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College Admissions and Homeschoolers

by Cafi Cohen

Over the next decade, colleges and universities in the United States could see as many as 225,000 to 350,000 homeschooled applicants - this according to Sean Callaway, a college admissions counselor and homeschooling father. Numbers in the quarter-million range make an impact, and colleges are responding. They are developing specific policies to help them advise and evaluate students taught at home through high school. In addition, many colleges offer programs of specific interest to home educators. Read on to learn more.
 
The National Center for Home Education (NCHE) surveyed colleges in 1999. In February, 2000, they published a report at their website. That report says that 51% of colleges answering their survey have homeschooling policies, up from 41% the previous year. Of those with policies, 68% of colleges treat homeschoolers just like all other applicants. An additional 28% require the same documentation and test scores from homeschoolers as from other applicants - plus a passing score on the GED (General Educational Development) test.
 
According to the NCHE survey, a few colleges discriminate, usually by requiring SAT II Subject Test scores from homeschoolers but not from other applicants. SAT II Subject Tests (formerly called Achievement Tests) are given in high school subjects like biology, Spanish, writing, physics, U.S. history and so on. Usually only very selective colleges such as Harvard and Stanford require these tests -- of all applicants.
 
Unfortunately, a few less selective colleges and universities are now requiring SAT II Subject test scores from homeschoolers, but not from other applicants. Or they require more SAT II scores from homeschoolers. Universities in this category currently include the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame (IN), Rice University (TX), Rhodes College (TN), and University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
 
On the positive side, the NCHE study found that less than 4 percent of colleges and universities they queried are discriminating this way. In general, it seems that homeschooling does not present a significant bar to admissions to the substantial majority of U.S. institutions of higher learning.
 
To confirm this statement, check out the School Is Dead, Learning In Freedom website , where homeschooling father Karl Bunday lists more than one thousand colleges and universities nationwide that have admitted homeschoolers.
 
The list includes colleges in every region of the country, for example: Abilene Christian University (TX), Auburn University (AL), Cedarville College (OH), College of William and Mary (VA), Goddard College (VT), and Sheldon Jackson College (AK).

Homeschool-Friendly Colleges

Some colleges not only treat homeschoolers equitably, their admissions percentages indicate they welcome them with open arms. Last year Stanford University (CA) admitted 27% of their homeschooled applicants, and approximately 13% of their regular applicant pool. Grove City College, a conservative Christian college in Pennsylvania, admitted 64% of their homeschooled applicants and 44% of their regular applicant pool. Thomas Aquinas College (CA) boasts at their website that about 29% of their student body has been homeschooled.
 
Other colleges offer scholarships especially for homeschooled applicants. In this category are Nyack College (NY) and Belhaven College (MS). Bryan College (TN) offers homeschoolers a one-thousand dollar renewable grant for their freshman year.

Such A Deal

Homeschoolers considering colleges should never overlook the "free" colleges. These schools pay either tuition or tuition and room and board -- all expenses of everyone they admit. The trick, of course, is getting in and being willing to live up to work and service commitments that come with the package.
 
Berea College (KY) was set up to help needy students in Appalachia go to college. They meet one-hundred percent of the financial needs of all students with combinations of work-study and financial aid. College of the Ozarks (MO) has a similar arrangement. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (NY) offers free tuition. Deep Springs College, an all-male two-year school on a ranch in the California desert, pays all expenses and transfers most of their graduates to schools such as Harvard and Yale.
 
In addition to these colleges, homeschoolers who are willing to serve time in the military should consider the Air Force Academy (CO), Coast Guard Academy (CT), West Point (NY), and the Naval Academy (MD). These government-funded institutions pay all expenses for four years and expect a pay back of from five to ten years of service. Homeschoolers have been admitted to all the academies. My homeschooled son is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He currently flies F-16's in Korea.

Don't Miss These!

Other colleges offer programs that might be of special interest to home educators. At Antioch College (OH and CA), all students participate in a co-op program. Half their learning occurs in the classroom, half working in the real world. Kettering University (MI), also boasts "professional co-op education with a difference."
 
Bard College (NY) offers highly individualized programs and has made the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) optional for admission. According to FairTest, the Center for Fair and Open Testing, they join 284 colleges and universities that no longer use the SAT.
 
Also in the no-SAT list, you will see Goddard College (VT), which gives no exams or grades. Classes are small discussion groups, and the school appeals to creative, independent spirits. Another winner along these lines is Hampshire College (MA), which has no tests, no grades, no majors. Self-starters who want to design their own programs and rely on papers, self, and teacher evaluations will be happy here.
 
All students at Colorado College (CO) are on block-plan scheduling. They take one course at a time for three to four weeks and then move on to the next course. Homeschoolers who like to study one thing in depth will find compatible spirits here.
 
Self-taught computer experts will want to check out a new school, the DigiPen Institute of Technology (WA and BC, Canada). They offer two-year and four-year degrees for video game programmers and 3-D computer animators. Homeschooled highschoolers should also check out their summer workshops.
 
Drury College (MO) is a church-affiliated school that stresses traditional academics and schedules three-year bachelor's degrees for some majors. Reducing time in college by 25% or more is a great way to save money. University of South Carolina, Spartanburg, and Lake Superior State University (MI) have similar three-year options for certain fields.
 
Several colleges offer "great books" programs. They conduct seminars, rather than classes. Students read original works rather than textbooks. Usually evaluation occurs with portfolio assessment. Many homeschoolers enroll in these programs at schools such as Evergreen State College (WA), St. John's College (MD and NM), and Thomas Aquinas College (CA). At their website, Thomas Aquinas says, "In the 1999-2000 school year, 29 percent of our students had been taught at home."
 
One relatively new college, Patrick Henry College (VA), is accepting their first students this year. They offer a Bible-centered, academically rigorous curriculum and related apprenticeships.
 
Some homeschoolers will want to continue homeschooling for college. They should consider several "virtual" universities. Indiana University School of Continuing Studies (IN) grants associates' and bachelors' degrees. They offer more than 300 courses in 35 academic departments and consider themselves "homeschool friendly." Regents College (NY), with similar programs, awarded more than 5,000 degrees to students worldwide last year. Thomas Edison State College (NJ) grants credit via portfolio review, CLEP (College Level Examination Program) testing, and classes taken elsewhere.
 
Three colleges should be of interest to home educators for their challenging academics, creative approaches, and reasonable prices. Grove City College (PA), a Christian school, emphasizes spiritual as well as intellectual development. At New College of the University of South Florida (FL), students design their own programs. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN) is an engineering school where all students take the same core course the first two years. According to their advertising, "We take our tinker-toys seriously."
 
Some families begin homeschooling because their schools did not adequately deal with their child's learning disability. Although many colleges have programs in place to accommodate learning differences, one institution, in particular, offers programs specifically for this group of students. Landmark College (VT) is a two-year college designed specifically for LD and ADHD students. It's not cheap, but many graduates go on to earn four-year degrees.
 
Finally, is your homeschooler ready for college at any early age? Simon's Rock College is designed for early admissions. Most students enroll after completing 10th or 11th grade.
 
We could go on, but space considerations preclude descriptions of all the special college and university programs of interest to home educators. Please refer to my website, Homeschool-Teens-College for updates. I welcome additions. My email address is cfcohen@pacbell.net.
 
*Antioch College (OH & CA)
800 543-9436; 805 962-8179
http://college.antioch.edu
 
*Bard College (NY)
914 758-7472
http://www.bard.edu
 
*Belhaven College (MS)
800 960-5940
http://www.belhaven.edu
 
*Berea College (KY)
859 985-3000
http://www.berea.edu
 
*Bryan College (TN)
423 775-4021
http://www.bryan.edu
 
*College of the Ozarks (MO)
800 222-0525
http://www.cofo.edu/ozarks.htm
 
*Colorado College (CO)
719 389-6344; 800 542-7214
http://www.cc.colorado.edu
 
*Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (NY)
212 353-4120
http://www.cooper.edu
 
*DigiPen Institute of Technology (WA, BC)
425 558-0299
http://www.digipen.edu
 
*Drury College (MO)
417 865-8731; 800 922-2274
http://www.drury.edu
 
*Evergreen State College (WA)
360 866-6000
http://www.evergreen.edu
 
*Goddard College (VT)
802 454-8311; 800 468-4888
http://www.goddard.edu
 
*Grove City College (PA)
724 458-2100
http://www.gcc.edu
 
*Hampshire College (MA)
413 559-5471
http://www.hampshire.edu
 
*Indiana University School of Continuing Studies (IN)
800 334-1011
http://scs.indiana.edu/
 
*Kettering University (MI)
800 955-4464
http://www.gmi.edu
 
*Landmark College (VT)
802 387-6718
http://www.landmarkcollege.org
 
*New College of the University of South Florida (FL)
941 359-4269
http://www.newcollege.usf.edu
 
*Nyack College (NY)
800 33NYACK
http://www.nyackcollege.edu
 
*Patrick Henry College (VA)
540 338-1776
http://www.phu.edu
 
*Regents College (NY)
888 647-2388
http://www.regents.edu
 
*Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)
812 877-1511; 800 878-7448
http://www.rose-hulman.edu
 
*St. John's College (MD and NM)
410 263-2371; 800 727-9238 (MD)
505 984-6000; 800 331-5232 (NM)
http://www.sjca.edu
 
*Simon's Rock College (MA)
413 528-7317; 800 235-7186
http://www.simons-rock.edu
 
*Thomas Aquinas College (CA)
800 634-9797
http://www.thomasaquinas.edu
 
*Thomas Edison State College (NJ)
609 984-1150
http://www.tesc.edu
 
*University of South Carolina Upstate
864 503-5000
http://www.uscupstate.edu
 
*United States Air Force Academy (CO)
719 333-1110
http://www.usafa.af.mil
 
United States Coast Guard Academy (CT)
860 444-8500
http://www.cga.edu
 
United States Military Academy, West Point (NY)
914 938-4041
http://www.usma.edu
 
United States Naval Academy (MD)
410 293-4361
http://www.nadn.navy.mil
 
Copyright © 2006 Modern Media