Homeschool (Unschool) to College - decisions for CA CSUs and UCs

I wrote this for a “California Homeschool to College” Facebook group I’m in, and thought I would share it here for others.

My son’s journey - unschooler who homeschools through a Public School Affidavit in California - applying to California public colleges as a freshman to major in Computer Science.

His info:

PSA homeschooler all 4 years of “high school”

Attended Community College most semesters all 4 years (1-3 classes per semester) as a dual enrollment student. (In CA it is free for high school students to take CC classes up to a certain credit limit.)

Will have completed 62.5 units (two classes not transferable - a math class and an English class) by end of Senior year

4.0 GPA in all college courses

One Cal State listed his CSU weighted GPA as 4.36 (not sure how they got that…I get higher)

Most A-Gs completed with CC coursework, except two years of history and two years of English. Two extra years of math, and three extra "college prep electives” completed. (Note that since he completed English 1A at the community college, that should take care of the whole English requirement, if I’m understanding that correctly.)

History and other English courses done in our homeschool, not A-G approved.

Did not issue grades for homeschool courses

No outstanding ECs. Just took his normal stuff - travel, building computers, programming projects, etc. - and made them his ECs

Essays (for UCs) were about life as an unschooler, having dyslexia, love of programming, and about being an autodidact.

Note that he is a true unschooler in that he never attended school until CC, which he started at age 15, and never did any academics until then with the exception of Barton tutoring, started at age 14, and math self-study through Khan Academy around age 15 or so. He learned to write essays by writing his first in a History of Animation class (transferable college class) at age 16, and then in a college writing class (non-transferable) at age 17.

Completed CC courses: English up through 1A, Math up through 3-course Calculus series, two lab sciences (Physics and Biology), ASL for "Language Other than English, 4 Computer Science courses, and previously mentioned History of Animation course (meeting Visual Arts requirement)

College decisions:

UC Santa Cruz - to CS
UC Irvine - to Undeclared
UC Riverside - to CS
UC San Diego - to Mathematics and Computer Science (which was his first choice) - with Regents Scholarship
Cal Poly Pomona - to CS

UC Santa Barbara - accepted waitlist
UC Davis - (did not write the essay to accept waitlist only because by then had the UCSD with Regents decision. Had really been interested in Davis.)

UC Berkeley
UC Los Angeles
Cal Poly SLO
Cal State Long Beach
San Jose State
San Diego State
San Francisco State

Received “denial” from SJSU, saying his “application (was) withdrawn for failure to meet A-G requirements.”

Appealed, explaining that as a homeschool student he doesn’t have to meet A-G requirements because our homeschool does not offer them, but that he did, in fact, do history and English, just in our homeschool. All transcripts sent with appeal.

They wrote asking, “Did you take history?”

He wrote back saying, “Yeah, I did. In my homeschool.”

They wrote back saying, “So you didn’t take history?”

He wrote back saying, “Yes, see, in my homeschool, there on the transcript you have in your hand.” (Ok, not exactly like that.)

Eventually he just got a standard denial.

Discussion/more info:
All but, I think, one CSU requested transcripts during their review. None of the UCs did.

All we can say is thank goodness for the UCs and their holistic admissions. Also, we probably could’ve appealed all the CSU denials, because we suspect that some were for, essentially, the same reason, not meeting A-G requirements. But the CSUs are competitive too, especially in CS, but stats-wise he was competitive for all of them. We did not appeal the CSU denials (besides SJSU), because by the time they came in, he already was getting good choices from the UCs.

Son is 90% decided on UCSD. Still wonders if CC to transfer might be a way to go to save money. (As a kid who never had typical school experiences, we support him going straight to a 4-year, especially since he can probably graduate in three years.) While CC to transfer has more favorable admissions outcomes for most, that is not the case with his major, and he could end up with the same outcomes (at the UCs anyway) or worse, and might not get another shot at the Regents Scholarship.


Great Story, He is going to LOVE UCSD. Having doubts at this stage is perfectly natural.


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