Colleges Open Up Admissions Policies

Article excerpt

Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly receptive to accepting students who are home-schooled, a research report has found.

A newly published survey of 513 colleges and universities by the National Center for Home Education (NCHE) in Purcellville, Va., found that a majority of those schools - 68 percent - had admissions policies similar to those recommended by home-school advocates, with many others developing more flexible policies on accepting students educated by parents.

"This study is particularly heartening to us, because it shows that the colleges want the home-school students," said NCHE Executive Director Chris Klicka, who prepared the report. "No longer are we fighting that assertion that home-schoolers aren't going to be able to make it in college. The study shows us that the colleges are listening to us."

The survey, conducted by mail in late 1998 and early 1999, was designed to determine what criteria were used by colleges and universities to admit home-schoolers and to encourage those schools to loosen what the NCHE calls "unnecessarily restrictive" admission requirements.

An estimated 200,000 students nationwide are home-schooled. With the widespread growth of the home-schooling movement over the last decade, a number of those students have completed high school course work and are headed for college.

Nearly 70 percent of home-schooled students pursue a college degree, research shows, forcing more schools to define their criteria for acceptance. An estimated 1 million home-schooled students are expected to apply to colleges over the next decade.

The benefits of home education - like a tailored curriculum and individualized instruction - are advantages for the high school students, says Mr. Klicka, but the great variety of home-schooling methods creates a challenge for colleges in making decisions on admissions.

Colleges that welcome home-schoolers typically have admissions policies that require submission of a parent's transcript, general standardized achievement testing and the review of a student portfolio in place of an accredited diploma, the survey found.

Many schools, however, require SAT II tests, as well as General Educational Development (GED) certificates to determine if home-schooled students have the necessary academic skills to succeed in college.

The SAT II, a more in-depth test of specific subjects, discriminates against home-schoolers, says the NCHE, because most schools do not require their traditionally educated students to take it as a condition of admission. Use of the GED - required by one-third of the schools surveyed - also makes some home-school advocates bristle. …