Homeschool Apps Jump
Tuesday, February 22, 2000 By AMY L. KOVAC Four students in the Class of 2003 (Stanford University) were admitted to Stanford even though they never graduated from high school. These students, along with a growing number of American students, were home-schooled and are causing a stir in the admissions offices of colleges and universities.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, home-schooled students across the nation are scoring so well on standardized tests, including the SATs, that colleges must take notice. Many schools are modifying admissions processes to accommodate the lack of high school transcripts and other documentation that home-schoolers do not possess.
This is true at Stanford, where the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has just begun to organize and systematically track home-schooled applicants.
According to Jon Reider, senior associate director of Admissions fifteen home-schooled students applied for admission to Stanford last year; four were admitted and joined the 1999-2000 freshmen class. This amounts to a 27 percent acceptance rate for home-schoolers, nearly double the overall acceptance rate. This year Stanford has 36 home-schooled applicants, but because the Admissions Office has not finished the admissions process, the acceptance rate is still unknown.
Because of an increase in applications from home-schooled students, the Admissions Office’s Web page now ?The normal criteria of admissions are applied to them,? Reider said. ?The unusual part is the secondary school report because this is filled out by their parents. It can be challenging for parents to write about their kids’ development and to be objective, but some are really good at this.?
Because of the lack of quantitative information, test scores play a large role in Stanford’s evaluation of these students. It also helps if the students have attended community college courses or have had tutors who can give perspectives different from those of the applicants’ parents.?Usually the home-schoolers that we see are well-motivated,? Reider said. ?The key is to articulate that in the application.?Becca Hall and Tim Stonehocker, both freshmen, were home-schooled.
Hall chose home-schooling on her own.
?I did the kind of home-schooling called ‘unschooling’ which basically means that my curriculum was interest-led,? said Hall. ?I did pretty much everything on my own. I was not really taught by anyone ? it was more like independent study.? When applying to college, Hall and her parents hired a guidance counselor to help them research schools and admissions processes.
For Hall, the most difficult part of the process was putting together a transcript. ?Instead of providing a transcript, I did a summary of everything that I studied,? Hall said. ?But the Stanford application was good because of all the essays where I could provide additional information.? ?In coming to Stanford, I thought it might be hard because I would have people telling me what to do, but it isn’t that bad because I am here because I want to be here, and if I don’t want to be here, I can leave,? Hall said.
Stonehocker and his family devoted a lot of time to researching what information colleges expect in students’ applications. Their two main resources were their local public high school and Wheaton College in Illinois. Because the surrounding area has a high number of home-schooled students, Wheaton holds workshops that help home-schoolers understand what colleges are looking for in the admissions process. ?I spent a lot of time writing the essay, taking the time to learn about what they wanted to know about me and how I should present myself,? Stonehocker said. ?Probably the only thing that was much different was having to compile a list of my classes. I did some correspondence work and took some classes from a local private high school, so I did receive grades from other institutions to help supplement my transcript.? Because ?home-schooling taught me to manage my time and to work at my own pace in order to get the work done,? the transition to college was not difficult, Stonehocker said.
Reprinted from The Stanford Daily Online Newsletter