We hear a lot that ‘home-schooling’ or ‘Individualized Learning’ is on the rise in the U.S. There are now a stack of resources available to parents who prefer a home-based, one-on-one approach to education. Unfortunately, despite evidence that home-schooled students perform better on tests like SATs, it can still be tricky to get into certain colleges or university as a home-schooled individual. Apparently students are often asked more questions by university admissions’ departments.
The good news is that things are getting better! Lots of terrific universities, such as the American University of Sharjah, now have web pages for Home Schooled Students, outlining admission rules and policies. However, some institutions’ entry/admission policies vary. And some places don’t mention anything! This is kind of frustrating. But, from what I’ve read about the subject, if you want to give a home-schooled student the best chance of university entrance, think about the following:
Start record keeping now
Most colleges and universities expect a written transcript of the students’ academic achievements. Since a tra
nscript usually comes from an independent, objective source – i.e. the school! – home-schooled students’ transcripts could be subject to even more scrutiny. As a parent, you’ll be responsible for providing a VERY thorough transcript – so start meticulously recording all data now.
Grades matter even more
According to National Association for College Admission Counseling, a home-schooled person’s SAT or ACT scores matter even more. This is because test scores are pretty much the only formal way of comparing the home-schooled student’s academic ability to the ‘traditional’ student. So, set aside extra time to prep for these all-important tests!
Consider formal Advanced Placement exams to earn extra credits
Lots of formal organizations like K-12 offer Advanced Placement (AP) ‘college-level’ courses and exams to help earn extra university credits. There are a tonne of career-specific courses for every type of home-schooled student – from Accounting through to Marketing through to STEM-related courses. These provide a great foundation for college-bound students.
A portfolio might help
It’s not just about the student’s academic achievements: lots of colleges and universities look for a repertoire of competencies and might even ask for a portfolio. Start collating samples of projects or papers on which the student has worked.
Proof of “socialization” counts!
It’s a big myth that home-schooled individuals don’t have great social skills. It’s worth going the extra mile to prove the student’s ‘socialization’. Supply evidence of social activities, leadership skills or participation in group activities. Basically anything that will convince Admission Officers that the student can adapt to campus life!
If in doubt, ask!
It’s worth directly asking the college or university what they expect from a home-schooled student’s application. You can also find advice from some excellent organizations, including The Home School Legal Defense Association (which also provides a list of home-school-friendly colleges and universities).
Finally….good luck with the application process!