Category Archives: College Admissions Research

Our 2015 research project focusing on admissions officers’ perceptions of homeschooled students. Conducted in partnership with the Oregon Home Education Network.

Are You Setting Sail Without a Compass?

sunset_sailing_sailboat_photographyMy oldest son, Sam, is finishing what would be his 8th grade year right now, so lately we’ve been deep in discussions about what our version of high school will look like. Although we don’t know for sure whether Sam will want to go to college, given his interests and general career goals, it’s pretty likely that he will. Which is why I began wondering last year about what he might need to do so he’ll be ready to apply to college in a few years. He won’t have standard transcripts and a GPA, nor will he have easily-requested letters of recommendations from high school teachers and counselors who have known him for years. What’s a homeschooling parent to do?

I’m realizing that homeschooling our teenagers without a plan is like setting out to sea in a sailboat without a compass — we can’t help them get to where they’re going without a map and at least a general idea of the destination. This is true regardless of whether or not they plan to pursue a college degree; and, if they do, it’s even more critical that we find the information we’ll need to help them as early as possible. So, I set out to find out…

If you’ve been following the Teach Your Own blog, you’ve probably seen several posts about our “From Home Education to Higher Education” research we’re conducting in partnership with the Oregon Home Education Network.  After asking homeschooling families across the country what they wanted to know about college admissions for home schooled students (and hearing back from parents in every region of the country!), we’ve begun presenting these questions to college admissions officers and counselors. We’re receiving wonderful, compelling insights every day from admissions professionals through our online survey, and have already begun interviewing some of these experts to get their deeper thoughts and recommendations about what we need to be doing right now to help our kids be competitive for admissions and scholarships.

I’ll be sharing more on all of this soon, but I’m so excited about the first interview with Mark Corkery, Head College Counselor at College Advance, I couldn’t wait to make this available and decided to give you a sneak peek.

“Things have been shifting in college admissions that are very positive for home schooled students.”

— Mark Corkery, College Advance

First, a quick introduction!  Mark Corkery has been working in higher education and college admissions for decades. He was one of the first college counselors in Southern California and has worked with thousands of students, including both traditional and home schooled students, in gaining admissions to their colleges of choice. In our recent interview we discussed:

  • How the priorities of college admissions officers are changing (and how this impacts homeschoolers),
  • What types of information need to be included on our homeschool transcripts,
  • How colleges view and compare the AP test, the SAT, an SAT Subject Test, or a college-level course, and
  • What students can do to maximize the impact of their college essay and really stand out.

In addition to the helpful information shared during our discussion, Mark also suggested several links and resources that might be of interest to homeschooling families. In short, this interview is a great place to find your compass and start your planning!

One more quick note before you check out the interview:  The first few recorded interviews will be available to anyone who clicks on the link below, but eventually they will only be accessible to our Teach Your Own subscribers. So, if you haven’t already signed up and you want to make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to sign up for our newsletter at the top of this page. Enjoy the interview!

 How to Stand Out, with Mark Corkery


Homeschooling and College Admissions

Thanks to for helping us get the word out about our “From Home Education to Higher Education” research! This article was posted on their site yesterday:



Homeschooling and College Admissions – a survey for homeschoolers AND for colleges! Genius!!

My husband and I made the decision to home school our two sons in the middle of their 1st and 4th grade years. It was the end of January, testing season was about to begin again, and we decided enough was enough – it was time for a change. So we jumped into the deep end, knowing instinctively this was the right choice for our family, but without any real plan of what we were going to do or how we were going to do it.

Read More…




Last Call. It’s Not Too Late!

Logo Survey-page-001 (2)It’s been very exciting around here lately. The first phase of our “From Home Education to Higher Education” research is winding down (though it’s not too late to participate, or invite your friends to participate here.)  We’ve heard from home schooling families in every region of the United States, and are looking forward to presenting their questions and concerns to college admissions officers beginning next week!

That’s right, we’ve already scheduled four interviews with college admissions officers beginning on April 13th, and will be sharing their responses, insights and recommendations for home schooled applicants very soon.  As we’re talking to admissions officers, we’re also inviting many more (we can’t interview everyone!) to participate through our online survey created just for them. If you know any admissions officers and would like to encourage them to participate, you can share this link with them:

We’re finalizing our list of interview questions for the first round of interviews right now, so don’t hesitate to let us know what you want to know!

And keep an eye out for preliminary research results — coming soon!

From Home Education to Higher Education: What YOU Want to Know

Logo Survey-page-001 (2)I can’t believe it’s already the end of January! These first few weeks of 2015 have been truly busy, particularly because we’ve been receiving so many new responses from homeschooling families on our “From Home Education to Higher Education” survey.  For weeks now, families from all over the country have been sharing their questions and concerns about the college admissions process with us, and we look forward to hearing from even more! If you haven’t already, please share the link with others in your homeschooling community and encourage them to participate. Here’s the link you can share:

Based on the ideas and requests we’ve received so far, we’re already preparing the admissions officers’ survey and interview questions.  As you might imagine, many of the questions parents are most interested in relate to one of two primary topics:

1.  The admissions process (including required and/or helpful materials)

2. Information and eligibility for financial aid and scholarships

 I thought you might be interested to know specifically what types of questions people are posing, so I wanted to share a quick sampling:

  • What are the most important things for homeschoolers to put together? Are there types of exams and classes that are preferable? (i.e., AP vs CLEP vs subject test for SAT).
  • How can we best communicate our academic experience, knowledge and life lessons so that you can apply them to your entrance requirements?
  • How best to document the different kinds of high school courses my child will take: Parent-taught, outside teacher through homeschool co-op, private tutor or class, community college.
  • If a student has chosen to homeschool for part of high school but does have some high school credits and community college credits, how is their transcript evaluated? What can our kids do in this situation to make sure that admissions officers get an accurate representation of their readiness for admission?

The other topic parents are concerned about is the admissions officers’ perceptions of homeschoolers, as reflected in these submitted questions:

  • How do you feel about homeschooling, personally?
  • Is there any negative stigma whatsoever to non-traditional applicants (online graduates, homeschoolers, etc)?
  • What would make you more or less likely to consider a homeschool student for admission?
  • What do you perceive as homeschoolers weaknesses? Strengths?

Such fantastic questions, and we’ll be asking all of these and more. I can’t wait!

Coming Up Next….

In the next post I’ll share the responses we’re receiving to another of the questions we asked you:

“If there were one thing you would like admissions officers to know about homeschooled students, what would it be? What do you think they need to know or understand about our students?”

Parents have shared some genuinely great ideas on this one. Stay tuned!

From Home Education to Higher Education — What Do YOU Want to Know?

7K0A0879It’s been a while since I’ve written because I’ve been working on a new project. I’m very excited to finally announce that Teach Your Own has partnered with the Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN) on a research project focusing on college admissions for homeschoolers!

Our goal is to find answers to all of your questions about applying to college, and to provide a list of the best and most helpful resources to help you through the process. These will be provided in a FREE final report that will be made available to homeschooling families across the country who are considering college as an option.

 Before we begin surveying and interviewing admissions officers, though, WE NEED YOUR INPUT! What questions and concerns do you have around college admissions? We’re collecting all ideas and requests here:

This will only take about 10 minutes of your time, and your participation will help shape our research. Please spread the word (and link). Thanks for your help!