Gray, Tenn., January 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the modern-day homeschool movement confidently marches forward into its fourth decade, colleges and universities are opening wide their doors to welcome its mature, prepared graduates to their ranks.
Homeschoolers score an average of 37 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests and typically score above average on the SAT and ACT, statistics that apparently have caught the eye of college admissions personnel. Since 1999, the number of homeschoolers in the United States has increased by 74%, and today thousands of young men and women are graduating from high school—at home.
Colleges are employing a wide variety of strategies aimed at recruiting homeschoolers, including strong representation at homeschool conventions, direct mailing campaigns, and promotions in catalogs, on their websites, and in publications such as The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the nation’s most popular print magazine for homeschoolers.
Colleges sponsor “Homeschool College Days” for juniors and seniors, and at Wheaton College, where nearly 10% of the freshman class is represented by homeschool grads, applicants can even be put in touch with current Wheaton students who were homeschooled. Regent University’s website heralds the school as “the right choice for home-schooled students,” and the U.S. Air Force Academy’s website includes guidelines addressed specifically to homeschooled applicants.
A number of institutions have appointed “homeschool liaison and recruitment specialists” to serve incoming freshmen and their families. In her 2009 article titled “‘We Love Homeschoolers!’ Prominent Colleges Jump on the Recruiting Bandwagon,” author Claire Novak, herself a homeschool grad, quoted one such specialist, who said, “As the number of homeschooled students grow, colleges are finding it’s a market you can’t ignore.”
Nearly 30% of Bob Jones University’s current students were educated at home. BJU’s website reports: “As a group, our homeschooled students are among the best students in the entire university student body. They have added a fresh dimension to the body of conventionally schooled students. We consider them a real asset.” Stanford Magazine reported that “among the nation’s elite universities, Stanford has been one of the most eager to embrace them [homeschoolers]. . . .[H]omeschoolers bring a mix of unusual experiences, special motivation and intellectual independence that makes them a good bet to flourish on the Farm.”
Savannah College of Art and Design “welcomes home-schooled students and recognizes the outstanding talent and achievements of this diverse group of well-rounded individuals.” And these are just a few examples of the favorable reputation that homeschooled students have earned.
Recent studies confirm the academic success of homeschoolers who attend college. Citing results of a 2010 survey, the Journal of College Admission reports that “homeschool students possess higher ACT scores, grade point averages (GPAs) and graduation rates when compared to traditionally-educated students.”
Seth Back, a homeschooler who took and passed the GED test at age 15 and is currently enrolled at Harvard, is confident that he was “better prepared for certain college situations than students who had been through the public/private school system.” During the past five years, Seth earned a juris doctor degree, passed the California Bar Exam, earned a master’s degree in church history, and studied at Oxford—all while managing his own consulting business.
He credits homeschooling with fueling a love of learning and teaching him to take personal responsibility for his education, which included pursuing a wide variety of opportunities for his personal enrichment. He is but one example of the thousands of motivated, successful, visionary students who have benefited tremendously from their home education.
Colleges are looking for young people like Seth. They are excited about the exceptional potential presented by homeschool graduates and are vigorously pursuing their attention.
As college professors nationwide are given the opportunity to influence and further equip homeschool graduates, surely they will be refreshed and encouraged by this new breed of “independent thinkers” who are filling their classrooms. Wise college professors will carefully take advantage of the privilege they are being given in those classrooms—to build on the strong foundation laid by these students’ former teachers: their parents.