Students who have been educated at home come in two main “formats.” There are those who have, in some fashion, simply brought school home and have generally followed public programming, ending up with government issued credits, transcripts and possibly diplomas. These “home-schooled” students do not usually pose challenges for admissions as they are usually assessed using the standard admission criteria expected of all students.
I should, however, warn you that to have a few credits can be more damaging than no credits at all, as a few credits may generate a transcript without a diploma which can come with the stigma of being a “dropout.” Completing the GED creates much the same problem.
The “home educated” or “unschooled” students, on the other hand, have followed alternate, individualized programming and as a consequence, lack the standard credits, transcripts and diplomas.
Now, although the home educated are generally as well or better prepared for post-secondary studies than their public schooled counterparts, lacking standard admission credentials does require admissions personnel to use some form of alternate criteria when assessing these students for admissions.
If you have not followed this clearly, let me say it a different way. If you do what everyone else does, you get to be measured like everyone else is. If you are different, you must be measured differently. The standard way is measured with standard admission criteria and the different way with alternate admission criteria.
Either way, post-secondary institutions are looking for the best students and every student must demonstrate that they are the best candidates for success in the institution. After all, one must understand that institutions of higher learning are businesses that don’t make their best money on failures. It is in their best interest to find those students who will succeed and earn them money.
This is why every program comes with prerequisites or a list of “have-to haves” that must be met before a student is considered for admission.
Prerequisites cannot be argued away. If an institution says you need English, Math and particular sciences, you must show that you have what it takes. Now, under normal circumstances they will refer to government programming like level 30, but understand that this is because most people applying for admission have come from the school system.
What the institutions are asking for is not necessarily an English 30 course, but an ability to do work in English equivalent to that level. This is called proficiency. They are looking for a level of proficiency in certain subjects that you will need to prove. There are a number of ways that this can be done.
To this end, I have summarized alternate admission practices generally in use by post-secondary institutions when considering unaccredited home educated applicants in my article entitled “Summary of Post-Secondary Admissions Practices”.
We have been helping post-secondary institutions and unaccredited home educated students to understand each other, and the unique challenges that need to be addressed when seeking admission, for a long time. Please go the web site, www.educationunlimited.ca under Resources and click on Post-Secondary Admissions to see how post-secondary institutions from across Canada are willing and able to deal with the unaccredited home educated student.
We have found that our post-secondary students admitted without government issued accreditation are often outstanding students. I believe that this is due to two main things.
First of all, home educated students are usually sure of themselves, are not confused as to who they are and therefore have no need to go to college to find themselves. They know what they want, what is required to get there, and what it takes to succeed.
Secondly, home educated students have had to practice self-motivation and personal responsibility and have learned how to do what has to be done to get where they want to go. In short, home educated students demonstrate a level of maturity not often found within their “schooled” peers.
When questioned, most institutions who have admitted unaccredited home educated students have discovered that if there is one characteristic that can generally be attributed to these kinds of students, it is that they tend to be overachievers. Wow! Good news!
That’s it! Once students have transitioned from the secondary to the post-secondary level, parents have worked themselves out of a job. There will always be a need to support, encourage and mentor your now-grown-up, son or daughter, but the education part of it is done, and likely well done, at that.
The fears and concerns regarding home education that likely bothered you in the past, have now gone away. You likely discovered that you could have saved yourself a lot of grief if you would have trusted in God rather than having put confidence in man and that all the false information you were fed about the need to look like everyone else was simply scare mongering and not factual.
However, there is one more opportunity for fear to grip you in this journey. I like to call this one “Fears and Concerns Level 5” and I will talk about this one next time.