Families with gifted children are one of the fastest growing segments of homeschooling today. The choice to homeschool is no longer limited to those who make the choice for religious reasons as was common in the past. Along with that choice comes the need to know and understand how to approach the college entrance process. Our guest this week, Lori Dunlap, recently wrote a book entitled From Home Home Education to Higher Education from GHF Press which addresses the many questions asked by homeschoolers.
Faced with roadblocks and not having needs met at their children’s schools; parents of gifted learners often turn to homeschooling. Families realize that their school’s approach to education does not fit with their goals for their child’s education.
According to Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, “Homeschool families are so diverse that any generalization is going to include misconceptions.” With regard to college entrance, many people think that homeschoolers will encounter more issues in transitioning to college than their public school counterparts. This line of thinking extends to believing homeschoolers will lack the ability to deal with schedules and routines in college which simply is not the case. Corin added, “In fact, they often do better because they are self-motivated and have not had their curiosity suppressed.”
How are homeschoolers viewed by colleges and universities? Lori explained, “Colleges and universities not only accept homeschoolers; in many cases they’re actually seeking them out! In researching my book, the most FAQ that came up from admissions officers was, ‘Where can I find more homeschoolers?’ Other hurdles included misperceptions in college admissions community including “Mom grades” on transcripts and academic “rigor.”
Regarding the college application process, Lori told us, “For any student, finding schools that are a good fit for their goals and interests is the most important part of the process. In applications, admission officers want to see how homeschoolers have taken advantage of the flexibility and freedom that comes with educational choice.”
With regard to what college admission officers are looking for, Lori said, “The first thing they want to know is if the student is academically qualified and can be successful at the school. [They are also] looking for variety and diversity; an area where homeschoolers can stand out with unique educational experiences. They want to know your “story”. Think of your application as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Non-standard applications throw some of them for a loop. This is why SAT/ACT scores are still required for homeschoolers even at “test opt” schools.”
“Know your child. Help them set goals and steer their lives, but be ready to scaffold when needed.” ~ Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
There are some ways parents can help prepare their child to transition to college life. It was pointed out by many at the chat that perhaps the hardest part, but most important for parents, is letting go. Corin reminded us, “Parents can listen to their student instead of pushing hopes on kids. The kid has to live with their choices. They should make their own.” Lori added, “To prepare, we need to give our students increasing levels of independence and appropriate responsibility as they get older. By the time they go off to college, they should have skills and confidence to operate as independently as possible.” A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.