The Chronicle’s View: Home-school standards a tight issue

Home-schooled students applying to the U, and many other universities nationwide, may find an academic obstacle in their paths.

At the U, home-schooled students must receive at least a 23 on the ACT in order to be granted admission, whereas traditional students only need an 18.

Nontraditional students also must obtain a GED, unlike their peers, although the home-schoolers can bypass the GED with an ACT score of 25 or higher.

Such increased standards of admissions exist for several reasons, according to U admission officials, among which are a lack of accredited transcrips and wild variation in academic rigor between home schools.

The essential logic behind the increased standards is that since there are no transcripts, nor realistic means of measurement for home schoolers, alternative methods must be employed to ensure that applicants possess the foundational knowledge expected of them-hence, the GED.

However, while this is reasonable logic, it may have been extended beyond its boundaries.

Making home schoolers pass the GED is smart and fair, but consider this: In 2003, the national average for ACT scores was just above 20. Traditional students are required to score two points below this average, yet home-schoolers are required to score almost three points higher.

It could possibly be that since traditional students are already familiar with the teaching techniques and social environment present in college that they might be expected to fare better, but evidence suggests that, once accepted, home schoolers often fare as well academically as do their traditional counterparts. So, while there is obviously need for some sort of weighing mechanism, it seems a little excessive for these potential students to be held to this sort of double standard just because they had a different educational experience.