Home schoolers face higher standards at U

Prospective students who may have taken history class in the kitchen, math in the living room or English in the front yard may be at a disadvantage when applying for admission to the U.

Home-schooled students-those who did not attend a traditional high school, but rather took classes at home-must satisfy more stringent requirements in order to enroll, such as being required to score a 23 or higher on the ACT, while traditional applicants are only required to score an 18.

Home-schoolers at the U are also required to obtain a GED, receiving a composite score of 55 or higher. This requirement can be waived if the student receives a 25 or higher on the ACT exam.

“I believe that it is indicative of [a] misunderstanding of home education that [admissions officials] add additional requirements for home-educators,” said John Yarrington, President of the Utah Home Education Association.

U admissions officials, however, said that the higher standards do not indicate ignorance, but rather are the only way to fairly accommodate certain difficulties associated with home-schoolers, such as not receiving an accredited high school transcript upon completion of a nontraditional program.

There is evidence that may suggest that increased admissions requisites for home-schoolers may be unnecessary.

A study released by an institution supported by the Department of Education found that 25 percent of home-schooled students were enrolled one or more grades above their age-level peers in public and private schools. In the tests administered to home-schoolers to develop the study, the median scores were generally in the 70th to 80th percentile.

According to John Boswell, director of admissions at the U, increased requirements impact the way home-schoolers fare in college, sometimes making them more adept than they would be otherwise.

“The home-schoolers that attend the U do very well,” Boswell said.

While the academic scores of home-schoolers may be comparable to their peers, there is still a question of whether these students are equally prepared to acclimate to a new social environment when they matriculate into public education systems.

Chantel Beck, a recent summa cum laude graduate from the U with degrees in psychology and sociology, was home-schooled. She has been accepted into the educational psychology graduate program at the U.

“Generally, I feel that I had a better social life than people who went to high school, a lot of whom totally suffered throughout those four years,” Beck said. “There are more social outlets than just school. People forget that sometimes. A lot of people seem to think that home-schoolers just stay home, locked up in their rooms like sheltered social outcasts or something.”

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the number of home-schooled students in the United States for the 2001-2002 school year was between 1.73 million and 2.19 million.

And, at an average growth rate of about seven to 15 percent a year, the numbers are growing.

The association rates colleges and universities according to their admissions policies regarding home-schoolers, including whether or not schools require additional exams to the standard ACT/SAT for home-schoolers and whether or not schools require a GED.

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