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.