Should I Home School???

<p>Im a high school sophmore. Ive been considering being home schooled or cyber school. Im just wonding if that will help or hurt my chances of being accepted to a good college (like University of Pittsburgh or University of Pennsylvania), then being accepted to a medical school. I go to high school in a small town, the school doesnt really offer any extra or AP classes. My friend is being cyber school, she is taking Latin, anatomy and other classes that arnt offered at the high school. The downside would not being in the nation honor society, band, or FBLA. So, overall would being homeschooled hurt or help me getting into college????</p>

<p>I am not exactly a knowledgeable source on this topic. However, I have many friends who are home schooled and I go to a private college prep school. Not to brag, but my chances of being accepted to Penn are far greater than theirs. I would tough it out and stay in the high school you currently attend for the next 2 years. That's just my opinion. Nothing against homeschooling, but from a school like Penn's perspective, I don't think homeschooling would make you a very appealing candidate for acceptance.</p>

<p>Ok, thanks for the advice. I thought maybe it would better my chances if i took a lot of extra and more advanced classes than those offered at the High School.</p>

<p>We're also rural and in PA. Our local high school does not offer much and what they do offer is below my academic standards. A student getting 1500 - 1800 on their SAT is considered really high. The highest ACT score I can recall was a 28. I pulled my guys out to homeschool when they reached high school and, so far, they have far surpassed their academic peers. My middle son is using Pitt as a safety (this year). When I mentioned that at our guidance office one of the counselors asked me to repeat what I just said, so I did. Then he said, "I've never heard of anyone considering Pitt - main campus - as a safety before!"</p>

<p>That said, for Pitt (or Penn St or Temple) you'll need to go with some organization that offers a third person oversight for your transcript. My guy got accepted (with merit aid) without it, but since we can't provide it, we're no longer even considering Pitt. They sent us a letter stating we'd need to provide one by the beginning of 2nd semester or they wouldn't guarantee he could take spring classes. It was really strange... but I posted the actual letter on a different homeschooler message board so other homeschoolers can beware.</p>

<p>None of his other schools require that. We're sticking with them. If you stay with a third party option, you'd be ok for Pitt.</p>

<p>In my online homeschooling circle homeschoolers have gotten into all sorts of colleges including Ivies, MIT, Stanford, etc. Is homeschooling an asset? Compared to a lower academic school, I'd say yes.</p>

<p>Creekland, it's possible to create your own transcript. Most colleges accept homeschooled transcripts. Sometimes they ask that they be notarized. </p>

<p>Leafonthewind, Homeschooling won't hurt your chances of being accepted to a top college at all, but you have to put a lot of planning into it. If you are frustrated and not being challenged at your school, you should look into it, but your parents would have to be on board. There are more options than just cyber school. There are other EC's you could pursue than ones offered in traditional schools. On the other hand, colleges take into consideration what options are available at your local schools. We're told they look to see if you've taken the most challenging courses available and done well in them, but your SAT/ACT scores need to be good. Also keep in mind that you can get into medical school without going to a "top rated" college.</p>

<p>We have an "official" transcript signed by us. That's not a problem. The problem with Pitt is that they want one overseen by a third party. We don't have that and I'm not going to pay for one. While, with my guy's stats, it would probably be a formality to get "permission" from the dean the whole thing just turns me OFF, especially when other schools he's interested in have no such issue. Pitt, IMO, is not homeschooler friendly.</p>

<p>Here's their letter:</p>

<p>Thank you for your interest in the University of Pittsburgh. Each year, we offer admission to a number of home-schooled students such as you. We're writing to you now to address some of the questions that often arise from home schooled applicants and to ask that you complete and submit the enclosed form to provide the admissions committee with the information they need. Enclosed is an information sheet outlining some basic requirements for home schooled applicants.</p>

<p>One challenge for our admissions committee is to assess the records of home schooled applicants compared with those of students being educated in more traditional environments. If your home schooling is being done in conjunction with a school district or with a home-schooling association that provides transcripts with classes and grades on them and will award you a diploma, our evaluation of your record will probably be straight forward. If your home schooling is being done at home independent of affiliation with such an organization, you will be asked to provide end-of-year evaluations by a state-approved administrator or third party.</p>

<p>Should your school district or state not require an evaluation from a state-approved administrator or third party, the committee will need you to provide information from your school district or state that outlines what is needed to fulfill high school requirements and earn a diploma, if diplomas are awarded to home schooled students. Home schooling regulations vary from district to district and state to state and researching such differences is beyond the scope of our staff, so the provision of the information which has informed your educational choices needs to come from you or your family.</p>

<p>Another challenge for some students is the University requirement that admitted, deposited students submit a final official high school transcript showing date of graduation. If your state or district does not provide for that, we will again need information outlining the policies of the home schooling plan you have undertaken. Once we have this information, we will consult the Dean of the school in which you're interested, to determine whether there is an acceptable alternative to this requirement. Admitted students who cannot provide a final high school transcript showing date of graduation or its equivalent are not able to register for the spring term, without a resolution of this question, though they are able to register for the fall term.</p>

<h2>Please review our information sheet and response form and if you are not able to provide what is described, submit the information that you feel will best describe your home schooling plan, along with whatever is applicable on the response form.</h2>

<p>This is from their forms accompanying the letter:</p>

<p>To support the admissions application, we need either:</p>

<ol>
<li>a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,</li>
<li>documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,</li>
<li>the SAT I or ACT test results.</li>
</ol>

<hr>

<p>(We have #3 (top 1%) and our own transcript along with some cc class grades and a 5 on an AP test from last year.)</p>

<p>To each our own. We're sticking with homeschool friendly colleges. There are plenty to choose from. Pitt just doesn't make that list. My guy got accepted there - with merit aid and Honors College, etc, but, hey, he might not be as "educated" as his ps peers, so without that third party transcript... ;)</p>

<p>In my son's case, I think being a homeschooler helped him. He applied to very selective (non-ivy, but same caliber) schools, and was accepted at a high rate. I think that at those schools where there are more qualified applicants than there are spaces, something that makes you stand out helps, and being a homeschooler helps you stand out. </p>

<p>You have to make sure you take advantage of the opportunities, though. You may not be able to be in FBLA (but are you SURE about that?), but there are other opportunities available to the general public, like Toastmasters, entrepeneur groups, volunteer work... You also need to make sure you can keep working without the pressure of homework due tomorrow - are you motivated enough to work more on your own? And you'll need to find letters of recommendation, so taking a few classes at a community college or some other place with real teachers who know you is very important.</p>

<p>We also made our own transcript, signed only by mom & dad. No school asked for notarization or anything else. He was accepted to Caltech, Rice, Mudd, Rose Hulman, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado College, and Case Western, and waitlisted (then rejected) at WUStL. That's a lotta good schools with no problem with homeschoolers.</p>

<p>@Creekland - BOOO HIISSSSS! Can I copy that and post it on other groups I'm in?</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Creekland, that is ridiculous. I'm sure with a little effort, you could get that waived, but I completely understand not wanting to. As I posted in another thread, my dds refused to continue to look at Bryn Mawr because of the additional requirements for homeschoolers: a RESEARCH PAPER with evaluator notes, an additional essay, and required interview (merely suggested for other applicants). These kind of requirements are rare, but obviously there are some schools that are not homeschool friendly. For what it's worth, we were never asked for anything like that from the schools dd#1 applied to and was accepted (UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, Texas A&M, University of Dallas).</p>

<p>
[quote]
@Creekland - BOOO HIISSSSS! Can I copy that and post it on other groups I'm in?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Absolutely. They sent the letter so it's public domain IMO. I typed it word for word. The more homeschoolers that know, the more they can avoid the schools that aren't homeschooler friendly - or - be prepared ahead of time for what they are going to need.</p>

<p>We had asked Pitt if they needed anything special BEFORE my guy applied and were told they didn't. He could have saved time and effort on the essays and we could have saved $$ from a visit.</p>

<p>None of his other schools have required anything extra - at least - not to that extent. I think one wanted an extra Letter of Recommendation, but that's no big deal.</p>

<p>
[quote]
None of his other schools have required anything extra - at least - not to that extent. I think one wanted an extra Letter of Recommendation, but that's no big deal.

[/quote]
One of my son's colleges said they needed an onsite visit, but waived that for a travelling admissions officer visit in our town. And I think that was his only extra.</p>

<p>Middle son reminded me that one of his schools required an interview for homeschooling students, but just recommended interviews for others. It really didn't change anything we would have done as we had him interview anywhere it was possible anyway.</p>

<p>Oldest son didn't have any special requirements from the schools (all private LAC) he applied to. He got accepted at all three and is at his first choice school with great merit aid. He's also been on the Dean's List all three semesters he's been there.</p>

<p>Another thing to consider is how self-disciplined are you? My oldest one is doing many classes that are not offered at our local high school. He is getting good grades and good exam scores, but he is very self-disciplined. He likes deadlines and enjoys studying on his own. My middle son does better doing dual credit courses with an actual instructor. He doesn't have the same level of self-discipline.</p>

<p>As far as extra-curricular, I don't think it will hurt as long as you find other ways to get involved. For instance, my daughter is a violin player so when she gets to high school she can play in the youth orchestra and community orchestra.. You could play in your church band/orchestra. You could put your time into community service organizations. You could belong to what you are passionate about, which might be better than typical high school organizations.</p>

<p>Good luck with your decision!!!</p>

<p>Creekland,</p>

<p>My son got the same letter from Pitt. At first, I was ready to write them off, too. If I recall correctly, what I finally did was simply send the letter back and say that, in our state, no outside evaluator is required. I think that was it! I just decided to send it back to them like that. Now, I did have my son's community college transcripts sent in addition to our transcripts.</p>

<p>After all that was done, he was notified that he had received the full tuition scholarship and was nominated for the Chancellor's Scholarship, and he's still waiting to hear if he's a finalist.</p>

<p>I was totally ready to write them off because of that darn letter but I thought to go ahead and just tell them we do it differently in our state.</p>

<p>My son will probably not end up there but he does really love Pittsburgh. If he's not a finalist, he will probably withdraw his application since he has better aid elsewhere.</p>

<p>My guy is accepted there (Honors College) with merit aid. Evidently, they didn't need the form returned at all to make the acceptance or merit aid decision.</p>

<p>The paragraph that bugs me is this one:</p>

<p>
[quote]
Another challenge for some students is the University requirement that admitted, deposited students submit a final official high school transcript showing date of graduation. If your state or district does not provide for that, we will again need information outlining the policies of the home schooling plan you have undertaken. Once we have this information, we will consult the Dean of the school in which you're interested, to determine whether there is an acceptable alternative to this requirement. Admitted students who cannot provide a final high school transcript showing date of graduation or its equivalent are not able to register for the spring term, without a resolution of this question, though they are able to register for the fall term.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>coupled with this:</p>

<p>
[quote]
1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator,

[/quote]
</p>

<p>We don't have it and while I could spend a bit to "buy" one I'm not going to. I don't want my guy to attend fall classes, then be hassled before he can attend spring classes even if the hassle is a formality.</p>

<p>My guy just got another acceptance yesterday and has two more he's waiting on (March for those). Since he wants Pre-Med, he'll likely be going to the place that offers him the most money as he can see himself pretty much anywhere he applied. In general though, Pitt was last on his list after the visits. He almost didn't apply - except the application was free and I wanted a safety. He'd love to go to med school there, but didn't see much that appealed to him for undergrad. If he were in love with the place, I might be willing to jump through more hoops knowing it was just going to be a formality.</p>

<p>Had they needed the original form back to accept him he would just just discontinued his application. It was the final negative crossing them off his list completely.</p>

<p>And I still think future homeschool applicants should beware. How would you plan on getting them a third party approved final transcript so your guy could attend spring semester?</p>

<p>Oh yeah, I forgot about that! Community college??? Who knows!</p>

<p>Well, my gut says my son will end up at the Ivy that he's accepted to (the financial assistance is very generous), but we won't know until April.</p>

<p>The med school at Pitt, I understand, is tremendous. Good for your son for wanting to pursue medicine!</p>

<p>
[quote]
The med school at Pitt, I understand, is tremendous. Good for your son for wanting to pursue medicine!

[/quote]
</p>

<p>From the little bit we saw of it (on Medicine Day) and a ton of what we hear about it, their med school looked tremendous. This guy has been telling us he wants to be a doctor since third grade and has only wavered when he's considered medical research instead. Time will tell what he decides when he's really out there. I'm not writing anything in stone, but he's starting toward what he thinks he wants. ;)</p>

<p>The choice is up to you. Homeschooling doesn't help or hurt your chances of getting into a good college. It's what you make of it. Keep in mind that colleges will expect you to have challenged yourself and created your own opportunities as a homeschooler. You won't be able to say, "Well my school didn't offer that," because homeschool offers whatever you and your family decide it does. Most of the top homeschooled students in the country have taken both AP courses and community college courses. And if they have any interests, they have pursued them aggressively both on their own and within the community. There may be no NHS, but there are still honor societies homeschoolers can join, or you can take courses at a local college and join there honor society. There might be a homeschool band in your area, or you can start one of your own. You can't join FBLA, but you can start your own business or work for someone else's.</p>

<p>Cyber school is similar in some ways. Often students of cyber schools are still part of the homeschooling community and so will be expected to participate in homeschool ECs or start their own. Cyber school can also limit your options as you can't create your own classes. And many cyber schools are not very good quality. Statewide public ones tend to be pretty good, for-profit, not so much. I have friends who love it. I personally took one class on Florida Virtual School and hated it. It's relative.</p>