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Stiff admissions requirements for homeschoolers

Piano/MT MomPiano/MT Mom Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
We are in the process of applying for colleges for our second homeschooled son and are once again running into what I consider unfair requirements. The worst culprit has been University of Michigan. From their website --

"Home-schooled students and students attending unaccredited high schools should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions prior to September of their senior year to determine if additional credentials such as SAT Subject Tests should be submitted."

When I called and asked about my prospective music major son, I was told he would have to take five SatII's. We were told the same thing four years ago when we visited with our National Merit Finalist son.

And this is from Northwestern's website.

"Northwestern recommends that all applicants take three SAT Subject Tests but requires scores from SAT Subject Tests only for applicants to the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), the Integrated Science Program (ISP), and applicants who have been educated at home."

I have looked at most of the Ivies' websites and they do not have such strict requirements. These test requirements are off-putting and unfair.
Post edited by Piano/MT Mom on

Replies to: Stiff admissions requirements for homeschoolers

  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I agree.

    I hadn't heard this about U of Mich and Northwestern before. How disappointing.

    Fortunately, all colleges are not like that, as you have discovered. The only Ivy with special requirements that I've heard of is Columbia.
  • nannan Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    Piano/MT Mom, my homeschooled daughter is a sophmore at NU. I'd be happy to talk more with you about their application process, financial aid, or anything else. I can tell you, everything she did to get admitted was absolutely worth it. It is the perfect school for her.
  • danasdanas Registered User Posts: 1,781 Senior Member
    Special requirements push my buttons.
    If the school is appealing nonetheless, one tactic is to apply anyway without meeting the "requirement". I think I remember a post here from someone whose son or daughter was accepted to Columbia without the extra SAT IIs. My son was admitted to Johns Hopkins without a graded transcript or educator recs., which were, by their website, "required" of home schoolers.
  • Piano/MT MomPiano/MT Mom Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Interesting, I did have that thought. I talked to an admissions person on the phone a couple months ago and they repeated the requirement. So, did you just send in all the materials you had and waited to see what happened? These applications involve auditions as he's looking at music schools. Might be worth a try anyway.
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    As I recall, the one with an acceptance to Columbia had one less SAT II than the school indicated was "required." I think that still meant more than the usual number of tests, however.

    We did have the experience of admissions people orally telling us certain things were required and then getting admission even without them. If something isn't in writing or on the web site, I would be hesitant in accepting what someone says as gospel. For instance, the UNC-CH web site takes a rather "whatever you want to submit" approach to homeschoolers. But when we visited and I asked the question following an informational meeting, the woman told me that they "want to see" 5 SAT IIs, and even told me which ones. My daughter submitted none at all and was accepted. (And went elsewhere ... that will show them :) )

    Perhaps you can ask for a written copy of their homeschool requirements. Or you might email the head of admissions, saying you don't see anything on the school's web site on the subject, you've been told things on the phone, but would like to confirm exactly what the official policy is. If they haven't written it down anywhere, it isn't a policy to my mind.

    And, evidently, even if it is written down, there is wiggle-room at some places.
  • 1q2w1q2w Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    Your daughter submitted none and was accepted? Did she take lots of outside classes or APs?
  • PearlPearl Registered User Posts: 754 Member
    I've looked into most of the desirable schools (desirable in my opinion) in Georgia, and this is common with all of them. Some require 7 SAT IIs so three or even five doesn't seem so bad. (Georgia Tech even has a little quirky thing of requiring specifcally the Chemistry SAT II...they also were different in that they require THREE lab sciences as opposed to two lab sciences like most of the others).

    I think planning for these extra hoops is the most important part. If you know it going in that you will need to do well on three SAT II's and the regular SAT , it's not so bad - finding out about it in senior year is horrible.
  • Piano/MT MomPiano/MT Mom Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Are these requirements specific to homeschoolers or for everybody? Because my complaint is with the special requirements for homeschoolers.I guess I can see tech/science schools wanting proficiency in those subjects.
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    No, my daughter had no APs and few outside classes. She only had two college classes for grades and four others that generated evaluations/recommendations (one by a professional in her proposed field, another by a college instructor). I imagine it was a combination of the ACT scores, the college work, and assorted qualitative information (courses taken and level of materials used, list of works covered, recommendations, essays, sample work product, demonstrated passions) that achieved the acceptances at Brown (where she is currently), Chicago, and UNC-CH (OOS). She didn't get in everywhere she applied; I don't know if the lack of added testing bothered them, albeit unrequired, or whether something else detracted (like the obvious fact that Brown was her first choice, given her going there for two summers and what she wanted to study).

    I did explain in the summary of the home study program why we didn't do the SAT II/AP route, basically to be able to design our own classes rather than try to figure out someone else's.

    Given what she wanted to study, none of the places requiring SAT IIs would have met her needs at all, which is something we knew by her freshman year in high school. None of the SAT II or AP tests were that relevant to her proposed field either.
  • Piano/MT MomPiano/MT Mom Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Hi DianeR. What is your daughter studying? I agree with your thinking about not taking the SAT II/AP route and would love to hear more of how you actually worded your case.

    My son has been taking CC classes while pursuing his passion of classical piano and musical theatre. He's done well academically, but the depth of his energy has gone into his music.
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    She is studying Egyptology and archaeology.

    I'm a pretty prolix person. There is probably a quicker way of expressing it, but what I said:

    "We have chosen the ACT for evaluation because we feel it gives a more straightforward, detailed and comprehensive picture of X's education. We decided against reliance on SAT II tests because prep books could not agree on what was to be covered specifically and, anecdotally at least, it appears that how students do depend on how well the teacher's approach or the curriculum chosen happens to correspond to a particular test. AP tests suffer from the same infirmity. Having "lurked" on a number of list serves for AP teachers, I saw that much discussion was directed to predicting what needed to be covered, what could safely be omitted, and how best to prepare students for the tests. I used what they said in choosing texts, literary works, and other resources, but I chose not to get into the "figuring out what will be on this year's test" game. Moreover, AP tests available did not reflect what X chose to study.

    "I do believe that the following description of X's work, together with her eight ACT subscores and successful outside work in college-level courses, demonstrate her ability to read, listen, understand, analyze, discuss, and write."

    Ouch, way too wordy now I look at it.

    Of course, I have no idea if anyone actually READ any of what I prepared!

    The textbook used were college-level when that was possible, which was explained also.
  • lealdragonlealdragon Registered User Posts: 3,204 Member
    Diane, you said "I" stated.... are you saying that you included a letter from YOU, her mom/teacher, along with her admissions materials? I had thought that all the materials (essays, etc) were to be prepared by the student. There are lots of things I would like to say about my son's education, but wasn't aware that there was a vehicle for me to do that. Did you send it as a "teacher's recommendation" letter, or what?
  • danasdanas Registered User Posts: 1,781 Senior Member
    College admissions applications include a guidance counselor evaluation, which I think most home school parents fill out for their student, or else attach a letter explaining the reasons for home schooling and the methods used.
  • 1q2w1q2w Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    A parent can write the counselor recommendation?
  • danasdanas Registered User Posts: 1,781 Senior Member
    I did, and will this fall for our daughter. I think others do as well, but this is a good occasion to find out if that's the case!
    I haven't assigned grades or attempted to compare my kids with others, but parents can provide details that no guidance counselor of schooled kids could. We can also explain some of the whys and hows of our children's learning. I think this is an aid to admissions people. Like admissions people, most home schooling parents went to formal school themselves. If children have been home schooling from a young age, they know their own experience well, but may have only an uncertain idea of how this has differed from what schooled kids experience. I wouldn't always expect them to be able to communicate the differences well in their application.
This discussion has been closed.