If your child has dreams of gaining admission to an Ivy League school, there are certain things you'll need to do to help them reach their goal. Read on for helpful information to help your homeschool student realize their dream.
What is Ivy League Admission?
The Ivy League is actually an American collegiate athletic conference that includes eight private colleges located in the Northeast part of the United States. However, the Ivy League has become known as a group of schools with elite status and is recognized beyond the sports context. The colleges that make up the Ivy League are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
This division came into being in 1954 but the colleges themselves are much older; many of them dating back to the colonial period, with the exception of Cornell.
There are four of the Ivy League schools that are in the top 10 of the 2020 US News & World Report National Universities Ranking. Ivy League schools are some of the most prestigious colleges in the world and because of that, are some of the hardest to get into.
Due to the competitive academic nature of Ivy League schools, they aren't for everyone. You'll want to help your child consider their own unique abilities, preferences, interests, strengths, and educational goals when making a college decision.
Homeschoolers and Ivy League Admission
Do your research early in high school to find out exactly what these schools want in their applicants, and do your best to give it to them. Here are the admission requirements of Ivy League schools for homeschoolers.
- Brown University - Brown University requests that homeschoolers detail why they opted to choose homeschooling rather than a traditional public or private school. Here is an FAQ page for homeschoolers.
- Columbia University - Important note: Columbia does not grant any credit for college courses taken during high school. Find Columbia's homeschool admission policies here.
- Cornell University - They are highly selective, only admitting about 10% of their applicants. You can find Cornell's basic admission requirements here. (They don't seem to delineate homeschool admissions. If you are considering Cornell, you'll want to touch base with them and be sure that there aren't different requirements for homeschoolers.)
- Dartmouth College - "There is no need to worry that we are not accustomed to home-schooled applicants." They like students to demonstrate language proficiency with SAT 2 or AP subject tests. Find their homeschool applicant's page here. By the way, they are a test optional school for the class of 2025. Find out what that means here.
- Harvard University - Harvard holds homeschoolers to the same standards as non-homeschooled students. You can find their admissions page here.
- Princeton University - The more you can document, the better. A homeschooler was the 2002 Valedictorian, so I do think they understand homeschooling. Find their admissions page for homeschoolers here.
- University of Pennsylvania - Their admissions department looks for "students with a demonstrated record of academic excellence, a commitment to seeking challenge, and a range interests and talents." Whoa! Those are some big shoes to fill. (And good records will come in handy!) Find their homeschool admissions requirements here.
- Yale University - Just like Harvard, Yale requires the same from homeschooled students as they do traditional schooled students. They address homeschool students for their admissions here.
These colleges value homeschool education. And yet there are no guarantees for anyone, regardless of the type of quality of their education. Read their admission policy carefully, and weigh your options with your eyes wide open.
And, just to inspire you, here are some real life homeschool teens that were successful in getting into an Ivy League school. You and your student can do it!
A real home-schooled hero: Evanston teen - He was accepted by 7 of the nation's top universities.
Homeschool to Harvard - How my Child Went from Home School to Harvard and Yours Can, Too.
As you do your research, remember that Ivy League schools may be prestigious, but they are certainly NOT perfect. I stumbled upon a recent article in Rolling Stone that confirms that for at least one student, Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth's Hazing Abuses. Are Ivy league schools worse than other schools? Don't bet on it! Are they better than other schools? Does it matter? It's more important to consider the FIT of the college, and only your family can determine the right fit for your student and your family.
As with most colleges, I suggest creating thorough course descriptions and transcripts when applying to colleges. It's even more important when you are competing with the best of the best. You want your child, and their education, to stand out! And, remember, have a contingency plan in case of rejection.