Note to homeschool parents: YES! Colleges are taking note of, and accepting applications from, homeschooled students. Your child CAN enter a university with a homeschool high school education! In fact, colleges and universities are becoming accustomed to seeing applications from homeschooled students and many of these institutions are now reviewing applicants on the same level playing field used to evaluate applicants who have diplomas from public high schools.
The list of colleges willing to consider homeschooled applicants is expanding. Here’s a brief summary of the “homeschool applicant” process for 2017 Top Ten Public Universities summarized from each school’s homeschool information web pages:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Students must submit a full transcript documenting their homeschool experience along with their ACT with Writing score OR their SAT score. U of M “strongly encourages” homeschooled students to also provide a subject test, AP exam scores, or grades from an accredited secondary or post-secondary institution. If your student is applying for admission into the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, it’s a good idea to include test scores or graded work from classes in natural science, social studies, and foreign language studies. The College of Engineering is interested in receiving test scores or graded work in calculus, chemistry, and physics. The School of Music, Theatre & Dance requires homeschooled students and online high school students to provide records of progress and results from a minimum of two SAT subject exams and the SAT I writing test.
- University of California, Los Angeles – Homeschooled applicants are asked to determine whether their high school-level homeschool courses are UC approved for satisfying admission requirements (this applies to students who are California residents) or if the courses are considered to be “essentially equivalent” to UC-approved courses (for non-California-resident students). The second qualifier is whether your student was issued an “official high school transcript and diploma through a public school district.” If your response to both of these is “yes, my student’s homeschooling did both,” then he/she can follow the same admission requirements as would a “traditional” California high school applicant. If your child’s homeschooling does not meet the two requirements listed above, their “best option for admission is by examination.”
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA – UV’s “Common Application” includes a section for homeschooled applicants to complete. GOTO https://www.commonapp.org/school/university-virginia, click on “Connect with commonapp” at the bottom of the page and sign in to review the common application used by numerous colleges and universities to screen all applicants, public school or homeschooled.
- University of Texas, Austin – Applicants who were homeschooled must submit a transcript that includes: (1) “Lists of all courses undertaken at each grade level, along with a brief description of the course content and information about the format of the course (classroom, correspondence, online, etc.);” and (2) the signature of a school official “defined as the adult person who was primarily responsible for the education of the student.” Texas Senate Bill 1543 states that non-traditional school applicants (including homeschoolers) “will be assigned a percentile rank compared to the average class rank of students from traditional schools who have equivalent SAT or ACT test scores.”
- University of California, Berkeley – If your student’s high school diploma was issued by a home school, you must satisfy both of the following: (1) high school-level homeschool courses must be UC approved (for CA residents) or must be “essentially equivalent” to UC-approved courses (for out-of-state applicants); and (2) your student was issued an official high school transcript and diploma through a public school district. If your homeschooling experience did both of these things, you should follow the same admission requirements “for students in traditional high schools in California.” If not, you should consider “admission by examination.”
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg – To apply for admission to Virginia Tech, your homeschooled student must complete Virginia Tech’s “High School Completion Status” form. This form provides a list of documents that indicate your student’s high school completion status – you must choose just one of the documents to qualify. The items requesting information specific to home schooling include: (1) “For a homeschooled student in a state where the law requires the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), please provide a copy of that credential.” (2) “For a homeschooled student in a state where the law does NOT require the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), a transcript of the equivalent, signed by the student’s parent or guardian, that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and includes a statement that the student successfully completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting.”
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – UNC’s website specifically states that “We impose no special or extra requirements for our home-schooled applicants.” However, the school does recommend additional methods for successful homeschool-based applications: (1) Take courses in local colleges or community colleges; (2) Join community organizations; (3) provide examples of academic projects such as essays or research papers; (4) provide detailed descriptions of high school level courses taken; (4) include more than one recommendation from a non-family member in your application package; and (5) take and submit with your application results from optional SAT Subject Tests.
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta – Georgia Tech is proud of their tradition of accepting “highly competitive homeschool students from throughout the United States and worldwide.” The school states that their admissions committee “utilizes the same factors as students attending a traditional high school” when reviewing applications from homeschooled students. However, Georgia Tech does differentiate between homeschool programs that are approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) or other regional accrediting agencies and homeschool programs that are not accredited. If your homeschool is SACS accredited, there are no requirements for additional documentation. If your homeschool is not accredited, Virginia Tech’s Admissions Committee “recommends submission of supplementary information to demonstrate academic ability in core academic areas.”
- The University of Illinois at Urbana – The University of Illinois, Urbana admits approximately sixty to seventy homeschooled students each year. All freshman applicants are reviewed on an individual basis. The school does not accept letters of recommendation and will, in fact, remove “any unsolicited materials, including letters of recommendation, from your file before reviewing your application.” The Admissions Committee recommends that to strengthen an application from a homeschooled student, it would be advisable to “augment your home-school experience with some more traditional schooling experiences, such as community or local college coursework or selected courses at a local high school. Taking Advanced Placement exams can confirm that you’re prepared and may also result in earning college credit.”
- University of Wisconsin, Madison – U of W’s application process for homeschooled students “parallels that of traditional high school applicants” and includes taking into account “the variety of settings and situations in which homeschooling can occur.” Transcripts from homeschooled students should include an indication from the homeschool administrator of: (1) which courses are completed and which are still in progress; (2) grades earned for each course; and (3) a brief summary of what was covered in each course. In addition, “if homeschooling has been supplemented by formal coursework either at the secondary school or post-secondary level, official transcripts from the school(s) or college(s) are required.”
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