As their numbers continue to surge, homeschooled students are receiving more respect at the nation's colleges and universities. Once viewed as a tiny fringe group, these applicants are the focus of increasing attention within the admissions profession.
The newsletter of the National Association for College Admission Counseling devoted the front page of its February, 1997 issue to the increase in homeschooled applicants. The article noted that such students perform above the national average on standardized tests and described homeschooled students as "often better socialized and more mature than students in public schools."
Though the homeschooling movement has existed for many years, significant numbers of these students have reached college-age only in the past several years. The number of homeschooled applicants "used to be almost negligible," said Philip Caffrey, Associate Director of Admissions at Iowa State University. "It's only in the last couple of years that we've had more than half a dozen."
Homeschooling first drew attention among highly selective colleges in the mid-1980s when a California family enrolled three home-schooled students at Harvard University. Today, Harvard receives approximately 30 applications per year from homeschooled applicants out of 18,000 in the applicant pool.
In 1996, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) produced new guidelines designed to allow home-schooled athletes to compete in Division I & II athletics. In addition to a combined score of 1,110 on the SAT I, students must provide proof that they took at least 13 courses that meet the association's core-course requirement. (Students with scores below the SAT cut-off are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.)