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Are Elite Colleges and Universities Discriminating Against Homeschoolers?


Homeschooling has been around long enough for the data to demonstrate that its graduates can and do succeed in college. Students coming from homeschool backgrounds enter college with significantly higher test scores than their public (and even private) school peers. They graduate from college at a higher rate­—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earn higher grade point averages while in school, according to one study.

Though at one time college enrollment for homeschoolers was very complicated and not always successful, many colleges and universities now include a section on their websites explaining the admissions procedures for students educated at home and many roll out the welcome mat with admissions policies tailored to their unique needs and educational experiences.

Princeton is an example of a school that takes a realistic view of homeschooling and views its applicants as more than a test score or high school transcript:

We recognize that your experience as a home schooled student will be somewhat different from students in traditional schools. We'll look at your academic record and non-academic interests and commitments within the context of your particular home school curriculum and experience.

Princeton notes that there are questions on the application that may not apply to homeschoolers and students are free to skip those questions as well as add any information the application neglects to ask that may be helpful to the admissions committee. They ask for either a traditional transcript, or in lieu of one, an outline of the curriculum, giving families the flexibility in complying with the requirements.

Still, despite the progress homeschoolers have made in educating the public about the benefits and successes of their methods, not all colleges and universities evaluate these students on a level playing field. Here are some examples: