Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homeschoolers and College -- Part 1: Yes, College Is an Option

     "Most homeschoolers don't go to college, do they?  Won't homeschooling be a problem for college?"
     Since my son is now in the seventh grade, two different people have asked me about homeschooling and college in the last month, so I thought I'd allay any fears that anyone may have concerning homeschoolers going to college and then offer some tips for homeschooling parents.  
     Many years ago, being homeschooled limited college choices.  Universities didn't know what to do with homeschoolers who applied.  Not so anymore.  According to the HSLDA website, "Many colleges are now familiar with homeschooling in general, and most of them have already admitted homeschooled students. Some colleges even have admissions officers who specifically review homeschooled students’ applications. Record keeping is important during the high school years, so that you can provide admissions officers with an accurate account of the courses that your child has completed in high school. Most colleges require either SAT or ACT test scores for admission."
     Estimates suggest that there are approximately 2 million home educated students in grades K-12, and homeschooling is the fastest-growing education choice.  (Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., Facts on Homeschoooling).  Therefore, most universities and colleges have implemented policies for homeschooled applicants.  Google "university homeschool applicants," and you'll see what I mean.
     However, the question remains:  How do homeschoolers do in college?  Does homeschooling hinder performance?   "Can Homeschoolers Do Well in College?" on had some very positive things to say about homeschoolers and their college experience.  This article, written on July 20, 2010, states  "A new study published in The Journal of College Admission suggests that homeschool students enjoy higher ACT scores, grade point averages and graduation rates compared with other college students."   Another article, "New Study Shows Homeschoolers Succeeding in College", also gives evidence that homeschooled students do well in college.
     Many home-educated students are used to educational independence by the time they are in high school.  In addition, contrary to the socialization argument, many homeschoolers  are very comfortable interacting with adults and therefore, college professors and administrators.  According to a nationwide survey released in 1997 by Dr. Irene Prue, Assistant Director of Admission of Georgia Southern University, "Homeschoolers are academically, emotionally, and socially prepared to succeed at college."  Of course, this is not the case for 100 percent of homeschooled students, and I am not advocating that all homeschoolers will definitely do well in college.  However, for the diligent homeschooled student who shows an aptitude for and desire to attend college, don't worry.  A homeschooled student can do just as well in college as a tradionally-schooled student.
     So, the answers are, "Many homeschoolers DO go to college," and "No, homeschooling (as a school choice) does not by nature hinder potential college success."  However, getting to college is different for homeschoolers.
To be continued... See Homeschoolers and College -- Part 2:  Tips for Parents of Middle Schoolers

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