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a division of Home School Legal Defense Association
May 3, 2000

Home Schoolers in Ivy League Universities

  • The Wall Street Journal, in a May 10, 1994 article, confirmed that many colleges are adjusting their admissions policies to home schoolers:
    Many colleges now routinely accept home-schooled students, who typically present “portfolios” of their work instead of transcripts. Each year Harvard University takes up to 10 applicants who have had some home schooling. “In general, those kids do just fine,” says David Illingsworth, senior admissions officer. He adds that the number of applications and inquiries from home schoolers is “definitely increasing.”
  • A 1996 survey of over 60 colleges and universities in all fifty states conducted by the National Center for Home Education revealed the following anecdotal accounts of home schoolers in college:

    A Harvard University (MA) admissions officer said most of their home educated students “have done very well. They usually are very motivated in what they do.” Results of the SAT and SAT II, an essay, an interview, and a letter of recommendation are the main requirements for home educated applicants. “[Transcripts are] irrelevant because a transcript is basically a comparison to other students in the school.”

    In addition to Harvard, prominent schools like Yale (CT), Princeton (NJ), Texas A&M, Brown University (RI), the Carnegie Mellon Institute (PA), the Universities of Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and many others all have flexible transcript criteria, accept parental evaluations, and do not require any accreditation or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). At Kansas State University and others like Lipscomb University and Middlebury College (VT), transcripts are optional.

  • A February 11, 2000 Wall Street Journal article stated that:
    A recent survey by the National Center for Home Education, a Virginia-based advocacy group, found that 68% of colleges now accept parent-prepared transcripts or portfolios in place of an accredited diploma. That includes Stanford University, which last fall accepted 27% of home-schooled applicants – nearly double its overall acceptance rate.

    “Home-schoolers bring certain skills – motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education – that high schools don’t induce very well, says Jon Reider, Stanford’s senior associate director of admissions.

  • In addition to Stanford University, Yale and Harvard Universities were also among the top tier of colleges with the most home school-friendly admission policies. These colleges generally require SAT I (one) and/or ACT scores, a high school transcript, letters of recommendation, and writing samples.

    As of the National Center’s 1999 survey, Harvard had anywhere from 20-40 home school graduates attending. David Illingsworth with the University said that they are “doing very well indeed.”

    Prepared by the legal staff of the National Center for Home Education.
    Permission to reprint granted