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Discouraging College Admission Policy? Be the Change!

College admission policy can be full to the brim with big words, confusing jargon, and acronyms that we are seemingly supposed to intuitively know. It can be very intimidating to try and wade through it all to find which schools will be the best fit for your child. Sometimes, you will even find admission policies that are unfriendly towards homeschoolers and make it very difficult (or impossible!) to apply.

One Homeschool Mom Takes a Stand

When you encounter unfriendly admission policies, don't be shy. Speak up, and colleges may change their admission policy! A client contacted me about a college her child wanted to attend. The website provided a homeschool policy that was not very homeschool friendly. I wrote to the college to ask about their admission policy and received a favorable reply.
This is the email I sent to the admission department:

To: Admissions

Subject: Homeschool Policy Discourages Homeschool Applicants

Dear William Woods University Admissions,

A homeschooler has contacted me for help regarding your university homeschool admission policy. Your school is not a homeschool friendly college as it has unique requirements just for homeschoolers seeking admission. A homeschool friendly college is one that treats a homeschool applicant the same as a public or private school applicant.

Your homeschool admission policy requires an accredited home school program and successful completion of the GED®. This policy is mystifying for homeschoolers, which is why I have been contacted. Most homeschoolers do not use accredited programs, as you require. Instead, most homeschoolers are independent, like a private school, and are not required by law to provide accreditation by their state. In Washington State, for example, we homeschool legally under the law and our state does not provide homeschool accreditation program. An ordinary homeschooler from my state would not be able to provide records from an accredited program like you are requesting for admission.

Admission policies that require a GED® of homeschoolers are frustrating. Often a GED® is used for high school drop outs. Our students have not dropped out. Homeschoolers are willing to provide the SAT or ACT scores that other high school students must submit, but the GED® should not be required. Since 1998, homeschooled students can receive federal financial aid without having a GED®, so it should not be required for admission.

There are public and private high schools that are not accredited. I would suggest that you treat homeschoolers the way you would an unknown public or private school, which may not be accredited either.

Can you please respond to these concerns, and let me know how I can advise students that have been homeschooled independently by their parents? I am eager to hear your response.

Thank you,
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar
I was pleased to receive this reply from the college:

Hello Lee,
There seems to be some confusion with our policy that is stated below as I thought it was updated when I began at WWU. I appreciate you bringing to my attention the language provided about a GED® and an accredited home school program. 

Home schooled students must meet the same requirements any other student would meet attending a public or private high school. 2.5 GPA, a 19 on the ACT or 900 on the SAT are our standard admission requirements. Please let me know if you have any additional concerns, but we will get this updated soon.

Sarah Munns
Dean of Admissions
William Woods University
You will notice that their website did not accurately reflect their current policy. The policy was quite friendly towards homeschoolers, their website just hadn't been updated to reflect it. You'll also notice that the admission department is staffed with real human beings who are reasonable and willing to discuss the situation. They aren't scary or intimidating automatons. So go ahead! Contact colleges when you don't like their admission policy or feel it is unfriendly towards homeschoolers. You can be a positive change agent for homeschoolers in the future!
One week later, the college had a new policy for homeschoolers on their website. It now says:

Home-Schooled Applicants

William Woods has experienced a dramatic increase in enrollment from the home-schooling population, and has found that the prospective and current home-schooled students offer strong academics and a positive contribution to student life.

William Woods University seeks students qualified to benefit from a William Woods education and who will actively contribute to student life. Every aspect of an applicant's credentials such as classes taken, grades, performance on the ACT or SAT and community involvement are taken into consideration. William Woods University operates on a rolling admissions process.

It is still in effect today! Take a look:
Every interaction I had with the Dean of Admissions was very friendly and helpful. Don't be shy when dealing with colleges - just be kind. Colleges all have unique and different policies from one another. In addition, college admission policies can change over time, sometimes quite suddenly, it seems. That's why half the time the answer to a question on college admissions is "check with the college where you plan to apply."

She's Not Alone... Another Mom Speaks Out

Here is another example of how a homeschool mom took matters in her own hands, and became socially active to defend the rights of her own child - and in the process made life easier for your child as well. She told me, "I wrote to the president of the college a couple of weeks ago, telling him that my son would not consider his college because of the GED requirement unfairly imposed on homeschoolers. The president sent me an email today! Quick answer: GED, be gone! Here is his letter."
"Dear Ms. [name withheld],

Thank you for your recent letter. I have been in touch with Martha Merrill, Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, and am pleased to report that she has reviewed our policy that requires the GED of homeschooled applicants without an official high school diploma and has removed that requirement effective immediately.

Homeschooled students will, however, need to complete the Common Application Home School Supplement to the Secondary School Report form. Our website and catalog are currently being updated to reflect these changes.

I appreciate your communication and Dean Merrill and I both hope your son will keep Connecticut College on his list of colleges to which he may apply.

Lee Higdon
President of Connecticut College"
This homeschool mother was THRILLED with the response from the college. " I definitely commend the college for responding quickly -- and intelligently -- to my letter questioning the wisdom of requiring the GED of homeschooled applicants," she told me.

What a wonderful example of assertiveness! So many moms are scared and nervous about college admission policies. Policies are constantly changing, but YOU can influence change in a positive direction! Be a positive force for homeschooling. Ask the question. State the obvious. Colleges WILL listen to you!

References for You:

For more information on Homeschool Friendly Colleges, you can read Homeschool Friendly vs. Homeschool Fussy
For more information on homeschool accreditation, read Accredited Homeschool Program NOT Required
For more information on understanding college admission, read Admission Policies of Unique Colleges
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