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How Homeschoolers Can Gain Admission to Elite Universities

How Homeschoolers Can Gain Admission to Elite Universities

How Homeschoolers Can Gain Admission to Elite Universities

Is your student interested in attending an Ivy League school? Do you think they have what it takes? Here’s what’s required:  a gifted student with a strong work ethic, a lot of parental effort (especially with record-keeping), rigorous academics, high test scores, demonstrated leadership, activities that are measurable, a passion in something outside academics, a fabulous essay, great letters of recommendation (military academies require a recommendation by members of congress), wonderful interview skills, volunteer work, everything else and then more! And even when you have all these things, you also need luck, because most other applicants have these things too ...

The true Ivies are Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn, and Cornell. Here’s a sample of their admission rates:

    • Harvard –5.9%

    • Penn –12.3%

    • Cornell –16.2%

These are admission rates for 2011. 90% of people who apply to Ivy League schools are rejected! This means your student can have everything done perfectly, and still only have a 10% chance of getting in. It’s true that not every applicant is perfect, but a high percentage of them are excellent, so these schools have very low acceptance rates.
Princeton University

According to Princeton’s website, the more you can document and describe your student, the better. Feel free to go beyond the questions on the application forms, and include whatever you think is important. You can skip questions that don’t apply because you are homeschooling. Some people get very overwhelmed filling out the forms. Princeton says that you don’t necessarily have to make your child fit the application - you can just explain what is going on. They do get fairly specific on some things they like to see. Before preparing your application, make sure that you review their other publication, “How to Apply to Princeton.”

Sometimes homeschoolers only look for information about homeschoolers, and forget that they have to apply like a regular student. Read the application information for all students, and make sure you’re familiar with the requirements and suggestions. Then get the tips for homeschool students, so you will feel comfortable putting your homeschool on paper.

Princeton specifically says they’re looking for letters of recommendation or references, from three different adults who are not family members, who can comment on intellectual curiosity, academic preparation, academic promise, or extra-curricular involvement. If your child wants to go to Princeton, consider how you can encourage their activities to come up with those letters of recommendation. Princeton also says that it is often the parent who completes the Secondary School Report. Public schools and private schools that have kids going to Princeton may already know how to fill this form out, but homeschoolers generally don’t. As the homeschool parent, your job is to fill out the School Report as if you are the school administrator. Don’t back off from doing this; don’t feel like somebody else has to be in charge, because that’s your job.

Princeton wants to see that a student has taken challenging courses, with a rigorous course of study. They want a traditional transcript with course grades, and an outline of the high school curriculum with a reading list. Comprehensive homeschool records and a very normal-looking transcript is very important as well. All applicants are required to take the SAT or the ACT with writing, as well as two SAT subject tests. Many homeschoolers tend to take more than this, because they want to demonstrate their academic breadth, even though they don’t have traditional grades from a traditional school. Princeton suggests that your child take more SAT subject tests and more AP tests.

There is some talk among the parents of Ivy applicants that most Ivy League applicants will have five to eight AP exams. I don’t know if that’s true, since I haven’t seen any statistics. However, taking additional tests is something that’s very important, because Ivy league schools deal with so many bright, gifted, driven children that it’s hard for them to make a decision without the numbers, and these tests will provide the information.

Would you like to learn about other Ivy League schools and more?

This article is a brief excerpt from my Coffee Break Book, Upper Echelon Education: How Homeschoolers Can Gain Admission to Elite Universities. Regular price is $2.99 for Kindle. Grab your copy here today!

Once you've read it, I would be so grateful if you left quick review to let me know what you think. Thanks so much!

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"Only" a Small Christian College

"Only" a Small Christian College

"Only" a Small Christian College

A slip of the finger and the email goes to the wrong person.  It's mortifying...I always hope it won't be hurtful to anyone, though. One day, I was on the receiving end. Someone wrote to a friend about me, and sent it to me instead! Not hurtful at all, but still...I think it's an opportunity for me to explain something:
"While she touts that her boys got into their "first choice schools"...they are small, private Christian colleges. Not Stanford..."

When my boys were applying to college, we had certain requirements. I wanted a Christian college that could minimize negative socialization. I also wanted a school within an hour drive of a family member, in case of roommate disasters. For my youngest son, it had to be a college within driving distance from home, so that he could live at home until he was 18. For my older son, we needed an engineering college, and he didn't want to leave Washington State.

I once heard a father boldly proclaim, "If your child can go to an Ivy League school, they SHOULD go to an Ivy League school." I disagree strongly. Only the parents will know where a child SHOULD go to college. While it's nice to have some general ideas and apply to a variety of schools, there is simply not one right answer for brilliant kids or any kids, for that matter.

When my children were applying to college, I had a very small college fund. I recognized that they would be well qualified for a small, private Christian college and would likely receive financial aid. At the same time, I knew that even though they were smart, most of the applicants to Harvard and Yale would be just as smart - or smarter. The chances of financial aid would be slim and we needed big scholarships.

When children are smart (or even VERY smart), it's tempting to look at an Ivy League school. Instead, I encourage people to look at the RIGHT school. For some kids and for some families, that means avoiding some well-ranked schools with great reputations. My children had near-perfect SAT scores, but we didn't even apply to Stanford, Harvard, or Yale; they weren't a fit for my family.

Parents know best. Know your child and trust yourself. Even if someone else thinks they know what is best for your child, that doesn't make it true; only the parents have ALL the details.

Where are you planning to send your child for college? Did your child choose a Christian college? Let me know in the comments!

Please note: This post was originally published in August 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Curious about The HomeScholar and her family? Read more on our About Us page!
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Harvard is Pro Homeschooling

Harvard is Pro Homeschooling

The easy part of earning admission to Harvard is being a homeschooler.  The hard part about getting into Harvard is the same thing that makes it hard for every other student to get in.  Harvard accepts homeschoolers, and if your homeschooler has an eye on the Ivy League schools, don't worry that homeschooling will hold them back.  Here is a story about one family and how they educated for excellence, with excellent results.

Here is a YouTube interview with the student and her father.
Homeschool to Harvard: one student's amazing story - Dakota Root with father, Wayne Allyn Root on Fox News on 5-23-10

You can read an article by her father called "Homeschool to Harvard."
Homeschooled her whole life, "Dakota Root achieved her lifelong dream. She was accepted at both Harvard and Stanford. She was also accepted at Columbia, Penn, Brown, Duke, Chicago, Cal-Berkeley, USC and several more of the elite schools in America, an unheard of record for a home-school kid."

Going from homeschool to Harvard is not a new phenomenon.  In the book Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax
authors David and Micki Colfax describe being homeschoolers on their ranch in the 1970s and '80s. They taught their four sons at home and three of them got into Harvard.

Just remember, if your child wants to go to Harvard, being homeschooled is NOT a hurdle they have to overcome.  It's everything else that Harvard requires that's difficult!

Homeschooling is NOT the same as doing schoolwork at home.  There is LOTS of freedom!  My Gold Care Club will give you all the help you need to succeed!
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Can I Find an Ivy League College Fair?

Can I Find an Ivy League College Fair?
Exploring College Options is a special recruitment program sponsored by the undergraduate admissions offices of five of the country's leading universities: Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University.  If you are looking at the top tier schools, you may check out this link.

Click on your state, and see if they will be having an informational meeting.

If Harvard and Stanford don't describe your child, there are other college fairs in the spring in many locations.

Add my button to your blog to help other parents get help homeschooling high school.  Here's the code:

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