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Is Homeschooling Better?

August 26, 2023
By AdmissionSight
View of a female student studying in her room.

Is Homeschooling Better?

Homeschooled children and their parents often worry that they will be at a disadvantage when applying to colleges, fearing that admissions staff might not know how to evaluate their applications. A common concern is whether homeschooling offers a comparable education to traditional schooling. While there are challenges unique to the college application process for homeschooled students, the good news is that the admissions process is fairly similar for both homeschooled and traditionally schooled students.

In fact, many admissions departments actively seek out homeschooled applicants. Admissions officers evaluate each candidate based on their individual background and the opportunities they’ve had. However, there are some differences in the application procedures for homeschoolers, especially when it comes to submitting specific materials.

The education of children in the home, under the direction of their parents, is known as homeschooling. Students who choose to receive their education at home have significantly more control over their daily schedules and the subjects they study than their counterparts who attend traditional schools. Parents can assist their children in achieving greater academic success by employing various specialized pedagogical approaches. Students, as a matter of fact, have more time to devote to extracurricular activities as a direct result of this flexibility.

View of a mother teaching er kid in the living room.

Students are able to learn in a setting that is not just free from school-related violence, but also free from the use of drugs and alcohol, as well as other forms of bullying. Parents and students are essentially in charge of determining when and how pupils should study, as well as what they should study, how they should study, and even where they should study.

The National Home Education Research Institute estimates that there are currently over 2.3 million students in the United States who are educated at home. This shows that the movement is expanding at a rate of between 2-8% annually.

Homeschooling is not primarily practiced for ideological or political reasons. Instead, it is embraced by a diverse group of people who represent various religious traditions, political views, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Students who are homeschooled do not rely on publicly funded resources for their education. Consequently, they place less financial burden on taxpayers compared to students who attend public schools.

Research from the National Home Education Research Institute estimates that the annual cost to taxpayers for a student attending a public school is around $11,732. On the other hand, homeschooled children do not receive government funding. In fact, homeschooling families spend an average of $600 each academic year on their children’s educational needs.

What Makes Homeschooled Students Attractive to Universities?

There is still a common misunderstanding regarding the educational level of pupils who are educated at home, despite the fact that homeschooling has been a popular option for many years. There are persistent myths that homeschooled students do not learn as well as traditional students, that parents aren’t qualified to teach their children, and that if you are homeschooled, you will have a harder time getting into college if you are even accepted. None of these beliefs are true. Thus, what makes homeschooled students attractive to universities?

On the other hand, a study that was carried out in 2016 by the College Board, which is the governing organization that is responsible for the SAT test, came to the conclusion that homeschooled children typically score higher than the national average.

A teacher talking to a female student holding her book.

This study was independent of the parent’s level of education as well as whether or not they held teaching credentials, and it found that youngsters who were educated at home often scored 15 to 30 percentile points higher than students who attended public schools. Because of this, institutions actively seek out homeschooled students to enroll in their programs and recruit them as students further strengthening the claim that is homeschooling better.

There is also the false belief that pupils who attend home schools are not as well socialized as students who attend traditional schools and that they do not establish friends with other children of the same age. This is the furthest thing from the truth that it is possible to get. In point of fact, studies have shown that students who attend home schools have greater social skills than students who attend traditional schools because they do not have to sit in class for as long.

A significant number of homeschooled children can devote more time to their extracurricular pursuits and forge meaningful relationships with people from around the world. Some states have even passed laws that support homeschooled students, further solidifying the argument in favor of homeschooling. These laws allow homeschooled children to participate in sports teams sponsored by public schools. In essence, one reason homeschooling is viewed favorably is because students have ample opportunities for socialization not in spite of, but due to their homeschooling.

The ability of homeschooled students to thrive in unstructured circumstances is one of the primary factors that set them apart from other pupils, even beyond the favorable exam results that they typically achieve. In contrast to pupils attending public schools, homeschoolers are responsible for managing their own time and must strike a balance between their various interests. Because the student is the one who is the most interested in it, homeschooling gives pupils the opportunity to choose their own academic and social activities, which is a reality that is not missed by admissions officers at colleges and universities.

What’s Different About Applying to College as a Homeschooler?

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, an increasing number of families have made the decision to homeschool their children rather than send them to the regular K-12 classroom setting.

Councillor talking to a female student.

However, due to the nature of homeschooling, in which the particulars of the curriculum, class time, and assignments can vary greatly from one family to another, it can be difficult for homeschooled children to demonstrate to admissions authorities that they are ready for college. So, what’s different about applying to college as a homeschooler?

As homeschooled children are ready to submit their applications to colleges, the following advice from experts is recommended:

Transcripts

If you are a homeschooled student, your primary instructor or parent is the person who is responsible for preparing your high school transcript and delivering it to the universities to which you are applying. The following are the several approaches that can be taken by parents in this situation:

  • Employed by an umbrella school that is able to produce official transcripts and diplomas
  • Producing their own transcript and diploma
  • Engaging the assistance of a company that specializes in the production of transcripts and diplomas
  • Participating in a homeschooling organization that is capable of producing official transcripts and diplomas

The day-to-day activities of a student being educated from home are likely to look quite different from those of a student who is educated in a conventional setting. As a result, the work of converting a student’s academic experiences into courses and credits may appear to be an arduous one. Even within the same school district, there is no such thing as a “correct” or “standard” transcript, thus parents can take comfort in the fact that there is no “right” or “standard” transcript.

  • Your name, the name of your homeschool (if applicable), address, and phone number
  • Your high school course list is ordered by year (grades 9-12)
  • The institution where each class was taken (i.e. homeschool, online institution, community college)
  • The grading scale being used in your homeschool
  • Your overall GPA
  • Credits are given per course (listed per semester and per year)
  • Expected graduation date
  • Parent signature with a date

Contact every school you attended outside of your homeschooling or online to confirm that they will also send schools an official copy of your transcript. This is especially important if you take classes outside of your homeschooling. The transcript that your mom generates for you should be cumulative and contain not only the coursework that you took while homeschooling but also any classes that you took at another institution.

GED and Diploma

To apply to college or be eligible for financial aid as a homeschooled student, you do not need a GED or a diploma; all you need to do is affirm that your homeschool education satisfies the requirements set forth by the state legislation. Since universities place the most importance on your record and standardized test scores, the majority of homeschooled kids opt not to take the GED if they already have acceptable transcripts.

If you receive your education at home through an online academy, a virtual school, or an organized homeschool program, the institution that provides your education will choose the criteria under which they will give your certificate. If you’ve been educated at home by your parents on your own, and your transcripts show that you’ve satisfied the minimum requirements for graduation in the state where you live, then your parents have the choice of giving you a high school diploma.

Female student waiting in a room.

When filling out the FAFSA, when it asks for your high school completion status, you should make sure to tick the box that says “homeschooled.” To avoid any potential delays in the processing of your application, you should select “homeschooled” rather than “high school diploma” even if your homeschool is managed by an umbrella organization. This will ensure that your application is not held up in any way.

Letters of Recommendation

Recommendations written by external teachers are generally favored over recommendations written by a student’s parents by colleges and universities. If you have taken a class at a community college in your area or online, you should think about asking your instructor to write a recommendation on your behalf. Additional letters of recommendation can be obtained from a coach, a mentor, a member of the clergy, or a volunteer coordinator.

These individuals are able to provide insights into how you might contribute to the academic, social, and cultural components of a university campus. It is in your best interest to get in touch with the colleges directly and ask what they would like to see in terms of who writes your letters of recommendation and whether or not they will accept a letter from a parent. Because the policies regarding recommendation letters vary from school to school, it is in your best interest to do so.

The School Report

If you are a homeschooled student, your school report should be prepared by either your parent or the administrator of the homeschooling program that you are enrolled in. In a more conventional educational setting, the school report is often filled out by the guidance counselor. This is the section where you should give information about your institution, such as the grading system for grades and the number of honors and advanced placement classes that are available. When filling out the school report, it is important for parents to keep in mind that several of the fields will be left blank because their completion depends on making comparisons between children from the same school.

Detailed below is the procedure your parent should follow in order to access this profile online. When you are logged into the Common Application website, navigate to the “Education” area and then click on the “Find School” button. A new window will appear with a list of all the schools that are located in your immediate vicinity. To select “I was/am homeschooled,” scroll all the way to the bottom of the window and make your selection there. After that, you will be prompted by the site to provide the contact information for your counselor. Instead of entering your contact information, you should provide your parent’s contact information here.

After that, an email with instructions to create a counselor account, also known as a My Recommender Account, will be sent to your parents. This account is where the school profile and counselor recommendation will be filled out. At this point, your parents should be able to supply you with some further context regarding the structure of your homeschooling and how it was conducted. The following items should be uploaded to your school profile by your parent:

  • Your cumulative transcript (including homeschool classes and classes taken outside of the home)
  • A document with course descriptions of your homeschooled classes (what materials were used, reading lists, major assignments, and/or scientific experiments conducted)
  • Grading methodology for each homeschooled subject Rationale for how grades and credits were awarded
  • Your homeschooling philosophy
  • Sample academic papers or descriptions of science projects with teacher’s comments (optional)
  • Free-time reading list (optional)

Extracurriculars

When you apply to colleges, they want to see that you are involved in at least a few activities that indicate your distinct interests and long-term devotion to something. Extracurricular activities are a great way to demonstrate that you are involved in your community and that you have had experiences that have enriched your life outside of the classroom. Because colleges are interested in imagining how you can contribute to their community, it is helpful for them to see that you have already created or are actively involved in a community of your own.

Standardized Testing

If you attended a homeschooling program, colleges would normally give your SAT and ACT scores a greater amount of consideration. Even though it is not required by all schools, many educational institutions advise students to take either one or two of the SAT II exams. Check with each individual institution to learn the testing criteria they have in place.

Group of people taking a tests in a desk.

It is essential to keep in mind that universities recognize the singular nature of your homeschooling education and take a holistic approach to evaluating all of the candidates for admission. Nowadays, an increasing number of students who received their education at home are enrolling in college and achieving the same level of academic performance as their counterparts who received a traditional education.

Financial Aid For Homeschooled Students

The good news is that the majority of the time, students who are educated at home have access to the very same financial choices that are available to those who attend traditional schools. In the same way that it is beneficial to think through your academic plan in preparation, it is also very beneficial to evaluate your financial strategy in advance.

The importance of acquiring the appropriate information base before beginning your studies at a college or university can’t be stressed, especially if you anticipate having some level of financial obligation related to your education.

You will be better equipped to study what you need to learn and to begin to form your financial habits into ones that will be advantageous well into adulthood the earlier you are able to determine what portion of your higher education will be your financial responsibility.

Want to learn more about the advantages of homeschooling? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

 

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