The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) does a wonderful job of explaining what it means to be a homeschool friendly college. Here is a link to that information: HSLDA.org .
In general, a homeschool friendly college is one that treats a homeschool applicant the same as a public school applicant. Your child would be requested to take the exact same tests as any other student - more tests are not required of a homeschool applicant. Some college say they are homeschool friendly, when in reality they have "hoops" that we have to jump through. HSLDA has a rating scale for college admission policies here:
- Tier 1: The college accepts the parent's transcript, along with general standardized achievement testing, and/or the review of a portfolio
- Tier 2: The college requires a GED in place of, or in addition to, any of the Tier I requirements.
- Tier 3: This type of college requires test scores (like the SAT II) from home school students that are not required of traditional high school students, which is inequitable.
Let's compare three colleges that claim to be homeschool friendly: Trinity Western University, The University of Washington, and Evergreen State College.
Trinity Western University Trinity Western University is actively seeking homeschoolers, telling me: "TWU is a great fit for homeschoolers because we are a small university that has the ability to provide students with an incredible campus community to be a part of, lots of individual attention and the opportunity to grow academically in the students own area of strength." When you look at their homeschool admission policy, it reads:
"Students who complete their secondary education through homeschooling must complete the regular application for admission and TWU's Homeschool Education Background Chart. They must also submit official SAT or ACT scores."
I looked at TWU's Homeschool Education Background Chart, and it looks the same as a homeschool transcript except that it is signed by the parent, declaring it to be true. It asks what curriculum is used. It does not ask for additional testing. I found it interesting that Trinity Western University does not require a foreign language. Notice that this college is NOT asking for an accredited transcript. What about scholarships at Trinity Western University?
"Homeschoolers are considered for scholarships based on parent provided grades. TWU does not look at SAT or ACT scores to determine scholarships - just GPA (since Canadian students do not write the SAT or ACT). However we do require the SAT or ACT for admission purposes."
For more information about Trinity Western University, see their website or contact Sharon Peters in admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Washington The University of Washington wants homeschoolers as well. On the UW website, their homeschool policy states: "The University of Washington values all forms of learning. Homeschooled students bring myriad unique qualities to our campus, and we welcome their interest in the UW." Their policy accepts a homeschool transcript, saying:
"Homeschooled applicants must present a homeschool transcript that includes course titles of each subject studied, duration of study, a short description of content, and grade or assessment of performance."
Notice that this college is NOT asking for an accredited transcript. Unfortunately the policy also goes on to say this:
"Homeschool course work must also be validated in the four core subject areas listed below. (No testing is required for social studies or arts.) Homeschooled applicants must submit official test scores for validation. The following scores provide such validation:"
The policy statement goes on to explain how the SAT may provide documentation for math, English and science, but that more testing is needed. They want additional tests to demonstrate science and foreign language as well. That means that homeschoolers are required to take more tests than other applicants! This demonstrates a policy that is not homeschool friendly. They are listed as "tier 3" by HSLDA. That doesn't mean that homeschoolers can't be admitted. It does mean that it is harder to go through the process of admission.
Evergreen State College Compare that to Evergreen State College, which is one of the "Colleges that Change Lives." Here is what their homeschool policy says:
Home-schooled applicants are evaluated individually. Documentation that outlines the curriculum you used is required along with official SAT or ACT test results. Documentation is most often provided in the form of a transcript from a recognized home-schooling agency or public or private high school that verifies academic preparation comparable to the freshman admission requirements. If documentation is not possible, you must submit official GED test scores.
If you were reading this quickly, and don't live in a state that requires agency oversight, you might be pretty intimidated. How do you verify academic preparation through a recognized homeschool agency? It appears to say that you can document your curriculum yourself, since only "most" people use an agency. However, Director of Admissions Doug Scrima explains their policy clearly, "The Evergreen State College does not accept documentation provided by the parents." Instead, they want accredited documentation for every course through public school, community college, AP, CLEP, or correspondence school. It also leaves homeschoolers with the option of taking a GED. Their policy is considered "Tier 2" by the HSLDA. However, I have rarely seen such a difficult admission policy.
All colleges admit homeschoolers. Whether your heart is set on a tier 1, 2 or 3 college, it pays to know their admissions 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 really communicate the differences between schools. College "view" books are created by marketing people trying to make their school look the best. The only way to determine if a college will "fit" is by visiting. Students should look at the college and ask 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!.
You've saved me again. The instructions you provided (about GPA) were so easy to understand. I was about to just leave out the GPA, but the scholarship paperwork clearly stated that GPA and ACT scores were the deciding factors and must be included. Just like you said, we have to speak the college's love language. I could not have done this without your help and guidance over the past few years.
"Your transcripts and records were the best organized and documented I have seen"
- Bryan Jones, Associate Director of Admissions,
Seattle Pacific University