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The college application process is hard on homeschoolers

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,404 Senior Member
"The college-application process was established before homeschooling became a big thing, and it imposes unnecessary hurdles for homeschoolers today. That’s the argument of Professor George Ehrhardt of Appalachian State in today’s Martin Center article. Ehrhardt, a homeschooling parent himself, thinks that colleges are missing out on many fine students:

'From the perspective of higher education institutions, these students represent a potential pool of high-quality recruits. This is especially true because one of the current trends in homeschooling is increasing numbers of low-income urban minorities, who see it as their only escape from public school systems that do not serve their children’s needs. Unfortunately, the current application process — the Common App in particular — makes it more difficult to match students with institutions than it should, unnecessarily lowering the number of homeschoolers who attend college.'" ...

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/455858/martin-center-article-homeschooling-and-college
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Replies to: The college application process is hard on homeschoolers

  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,374 Senior Member
    Our homeschoolers got into 10/11 schools where they applied.

    Granted these were state universities. The one school that used the common app - GT - didn't get in. But that was more a reflection of the competitiveness of GT rather than difficulty with common app.

    Agree very much with ^^above post - it is important to tap into the resources available for homeschooling families. And even then, get multiple opinions and validate/dig into the information. For years I heard through the "grapevine" that homeschool students don't get into UF (Tim Tebow notwithstanding - talk about a hook!). Lo and behold - at UF - course rigor is an important part of admissions process. Our son had done dual enrollment, thankfully, and he's a UF student today. He loves it!

    I also wonder if the author of the article is overly influenced by being located in NC. To me the best thing a state can do for homeschoolers is to do outreach with regard to dual enrollment, virtual schooling options with AP availability, and hybrid school options. Florida has done a nice job with this imho.
  • CorralenoCorraleno Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I would encourage people to read the actual article rather than the brief (and somewhat misleading) summary in the National Review, which makes the author sound rather clueless. In reality, the author's argument is much more nuanced and detailed than what is reflected in the linked excerpt.

    https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2018/01/one-size-fits-college-application-model-hurts-homeschoolers/
  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,374 Senior Member
    Thanks for that link @Corraleno!
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,896 Senior Member
    I read both, and I still think the author is a bit myopic because of where he lives and the homeschool community around him. He made some interesting points, but as probably many on this forum can attest to, there's some great free information in the form of e-lists (such as HS2Coll and the like) and online resources to help homeschoolers get a handle on college admissions (in particular, the counselor letter that he labels as the stumbling point) and they don't have to cost a bundle.

    My journey from unschooling parent from a lowish income family, ignorant of many top-name schools and the whole selective college admissions process, to private college consultant (with a homeschooled MIT graduate) is an example of doing research, reaching out, networking, and building relationships with people all over the country (and the world in some cases) in order to find answers. It takes time and I'm always learning; I hope people will respond to the author with support and resources that he can pass along to those in his homeschool community.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 3,856 Senior Member
    @sbjdorlo I also went and read the 2nd link. My assessment is similar to yours. Are many homeschoolers ignorant of the process? Absolutely. But, I am not sure that blaming the college application process is the solution. When you make the decision to homeschool, you are accepting the responsibilities that come from that decision.

    We recently moved to a different state and here you have to homeschool under an umbrella school. I was told by my initial cover school that only AP and college courses could be labeled honors. The person I was dealing with was a fairly new homeschooler who was completely ignorant of the college application process bc most people she deals with apply to the local CC or instate publics. She had no understanding of how that policy is not representative of what takes place in ps's and detrimental to homeschool applicants' competitiveness for scholarships. But, it was a line they had drawn and unfortunately those who don't educate themselves are going to be impacted by it. Me? I ran the other direction and found an umbrella that I can use and represent the actual level of work my kids are accomplishing.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 778 Member
    edited February 2
    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. When my son homeschooled for a year, he did all of this; and it gave him time to apply to private schools for 11th/12th.

    There is 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.

    So, the first group of students is well equipped to handle college; the second group is not. I'm sure there are others. But this describes much of the dichotomy of homeschooling. And if you're in the first group, you should have the documentation to show the child's learning and ability. That group also prepares for the SAT/ACT which can be an important factor for homeschoolers.
  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool Registered User Posts: 778 Member
    The excuses in the article are lame:

    1) Homeschooled students don't have class rank: Great. Put N/A on the common app. Many top private schools and top public schools do not issue class rank, either.

    2) Homeschooled students don't have counselor recommendations: No problem. Use another recommender from a course or activity. Also, the parents act as principal/counselor so they too can write recommendations.

    Homeschool students have the luxury of managing their own time and not being subject to things like standardized testing, pressure of curriculum, bullying, etc. in public schools. But with that luxury comes individual responsibility. The parent (acting as principal/counselor/teacher) and student need to be informed and be gathering the data and support they need for a college application. If they do things right, and have the stats, they have excellent chances to attend many colleges, including Ivies, MIT, state universities, and many private colleges - all of which have homeschoolers.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    @sunnyschool, your post reminds me of an article that quoted an MIT (I think) admissions officer (I can’t remember the source) - the admissions guy said they generally saw two types of homeschooled applicants - those that were not at all prepared and those that were incredibly prepared with amazing life experiences. Didn’t seem to be too much in-between.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,896 Senior Member
    @JanieWalker, if you ever find the source for the quote, please PM me with it. I'm very curious being that my son graduated from MIT and three other homeschoolers who were friends of his the year he was admitted were also homeschooled. I guess they were all quite prepared.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    @sbjdorlo, I am sure the four Homeschoolers you know who went to MIT (including your son) were all extremely well prepared, otherwise they would not have gotten in! At Harvard, I met a couple of undergrads who had been homeschooled and they too had obviously been quite well prepared. I know of several other homeschooled kids who have gotten into Ivies that had also been extremely well prepared. I am not sure why you are curious about my above statement - if a kid gets into a school then the admissions folks apparently feel the kid is ready for that school. Also, most kids who are academically minded and intellectually advanced/curious would, I am guessing, have friends who are also academically minded and intellectually advanced/curious (birds of a feather)...so a few friends with similar academic stats and advanced abilities could end up at the same selective institution. None of that counters the message from the adcom that the homeschool applications he saw tended to generally fall into one of two groups - extremely well prepared or not-at-all ready. And again, I think it was MIT but I don’t remember - it might not have been - if I do find the source again I’ll post it in the thread.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,896 Senior Member
    Curious only because, as an independent college consultant, I like to have the primary source to share with my students. :-)

    And sure, I agree with everything you said, though I can be honest enough to say that my middle son, who was admitted to an Ivy, was *not* adequately prepared to meet the rigors he faced. He came home after 10 weeks. Yes, there were mitigating circumstances, for sure, and without those, I think he could have made a go of it. However, it was clear that most admitted students came from backgrounds where they had exceptionally rigorous educations-lots of APs, private schools, etc.-and my son's more humble education of some not particularly rigorous community college classes in his last two years of high school didn't prepare him for the immense amount of writing that was expected of him off the bat.
  • JanieWalkerJanieWalker Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    edited February 5
    @sbjdorlo Ah - okay, thanks for clarifying.

    Shoot - I typed out a response and it vanished. Maybe it will mysteriously post itself an hour from now.

    Regarding your son - I am sorry things did not turn out the way he initially planned, but I do hope and trust he found another path forward. I left college during my first year due to not being emotionally prepared (academically, I was fine, but I was not ready for the life transition). I went back to school years later and everything was much better the second time around.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    Well, leaving college during your first year can be hard to predict and I doubt it is less common with kids from B&M schools than homeschooled kids. Academic prowess doesn't always equate to social maturity and good executive function skills.

    As an aside, this is not directly related to this article, but what I find annoying now looking at some programs with my homeschooled/dual enrollment junior is that some programs have SPECIAL very specific requirements for homeschoolers. Like SAT subject tests. For kids that have other "proof" of academic level (AP, CLEP, dual enrollment classes, other outside accredited classes with grades, etc) I really find that particularly annoying. And a requirement many of the tippy top schools that do holistic admits require any more. If you are the kid that just has mommy grades and a single ACT score, your chances aren't great for competitive programs.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 3,856 Senior Member
    @MusakParent Kids that only have grades and an ACT score from any school are not going to be great candidates for competitive programs in general b/c competitive programs want more than grades and test scores. They want major outside accomplishments/endeavors. Many top schools require subject test from all students, not just homeschooled ones. The programs that require multiple subject tests from just homeschoolers are far fewer in number than those that don't.

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