Colleges coveting home-schooled students

After years of skepticism, even mistrust, many college officials now realize it’s in their best interest to seek out home-schoolers, said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

“There was a tendency to kind of dismiss home schooling as inherently less rigorous,” he said. “The attitude of the admissions profession could have at best been described as skeptical.”

Home-schooled students — whose numbers in this country range from an estimated 1.1 million to as high as 2 million — often come to college equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in higher education, said Regina Morin, admissions director of Columbia College.

Such assets include intellectual curiosity, independent study habits and critical thinking skills, she said.

“It’s one of the fastest-growing college pools in the nation,” she said. “And they tend to be some of the best prepared.” —Alan Schier ZagierColleges coveting home-schooled students (Yahoo! News (will expire))

Last week the freshmen at SHU were tired and stressed, since most of them are facing their first major papers and projects now, and the deadlines are starting to pile up. For classes with a lot of freshmen, I generally schedule workshop days this time of year, and spend time moving around the room and talking to each student individually. Some don’t appear to have attempted to do any work at all since the last in-class workshop we’ve had. Others have 50 questions about the most minor details. Still others stop showing up in class.

So in the last minute before letting the students go, I gave them a little pep talk, telling them that SHU wouldn’t have let them in if they didn’t have what it took to succeed, and telling them that this is the time of year when they have to [insert motivation-oriented sports cliché] and [insert achievement-oriented sports cliché]. Some of them still wouldn’t make eye contact with me on the way out, but I thought I could sense the atmosphere lightening up and I saw some heads nodding and even a few smiles.

I had my basic comp students write their first major essay on “Independence and Responsibility.” I’ve marked almost all of them, and I’m pleased with the results. But I’m actually more interested in looking at the Independent Learning Plans (ILP) that are due next week. That document (which I didn’t design — it came from the committee that designed the Basic Comp course) has the student make a list of the areas where they feel they need to improve in order to write at the college level. I’ve never used an ILP in a class before, but it’s very similar in concept to the annual report that I write at SHU, so I have some personal experiences to draw on while teaching the ILP.

I’m going to talk with my wife about whether we can get our own 8-year-old home-school son involved a little more in his own assessment.

6 thoughts on “Colleges coveting home-schooled students

  1. Well…not really. In a corporate cube environment, with a little imagination, you could easily say that your cubes are positioned to seperate the programmer room from the manager room, the IT room (the ones who keep your machine running), the marketing room, the HR room…you only see these people when they need something or happen to run into them, err, I mean “on the playground”…

  2. Hmm… one of the purposes of the public school system was to teach immigrant children the virtues of punctuality and following instructions, so that they would be prepared for the factory jobs they were expected to take. I suppose the cubicle farm is the assembly line of the information age.

    Even in a cubicle farm you have to interact with people who are higher and lower on the totem pole. You’re not carefully isolated from people who have one more or one less year of experience.

    Still, I see your point.

  3. haha, when I read this:
    “It’s true they my kids don’t spend 8 hours a day sitting in neatly ordered rows along with 24 other kids who are exactly like them in age. But seriously, outside of the school system, when do you ever need to spend time in an environment like that?”

    My first reaction was – “Have you SEEN a cubicle farm?”


  4. Don’t worry, Will. I don’t keep my kids locked up in a tower. We spend time with other homeshool families, we’re involved in our church, two different local libraries, all sorts of county education programs. We go to museums and art galleries or the zoo or whatever several times a month, where we often get the full attention of an educational worker.

    It’s true they my kids don’t spend 8 hours a day sitting in neatly ordered rows along with 24 other kids who are exactly like them in age. But seriously, outside of the school system, when do you ever need to spend time in an environment like that? At eight, my son loves to play with babies and he loves to talk to adults. He’s got experience relating with a whole range of people.

  5. Working in the corporate world, I feel strongly that I’m glad I wasn’t home schooled. It’s difficult enough to relate to my coworkers as it is – I can’t even imagine the difficulty if I hadn’t grown up constantly dealing with people like I work with.

    Every now and then I’ll run into a foreign guy who moved here from another country who seems incredibly lonely. The poor guy’s *only* social model for this country comes from his job, and no one (including me) wants to spend their free time in a mentality like they’re at work.

    In grade school and high school kids sometimes cruely tease each other, but I’ve found it’s just as painful when people you admire don’t like you and refuse to (or can’t explain) why. You’re just totally excluded for some super-secret reason.

    In the midwest here, at least, people behave as though your fun, social days are supposed to be over after college. If you missed that…well, I still kinda missed it, and it’s hard.

  6. I tend to see that home-schooled students fair better academically and like the article stated, they have “independent study habits and critical thinking skills.” This is what all students need to succeed…study habits and independence.

    P.S. Pep talks are always good!! This is what makes Seton Hill so great. We have professors, like you, that are genuinely interested about the student and their development. When I am out recruiting, this is the #1 aspect that I stress on.
    Personally speaking, this trait boosts students’ performance so much to know that they have someone that is supporting them and pushing them along.

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