3. WHAT OTHER COLLEGES REQUIRE OF HOMESCHOOLERS
by Wayne S. Walker
I attended Florida College from 1972 to 1974, graduating with an Associate of Arts degree. Of course, that was back in the days before anyone even heard of “homeschooling” per se. At that time, Florida College was primarily a junior college, although it did offer a four-year certificate in Bible studies. However, the college has now developed several accredited bachelors degree programs and is in the process of adding even further ones. During the 1980's and 1990's, as homeschooling became more popular with many people, including a lot of folks associated with churches of Christ, Florida College was not always considered homeschool friendly. One of the big bones of contention that many homeschooling families had with the college was its demand that homeschooled students take the GED. The Feb., 2004, edition of this newsletter dealt with this issue. Eventually, that requirement was dropped, and it is my impression that as homeschooling has become more popular and perceptions of home education have changed the college is trying to be more accommodating to homeschoolers.
However, it is clear from the Academic Requirements for Unconditional Admission for Homeschooled Students listed in the previous article that the college still does have additional requirements for homeschooled students that are not required for students from an accredited high school. For instance, if a person is fortunate enough to have graduated from an accredited high school at age 16 (rare, but it does happen) he can enroll at Florida College, but a homeschooled student, who may have taken just as rigorous a course of study and graduated at 16, cannot enroll until he is 17. Homeschooled students must not only have taken the ACT or SAT, as all entrants are required to do, but also made certain minimum scores which are not required of those from accredited high schools. I do believe that this requirement is demanded to show proficiency in the absence of an “accredited” diploma (which even from many public high schools means almost nothing) or GED, but it is still a difference. And homeschooled students are required to write an essay, which is not required of accredited high school graduates (although all entrants had to write one when I enrolled), but this requirement is waived if the student has taken one semester of college English, which many homeschoolers do through dual-enrollment at local junior colleges.
I suppose that the college has its reasons for making these extra demands of homeschooled students, but since homeschooled students have proven themselves in college over and over again in the last few years, I do not profess to know why they have such additional requirements, so please do not ask me about it. If you want to know more, you will have to direct your inquiries to the college. However, this made me curious and I contacted several other small colleges to see what their requirements for homeschooled students who wished to enroll were. I wrote to nine: Anderson (SC), Bowdoin (ME), Wooster (OH), Cumberland (KY), Eckerd (FL), Goshen (IN), Grove City (PA), Harris-Stowe (MO), and Hillsdale (MI). All of them are private or religious institutions except for Harris-Stowe, here in St. Louis, MO, which is a state college. I did want to include one public institution for comparison purposes. One would think that with a son entering high school, all of these colleges would be eager to provide information, but I actually heard from only three of them: Anderson, Cumberland, and Harris-Stowe. Interestingly enough, I also received some information from a college which I did not initially contact, Green Mountain College in Vermont.
Jared Christiansen, Admissions Counselor at Anderson College, 316 Boulevard, Anderson, SC 29621 (864/231-2030 ext. 2005), which is claims to be “very intentional about its standing as a Christian college…not merely historically Christian…but…actively Christian…founded by the South Carolina Baptist Convention,” provided the following information. “I don't have the exact information that you requested, but I can give you a quick snapshot of our current incoming homeschool student population. This year we had eleven homeschool students apply as incoming freshmen, of which ten were accepted to Anderson College. Seven of those ten will be attending AC in the fall. Our entire freshman class will total approximately 320 students, with students from a homeschool background making up just over 2%.
“We do not have any special admissions terms (to help or hinder) homeschool students. Like any other incoming freshmen, a homeschool student must complete all application materials and submit SAT/ACT scores and a high school transcript. We accept homeschool transcripts in many different forms, but we prefer to see transcripts that come from some official state or local homeschool association, or from the publisher of the curriculum that a family may be using.” This sounds pretty good to me. The only difference is that they prefer to see transcripts from a homeschool association or curriculum publisher, but he still said that they accept homeschool transcripts in many different forms.
Erica Harris, Director of Admissions at Cumberland College, 6178 College Station Dr., Williamsburg, KY 40769 (606/539-4241), which is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention (SBC), wrote, “Each year, we do enroll a few students who have been homeschooled. We ask of them the same information we ask of all applicants. If they do not have official transcripts through a clearinghouse, then we do require a GED. We have not kept any records of percentages comparing our homeschoolers to other students, although I feel confident they do quite well. Most of our homeschool applicants have high standardized test scores.” So here, there is a major difference. Unless the homeschooled student has an “official” transcript “through a clearinghouse,” he or she will have to submit a GED score.
In received both an e-mail and an information packet from Harris-Stowe. Brandy Crist-Travers, Admissions Officer at Harris-Stowe State College, 3026 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, MO 63103 (314/340-3302) wrote, “To answer your questions regarding admissions standards for homeschooled students, all students are treated equally. We request official high school transcripts and ACT scores from each applicant. We look at a student's cumulative G. P. A., class rank percentile, and ACT score percentile to arrive at an admissions decision. In the case of homeschool transcripts, which lack a class rank, the Director of Admissions will assign a class rank percentile. An ACT score of 21 will automatically admit a student as a full-time degree seeking student. An ACT score of 19 will automatically admit a student as a part-time degree seeking student.”
The letter did not define what “official high school transcripts” are, but the college obviously understands that there will be a difference between an institutional high school transcript and a homeschool transcript, since “In the case of homeschool transcripts, which lack a class rank, the Director of Admissions will assign a class rank percentile.” That sounds a little subjective. However, if I understand what Brandy says correctly, if one makes an ACT score of 21, everything else is pretty much “academic,” so to speak, since “An ACT score of 21 will automatically admit a student as a full-time degree seeking student.” That sounds pretty objective. The information packet did not really add anything further.
Jessica A. Day, Director of Admissions at Green Mountain College, 1 College Circle, Poultney, VT 05764 (800/776-6675) said, “Green Mountain College is a smaller school, we see a fair number of home schooled students, who are looking for a close knit environment that GMC can offer. We work closely with all of our applicants through the admission process. For homeschooled students – we ask to see proof of coursework and grades – and that comes in many forms, usually the state you live in, will provide a transcript of sorts for the colleges. We also ask students to submit either SAT or ACT scores, personal statement, a letter of recommendation, and any other pertinent information that may help us in the admissions process. We do not require students in most instances to interview, but highly encourage it. So really, the requirements are not very different from the regular high school applicant – usually the transcript looks different and that's about it. I hope this information is helpful.” I do not know how the state can provide a transcript of sorts for the colleges regarding homeschoolers, but otherwise this is another reasonable-sounding policy.
So that is the sum total of my attempt to find homeschool requirements for entrance at comparable colleges, and the results seem to be a mixed bag–some make homeschoolers jump through extra hoops while others do not. It is interesting that while preparing this issue of the newsletter, I came across some information by Chris Klicka in the The Home School Court Report (Jan./Feb., 2005, p. 6). “Arizonans launched and passed a bill requiring their board of regents to write admissions policies that grant equal treatment to homeschoolers applying to Arizona colleges. (Some state colleges were discriminating against homeschooled students because their documents are different from those of traditionally schooled students.” It does look as if “the times, they are a changin'.” Perhaps, one day in the not so distant future, all college admissions officials will understand home education sufficiently so that there will be no distinctions or discrimination. Now, consider a couple of articles dealing with this situation.
3. WHAT OTHER COLLEGES REQUIRE OF HOMESCHOOLERS