Gaining University Admission: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 6)

Universities are generally more arrogant than colleges and technical institutions, thinking that they have all the “high end” programs. We have all heard horror stories about how these institutions have wreaked havoc with students and parents over their perceived need for properly accredited students.

One has to keep in mind that, just like arrogant people, arrogant universities want you to believe they know more than they do. Generally speaking, they have no idea of the power of home education.

Home educated students know how to read! This may seem like a silly statement, but there are students who complete high school without being fully literate. This doesn’t happen at home because mom won’t let it happen.

Ivy League institutions in the United States realized this early and started recruiting the home educated, years ago.

Unlike colleges and technical institutions which often have limited space in prescribed programs, universities are generally institutes of higher learning where students collect courses towards a degree.

There are certain obligatory courses that must be obtained, along with optional courses to arrive at the right combination for a specific degree. Understanding how this works makes university admission much easier, especially when desiring to go to one of those big “arrogant” ones.

Since degrees are granted on the basis of the collection of courses, if those courses can be taken in another institution, you are wise to go to a friendlier university to start and then transfer these courses into the arrogant one later on.

Last week, I mentioned how the portfolio was initially invented and advanced by me and how it was robbed and sabotaged. Although we were initially discouraged by this event, we quickly found a much better solution to facilitate the post-secondary admission of non-accredited home educated students.

Insisting on being evaluated using the alternate admission criteria of an institution of higher learning, then presenting a well-documented transcript, proved to be a much simpler and more effective way to gain admission.

I must admit that I am very proud of the cumulative, online transcript we invented for students using Education Unlimited for their home education program.

These transcripts have been very well received. In fact, I am not personally aware of these transcripts having ever been rejected, when they have been delivered to the institution of choice using our sophisticated encrypted digital delivery method.

Making sure that you have the appropriate courses that meet the prerequisites of the institution and program of choice, and then to properly document it in our transcript, has been a successful formula for our students, but there is one other thing that needs to be in place.

Every new adventure usually causes anxiety. Anxiety is largely caused by things we think we have no control over. Putting yourself under the “authority” of an admission person can encourage him or her to get a false sense of self-importance, which may result in an unpleasant admission process.

If the university was paying you to attend, then they would have a greater claim to what you have to do. The truth is you are the one paying them. You are the client. They are providing you a service.

This is not to say that you can negotiate admission criteria, but if you talk to them with a “golly-gee, cap-in-hand, please-feel-sorry-for-me-approach,” you empower them to be more miserable or demanding.

You are the customer. If you were buying a car, you would not be going to a single dealership and allowing the salesman to tell you what you want and how you will get it, now would you?

If you know what you want, have a positive attitude and the confidence that you will succeed in getting it, you are much more likely to do so. I certainly discourage students from shopping for a career, but I do encourage shopping for an institution that will give you value for your money.

Far too many people have put universities in an almost god-like position and allowed them to dictate what students will do. Perhaps, it is time for confident, self-assured, unaccredited home educated students who understand the “university” game to play as the winners that they are.

Gaining College Admission: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Post-Secondary Options (Part 5)

Everybody is an expert in something. Some feel they are experts in most things.

I say this because we once had a great way of preparing unaccredited home educated students for post-secondary admission, but the idea was stolen, sabotaged and made useless. I am talking about the portfolio.

We taught parents and students how to make a simple portfolio of accomplishments within a home education program. We developed it on a KISS principle which was to keep it straight and simple.

It started with a résumé, expanded to a transcript and ended with specifics on pertinent subjects. It was simple, easy to use and mostly accepted by registrars and admissions personnel.

This happened a long time ago, when most everybody was sending their children to school to be completed with credits to meet the standard admission criteria of colleges, etc. Wanting to help the home education community, I naively presented my secrets at the provincial conference.

A mom who was not a part of our organization, but rather an integral part of another that did not have experience with moving unaccredited students to college found the idea fascinating.

By carefully following my directives, she managed to create portfolios for her two children who were then accepted into college on their strengths.

Unfortunately, this success got to her head and she presented her board with her finding as though it was uniquely her idea. Normally we would call this theft, but the portfolio idea was shared with the objective of helping others.

What should have been a good thing for the home education community became a problem. It was not that the portfolio idea did not work in gaining admission. The problem was that this wannabe leader thought that a good thing would become better with more.

What began as a simple little half inch portfolio most admission people found helpful, grew and evolved to became a four inch scrapbook that represented every detail of everything the student had done or even hoped to do.

There was not an admissions person anywhere who had the time, nor the inclination to review a giant tome of useless material. My great idea was destroyed and portfolios were no longer accepted by most institutions which had come to equate portfolios with a lot of work, time and energy.

Is there a moral to this story? Yes. First, one always has to be wary of self-appointed experts, as their focus is usually more a matter of self-aggrandizement than the welfare of others.

More related to our topic, the lesson is that most solutions are not complicated. Most of the time, very little needs to be done to meet the admission criteria of college programs.

Admission to college is accomplished by presenting what the college needs to properly evaluate your potential for success in the program. This is especially so with prescribed one, two and three year programs usually offered in colleges and technical institutions.

Since English proficiency is always required, make sure your English skills are good. Need math, biology or chemistry? Again – no problem. It does not have to be 30 level courses. Prove that you have the required skills by having followed a different program.

There are a number of ways to meet those requirements and if you have not done that within your home education program, do it some other way. Remember that going to school to get those missing courses is a silly way of going backwards in order to advance.

If biology is a requirement that you don’t have, take an online course from a reputable university or college. Make sure that it can be transferred to the college you want to attend.

The good thing about doing it this way is that, not only do you demonstrate proficiency, but you are likely to be able to apply the course to your program, eliminating the need to take that first year course.

Alternatively, you could always challenge the institution’s first year biology program, and if successful, establish your proficiency while already having completed a course required within the program.

Understanding that colleges are businesses looking for people who will pay tuition for the entire program is critical to understanding why they are so fussy about who they accept for the prescribed programs.

Students who fail or quit the first year of a two year program will not be paying tuition for the second year of the program. This creates opportunity for a resourceful student to go directly into the second year of a two year program.

Why go through the pain of creating a four inch solution for a half inch problem?