5 Homeschool Myths that Impact College Prep
As a College Careers Consultant, I enjoy helping both traditional as well as homeschool families prepare and navigate life after high school.
Unlike students who attend traditional schools, homeschooled students do not have excess to an experienced high school counselor to help them stay on top of the college admissions process. At College Careers Consulting, we recognize that homeschooled students are often underrepresented at colleges. It’s one of the reasons why we’re passionate about supporting homeschool families through each phase of the college prep and admissions process.
Before we begin a series on how homeschooled students can prep for college, it’s important to address homeschool myths that impact it.
Myth #1: Very few Parents Homeschool
Research shows that over 2 million students are being homeschooled in the U.S. today. The homeschool movement continues to grow at a rapid rate, especially post-pandemic. In May of 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau discovered that more than 1 out of every 12 students are being homeschooled.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), the homeschool population had been growing steadily at an estimated 2% to 8% per year but grew exponentially from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. The percentage of homeschooled students has nearly tripled since mid-2019.
Myth #2: Parents Homeschool for Religious Reasons Only
Though this might have been closer to the truth years ago, it’s no longer the only reason. According to the NHES, one of the top and strongest reasons parents homeschool is to provide a safe physical, emotional, psychological, and moral environment for their students. The following two diagrams provide a list of reasons, as well as information on changes over time.
Myth # 3: Homeschooled Students Lack Socialization
This is probably the most common and stereotypical belief about homeschooled students. However, this could not be further from the truth. Homeschooled students have opportunities to participate in co-ops, co-schools, field trips, theatre, sports teams, bands, and so much more. In fact, studies have shown that because homeschooled students don’t have to sit in class for long periods of time, they’re better socialized. Homeschooling allows students to interact with parents, other adults, neighbors, siblings, and members of their community regularly. Some states have passed legislation that enables homeschooled students to participate in public school sports teams and classes. In other words, they get a lot of socialization because they are homeschooled.
Myth # 4: Homeschooled Students Are Poor Academic Achievers
Even though homeschooling has been popular and is on the rise, there are still some misconceptions about the academic level of homeschooled students. There is a widespread myth that homeschooled students do not learn as well or score as high on standardized tests compared to traditional students. According to the National Home Research Institute, homeschooled students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. Additionally, 78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show that homeschooled students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools. Because of this, homeschooled students are actively sought after and recruited by colleges.
Myth # 5: Colleges Are Not Attracted to Homeschooled Students
Not true! Homeschooled students often show more self-motivation as well as self-discipline. Since parents can use pedagogical approaches to help their students accomplish more academically in less time, it frees them to focus on extracurricular activities, explore interests, volunteer, and develop real life-skills needed to enter adulthood and college successfully. Homeschooled students are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own learning, gain time manage time skills, take classes at a local community college or online, and maintain accountability for their work. Colleges find these skills attractive. Contrary to popular belief, competitive U.S colleges, including those in the Ivy League, accept homeschooled students. Some even seek them out because they recognize that these students bring high levels of preparedness, valuable skills, and much-needed independence for both personal and student body success.
With over 2.5 million students currently being educated at home, it’s vital to understand how parents and their students can prep for the college admissions process, especially since they do not have skilled high school counselors guiding them through the process.