Can homeschoolers get into Ivy League colleges?
Yes, but as for all students, it is very competitive. Therefore, students who want to succeed in highly selective admissions should start early and carefully build their academic profile during high school. In this article, you will find information about the homeschool admissions requirements for every Ivy League college.
What is the Ivy League?
Many people are surprised to learn that the Ivy League is an athletic conference. It includes eight private colleges in the Northeast of the United States. The colleges that make up the Ivy League are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
Are Ivy League colleges the “best” colleges?
While the Ivy League carries prestige in the eyes of many, these are far from the only high-quality or well-resourced colleges in the United States. There is no reason to think just because a college is in the Ivy League athletic conference that, it will be a good fit for your student or that if one Ivy League college is a good match, others will be as well. Students should consider their unique abilities, preferences, interests, and career goals when making college decisions. In college, one size does not fit all.
Some critics argue Ivy League colleges are overrated and students are better served by developing their talents at less elite institutions. Author Malcolm Gladwell suggests students are better served by being at the top of their academic class and choosing institutions such as state flagships.
Is it difficult to get into an Ivy League college?
Yes. Admissions rates at highly selective colleges are very low for the high school graduating class of 2023 (college class of 2027). For example, Harvard admitted about 3.4% of applicants, Columbia 3.9%, and Yale 4.3%. Brown admitted just five of every hundred applicants. Among the applicants who were not admitted were many who were valedictorians and other high-achieving students. Any senior considering highly selective colleges must be realistic about the admissions odds, but it is not a random lottery. Students with a solid high school record, including rigorous coursework, high test scores, and amazing extracurricular activities, have the best admissions odds.
Homeschool Admissions Policies
Colleges change their admissions policies and priorities from year to year. The pandemic led many colleges to adopt test-optional policies. It is anticipated that some colleges may be changing their style of essays in response to the availability of Ai. Families must check each college’s website for the most up-to-date information.
Brown’s Open Curriculum offers students many educational choices and encourages them to delve deeply into their interests while pursuing broad-based knowledge. So, Brown looks for applicants who have demonstrated they are prepared for this environment by taking rigorous courses and developing their talents across academic subjects.
Brown wants homeschool counselors to explain their motivations for homeschooling rather than traditional public or private school education. Admissions would also like to understand how the student was homeschooled. This information should be presented in homeschool documents, including a transcript and detailed descriptions of courses. Students who have taken college classes should submit official transcripts as part of the admissions process.
Brown admissions values recommendations from outside of the family. “We would prefer to see letters of recommendation from instructors who have taught you in a traditional classroom setting and who can speak to your abilities and potential in an objective way.” Therefore, two to three outside recommendations are allowed, along with the parent-counselor letter.
Columbia gives homeschool applicants the same evaluation as they give other students. “In each case, admissions officers are weighing many components of your background: academic achievement and rigor, intellectual curiosity, extracurricular distinction, special talents and abilities, and many others.” In addition, Columbia’s homeschool admissions policy asks students to submit a detailed document explaining their curriculum for the last four years. Applicants should also provide letters of recommendation from outside teachers, such as college instructors.
Cornell admissions are highly selective, with Cornell admitting about 7% of applicants. Cornell makes it clear there is not a single formula to be admitted. Instead, Cornell looks for intellectual potential, character, involvement, and fit with Cornell’s offerings. Their admissions site asks students to consider, “Have you challenged yourself with the highest-level courses? How have you demonstrated your passion for learning?” “What special talents or interests have you developed?” “Do your application essays, and recommendations reflect your strongest personal attributes?”
Dartmouth recognizes every applicant is unique. “Every student we admit brings something unique to the community: a combination of qualities, experiences, and point-of-view that isn’t duplicated by any other student. Our selection process is grounded in the concept that the whole is more than merely the sum of its parts.”
Dartmouth receives many applications from homeschoolers.
In addition to the typical requirements for all applicants, Dartmouth asks homeschool supervisors to provide detailed information on the curriculum, grading scale, and evaluation. Applicants should give outside letters of recommendation, such as letters from college instructors. Homeschoolers are reminded that “standardized test scores can help demonstrate academic preparation.” Dartmouth homeschool admissions policy notes students can demonstrate foreign language proficiency with the AP test.
Harvard admissions advise that “each applicant to Harvard College is considered with great care and homeschooled applicants are treated the same as all other applicants. ” Harvard welcomes homeschoolers to submit all relevant information about their educational and personal background. In addition, applicants should submit a transcript and recommendations.
Homeschoolers interested in applying to Harvard may wish to read this Harvard Gazette article with profiles of homeschoolers who have been successful.
Princeton’s homeschool admissions policy provides helpful guidelines to prospective applicants. They want applicants who have distinguished themselves through taking rigorous academics. Princeton understands homeschool applicants can be different than traditionally schooled applicants and may have less distinction between academic and extracurricular parts of the application.
Princeton admissions encourages homeschoolers to submit detailed information explaining their approach to homeschooling. “The more you can document for us and describe what you have done during your high school years, academically and otherwise, the better. Feel free to go beyond the questions on our application forms if they don’t cover everything you think is important for us to know. ”
As is typical for selective colleges, Princeton admissions would like homeschoolers to submit recommendations from outside providers such as high school teachers or college instructors. Princeton also asks applicants for a graded paper with written comments.
Penn wants homeschoolers to submit a consolidated transcript that pulls together all of the student’s academic work. Homeschool documents should also explain the motivations for homeschooling and the plan for homeschooling. Their admissions guidelines also mention “objective” evidence” and “objective evaluations” through providing test scores and letters of recommendation from outside providers.
Penn asks homeschoolers to make sure their documents and application answer the following questions.
“What inspired you or your family to seek home schooling as an option for your education? Describe your curriculum in detail and tell us how you, your family, or oversight group has organized your pursuit of knowledge across core academic disciplines including humanities, math, social and natural sciences, and foreign languages. How has being home schooled helped you grow intellectually and personally or enhanced your opportunities for learning?”
Yale Homeschool Admissions expectations include
- Recommendations- Two. “The Committee requests objective evaluations from educators who have interacted with you – perhaps a teacher from a course you took at a local college, someone who has mentored you in a tutorial, the local librarian with whom you’ve discussed books over the years, someone in whose lab you have done the research, etc. “Yale makes it clear they do not want applicants only to submit letters written by parents.
- Strength of curriculum – No set number for each subject, but “strength expected in all major disciplines strength in all major disciplines across the high school curriculum.” They note that grades from high school or local college courses can be a strong addition.
- Personal qualities – Look for evidence of “social maturity” from all applicants, especially homeschoolers. They want to see the ability to “integrate well” and “communicate well” with others.
Success in selective college admissions is aided by careful planning and attention to developing the student’s profile. Support from early in high school can help improve outcomes. Please check our Homeschool Success Services page for more information about how an individual consultation may help simplify the college admissions process for your homeschooler.