Colleges and homeschooled students themselves report that the transition into the time-management and self-study of college life is seamless. Why? Because it closely mirrors their high school years.
Crucially, recent studies show that homeschooled students perform better at university. Another 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.
If your child has spent time successfully directing his/her own studies, they are going to find the transition to university life easier.
Universities have had great outcomes with the home educated student. They are a new “identity group” with a great track record for academic performance and maturity on the campuses.
While visiting colleges …
I have been on over 40 college campuses and have sat through countless information sessions and I always, always ask the college how they view home school applicants.
Here is what I have learned from direct experience as a college counselor but also from the varied responses to this question during college visit info sessions:
The top universities love home educated students. In university info sessions, admissions staff all describe the home educated students as having an easier transition to the academic demand because they have had experience in managing their own workloads and schedules. Additionally, I often hear the comment (most recently from a Princeton admissions dept) that home educated kids know how to read around a curriculum. In other words, if a professor’s explanations and lectures are not enough, and if the textbook doesn’t help either, the previously homeschooled student knows how to use multiple other sources in order to gain an understanding on their own; they are already practiced in doing this.
During the college application process (using the Common Application), it has been my experience that home educated students who apply to state schools are given a harder time than students who apply to top private schools. Some state schools grill parents for more details on the coursework the student directed himself, even though the student may have very high standardized test scores. Each year this situation improves as more home educated students apply to college. Highly competitive universities, on the other hand, assume that if a student (home educated or not) is applying to their school, that student has had a compelling high school education accompanied with very high standardized test scores. Regardless where you plan to apply, it helps to keep good records.
If your teen chooses to direct his/her own education through high school, you will experience some profiling and prejudice. Even with countless accolades and praise from college professors, many people hold onto a biased, cartoonish view of home education. It is the nature of a bias. Biases endure and persist in the face of mountains of evidence contradicting these tightly held views. This is regrettable, but something with which home educators have contended with for many years.
The demographics of homeschooling has changed dramatically in the past two decades. Increasingly, elite athletes, superb musicians, child actors and actresses, future scientists and mathematicians, teen authors, and advanced coders can be found in homeschool circles. When a young person demonstrates a unique talent, they just don’t have time for school. Parents are wising up. In an increasingly competitive world and an increasingly dangerous and unhealthful environment in the school, learning at home makes so much sense. The families of talented kids realize that school is a waste of time and that it takes valuable time away from developing their child’s special talent.
There is also an interest in ultra-learning. A student with passion and interest can plow through three years of math or science in just 6 months. Natural learning happens in both little sips and giant gulps, but only if you are in a natural learning environment. Schools cannot accommodate this. If a student wants extra time or less time, there is little that can be done. There is no better way for a student to find her learning stride than home education. When the student is at the wheel, self-directing her learning, she will acquire skills that transfer immediately to life in the real world and life in college.
It is amazing what you can accomplish when you have the liberty to do what you want each and every day. It is a powerful thing in a child’s life. It is even more powerful in the life of a high school teenager because they are able to get more sleep – a critically important feature of learning and of mental health. Taking ownership over one’s education develops maturity, and a sense of personal agency, which serves these young people their entire lives.
Finally, teens who do not attend high school are missing all of the nonsense that takes place in schools – bullying, conformity in thought and dress, homogenized curricula, rigid schedules, negative socialization and group think – just to name a few. Although it is hard to quantify, there is great value in all that is MISSED by not attending a school through the teen years. Often, it is what the student does not get (by not attending school) that enables him to excel as a DIY learner and well-adjusted young adult.