Category Archives: Higher Education
“Being homeschooled isn’t enough to make you interesting anymore.”
This is what one college admissions officer shared with me during a recent phone interview, an interview I’d requested as part of my research for my first book about college admissions for homeschoolers. It certainly wasn’t a perspective I had expected to hear, but as a homeschooling mom of two boys (one of whom will likely be applying to college in a couple of years), it’s an insight into the college admissions process that I’m happy to know about… Read More
(From my recent article published by The Gifted Homeschoolers Forum)
Fall is in the air here in Oregon, reminding me that it’s time to come back online and resume a more normal schedule. School buses are once again motoring around the neighborhoods, the first leaves are starting to fall, and the night air is crisp and filled with the smell of wood smoke. It’s been a busy, interesting, unusual summer, one that I’m sad to see end in spite of my excitement about what the next few months hold. I’ve had a kind of hibernation period for the past few months, allowing me time to withdraw from the world temporarily and work on a new and somewhat scary project… my first book!
For those who have followed me for a while, you already know that over the past couple of years one of my main focuses has been researching and writing about college admissions for homeschoolers. As a former university program director and admissions committee member, and now a homeschooling mom of two boys, this focus is a natural marriage of my two great passions: kids and education. After writing a series of articles on this topic last year, a publisher approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing a book about college admissions for homeschoolers, and there was no way I could say no! So, with a November deadline for submitting my first draft, I’ve spent much of the summer in front of my computer in a continuous cycle of researching, writing, and editing.
The good news is, I’m almost done! The even-better news is, I’ve had a fabulous time and have learned so much that I just can’t wait to share with you. So, I’m going to begin sharing bits and pieces of advice, insights, and just generally cool information over the next few weeks — stay tuned! The first article I’ll be sharing is about the top questions admissions officers ask themselves when reviewing a homeschooler’s application, and I think you might be surprised about at least one or two of them.
But first, a question…
As part of my book research, I’ve been asking college admissions officers about their schools’ policies and procedures for homeschooled applicants. At the end of the interviews, I ask, “What would YOU like to know about? What would help you do your job better/more easily?” Again and again admissions officers are asking:
“Where can I find more homeschoolers? How can I connect with them?”
So, I thought I’d send this question out to you home educators, college counselors, and admissions officers alike:
What is the best way for colleges who are very interested in homeschooled students to connect with us? Some online location? A homeschooling conference? Other?
Please share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, insights — anything that can help us strengthen this bridge between our students and the colleges and universities who welcome them. This will likely be the topic for a future article, so anything you share will help benefit others!
In case you missed it last month, there was a new attention-grabbing report released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education that has caused quite a stir in the college admissions community. Just as many high school students were enduring final exams and simultaneously keeping an eye on the mailbox for college acceptance letters, “Turning the Tide” was released with recommendations that may change the future of college admissions for everyone. At least, that’s what the authors hope… Read More
Fall is here! Which means many high school students are beginning to think about college. So, this September edition of the Teach Your Own newsletter is dedicated to providing specific information for homeschooling families whose students are preparing to apply to college in the coming weeks. In this issue you’ll find:
- Three great colleges for homeschoolers,
- Two hot tips on college admissions, and
- Our top college links for September!
As always, thanks for subscribing! And remember, if you like this issue, the best compliment you can give us is to share it with your friends!
Check it out here:
The August Newsletter is Out!
We’ve launched our new monthly newsletter and are so excited to see what you think! If you’re a subscriber, you should have received an email from us already and, if not, you can link to the newsletter here. To make sure you don’t miss future issues, you can register on the top right corner of this page.
In celebration of our launch, we’re giving away a free copy of Grace Llewellyn’s book “Guerrilla Learning“. The winner this month is: “enkvargas”. Congratulations!
In the newsletter you’ll find:
- Insights: The top five questions homeschoolers submitted to us about college admissions through our survey of homeschoolers. Is yours on the list?
- Advice: How did admissions officers around the country complete this sentence? “When applying to college homeschoolers need to ___________.”
- Links: Find out what our top picks for this month are. There’s something for everyone, from curriculum, to college application support, to interesting interviews.
Enjoy! And remember, if you like what we’ve shared, the best compliment you can give us is to share it with others. Thanks for your support!
These are exciting times around here! I’m happy to announce that we’ll be launching the “Teach Your Own” newsletter next month, and the inaugural edition will be in your mailboxes on Monday, August 3rd. Keep an eye out for it!
In celebration of the launch, we’ll be giving away a free copy of Grace Llewellyn’s “Guerrilla Learning” to a lucky newsletter subscriber. If you’re already signed up, great! If not, make sure to do so by July 31st to make sure you’re entered in the drawing.
What else can you expect in this first newsletter? Some great information, including:
1. Interesting Insights. What are the biggest questions and concerns homeschoolers have regarding college admissions? We’ve been asking for the past few months, and we’ve heard from families all over the country with thoughtful, interesting responses and we’ll share them with you.
2. Valuable Advice. Admissions officers and counselors from around the country recently shared the best advice they have for homeschoolers applying to college. Can you guess what their top tip was?
3. Helpful Links: Great resources you’ll want to check out if you’re homeschooling a teenager (or will be in the future!)
We look forward to sharing all of this (and more!) with you. Make sure you’re signed up (in the upper right-hand corner of this page), and then let us know what you think!
If you had to describe a college that would be the perfect fit for most homeschooled students, what criteria would you include? For me, I’d say that a smaller school with access to lots of educational options would be a good option for my two boys. A place where they’ll have lots of opportunities to engage with other students, to know their professors, and to think deeply about the issues and ideas that interest them; a place where they won’t be lost in the crowd, that would welcome them and make them feel at home and, while I’m at it, offer scholarships just for homeschoolers.
I’m dreaming, right? Actually, no….
I recently spoke with Adrian Nelson, Assistant Director of Admissions at Shimer College, and this is exactly how she described her school. Shimer is unique among colleges, even among smaller liberal arts colleges, in that most of their classes are small (no more than 12 students), discussion-based (no lectures), and incorporate only original sources (no textbooks). Their students are highly self-directed and have plenty of options to explore what interests them because of Shimer’s curriculum, and also because of their partnership (and shared campus) with the Illinois Institute of Technology.
So this school must be hard to get into, right?
Well, they’re certainly selective, but they love students from non-traditional backgrounds who have done interesting things and challenged themselves along the way, which pretty much describes most homeschoolers. The admissions process is a holistic application process, which means SATs are optional — they look at recommendations, transcripts, and essays to determine if applicants would be a good fit. As Adrian points out, because Shimer’s program is so small, every student has an impact on the student body, so “fit” is very important.
And I wasn’t lying about the scholarship part — they actually offer a scholarship for homeschoolers, and offer other healthy scholarship opportunities as well. Listen in to find out more about all of this, plus:
- The two biggest mistakes homeschooled applicants make,
- What the holistic application process entails, and
- How your student can stand out.
If you’d like to learn more about Shimer, check out the links below. Enjoy the show!
For application information: http://www.shimer.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/for-home-school-students/
For scholarship information: http://www.shimer.edu/admissions/aid-scholarships/grants-scholarships/home-school-scholarship.php
I’ve been practically bouncing in my seat the past few days while preparing this next interview in our series of interviews with college admissions officers. This one is with Micah Canal, Dean of Admissions at Antioch College — if you have a “quirky and capable” home schooled student who is thinking about going to college, you’ll definitely want to listen in on this conversation.
“Antioch students graduate with the ability to apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom to the real world of work.”
In case you’re not familiar with Antioch College, it’s a small, academically rigorous liberal arts school in Ohio. They have a faculty to student ratio of 1:7, and incorporate four quarters of work experience into their undergraduate program. As you’ll hear in the interview, Antioch is a small school with big ideas, where students are encouraged to be both “thinkers” and “doers” — a great fit for many home schoolers! In this interview we discuss:
- The application process at Antioch, and how it’s designed to empower students and families,
- Why “grit” is an important consideration in their admissions process,
- How Antioch supports its students in becoming stronger “thinkers” and “doers”, and
- What goes into creating an “artisan education” (exactly what many home schoolers are seeking!)
If you checked out the first interview with Mark Corkery of College Advance, you’ll hear some similar themes in this interview, including:
- The need for clean, concise documentation of our students’ high school learning and activities, and
- The importance of outside evaluations of our students’ abilities.
Enjoy the interview!
My 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!