades assigned by me. Outsourcing for me is a last resort. Anything we can do at home, we do.

    Our classes are typically non-traditional and interest-led and we loved every minute of them. Very little hoop jumping involved.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @MusakParent I didn't say MY kid had such an easy schedule. We did an online school (included several AP), 4-yr college courses, etc. We have done public, private, and home/online school (in 3 states) so I have some perspective on this. Grading systems vary significantly too - much easier to get A's at some schools than others. You're right, quality of AP varies immensely also, but there is a test that measures proficiency at the end of the course.

    A couple of one-hour Subject Tests is not a big deal. And I stick by homeschoolers having flexibility, regardless of how much they have on their plate. Because THEY manage their schedules, not a brick/mortar school where kids are held captive from 7:30-2:45 (our public school offers no dual enrollment or online courses) and don't get home until 6:00 after a sport. My son did a ton during his homeschool year....but it was the flexibility that allowed him to finish 3 AP, 2 college courses (semester each), 6 other online courses (full year), do a year-around club sport (3hr practice/day), apply to boarding schools (and travel for interviews), and do competitions, clubs, volunteer work, etc. Studying for a couple Subject Exams would have been no big deal and I support them gathering objective data on the candidates.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    Being completely blunt.....1 yr via an online school is really just dipping your baby toe into the water and pretty far removed from homeschooling at home through high school. Like I said above.....after 25 yr of homeschooling 8 kids, 5 of them all of the way through high school and a 6th in 10th grade, I wouldn't make such sweeping generalized statements about "homeschooling." My homeschool.....I will make any statements with aplomb....homeschooling in other homes, not so much.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    @Mom2aphysicsgeek I did not write that "most universities" require multiple SAT2s. I know not all do - though I don't know how many don't, whether it's many or most or half, etc., because I haven't looked at the admissions requirements for every college in the nation. What I do know is that some colleges do require more testing and/or material from homeschooled kids than they require from traditionally schooled kids. We also see that many colleges require an interview, when for other kids interviews are optional (not that we mind, as I think an interview is a beneficial thing). My comments are specific to those colleges which do require more from homeschoolers than other applicants.

    @sunnyschool I don't have a problem with gathering objective data either, which is why my kid is taking so many AP courses (which she actually really enjoys). She'll take classes at a 4-year college when she gets to 11th grade. Throwing on more testing in the form of 2+ SAT2s seems kind of silly when there will already be so much outside verification of her skill level. It would make more sense if the colleges that have more requirements for homeschooled kids only had those requirements when the kid had no other standardized test scores or grades from accredited institutions. But whatever, we will provide the extra things and jump through the hoops because as homeschoolers, that's part of what I feel we signed on to do when it comes to college admissions at some of these schools.

    Also -- Your point about flexibility is a good one. My kids would not be able to do everything they do without the flexibility of their schedules.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    Most don't. It is only a very small percentage that do. I can't link blog posts, but prepscholars blogpost on "Complete List: Colleges That Require SAT Subject Tests" lists 6 requiring subject tests from homeschoolers. There are definitely more, but in the scheme of the college apps, a tiny percentage.

    I have gone through this process multiple times. It is nowhere even close to 10% let alone 50%.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    @Mom2aphysicsgeek Looks like we are investigating the "tiny percentage" - though again, there are hundreds (thousands?) of colleges in the nation so only someone who has looked at every single admissions criteria from every single college would know the real percentage. Though of course it doesn't really matter what percentage of colleges have no extra requirements when the colleges your kid is interested in does have extra requirements.

    Also, @sunnyschool, as a mom who has homeschooled for 15 years in two different states (my kids have never gone to a b&m school), I think you can definitely get a sense of homeschooling by doing one year of online courses during the high school years at home. I did untraditional stuff at home with my kids when they were in elementary school and then started outsourcing when they got to middle school since my two are both advanced in various subjects. One year of online schooling from home and juggling the extracurriculars etc. is more than just sticking a baby toe in the water, IMO. Please continue to share your perspective.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @janiewalker What hoops did your older student(s) jump through for college admissions? What did those universities/colleges specifically require from homeschoolers and no other students? Have their policies changed at all? The experiences we encounter with our older children can influence how we view/see the process with our younger children. But, for homeschoolers, the college application process can shift from yr to yr. For example, in 2013 Georgia Tech required 4 subject tests from homeschoolers. In 2014 they didn't require any. (My youngest son applied in 2014, so I know that is the yr the policy changed.) I have not seen a tightening trend for homeschoolers.

    It is very difficult to discuss college applications for homeschoolers in sweeping generalizations. Discussing homeschooling methodologies, even more so. Hence, the baby toe comment......the student was in 10th grade. The student didn't graduate from a homeschool but attended a boarding school for 11th/12th. I personally find this comment, "I'm on several homeschooling forums as my son did virtual school for a year. Well - most of these parents (of HS kids on these forums) are not equipped to homeschool. The ones that are, usually have at minimum a college degree and ensure the child learning at / above their level - i.e., They are using options like dual enrollment, AP courses, testing etc to prove the worth of the home education program," a very limited view on the dynamics and complexities of the homeschooling community at large. There are as many types of homeschoolers as there are homeschooling families. FWIW.....I am college educated, but I certainly do not have DE and APs as a goal for our homeschool, nor do I see them as required for proof for the worth of our homeschool. So, I do not fit neatly into either of her 2 main categories....college educated and proving my homeschool's worth or "another group of parents that avoids anything challenging, and whines when their homeschooled high schooler starts to rebel and doesn't want to learn anything. There seems to be a high correlation in this group with lower education of the parents (who really cannot teach HS subjects like Algebra or Biology). Their kids sometimes beg to go back to public school, but the parent won't let them because they are afraid of the environment there."

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