NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

When Home Schoolers Apply To Colleges

November 11, 1999

How do youths who have been educated at home by their parents fare when they apply to colleges and universities? After all, they lack the kinds of credentials that students from public and private schools routinely provide. That makes it difficult for admissions officials to evaluate them.

By and large, however, the officials welcome them and try to treat them fairly, observers report. Schools are developing guidelines for analyzing home-schoolers -- frequently relying on standardized tests, such as the SAT.

  • Estimates of the numbers of those taught at home last year vary from 1.1 million to 1.7 million -- with the growth rate estimated at 5 percent to 15 percent.
  • Sean Callaway, a college placement adviser at Pace University and a home-schooling parent, advises other parents to document everything -- including reading lists, participation in civic programs and volunteer work.
  • Also, he recommends visiting home-schooling fairs, where colleges that are home-schooler friendly often set up booths, and contacting colleges early in the process since many admissions offices don't know how to find home-schoolers.

Finally, in the application, the parents should include a letter explaining why they chose home instruction and prepare the student for the same question in interviews.

Source: Mary Beth Marklein, "Home-Schooled Applicants Raise Entrance Issues," USA Today, November 11, 1999.


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