Faith, a homeschool graduate from North Carolina, applied to a university earlier this year in Taiwan. It came as a surprise to her when the admissions office wrote back and said that, despite Faith’s excellent academic record, they could not accept her high school diploma.
The admissions office added that Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not verify Faith’s diploma as valid document because she was homeschooled.
Not sure how to resolve the situation, Faith contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance.
After reviewing the case, our team at HSLDA wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We explained that Faith was homeschooled in compliance with her state’s law, and had all the proper documentation to prove her compliance as well as her transcripts and diploma.
Unfortunately, foreign students often face discrimination from universities in countries where homeschooling is uncommon or illegal.
Universities in Germany have refused in the past to acknowledge the validity of homeschool graduates’ academic credentials, even when the student has complied with the homeschool regulation in their home country—such as the US, where homeschooling is legal and recognized.
An "educational" experience!
In Faith’s case though, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was just unaware of how homeschooling works.
This became apparent after Faith tried enrolling again—employing a method of validating documents for international correspondence. We suggested Faith employ a method we've recommended in the past, and ask the US Department of State to certify her diploma with a document known as an apostille.
According to the Apostille Convention, an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, for countries that are parties to the protocol an apostille is often enough to certify a document’s validity.
Sure enough, a month later after we sent the letter we were contacted by a spokesperson with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs—and the director-general—asking about homeschooling and what it was. They had no idea!
We sent the documentation again—this time with the apostille and letter of verification—and within an hour, Faith was notified that the ministry would authorize her documents so she could be admitted to their university.
Faith expressed both relief and gratitude:
“I really appreciate all that work you did,” she told us. “I'm so excited to be able to apply to school in Taiwan now. You've helped open a big door.”HSLDA is always willing to help homeschool graduates who face discrimination. We urge students who encounter unreasonable obstacles in their education or career paths to contact us.