This article, like one of the comments in it concerning transcripts from homeschooled college applicants, is “here, there and everywhere.” While the article does not demean homeschooled applicants, the conclusions reflect ‘what everyone knows’ when that knowledge is a view through school-colored glasses rather than a realistic look at the everyday children who learn outside of school.
Home Schooled Students Rise in Supply and Demand, 7 October 2007, The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required).
This fall Ms. Dutill, who has been home-schooled since kindergarten, is experiencing a classroom for the first time, as a freshman at Cornell University. She is one of thousands of home-schoolers entering colleges and universities around the country.
The first famous homeschooled college freshman started out in 1983. The astonishment should have worn off by now.
As recently as 20 years ago, home schooling was illegal in many states. Today its students are edging toward the mainstream and are eyed by some colleges as a promising niche market.
The “homeschooling was illegal” idea hangs on even though state legislatures did not pass anti-homeschooling laws. State legislatures passed compulsory school attendance laws instead. There was an absence of laws allowing homeschooling, but that is not the same thing as laws prohibiting it. There are no laws allowing people to eat at home, either. The following statements highlight the differences in the viewpoints concerning legality:
- If an activity isn’t specifically allowed, it is forbidden.
- If an activity isn’t specifically forbidden, it is allowed.
Also, the “20 years ago” is a stretch. Yes, court cases about homeschooling were still active after 1987 (the Leeper ruling in Texas comes to mind), but these cases usually affirmed the right to homeschool. The ‘legalization’ of homeschooling was more a matter of affirming the right of parents to educate their children rather than overturning laws that said, ‘Homeschooling is a crime punishable by [insert a punishment].’
“College admissions people are a little like insurance adjusters,” says Mr. Reider, who is now a college counselor at a San Francisco high school. “We don’t want to sell insurance to people who smoke four packs a day.”
Is that why colleges admit freshmen who have a 26% dropout rate?
- Colleges Fight to Stem Growing Attrition, 31 August 1997, The New York Times
Nationwide, 26.9 percent of college freshmen fail to return for their sophomore year, according to American College Testing in Iowa, which tracks college enrollment.
- The Problem of College Attrition, Could Institutions Do More?, 16 April 2003, Harvard Graduate School of Education
The suggestions soon became codified as Stanford’s written policy for home-schooled applicants, earning the university the reputation as one of the first to welcome them. The policy, he says, sent a message to home-schooled students: “We take you seriously. Now meet us halfway.”
The rightness of meeting college admission requirements ‘halfway’ would be more believable if it were not for the 1/4+ of freshman that totals more than the yearly number of possible homeschool graduates. If the acceptable attrition rate of high school graduates is greater than the total possible of homeschool graduates, the requirement that homeschooled graduates must often take SAT II tests in addition to SAT or ACT exams seems to be a double standard.
Other families design their own courses of study. Some students, who identify themselves as “unschoolers,” direct their own learning, according to their individual interests. Translating years of independent study into something that resembles a high-school transcript can be tricky for the home-schooled applicant – and even more challenging for the admissions officer assessing it.
“In many cases their transcript is here, there, and everywhere,” …
Which way do they want it? I remember one of my sons’ best friends struggling with his college application essay to make himself memorable. Most advice about applying to college is to present yourself as an individual, not as ‘just another pretty brain.’ Individualized homeschool transcripts and applications seem to fit that bill.
The application style described in the article reminds me of a cucumber sorting machine where smaller-to-larger spaces between rollers allow easy sorting of differently sized cucumbers. From reading the article, it seems as if the college admissions officers want to be able to roll the applicants down the student-sorting machine and have them fall into their proper bins.
The last hurdle in the admissions process for home-schooled students is persuading colleges that they have the social smarts to get along with their traditionally educated peers.
“There is an assumption that kids who are home-schooled are strange, that their idea of having a good time is sitting in a tree,” says Mr. Reider, the college counselor.
In a 2004 study of college admissions officers’ attitudes toward home-schooled applicants, … the majority of respondents believed that home-schoolers would perform academically as well as their peers, if not better, 35 percent expressed skepticism that home-schoolers had the social skills to cope with college.
Oh, come on. The prejudice of non-homeschoolers is not the fault of homeschoolers. After all the blather spouted by academics about the imagined social skills of homeschoolers, the comments about prejudice against homeschoolers by others shows that institutional students and educrats haven’t been helped by all their years of social exposure.
posted by Valerie