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Colleges a homeschooler should aim for?

portland12portland12 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
Hello, I've been around this website for a few weeks, and I'm signing up to get some few pointers from more experienced homeschoolers on what I should be doing in the next admissions cycle. From what I've seen so far, it seems like most homeschoolers here opt for small universities / liberal arts colleges over big state or research universities. I'm wondering if there is a special reason for this? Are LACs more lenient when it comes to non-traditional students (transcripts / lack of external, objective evaluation)? Or is this strictly a matter of preference?
Thank you!
edited March 31
9 replies
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Replies to: Colleges a homeschooler should aim for?

  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8434 replies305 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,739 Senior Member
    Colleges aren't more lenient with homeschoolers. There are many ways for home educated students to get external, objective evaluations (AP exams, subject tests, SAT/ACT tests, college courses, etc.), but if you don't have any of those your options might be more limited than more traditional homeschoolers. We can't advise you unless you tell us something about your homeschool program.
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4468 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,523 Senior Member
    My kids have all attended public Us. No problems with admissions.
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  • portland12portland12 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
    So far I have 1520 SAT and planning on getting up to 4 AP exams, 5 subject test scores this year. Test scores themselves are not my biggest concern, but rather the GPA and the high school transcript. I've seen many homeschoolers take dual enrollment courses at their local CC, but such programs are not available in where I live. Would taking online courses here actually help my application? If so, what would be the best online school for it? Filling my transcript with grades that I've come up myself just feels so arbitrary.
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  • shuttlebusshuttlebus 438 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 439 Member
    My kids didn't take any classes at a community college. They applied with a homeschool transcript with grades assigned by me. They had outside validation via SAT, Subject Tests, AP exams, and national contests. They were accepted to state schools and highly selective schools including Williams and MIT.

    Usually, test scores carry more weight than grades for homeschoolers, especially for those that don't participate in dual enrollment.

    Good luck with your application process!
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8434 replies305 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,739 Senior Member
    You can't give yourself grades. Where are your parents? They're responsible for overseeing your program and writing transcripts.
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  • portland12portland12 2 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I worded that wrong. Meant to say my side. My parents and tutors do that for me.
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  • NavigatingMomNavigatingMom 28 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    @portland12 My daughter applied and was accepted this year into colleges in 11 different states and they varied from public, private, tier 1, conservatory, and state schools. In talking with other parents who were accepted and my own experience, if you have 1520 SAT and APs and a transcript with rigor and GPA above 3.6 then you will have zero issues getting in to almost any school you want and should also receive great merit aid as well as out of state tuition waivers if it applies. The exception may be ivies but with your stats you can certainly have your pick of thousands of schools out there. Don’t be afraid to apply and be in direct contact with admissions people from the schools you are interested in.

    Also, be sure to have in mind what you are looking for, what program you truly want available, and the campus and location that you want. We are military and have lived all over so my daughter was excited to be able to choose the location she would spend four years without moving - LOL.

    APPLY, APPLY, APPLY!! Don’t think your application will look any different for most schools. Be prepared for the Nov 1 deadline and do not miss it. That is the absolute cutoff for applications at many schools to be considered for early admission or for scholarships or for merit aid. Many applications will open up July 1 so get on the list of those you are interested in so you get notifications about deadlines. And set up an email strictly for college applications as well as folders on your computer and in your email for each college so you can keep your in box clean as well as find all the materials or documents you need for each one easily. Because my daughter applied to so many that was the only way to keep it all sane.

    In addition to the application, we submitted scores and official transcripts and that was what they needed for almost all of the schools. The official transcripts we submitted were signed by me her primary teacher and notarized, and I sealed them in an envelope with my signature across the seal. No one even asked if it was official after that. Also, she had academic letters of reference from college instructors that she had as a dual enroll student which you should plan on needing 3 to use for admissions or scholarship applications. You will need their email as many schools contact directly and you will want to be in constant contact to be sure they follow through with submission within the timeline. And if you have a specialty - music, theater, art, dance, etc that you are looking at you should have 2-3 letters of recommendation from instructors in that area as well as a portfolio prepared.

    Your admissions essay is definitely important and you can work on that by looking at the questions from the common app and answering those. After answering all of them you will see or have a theme that arises and you will likely be able to thread that into any question that is asked. We opted to do individual school applications rather than the common app but used those questions her sophomore & junior year to fine tune her entrance and scholarship essays. We did use the Apply TX as all TX schools use that one.

    We currently live in GA and she did not opt to apply to any GA schools, because of her major and the fact that she really wanted to live in the Midwest or southwest and we let her choose location since she has been moved around coast to coast and also in between without getting to choose! But I would definitely recommend looking at what’s available in your state as almost every program is available in every state and there is lots of money even the private schools have to incentivize students from the home state that we didn’t realize until she was accepted and applying for aid. That was the case for every single school regardless of where or what type of school it was. In state students definitely had an advantage in monies available because the goal is to keep students living and working in their home state. So I would recommend looking in your home state for at least 1-2 schools unless it is just not an option at all.

    Then, remember that you can get a great education at any of your choices once you have narrowed that down. We had a friend that had his list and knew his top choices but was also going to remain practical and go with whoever offered him the most money relative to cost. His personal goal was to be debt free when he graduated with his bachelors because he is planning on med school and eventually will accumulate some debt so wants to minimize that at the front end. Our goal was also for our daughter to remain debt free so that was important to us also as we reviewed financial aid packages.

    Finally, the admissions will come early and then the financial aid offers and scholarship decisions will wait until the last minute for many schools. So for example there are still some people waiting for their aid offers from some schools right now but I believe that the last ones actually will be out by the end of next week. May 1 is called decision day for a reason. 😊 Patience is a virtue for a reason!!

    That said, most students that we know have had enough information since mid March to be able to narrow it down to 2 or maybe 3 and once the financial aid packages are available know their final decisions quickly.

    Be encouraged as it is an exciting, although stressful, turning point in your life. All the best - hope that helps!
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  • SimplysublimeSimplysublime 6 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Portland12- my daughter has very similar stats to yours, and was accepted to 8 of 9 schools she applied to, with merit. I made her transcript, and yes, it did seem arbitrary, but a strong SAT and the AP classes will cancel that out. My recommendation is to interview at every school you apply to that offers it. They will ask you about your homeschooling experience, and you then have the opportunity to tell how you have been able to learn in a variety of ways, become self-directed, etc.- whatever your experience looks like. I get the feeling that colleges like that homeschoolers bring a unique viewpoint and skills, so play that up!
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  • CreeklandCreekland 5553 replies88 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,641 Senior Member
    There are very few colleges that still discriminate against homeschoolers and you shouldn't have that as a problem at all since you have the scores you do to back up your foundation and capability. My lad with similar scores as you went to U Rochester (accepted at 4/5 other places - one waitlist "lottery" school) and is now in med school. Like others, all of my guys received merit aid from their schools - the Research U (U Roc) and the LACs.

    We're odd that I never did course descriptions. Colleges told me I'd only need them if we had a "different" course that wasn't easily understood (vs Pre-Calc, etc). The most "different" one we had would have been "Great Works of Literature" as an English class. Apparently they understood it just fine.

    It's an anecdote, but when we went to an Accepted Students Day and I thanked the Dean of Admissions for considering my current med school lad, he told me they wanted to get more homeschoolers as they found they did very well. They just needed to make sure they could work/function outside of home so looked for scores and other things the students were active in.

    I don't think you need online schools at all TBH. You have the scores to back up your academics. Do you have other extra curriculars you do to add to your application? Work? Clubs? Youth groups? Volunteering? Travel? Sports? Music? (Etc) What do you want to participate in at college? Colleges tend to like students who are interested in something more than academics.
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