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Colleges actively seek out homeschoolers. They find them to be independent, self-directed learners, and far more diverse than regularly schooled students. Ask the college you are interested in if their application process is any different for homeschoolers than it is for regularly schooled students. Each college is different.
"Homeschooled Teens Ripe for College" – US News & World Report, June 1, 2012.
"Cab-School Student Earned Ticket to Harvard" (NPR, 7/21/2010). This article tells the story of a homeschooled student who studied on the road, in the cab of her mom's truck, and was solicited by Harvard – further proof that the most selective schools seek out homeschoolers with diverse backgrounds.
"In a Class by Themselves" – an article about homeschoolers in Stanford's alumni magazine, Nov-Dec 2000, but still very relevant.
Laurie offers a lecture class for parents: Homeschooling for College.
It is typical for homeschoolers to take college courses while still in high school. It not only provides classroom experience, but also helps to prove their abilities on college applications. One A from a college may imply that all other non-graded courses have been done at that level. College credits look impressive on a resume, and can help to establish high school diploma equivalency (though most colleges don't require this). Homeschoolers in NYC can take advantage of the CUNY campus scholarship program called College Now, which requires a PSAT or SAT score to apply. But not all colleges require this from a high school student, and there are colleges that no longer require an SAT score from new applicants at all (such as Bates, in Lewiston, Maine).
Local homeschooled teens have earned credits from: Mercy College (a letter from a school or DoE official determining high school grade level status will get you a reduced rate); The School of Visual Arts (there are precollege courses for one credit each, and continuing ed courses for two – four credits each, all open to age 13 and up); Columbia U. (you will have to qualify the same way any applicant does, and pay full tuition); CUNY (Lehman, Hunter, John Jay, Brooklyn College, and more); colleges in New Jersey; and summer programs at colleges outside of NYC, including College of the Atlantic's Islands Through Time program.
Not everyone needs to go to college to have a successful life. In Michael Ellsberg's book The Education of Millionaires, he interviewed nearly 40 millionaire and billionaires, and NONE of them had finished college! Here you can read Ellsberg's eight-step program for getting a successful career without a college education (scroll down in the article for the eight steps).
Comment about your homeschooler's college experience by sending an e-mail to Laurie@HomeschoolNYC.com
College Entrance Requirements
Most colleges do not require a diploma and are satisfied with proof that the student has received the equivalent of a high school education. This can be done by writing a brief but thorough transcript (the homeschooling parent should call this the Official High School Transcript), taking exams (such as the SAT), writing essays, undergoing interviews, submitting letters of recommendation, or by obtaining one of the following diploma equivalents.
SUNY requires a diploma or equivalent. Some private colleges demand extra SAT II exams from homeschoolers. When my son was applying for college with an intended major theater or film, Yale and Carnegie Mellon wanted three SAT IIs from him as a homeschooler, while NYU wanted only the regular SAT and no more. I think if he had been applying to NYU for math or business or science, he might have needed those extra SAT IIs.
SUNY will accept the following as proof of high school equivalency: the GED OR five Regents exams (not all, just English, math, US Gov't, science, and global history/geography) OR 24 college credits (which are supposed to be in general subjects like the Regents exams) OR a letter from a school principal or administrator. A parent in Yonkers got such a letter for her son from the Yonkers district office (making him eligible for scholarships to Mercy College as a high school student). If you ask for it and your local DoE office chooses not to provide such a letter, you can always go back to the college where you are seeking admission and ask them what documentation can stand in for such a letter.
(more info at: NYS Bd. of Ed: Home Instruction)
Fair Test has a list of colleges that don't always require the SAT or ACT exam for entrance. This list includes some well-known schools, such as Antioch, Goddard, Bard and Simon's Rock, Bates, Bennington, Bowdoin, Bryn Mawr, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Naropa, Sarah Lawrence, Texas A & M, Wheaton, and many more.
About Diploma Equivalents
(more info at: NYS Bd. of Ed: Home Instruction)
Section 3.47(a)(2)(ii) provides six alternatives for students beyond the age of compulsory attendance seeking to demonstrate acceptable preliminary education before they may be awarded a college degree:
GED - a high school equivalency credential
Homeschooling teens, while still in high school, have earned credits at the School of Visual Arts, Mercy College (get a reduced tuition rate with proof that your child is attending high school -- just show the current letter from the DoE), Pace University, CUNY (Lehman, Hunter, etc., through their tuition-free program called College Now), and others.
The credits are transferable and sometimes are worth more or less depending on the college. Earning 24 credits, in the right subjects, is equivalent to a high school diploma accepted by SUNY.So is two years full-time at a community college. (give link to the portion of the law that states equivalencies) Check out the free and low-cost precollege programs in What's free or cheap in NYC: Precollege Programs.
AP® exams are rigorous, multiple-component tests that are administered at high schools each May. High school students can earn college credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam grades. Each AP Exam has a corresponding AP course and provides a standardized measure of what students have learned in the AP classroom.
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) gives students the opportunity to receive college credit by earning qualifying scores on any of 34 examinations.
One parent's experience taking CLEP tests: My boys took the CLEP test in French last year and did very well. It was cheap, easy to schedule, and didn't take long (just 90 mins). You get the results instantly. Many colleges will accept CLEP results for credit. But even if your college doesn't, I figure it can't hurt on college applications to have a few CLEP test results. You need two forms of ID. We used passports plus homemade IDs (made off the internet). We went to the Borough of Manhattan Community College to take it, but there are lots of NYC locations. You can find out all about it on the collegeboard website. CLEP tests are much easier to schedule than APs and SAT IIs. Whether they carry the same weight, I don't know. I think they may be easier tests.
See also One parent's comments below.
PSAT, SAT, and SAT II
Note: the SAT mentioned on this page is the college-entrance exam (originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and now called the SAT), and not the Stanford Achievement Test which is a standardized achievement test that also uses the abbreviation SAT.
Homeschooled students can take the PSAT and SAT exams at any local school. Choose a school conveniently located. Give them a call and ask to speak to their testing proctor so that they will expect your child on the day of the test. There is usually a small fee. Try calling in mid-June, or two or three days after school begins in September. (Never call on their first day, when chaos is expected.) More information for Home-Schooled Students.
In every test there is a place for the school code. The New York State code for homeschoolers is: 993399. Using this code, the results will be sent to your home. For other states' codes, see PSAT Homeschool Codes. The SAT code for all homeschoolers is 970000, but it will appear as New York. The ACT code is 969-999.
Free SAT Prep program online that includes a catalog of over 100 strategic study guides, an interactive vocabulary builder with over 5000 common SAT words, practice quizzes with explanations, and simulated practice tests.
SAT II tests are tests on specific subjects. See the College Board's page on SAT Subject Tests.
The SAT and ACT have placement tests designed for students who have been out of school for a year or more. These exams are used by colleges to determine if a student needs remediation.
Certificate of Completion
Due to recent changes in the regulations regarding state financial aid, it is now in the best interest of homeschooled students to obtain a “letter of completion” from the DoE. This letter may vary from district to district. This is not a letter of “substantial equivalency” which is supposed to be a choice available to families who request it from a superintendent of schools. A “letter of completion” just states that you have filed your homeschooling paperwork and fulfilled all of those requirements through 12th grade. It does not say what level your work was done at, and it is not the same as an equivalency diploma. However, it may satisfy the requirements of some schools in New York State, such as CUNY (in NYC) and RIT (in upstate NY), where such proof of high school completion is necessary to obtain a college diploma.
This means that it may be in your interest to continue filing with the DoE through 12th grade even if the student is no longer of compulsory age (compulsory attendance ends when the student turns 17 by June in NYC, or 16 by June in the rest of New York State). Your local DoE office might suggest that you stop filing when the student is no longer of compulsory age, because less paperwork is easier for everyone, but that choice does not give you the option of obtaining a “letter of completion.”
You, the parent, can create your child's high school transcript for college applications, summarizing all of the experiences and courses taken in grades 9-12. It is helpful to have some graded courses taken at a local community college or other school included in the transcript, because those grades can help to validate nongraded homeschooled courses.
The HSLDA has a page on transcripts, including transcript forms and sample college transcripts for homeschoolers.
See also Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts by Loretta Heuer. This books guides you on different ways of writing transcripts and documenting your child’s work. Included are methods of computing units of study.
Books, Articles, and Websites
NYU-Poly's K-12 STEM education program, ARISE (Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering), is a selective, seven-week full-time summer program for academically strong, 10th and 11th grade NYC students who demonstrate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Participants will gain access to college coursework, lab time and mentors. Students who compelte the program will receive a stipend. See the ARISE website to apply. Applications are due in early April.
City Art Lab has a FREE afterschool art program for teens in collaboration with City College of New York. Teens build an art portfolio while working with outstanding teaching artists. Ateacher or adult mentor must recommend you by e-mailing a recommendation to: email@example.com. For more information, contact Marit Dewhurst at City College of New York: (212) 650-7433 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
NROC (National Repository of On-line courses) includes high school and AP courses for FREE, including: American History & Government, Math, Biology, Physics, Calculus and more.
Free Test Prep online (formerly called Learning Express Library). It has extensive online test practice materials for elementary school through college. If you have an NYPL card, you can register to use the site using your library card number.
AlleyOop – personalized math and science help for teens
Yahoo Group HS2Coll is a support and information network for parents of teenaged homeschoolers planning for college. Topics likely to be discussed: college application forms; what colleges are looking for; curricula for homeschooled teens; how older kids already in college are faring; colleges that have recently accepted homeschoolers; SATs, SAT IIs, ACTs and AP tests; and more.
Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School Tell Their Own Stories, by Grace Llewellyn (ed.). This new edition includes updates from each contributor ten years later, looking back on their homeschooling experiences and letting the reader know where they are now.
KnowHow2Go. The American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ad Council launched the KnowHow2GO campaign in January 2007. This multiyear, multimedia effort includes television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage 8th through 10th graders to prepare for college using four simple steps.
Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts by Loretta Heuer. This books guides you on different ways of writing transcripts and documenting your child’s work. Included are methods of computing units of study.
By Cafi Cohen, who paved the way for the rest of us:
Bears' Guides are recommended by John Taylor Gatto as a way to think out of the box and still do college:
Colleges that have accepted homeschoolers
One parent's comments
I am homeschooling my high school student. We will use CLEP and probably DSST and ECE examinations to document her independent study, which is now at college level. I have also found that Excelsior College, which is a large, accredited, not for profit distance learning school based in Albany, has a number of services which may be useful for home schooled students. Excelsior enrolls many members of the military and so offers some interesting options.
Questions about college
Next year, I would like to start home school college. I am 21 years old and there is no college that will take me in. I am in a Special Education program. Please help!
Try Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, by Mariah P. Bear MA and Thomas Nixon
Also available (some titles possibly out of print)
Bears' Guides are recommended by John Taylor Gatto as a way to think out of the box and still do college.
Also, there are many ways of getting a higher level education without attending college or obtaining a degree, beyond the use of local libraries or private tutoring. For example, most of MIT's courses are available free on-line as courseware. In fact, there is a consortium of colleges and universities around the world that have put their courses on-line for free (and some for a fee): www.ocwconsortium.org .
Scholarships for Homeschoolers
2010 Homeschool Graduate Makes Scholarship Road Easier for Others
OCEAN PARK, WA, USA—After spending much of the past year hunting down scholarships available to home-schooled students, David Craft realized there was a problem. “There are lots of scholarships available only to those in traditional schools, but none to speak of just for homeschooled students,” he lamented. “When I searched online for ‘homeschool scholarships’ I came up with only a few results, most of which had nothing to do with homeschooling.”
When David saw that many scholarships were in the $200 to $500 range, he realized there were businesses run by home school families who could probably also offer scholarships. “Perhaps they had just never thought of doing it,” he said.” It’s an important concern, because while some general scholarships invite homeschoolers to apply, the forms are designed for students in traditional schools. They place a lot of emphasis on class rank, and often have several pages asking for involvement in student government, school clubs, and student leadership positions. Homeschooled students are clearly the underdogs in these competitions.”
David, along with the support of his family, has launched a new Website located at homeschoolscholarships.org. The two-fold purpose, as stated on the site, is “to inspire businesses and individuals to recognize the unique potential of homeschooled students by creating scholarships designed for them, and to provide a place for homeschooled students to find those scholarships.” Businesses who provide scholarships will be given a link to their own website.
Not destined to become another of the many scholarship search sites, this site will feature only those scholarships designed specifically for homeschool students, or scholarships that have a proven record of being homeschool-friendly. David hopes the homeschool community throughout the nation will help provide him with little-known scholarship opportunities to post on his site. He’s well on his way with 15 homeschool-specific scholarships already listed, and hopes to grow the list as more businesses and organizations decide to take the challenge. David can be contacted through the website.
See homeschoolscholarships.org for more information.
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