By Lee Binz
How to Handle Troublesome Admission Policies and Recognize a Homeschool Friendly College
Colleges love homeschoolers! Look for ways colleges target advertising to you and your student. Look in homeschool magazines and around homeschool conventions. You’ll be sure to find a homeschool friendly college that would love to have your child on campus. I see more and more homeschool friendly colleges all the time. It’s rare to find a college that puts up a barrier for homeschoolers, as home education becomes more mainstream and popular.
LeTourneau University is a great example of a homeschool friendly college. Almost one-fifth of their current student body were homeschooled in high school. Many of the faculty and staff homeschool their own children. They are so welcoming that they even have special perks for homeschoolers. Their special Homeschool Endowed Scholarship requires at least three years of homeschooling high school, including senior year. Your child doesn’t have to be captain of the football team or valedictorian of the local high school. Only homeschoolers are eligible.
A homeschool friendly college accepts home education. They value your child’s academic achievements, but equally value the qualities of hard work and moral excellence. Homeschool friendly colleges respect your homeschool records, and understand that the parent can provide a diploma. Some colleges are less than understanding, though, and need some encouragement.
You are the high school and you provide the official transcript. Not everyone in an admission office understands homeschooling, so here are some tips for approaching them.
State the Obvious
You can state the obvious, and simply say "Here is the transcript." Sometimes you can explain, "We are a homeschool, and here is our official homeschool transcript." Other times they want proof, such as a declaration of intent to homeschool. So ask the question, and then state the obvious.
Make the change happen in your college community. By being assertive and asking for change, you can encourage colleges to become more homeschool friendly. Clarifying questions can help straighten things out. Sometimes explaining that homeschooling is independent of public schooling or comparing homeschooling to private schooling can help. But almost always, a clear, honest dialog helps.
Simply asking them to check their policy might make a better situation for your child – and for all other homeschoolers as well. Be kind, firm, and proactive. It’s not that difficult to be assertive! Kristine had this experience.
“Following a college tour today, we met with an admissions counselor to get specific details about their admissions policy for homeschoolers. He told me I needed this, that, and this other thing. I had to tell him that those items are not listed on their website, that we are not required to follow public school requirements, that school districts don’t approve our schooling, and that verification from the state do not exist. He went to get clarification, printed out the exact webpage that I’ve already been following, and then thanked me for educating him. I replied that I was always happy to do that!
So glad this is my second time around, and I wasn’t intimidated. And so glad for my friend Lee Binz, The HomeScholar for her advice over the years. Lee, life is easier because of you!” ~Kristine
Sometimes it helps to explain the legality of your homeschool, to avoid misunderstandings or additional questions. These extra steps are not usually necessary, but for some situations, explaining that you homeschool legally is appropriate, especially for parents dealing with an uncooperative university or admissions counselor. You can explain your homeschool in legal terms using a bunch of tricks that don't change anything, but seem to make sense to colleges.
Explain Your Homeschool Legally
Title your transcript with “Official Transcript”
To show your child’s transcript is real, include "Official Transcript" at the top. Claim your rights under your local homeschool law, and create an official document.
I used the title "Official Homeschool Transcript" but others like to create a name for their homeschool and insert the name. As a homeschooler, it might be helpful or necessary to modify your transcript slightly. In case of a troublesome college admission policy, it can help to clearly explain the seriousness and legality of why you are an official and recognized form of education.
Here are seven transcript tips to help a fussy college understand home education.
1. Legal Notice
You can cite your local homeschool law on the transcript. At the bottom of the transcript, provide a simple explanation referencing your local laws.
“Education Completed in Accordance with Indiana Department of Education Law (IC 20-33-2-21)” or “Education Completed in Accordance with Washington State Home-Based Instruction Law RCW 28A.225.010″
You might consider adding a watermark, which can make the transcript appear more official electronically. Find a video online, by searching “How to Customize a Watermark in Word.” If you choose to do this, use the name of your homeschool, or the words “Official High School Transcript.”
3. Signature Line
In some situations, it’s a good idea to add a signature section at the bottom of the transcript. Sign and date on the day your child graduates. A line for signature and date is simple to add. Use one of these examples.
Signature of School Administrator ____________________ Date _____________
Signature of Home Educator ____________________ Date _____________
4. Resume Paper
If you send a physical copy of your transcript, you might want to use special document paper. You can purchase a few sheets of professional resume paper at Staples or Office Depot. Although regular paper is fine, and paper alone doesn’t change the academics, you might want to choose a resume style paper if possible.
5. Notary Public
You can choose to have your transcript notarized to authenticate your signature as the homeschool parent. Ask your friends if any of them are notaries, so you don’t have to pay a fee. You can also find a notary at accountants’ offices, banks, libraries, city offices, or government buildings.
6. Save Documents
Make sure to save your transcript when it is done. Save it on your computer, and keep a paper copy and a digital file in your safe deposit box as well. Send a copy of your homeschool records to a close relative as a backup.
7. Provide Diploma
Present a diploma to your teen with some fanfare. When asked “Do you have a high school diploma?” you want the reply to be an immediately “Yes!” not “I’m not sure, I was homeschooled.” A diploma will help your child answer without hesitation, clarification, or disclaimer. Scan the diploma that you provide, and keep it with your child’s homeschool records.
If clear conversation, explanations, and simple methods don't work, you might need to work to get the college to change their policy. This solution means you are the solution. You create change. Be proactive.
Change College Admission Policies
You can make the change happen by being assertive and asking for change. Simply asking a college to change their policy might create a better situation for your child – and for all other homeschoolers as well.
Here is how one mother took matters into 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:
“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 replied with the 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.
President of Connecticut College”
This homeschool mother was thrilled with the response from the college. She told me, "I definitely commend the college for responding quickly — and intelligently — to my letter questioning the wisdom of requiring the GED of homeschooled applicants.”
The college was thrilled to have another qualified student. This is the perfect solution, a win-win, and a wonderful example of assertiveness! So many moms are scared or nervous about college admission policies. Policies are constantly changing, and you can influence change in the positive direction! Be a positive force for homeschooling. Ask the question. State the obvious. Colleges will listen to you!
The problem is that colleges all have unique, different policies. In addition, college admission policies can change over time, sometimes quite suddenly. This is why, half the time the answer to a question is, “Check with the college where you plan to apply.”
If the college continues to thwart your efforts, you can take your money elsewhere. You can leave the unfriendly college in the dust, and instead choose a college that values home education and spend your money on a college that loves homeschoolers.
Find a Homeschool Friendly College
A homeschool friendly college treats a homeschool applicant the same as a public school applicant. They require your child to take the exact same tests as any other student, without requiring more. Some colleges say they are homeschool friendly, when in reality they have "hoops" homeschoolers have to jump through.
All colleges admit homeschoolers. Whether your heart is set on a homeschool friendly college or not, it pays to know their admission policy and plan in advance. And remember, no matter what college you are thinking about, make sure you visit! No amount of online comparison can communicate the differences between schools. College "view" books are created by marketing professionals trying to make their school look the best.
You want a college that values your child’s academic achievements and thinks you are a great home educator. This school should see your child’s gifts, adore your homeschool transcript, love your high school records, and see the value of your child’s homeschool diploma. A perfect college is not truly perfect; it’s a perfect match. The college should respect your beliefs and core values.
In other words, search for the perfect college – they love your child, and you love them.
Find the Perfect Fit
Look for a college that has the same views on education as you do. I looked for a college that was student-directed, delight-driven, and always challenging, but never completely overwhelming.
Your goal is to find the true love college. Find the college or university that will love your student almost as much as you do!
The only way to determine if a college will fit is by visiting. Students should visit each college and consider two questions.
#1 - Can I live here for four years?
#2 - Can I learn here for four years?
Only a visit to a college can provide answers to these questions! Once you have found the perfect fit, you can deal with any troublesome college admission policies. I hope you will experience only understanding and welcoming colleges. If you don’t, now you understand that even humble homeschoolers can create homeschool friendly colleges out of troublesome admission policies.
How to Handle Troublesome Admission Policies
And Recognize a Homeschool Friendly College
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Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School" and more freebies at www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com.
College Admission Policies Demystified: Understanding Homeschool Requirements for Getting In
(Coffee Break Book) [Kindle Edition]
Applying for college admission can be a time-consuming, complex process. When you consider that the average high school student applies to approximately six different colleges, it’s clear that this is a pretty big job!! At the same time, colleges don’t seem inclined to make the process easy. If you look at a typical admissions website, you’ll see all kinds of scary acronyms, special ‘education-ese’ words, and unique requirements that would mystify most people.
Unless you’re a college administrator, trying to understand admission policies can leave you dazed and discouraged. With “College Admission Policies Demystified,” not only will you crack the college admissions code, but you’ll realize that most colleges love homeschoolers!
Parents who consider homeschooling their children through high school are often consumed by insecurity - "Are we ruining their college chances?" Well, there's no need to worry. When it comes to college admissions and scholarships, homeschoolers have what the colleges are looking for! You CAN craft high school transcripts and records that gain choice college admission and win BIG scholarships.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, has helped thousands of parents create outstanding homeschool transcripts and records. Her proven system will teach you how to present your child to colleges in the best possible light. You'll learn how to build a winning homeschool transcript, regardless of your homeschool methods or style, how to create credible grades and credits, even if you don't give tests, and how to provide the exact records the colleges are looking for.
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Homeschooling high school is the greatest educational gift you can give your children. They will be better prepared for college and for life because of the decision you made to give them this precious gift. For most parents, the greatest obstacle standing in the way of your decision to homeschool high school is a lack of confidence that you can do the job in a way that will give your children the preparation they deserve.
The Gold Care Club is a complete homeschool high school online support system. It provides “How-To Training” for parents at every stage. In addition training videos, audios, tools and templates, members have the option for weekly consultations with Lee, during which time you can get answers to the questions that are unique to your situation. Lee also holds a free "members-only" live webinar each month to address the really tough questions.