Issues Library—College & Employment
How Successful are Homeschoolers at Gaining College Admission?
As homeschooling grows in popularity, and more students than ever before graduate from home education programs, college admissions departments are becoming more familiar with and accepting of homeschoolers. While the size of the homeschooling movement has contributed to this effect, another significant factor in this attitude change is homeschoolers’ proven academic performance—higher-than-average scores on standardized achievement tests and college entrance exams, impressive applications, and exceptional academic performance while in college.
A 2004 article from the Journal of College Admissions noted that an increasing number of college/university personnel welcome homeschoolers. In one survey of college educators, the article reports, most of those surveyed rated homeschoolers as far more academically successful, somewhat more academically successful, or on average with their non-homeschooled counterparts. No respondents ranked homeschoolers below average or unsuccessful. A majority also agreed that homeschoolers were emotionally prepared and socially adjusted to college life.1 Firsthand experiences like these with homeschooled students make colleges increasingly willing to look on homeschool applications favorably.
Despite the welcome reception most homeschool graduates receive, some college personnel are still unfamiliar with home education and thus attempt to require an accredited diploma or GED as a prerequisite for admission. In most of these cases, a simple explanation of homeschool law—and federal requirements—is sufficient to resolve the situation. HSLDA often serves as a liaison between colleges/universities and homeschool graduates during the admissions process.
May Colleges Discriminate Against Homeschoolers?
Federal standards are different from institutional requirements. Colleges and universities are free to set their own admissions policies, which can include completion of specific high school credits, college admissions tests, and/or possession of an accredited diploma or GED.
The federal government does not have direct authority over education, but institutions that accept federal funding must comply with any requirements set as a condition of receiving that funding. Before the 1998 Higher Education Act Amendments were passed, homeschoolers had to take the GED or an ability-to-benefit test to qualify to receive federal financial aid. However, this is no longer the case, and federal guidelines explicitly recognize that homeschool graduates have completed a secondary school education.
For more information on homeschoolers and college admissions, see the articles below.
1. Ray, Brian D., (2004). “Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us.” Journal of College Admission, Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3955/is_200410/ai_n9443747/pg_3/?tag=content;col1