A lot of articles are circulating about teens getting into college. What I think is really interesting for the homeschooling/unschooling community is that many of these articles are discussing how the path to college is changing considerably. That’s good news for everyone!
The competition-induced stress that teens experience from all of this hyper-focus on grades, class ranking, test scores – it’s astounding. Colleges are noticing that the students are all coming to them like cookie cutter images. And from their standpoint, it’s harder to determine who will sink and who will swim.
Peter Gray’s study of grown unschoolers and my survey in Homeschooled Teens both report that more than 80% of those surveyed (75 young people in each study), attended some form of higher education after what would have been considered their “high school years.” This includes universities, community colleges, vocational programs and graduate school.
Chris Weller’s article describes how very non-traditional approaches to academics and learning were celebrated and even seen as the reason some homeschoolers were accepted there.
There’s a New Path to Harvard – and it’s not in the classroom!
Chris Weller | Tech Insider
With the changing job market, young people have to be able to adapt as technology changes the playing field at lightening speed. Having the time to play with various platforms and systems puts homeschooled teens at an advantage over those who take one computer science class per semester. Valerie Strauss describes how exceptional-looking academic backgrounds and stellar resumes were not indicative of success in the business world. Instead, innovation, determination, resourcefulness – these are skills that are most needed.
A Venture Capitalist Searches for the Purpose of School
Valerie Strauss | The Washington Post
Home educated teens have so many options that can appeal to them and to colleges too.
Teens have the chance to explore a variety of interests diving in deeply or dabbling in a several. In either case, this discovery and exploration is so valuable! Kids that are stuck in a prepared curriculum, have very little opportunity to set and achieve their own goals. These are skills that young people need whether they’re in college or not – but admissions officers see these as attributes as well.
Teens have the time to explore internships in their fields of interest. This enables them to get the hands-on experience that helps them confirm that they do, in fact, enjoy this career AND it allows colleges to see that they have proven themselves.
Teens have time to travel and see more of the world. Widening their lens of what’s “out there” makes their lives fuller and richer. Colleges appreciate this in their applicants.
The learning that comes from part-time jobs and developing hobbies shouldn’t be overlooked. Like travel, these experiences lead to happier brighter young adults.
The Turning the Tide link below shows how the importance of community service is on the rise. Homeschooled teens have the time available to actually participate in a project (or several projects over the years) that interests them and see that they can have an impact on their world.
Added bonuses come when focusing on these aspects of their teen lives. Instead of cramming more AP-type classes or signing up for extra-curriculars that have no appeal to the teen (but supposedly look good on an application), our teens are truly preparing themselves for their adult life whether it includes college or not. They’re learning to be self-directed, their creative sides are flourishing, and they’re avoiding so many of the negative impacts that come when education is seen as drudgery or stressful.
Instead of trying to mimic school, homeschooling parents have an opportunity to provide such a richer environment filled with learning, discovery and growth. It takes some more imaginative thinking – but the outcomes are so much better
Think you’d like some 1:1 help navigating these waters?
I’d love to work with you!
Teens, Colleges, and Admissions
A Project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jenny Anderson | Quartz
Jennifer Wallace & Lisa Heffernan | New York Times: Well
Aamna Mohdin | Quartz