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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

  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    sbjborlo wrote:
    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.
    Yes! Me, too. I also give workshops on the homeschool to college process and work with families to find affordable options for their kids.

    All of the parents who have had attend my workshops are fully invested in their kids' educations even if not a single family has the same approach or goals as another. Homeschools are as varied as the number of families being discussed. Many don't understand the nuances of college apps and FA, but they are all eager to learn.
  • CorralenoCorraleno Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    I don't doubt that there are *some* homeschoolers who are slackers and whose kids would not be prepared for college. But the parents who don't think their kids need to learn algebra, or who expect their daughters to settle for an 8th grade education and live at home until they are married off, are not going to be sending kids to the kind of selective schools that require extra SAT subject tests from homeschoolers — which is what MusakParent was objecting to. Sunnyschool disagreed and insisted that "the tests are important" because 80% of the homeschoolers she interacts with are slackers, and taking extra SATs is no big deal anyway.

    I agree with MuzakParent that requiring extra subject tests from homeschoolers, even when a student has DE and other outside classes, has strong academic recommendations from outside teachers, and has excellent ACT/SAT scores and other outside verification (like APs or scores on other nationally-normed tests), is just plain stupid. If a homeschooler scores 1500 on the SAT and earns a perfect score on the National Latin Exam, it's ridiculous to insist that he *also* provide SAT subject tests in English, math, and Latin, just because he's homeschooled. It's a totally pointless requirement that does not provide the college with any extra information. Why should a homeschooler with AP scores and/or DE grades in multiple subjects also have to provide SAT scores in those subjects, if the same college happily accepts grades from standard PS classes with no additional proof required? It's bureaucratic idiocy.

    And I disagree that taking a bunch of SAT subject tests is no big deal; adding hours of test prep, finding a PS that will let you take the tests there, finding a date that works (and some tests are only offered twice a year), arranging accommodations if you need them, etc., adds up to a big waste of time for kids who have super busy schedules and whose transcripts, recommendations, and other test scores already provide plenty of evidence of their abilities. Plus some of us are philosophically opposed to teaching to the test, and are not interested in enriching the College Board for no good reason. Luckily only a tiny handful of colleges require extra tests from homeschoolers, because most colleges know from experience that the vast majority of homeschooled applicants are just as prepared as any other applicant.
  • CorralenoCorraleno Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    I don't doubt that there are *some* homeschoolers who are slackers, but the parents who think their kids don't need to learn algebra, or who expect their daughters to settle for an 8th grade education and live at home until they marry, are not going to be sending their kids to the kind of selective schools that require extra subject tests for homeschoolers — which was what MuzakParent objected to. Sunnyschool disagreed and insisted that "the tests are important" because 80% of the homeschoolers she's familiar with are slackers, and taking extra subject tests is no big deal anyway.

    I agree with MuzakParent that requiring extra subject tests from homeschoolers who have excellent ACT/SAT scores, academic recommendations from outside teachers, and other outside verification like DE or AP or scores on other nationally normed tests (not from the College Board), is just stupid. Requiring that a homeschooler with 1500 SATs and perfect scores on the National Latin Exam *also* provide math, English, and Latin subject tests is just pointless hoop jumping that provides no additional information. Why should a homeschooler with multiple APs and/or DEs be forced to take subject tests if the same college happily accepts grades from PS students in the same subjects without any further verification? It's just bureaucratic idiocy and ignorance.

    And I disagree that taking a bunch of extra subject tests is no big deal; adding hours of test prep, finding a PS that will let you test there, finding a date that works with a student's schedule (some tests are only offered twice a year), arranging accommodations if you need them, etc., is a big waste of time for a student with a busy schedule. Many homeschoolers are not trying to replicate standard PS courses at home, which are what SAT2s are designed to measure, and they're only offered in a very limited number of subjects. Plus some of us are philosophically opposed to teaching to the test and are not interested in enriching the College Board for no good reason. Luckily, it's only a tiny handful of colleges that require extra tests for homeschoolers (and some of those may be more flexible than they seem on paper). The vast majority of colleges do not require any extra hoop-jumping from homeschoolers, because they know from experience that *most* homeschoolers are well prepared and their application materials demonstrate this without requiring extra subject tests.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 5,116 Senior Member
    Absolutely. And if a homeschooler is considering highly selective schools, he or she knows there will be hoop jumping involved, and if he/she chooses not to jump through the hoops, there are plenty of other colleges to choose from/they can take their chances.

    My middle son opted not to jump through hoops for the UCs. It wasn't worth it to him. He was still admitted to 2/3 with a waitlist at the third. He did great in admissions without having to take AP exams or doing too much beyond what he wanted to do.

    Also of note: many colleges are going to both SAT subject test optional even for homeschoolers and self-reporting scores including the SAT in order to not unduly punish low income students with prohibitive costs.

    Yes, a few still require them, but the landscape is changing. Always good to see where the policy stands in the year a student is applying.
  • cornandbeanscornandbeans Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    I have had great success with my kiddos going to selective colleges. When my current senior (#4) ran into a rep for my oldest's alma mater, the rep - one of the top dogs in admissions - not only remembered that graduate of his Marvelous InsTitution, but remembers his application. He said it showed some of the most unusual activities he'd seen as well as the widest variety of academic achievements (the power of homeschool!). That one was a national AP scholar as well as youngest licensed egg candler. Since then, I've soured on the Northeast and on standardized testing, choosing to focus on project based learning instead of the APs in May when we are remarkably busy with travels and competitions. This current senior's attempt at the SAT was not spectacular though national awards list is long, and sr has received great merit offers at all the great schools which have sent acceptances. No denials yet so maybe the aim was not high enough. #4 is looking for happiness and warm people. :)
  • CCtoAlaskaCCtoAlaska Registered User Posts: 583 Member
    I think the hardest thing about college admissions for homeschoolers is they tend to be pretty independent and college admissions really rewards dependency. Dependency on a school to have a gajillion clubs needing a thousand officers so everyone gets their due. Dependency a school where they can take the PSAT or get nominated for certain scholarships. Dependency reliable recommendations from adults with certain kinds of credentials where it's part of their job to write the right kind of recommendation. I find that the most tiring aspect.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,338 Senior Member
    @CCtoAlaska How many of your kids have gone from homeschooling through college admissions and had negative experiences due to having been homeschooled?

    Our kids must have applied to different schools bc this "I think the hardest thing about college admissions for homeschoolers is they tend to be pretty independent and college admissions really rewards dependency. Dependency on a school to have a gajillion clubs needing a thousand officers so everyone gets their due," has not been my kids' experiences for college applications and acceptances.

    We are completely independent homeschoolers. We do not use any standard curriculum providers and most of my kids have had minimal outsourced classes. I have been their primary teacher. My current college sophomore had never stepped inside of a classroom except for summer camp type activities until freshman yr of college. My kids' transcripts are filled with courses that are atypical high school offerings.

    They have not had "clubs" or lists of offices. What they have had are activities that reflect who they are. Our homeschool approach is to allow them to follow their passions and pursue those interests academically. They have had great admissions' successes and been awarded universities' most competitive scholarships.
  • CCtoAlaskaCCtoAlaska Registered User Posts: 583 Member
    @Mom2aphysicsgeek I have one who is a junior. I don't know that it will be a negative for her but I'm exhausted by stuff like finding a school for the PSAT, the extra considerations that come with it like if she wants to study overseas instead of domestically she needs AP tests, finding a school that will let her take the AP tests with them, etc. Just stuff that a school would normally just handle for her. I'm not even sure it makes a difference because she is a full-time student in cc and will be eligible to direct transfer for her BA and never apply anywhere. But she wants to cover all her bases just in case. My hat is off to you for getting through the whole process!
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