How can homeschooled students stand out?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

How can homeschooled students stand out?

Joel Hart
Regional Director of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

How can homeschooled students stand out?

Here is my video response to the question.

Beth Wiser
Director of Admissions University of Vermont

How can homeschooled students stand out?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Homeschooled Students

The College Board points out that homeschooled students not only have to complete the same requirements as other students, but they may be scrutinzed more carefully. For example, depending on the college, they may need to demonstrate proficiency through scores on SAT Subject Tests. Recommendations are another item that a homeschooled student needs to submit. This means that they should be sure to engage in activities outside the home so that they have a source of such recommendations. Homeschooled students may try to enter competitions in debate or sciences which will allow them to shine versus students who attend traditional schools. Moreover, essays of homeschooled students should be stellar, especially if that student is hoping for a spot at a very competitive public or private university. Admissions officers will hold them to a high standard.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Be polished

Many colleges have supplemental applications for home schoolers. My advice is to make sure that you are able to back up your education with an outside source. Have you published a research project? I recommend finding a person in your community who may have worked with you on a project or a tutor with an academic background to provide a letter of recommendation for you. Don't be shy to submit a piece of graded academic work to shine light on your academic abilities. Your schooling has taken you on a different path than most high school applicants. Pull out your strengths and weave them into your application.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Advice and information for continuing education students who want to transfer colleges

Students who may have been rejected from an elite school applying straight out of high school have typically relied on high acceptance rates to top tier schools as transfer students. In the past few years, however, many competitive colleges have cut back on the number of transfer applicants they accept. Some schools, such as Harvard and Princeton, have entirely shut their doors to transfer students, simply because they do not have room for new students. Among the Ivy League and other highly competitive schools, the rate of transfer admissions has dropped by nearly fifty percent in the past 10 years. The drop in acceptance rates for transfer students is occurring for multiple reasons. First, many elite schools retain the majority of their students each year, so less room is available for transfers. Also, just as more students are applying to college each year, a greater number of students are attempting to transfer. The pressure to attend a top college drives many students to look for a second chance after they were denied the first time. There is hope, though. Some schools seek transfer students in an effort to enrich their campuses. Cornell, M.I.T., Georgetown, and Notre Dame admitted more transfer applicants than freshman last year. Vanderbilt traditionally accepts fifty-five percent of transfers and only twenty-five percent of freshman applicants. Transfer students are especially appealing to colleges because the students possess more life experience than students applying straight out of high school. Transfer students bring maturity, worldliness, and complexity to the college campus. Students hoping to transfer must maintain an excellent academic record by earning at least a 3.5 GPA. Those students who excel at community college are faring exceptionally well as transfer students. Another key ingredient to increasing the odds of being accepted as a transfer students is the application essay. Students must illustrate compelling reasons for seeking to transfer and insight into their experiences.

David Allen
Managing Director Global College Counselors Ltd

They already do

The simple answer to this in my opinion is that they already do - homeschools students by their very nature are not your run of the mill high schoolers. Try to enhance your application by talking about the challenges of being homeschooled and how you have over come them, what additional opportunities have you had that a typical HS student didn't have, how have you been able to socialise outside of your school days etc

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

How can homeschooled students stand out?

In some respects, homeschooled students stand out because they are homeschooled! Many college admissions offices now have counselors who are specially designated homeschool admissions folks! That said -- you can just rely on your homeschool status alone. Like all applicants, you will stand out if you follow your authentic and genuine personal interests and pursue them with dedication and passion.

Nicholas Umphrey

the homeschooling dilemma

Professionally I work in a private college preparatory school. Personally, my wife and I home school our elementary school aged son. We are well aware of the various attitudes conveyed toward home schooled youth. In our case, it is the ideal way for our son to learn, and I know parents who home school believe that for their children as well. Some schools ask for portfolios to show what they have learned, but in general, most home schooled students wanting to attend a four year college need to take an SAT or ACT. Standardized scores on these exams give the schools more objective data as to what a home schooled student's abilities are. Since most homeschool curriculum is of an alternative educational nature, there is a lot of experiential learning and travel involved that does not always happen in public and private schools due to lack of funding and resources. If these experiences can be highlighted in an application, standing out is easy.

็Ž‹ๆ–‡ๅ› June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

very difficult especially if you are miniority student

I had one Chinese family provided homeschool for three of the four children and the oldest boy went to highly selective college from the local public school. the colleges may ask questions about the quality of education at home largely related to the parent's education level and background including moniority considerations.

Melanie Hayes
Educational Consultant Gifted/Talented

Life Experience

Homeschooled students have a great opportunity to stand out in the application process. The very nature of homeschooling allows you to specialize in your area of interest. I often see students who have accomplished amazing things during their homeschooling years, from creating winning apps to running a successful egg farm. Many homeschoolers are very good at self directing, they have often designed their own coursework, set their schedules and deadlines, and reached for exceptional goals. That is what the colleges and universities are looking for: self directed, disciplined, diverse students. When you go out into the world and shine, your alma mater looks pretty good. So apply to schools that have programs which match your passion and emphasize what you have done to pursue that passion. The whole point of higher education is to give you the skills to pursue your dreams. Make sure the schools you apply to know that you have already started developing those skills and have the results to prove it. Most of all, don't be afraid to focus on what you love. When you direct your life toward what lights your fire, the right school to support your passion will emerge.