Unschoolers Getting Into College
Parents worry that their decision to unschool might close doors on opportunities, especially college. But this is completely unfounded. The UM2M FB Group is full of personal accounts of families whose kids have entered the college system, graduated and are either pursuing advanced degrees or have moved into a career. Unschooling actually helped this teens and young adults have the success they've experienced.
Many traditional and non-traditional colleges welcome unschoolers! And multiple paths exist to get there. Some unschoolers take the entrance exams and do very well. Some create portfolios or narrative transcripts getting them interviews that ultimately lead to admissions. Non-traditional colleges are often looking for non-traditional students. Many unschoolers take community college classes in their teen years and then transfer over to a university. Every state is different in how they approach this, so check with the local homeschool group to see if they have some tips for how to navigate your local system.
Colleges embrace unschoolers because they are often very motivated to be there and they don't carry with them the years of being forced to go to school day-in day-out. They're interested in learning and the professors are happy to have them.
Here are a few common questions new unschoolers ask:
Q: I've heard people talking about unschoolers who transferred into college. How can that be?
When unschoolers take classes at the local community college during their teen years, they are adding up credits that can be applied toward a transfer to a 4-year university. While states may vary in this procedure, the majority allow transfers from community college into the university after one year of courses. The student transfers in as a sophomore bypassing many of the typical entrance requirements for freshmen.
Q: Are standardized tests required?
Usually a placement test is required to enter the community college. These tests can vary but practice tests are often available at the community college website.
SAT and ACT tests are required if you want to go straight into a 4 year university. Regular admissions guidelines apply. But unschoolers have an advantage as they can be exploring their fields of interest before college. University application administrators are eager to find students who have been very productive in their chosen field prior to attendance.
Students who have gone to community college amass the number of credits needed to become a “2nd Year” can then transfer to the university without taking the SAT or ACT tests.
Q: Is using traditional curriculum during teen years necessary to get into college?
No. And pushing a traditional academic path with the hopes that it will prepare your teen for college, may actually backfire.
When teens continue to focus on their own interests and goals, it becomes clear whether a college degree will be necessary. Looking at the community college practice entrance exams can give a teen an idea of what to expect on these tests. Developmental/remedial classes are available to anyone who feels they need more work in particular areas. SAT/ACT Study Guides are readily available as well. Many unschoolers have found it better to enter the community college earlier: they begin accruing credited college hours and they can get “caught up” on any subject with a remedial course. Taking traditional high school classes seems like taking a deliberately slow and more expensive path to the same destination.
TOP UNIVERSITIES WANT YOU TO HOMESCHOOL
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Sandra Dodd Collection
"UNSCHOOLED" KIDS DO JUST FINE IN COLLEGE
Colin Schultz | Smithsonian
SURVEY OF GROWN UNSCHOOLERS II: GOING ON TO COLLEGE
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WILL UNSCHOOLING GET THEM INTO COLLEGE?
Joyce Fetterol | Joyfully Rejoycing
CAN (AND SHOULD) UNSCHOOLERS GO TO COLLEGE?
Leo Babauta | Unschoolery
HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS WELL PREPARED FOR COLLEGE, STUDY SAYS
Kelsey Sheehy | Huffington Post
COLLEGES THAT ACCEPT HOMESCHOOLERS
Karl Bunday | LEARN IN FREEDOM
Karl has been following colleges for decades and has been the GoTo resource to find out how homeschool-friendly different colleges and universities are.
- Parents interpret their unschooled teen's lives into an educational framework to create a diploma.
- Google "Homeschool Diploma" and you will find templates to use, if needed.
- States vary in what is needed to enter a community college - some require diplomas while others do not.
- Colleges vary in what they are looking for in a high school diploma. Usually, what they're really asking for is a transcript. If your teen is interested in attended a particular school, go to their website and see what course requirements they want to see on a diploma.
- Local and state support groups are a great resource for what is required in your state (states vary)
- Unschooled teens do not have to wrap everything up at the arbitrary age of 18, just to have a diploma. Relax. There is no deadline.
- If you are concerned about how to translate a full unschooled life into transcript language, contact Wes Beach or Sue Patterson for working with them privately.
More about Unschooling Teens
If you're looking for more resources about unschooling teens, don't miss this!