5 Things Homeschoolers Have Taught Colleges to Look for in Student Applications

The COVID pandemic of 2020 has forced colleges to take a different look at how they are evaluating student applications. With testing centers closed and others operating at reduced capacity, more than 1,500 schools have removed standardized test requirements. In addition, students’ opportunities to stand out from the crowd have been reduced with extracurriculars diminished or cancelled.

In response to these circumstances, admissions experts are advising students to look to homeschoolers to see why they have been viewed as desirable candidates over the past quarter century.

“COVID is calling on admissions officers to be flexible and focus on student preparedness and academic strength in a new way,” Ronne Turner, Vice Provost at Washington University in St. Louis, told RealClearEducation in an interview. “Whatever preparation we have had in evaluating homeschool students over the years has certainly informed us as we look for creative ways to evaluate future candidates whose transcripts are impacted by school disruption as it relates to COVID.”

Overall, RealClearEducation compiled this top 5 list of the things homeschoolers have taught colleges to look for in student applications:

1. Passion
Explore your interests and display your expertise.

“Homeschooled students have been using the flexibility of their education for years to focus on their interests,” wrote Anne Crossman, the CEO and founder of HomeschoolExpert.com.

2. Positivity
“Have a story to tell about how you made the best out of a difficult season, helped your community, developed your passions, or explored new interests,” Crossman advised.

3. Praise
Obtain quality letters of recommendation from unbiased sources like employers.

4. Participation
Show your involvement and the positive impact you’ve had on the community around you.

5. Personality
Above all, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

“In a funny way, homeschoolers are at an advantage,” said Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke University, “because they don’t have to worry about the culture of their school and extracurricular selection based on peer bias and what is cool. Homeschoolers tend to choose what matters to them.”

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