One thing is consistent in college applications: paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork! But homeschool graduates are occasionally asked to navigate even more red tape when they apply for college admission, simply because they were educated at home.

This red tape may be in the form of requests for detailed curriculum information, additional standardized tests, and in some cases, completion of the GED. Home School Legal Defense Association is here to help families fight discriminatory policies at colleges and universities across the country.

As an example, HSLDA recently helped a homeschool graduate in Tennessee successfully navigate the college admissions process, despite initial roadblocks. 

In Keeping with the Law

The graduate was homeschooled by her parents in Tennessee for her high school education while enrolled in a non-public school, in compliance with one of the state’s homeschooling options. She received a transcript and diploma from the school upon completion of the high school program in 2007.

Unfortunately, the non-public school that the graduate was enrolled in has since closed. When she applied for admission at South College Knoxville, she was told by the admissions team that they would not be able to accept her transcripts or diploma because they had received the documents directly from her, and they could not verify her information with the school.

With the application deadline just days away, the young woman called HSLDA for help.

Upon reviewing the transcripts and diploma, our legal team contacted the college’s admission officials, clarifying the legality of homeschooling in Tennessee and how homeschool programs may operate through enrollment in a non-public school. After a couple of emails being exchanged, the homeschool graduate was welcomed into South College Knoxville and began classes just days later.

Just Like Other Diplomas

One helpful provision in Tennessee law declares that a high school diploma issued upon completion of a lawful homeschool program shall be considered by state departments and agencies to be just like a high school diploma awarded by a public school system.

Because every state recognizes the legality of homeschooling as an alternative to traditional school attendance, no homeschool graduate should be categorically excluded from admission because they were homeschooled.

HSLDA continues to advocate for fairness for homeschool graduates in state legislatures across the country because in addition to Tennessee, only four other states have comparable protections for homeschool graduates.

We will continue to do so until homeschool diplomas are universally recognized as evidence of high school completion. We’ll also keep helping graduates navigate the red tape of college admissions.