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The college application process is hard on homeschoolers


Replies to: The college application process is hard on homeschoolers

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,926 Senior Member
    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?

    Schools are trying to build a class from kids from all different types of schools and, in their experiences, they need to have some standardized requirements. They are just grouping all homeschoolers into the same requirements. They may also require 2 (or more) SAT IIs from international students even though a student from England may have had an entirely different experience than one from Hong Kong. A big urban hs from NYC might be more rigorous than one from Dallas, but the admissions officers can usually figure out from APs, standardizes tests, curriculum, etc how two kids compare. Much harder to do with two homeschooled kids without the standardized tests and the more of them (including 2 SAT IIs) the better.

    Can you imagine the requirements if they let everyone submit just what they wanted? "Well, if you were homeschooled and took at least 4 classes from an outside source like community college or vitual school, then you may submit only one SAT II score but it has to be in a subject that you did not take in community college, that you were taught by a parent. If that parent has a certified teaching degree that is not more than 5 years out of date, this requirement is waived for you. If you expect to get credit or advance standing in this subject, you must submit the AP score..." This could go on and on.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    @twoinanddone I understand the whole building-the-community thing. And I do get the need for standardized scores to better compare applicants from different backgrounds. I see your point about the extremely long “if you’ve had this many APs then you only need one SAT2” message on college admissions websites...though I wish they would try regardless for the sheer entertainment value of reading it, lol.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    "@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."

    Thank you. My perspective comes from experiencing traditional public school, private/boarding school, and homeschooling. Ironically, my kid is a lot like @Mom2aphysicsgeek 's son; and during his year at home he also took college physics and statistics (at a good 4-yr college). Of course, @Mom2aphysicsgeek needs to tell me that our experience wasn't good enough to be meaningful.

    Remember that with homeschooled kids you also get to avoid all the standardized testing in public schools, so this is also nice. You can instead focus on tests that matter for college admission.

    I think that the AP's and SAT Subject Tests get repetitive in some subjects. IMO, in some subjects, submitting one or the other should suffice. But I don't make the rules. I find the SAT Subject Tests most annoying for the timing - i.e., hard to fit them in amongst all the other testing and school work. But again, with homeschool you can take them anytime the student is ready...but in B&M schools they're best taken in June after the content is covered.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    So @Mom2aphysicsgeek , you think I'm lying that I read that on Facebook groups for homeschoolers? Sorry, hate to tell you but about 80% of the posts on these pages are from the group that is just looking to avoid High school, but also let their snowflakes avoid any difficult subject matter. Daily posts like this: "My student hates math. Does she really need Algebra? I don't understand Algebra either so I can't teach it. What's the easiest online curriculum for Algebra 1?" Then later you see the same person posting that their student "Has all A's" on their report card.

    There's a tone in your posts that you are always right, and you know more than everyone. Yes, your kids have done great and you are a model homeschool parent. And by the way, I've seen you denounce many homeschoolers programs on CC.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    @sunnyschool I agree with your overall points regarding flexibility - I will say though that some homeschooled kids take yearly standardized tests as a condition of being allowed to continue homeschooling, and some are still bound by a traditional b&m schedule when it comes to taking SAT2 exams. My kids will take the SAT2s after the corresponding AP class (which always runs Sept-May), so they will do either the May or June dates...both of which conflict with monthly regional sports tournaments, but what can ya do. Your general point is still valid IMO, I’m just being nitpicky.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    ^^ Good point, and I know some states require either showing a portfolio of work or standardized test scores.

    I have the same frustration about fitting in these SAT2 Subject Tests, for both my boarding school student (the "one year homeschooler-but-not-true-homeschooler-since-he-did-online-school") and my public HS student.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    I am not suggesting that you are lying. I am stating that reading things online and experiencing things first hand over many yrs are 2 different POV. I have known homeschool families for almost 25 yrs and they are not so easily categorized. Being actively involved for 1 yr in a virtual school is not the same as being involved long-term and being actively involved in the homeschooling community in person with long term relationships. Neither did I ever say that you were not a true homeschooler bc he did online school. I said your perspective is like dipping a baby toe in the water bc it is limited and not the same as having homeschooled all the way way through high school with having gone through the process of homeschooling to college with college apps at the end.

    How we perceive things impacts how we post and the experiences we share. I do believe that your categorizing homeschoolers into just 2 categories and the terminology you used is not representative of many homeschoolers, including me b/c I don't fit into either of your categories. It is really that simple. I don't even fit into a single category b/c I have 8 kids and have taken a very different approach with every single one of them. Plenty of homeschoolers not so easily pigeonholed.

    FWIW, back to the original idea of this thread, most homeschoolers will be admitted to most avg colleges with nothing more than their homeschool transcript and either the ACT or SAT. Some states have different laws (CA and a-g requirements, NY universities often require the GED). Knowing your state laws will make a difference in how you approach things. But, no, APs, subject tests, DE, course descriptions, LOR, counselor letters, school profiles, etc are not going to be required in most avg situations. More competitive schools will want the majority of the latter, but APs, subject tests, and DE are also going to be institution dependent and there is no universal single answer.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    There are 50 states, numerous reasons to homeschool, parents with kids that homeschool and kids that don't under same roof, many homeschooling approaches, and many other situations. I don't think anyone knows everything, which is why this is a message board for different people to post different perspectives. @Mom2aphysicsgeek Sorry you got so annoyed with my categories; I am equally annoyed with your "toe" comment, especially since I complimented your approach. I have been reading the facebook pages for several years so that is where I am getting that perspective. Oh and I forgot to mention that many of those posters won't buy curriculum materials - they want everything free or very low cost. Many parents are not really equipped to homeschool - it is more about pulling their kids out of school than it is about actually schooling. Not that I totally blame them (back to many reasons for homeschooling), but many are not equipped for schooling at home.

    That is my observation. It does not apply to all homeschoolers, but it does probably drive the rationale for colleges asking for more test scores to ensure the students are at a certain level. And like a poster above said, they require X and Y from all homeschoolers, because having different systems depending on different types of homeschooling is probably to complex to implement.
  • CorralenoCorraleno Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    @sunnyschool maybe you should look for some higher quality homeschool groups to follow, if "80% of the posts on these pages are from the group that is just looking to avoid High school, but also let their snowflakes avoid any difficult subject matter. " I'm on lots of homeschooling forums, e-lists, and FB groups, where 0% of the posts are the type you describe. Why would you even follow pages where 80% of the posters are like that???

    The homeschoolers I interact with, IRL and in multiple online groups (some of which are pretty huge), take homeschooling seriously and are doing their best to provide their kids with an excellent education. Many groups post annual lists of all the colleges that members' kids have been accepted to, ranging from local state uni's to elite LACs and Ivies. I've homeschooled two kids, full time, for 12 years, and my oldest has been accepted to his first choice school (ranked 10th in his major and 1st in his sport), with a full tuition scholarship, and he turned down an Ivy and other elite schools. He did not do any APs or SAT2s, although he did have very high ACT scores and high scores/honors on some other national tests. He had 2 DE classes and another half-dozen classes from outside providers that were able to write glowing recommendations for him. All of the colleges we spoke to were eager for homeschooled applicants, and none of them seemed to have much experience with the type of slackers that you claim are "80%" of the homeschoolers you know of.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    Hi @corraleno, I too have academically focused kids and am friends with homeschooling parents who put their all into educating their children. Most of the homeschoolers I choose to hang out with, and most of the homeschooling forums I choose to be a member of (along with the homeschooling Facebook pages I follow) are filled with homeschooling parents with well-educated kids. This is because those are the types of parents I gravitate toward, and those are the types of parents that are likely to be on those specific forums. The ones who don’t know what they are doing, or who think they know what they are doing but are misinformed or who are prone to overestimate (or worse, not even care about) their kid’s abilities, aren’t in my life on a daily basis. However, they exist - I split my time in two states in and among two very different homeschooling communities, and one of those communities has a LOT of families who homeschool for the sole purpose of isolating their kids and keeping them away from the secular world. The girls are taught to be helpmeets and mothers, with little other education happening or emphasized as important. I know a young woman who broke away from that and have spoken to her about her upbringing and the people her family was friends with, and the other homeschoolers she was allowed to be friends with, and I have personally met and interacted with families like this through specific local FB pages (which are not the academically-focused FB I am also also a part of) and from being out-and-about in the community.

    I have no doubt all the homeschoolers you know are good parents who educate their children well. One of the homeschooling communities we are a part of (which happens to be near a major city) is filled with parents who do a fantastic job with their kids and those kids are absolutely being prepared for the world and for college. Many of them will likely end up at Ivies and top-50 Univerisities and LACs. The other homeschooling community, which happens to be in a very rural part of the country (and I am sure there are other rural homeschooling communities that are wonderful - I do not assume anything about rural communities in general), well...let’s just say those kids are definitely not being raised to their intellectual potential. I highly doubt that group has anyone applying to Ivies or top LACs. Those are the types that would find the college application process difficult (trying to bring this thread back to the article).

    If all I knew personally was the type of homeschooler who was academically inclined with parents who were homeschooling for the best educational interest of the child, then I would get angry at people who think that some homeschooling parents are looking for an easy way out. Having seen the other side of the coin though...yes, some people really do want the easiest online Algebra course just to meet basic state requirements. Those are the types who probably won’t join the types of forums I (and probably you) frequent and enjoy.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    (Please forgive the typos in the above post - had to attend to a family matter after I posted and didn’t catch the typos until it was too late to edit.)
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    @JanieWalker I don't believe either @Corraleno or I are saying they don't exist but that saying that large numbers of homeschoolers (80% according to some FB posts) are poorly educating their kids based on reading posts online is not representative of the homeschooling community in general.

    It is representative of those sites in the same way that CC is not representative of the college application process for the majority of students. Most students--public, private, homeschooled--are not aiming for competitive schools. Most (including homeschoolers) don't do more than submit am SAT or ACT score and transcript. Most never write a college application essay or request LOR. Most don't worry about their EC resume. Similarly, most homeschoolers fall somewhere between the 2 extremes of slackers and high achievers.

  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @Corraleno Actually, I had trouble finding any other groups. But homeschooling high school is not common where I live now. The FB groups were the ones I found at the time I was looking for information.

    @Mom2aphysicsgeek You're taking the 80% out of context. Not 80% of all homeschoolers; but 80% of posts on the page I was on.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    I think it best if Homeschoolers of all stripes - whether homeschooling K-12 or “just” one year or whatever - realize that their personal experiences do not neccesarily reflect the entirety of homeschooling, and that their kids and the kids they know don’t necessarily reflect all homeschooled kids everywhere. No one’s personal perspective based on their own personal experience should be rudely shrugged off or dismissed simply because it’s not what someone else wants to hear. Some people are immersed in groups with high performing academic kids with attentive parents and think the majority of Homeschoolers across the nation must be just like that, others have only seen Homeschoolers who lag behind every standard and whose education doesn’t equal that of the local public schools, and are therefore suspicious of homeschooling in general. Still others, like me, have seen girls used as second mothers with no expectations except that they too would become young mothers and submit to their man. Not that there is anything wrong with that if one chooses that route...but in those circumstances I have seen, the girl hasn’t been given much of a choice.

    The attitude of someone not being a real homeschooler if they didn’t spend x amount of years homeschooling, and the attempts to suppress opinions based on personal experience simply because they run counter to someone else’s opinion/personal experience - that feels defensive and rude. I am grateful for the ignore feature on CC.

    @sunnyschool, I have seen posts from Homeschoolers like you describe (especially on one specific homeschooling FB group that I will not name here), and I appreciate your perspective - even though the large group we personally hang out with contains homeschooled kids who are extremely high achieving and well educated, and who probably won’t have any problems getting into great colleges (though they’ll have to take those damn extra SAT2s). Your experiences are valid, as are everyone else’s, and your opinion based on your own experiences holds as much weight as anyone else’s opinion based on their own experiences.

    Not much else to add to this thread without repeating myself, so there’s no point in my continuing to post here.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 5,116 Senior Member
    So interesting how different our experiences are. I suppose it depends on where you live as to what types of homeschoolers one encounters.

    I straddle many worlds. I'm a Christian homeschooler, but my two older sons went to top universities (eldest graduated from MIT; middle son spent some time at Penn). I am in gifted groups, Christian groups, secular groups, unschooling groups, and college bound homeschool groups.

    I have always independently homeschooled (19th year), but know many families here in California that are using government run charter schools to homeschool. We've used many resources online and local.

    I'm in a large city which is perhaps why I've never run into the kinds of homeschoolers that sunnyschool describes. My Christian homeschool friends are totally committed to educating their children. High school can be daunting for some of them, which is why they come to presentations that I and others give regarding homeschooling high school. I love empowering homeschoolers, encouraging them that they can homeschool through high school by various means if that's what they want.

    I consider myself a facilitator of my kids' education after a certain age because, though I am a twice-credentialed teacher, and will be earning my college counseling certificate next year, I am not equipped to teach many high school subjects.

    For my eldest, because he was so advanced, I had to outsource for STEM beginning in 4th grade. For my middle son, I began outsourcing for high school in middle school, and for my youngest, I've begun outsourcing some middle school subjects at our co-op, and he'll begin high school subjects next year with other teachers.

    Re. subject tests and hoops: easy for my eldest to get 3 subject tests. Easy for my middle son to get 2 subject tests (he did take a 3rd, but score wasn't as strong). Third son will likely go the CC route and not university, so I'm hardly concerned about testing at this point. ;-)
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