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July 23, 2009

Homeschoolers and College

The post "(Catholic) Homeschooling 101?" started a discussion about college admissions and homeschoolers. It came to my attention that each individual college had it's own rules when it came to homeschoolers and college admission policies. I know that the state laws regarding homeschooling varies state to state. Do the college rules vary because of the state laws? Or is something else at play? One of my readers seems to believe that the college rules have very little to do with the state laws and after surfing the web I'm in an agreement with her.

First thing I learned is that thanks to the 1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 colleges and universities that receive federal funds are prohibited from requiring homeschoolers who seek federal financial aid to take a GED or an ability to benefit test.

The Second Thing I learned is that the National Center of Home Education has a rating system for college admission policies. It is a 4 tier rating system.

  1. Tier 1- Admission policies similar to National Center for Home Education’s Recommended College Admission Policies: These colleges typically required a parent’s transcript, general standardized achievement testing, and/or the review of a portfolio of the potential student’s materials in place of an accredited diploma. (List of tier 1 colleges)
  2. Tier 2- GED required in place of, or in addition to, any of the Tier I requirements: Many of these colleges based this admission criterion of a GED on a federal requirement for financial aid in the Ability to Benefit. However, this federal requirement no longer applies since the passage of our home school amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1998. (List of tier 2 colleges)
  3. Tier 3-Standardized achievement test scores (i.e. SAT II) required from home school, but not traditional high school, graduates: Colleges who ask homeschoolers to take extra standardized exams, and colleges requiring home schooled students to score higher than traditionally schooled students on standardized achievement tests or entrance exams. (List of tier 3 colleges)
  4. Finally there's the 4th Tier. Colleges in the 4th tier do NOT accept homeschoolers. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of colleges on the list, there was only 1 college that will not accept homeschoolers. One college out of hundreds!!

Of course none of this information should replace anything you have been told by a college's admissions office. You need to contact the college or colleges that you want to go to and talk to someone from the admissions department. Many colleges have admission counselors that solely work with homeschoolers. So when possible you will want to work with that counselor.

My kids are several, several, years away from college. I was interested in where the discussion was going and so I did some minor research on it. Personally, I think it's great that several colleges are listed in the tier one category.

Those listed in the tier one category aren't necessarily better then any of the other colleges; they are just ones that fully accept homeschoolers and acknowledge that homeschooling is a legitimate schooling option. I say that because they don't require homeschooler to provide any more info then your average public school student.

EDIT ADD: I've also noticed that the list is not a complete list of colleges but it's a start. Just another reason for why you should contact your colleges admissions office.


  1. This comment really adds nothing to your post, but I'm happy to see that my Alma Mater is listed as one that accepts home schooled kids and it's a tier 1 (years ago it was considered a tier 2 by a popular magazine that ranked colleges).

  2. Hey, it's just another example of how things have chanced over the years, and how homeschooling is really becoming more and more mainstream... LOL I'm sure by the time my kiddos are ready for college things will be different yet some more.

  3. another thing to add is that a lot of colleges- Harvard, Yale,Notre Dame etc.. are activley seeking our homeschoolers because they tend to do better and come in being able to think for themselves. Says alot for hoemschooling I think.


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