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#1 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:16 PM

To those who might be interested in Pittsburgh, I'm sharing the homeschooling letter we received in yesterday's mail. I'm still re-reading it to try to discern if it's extra "trouble" for us or not. I'll explain that part later. Otherwise, I thought all might want to know ahead of time to be prepared or to cross it off their lists. (This letter is their policy as of today - catching this thread a couple of years down the road could make it outdated). Any typos will be mine, but otherwise, it's verbatim.

----------------
Thank you for your interest in the University of Pittsburgh. Each year, we offer admission to a number of home-schooled students such as you. We're writing to you now to address some of the questions that often arise from home schooled applicants and to ask that you complete and submit the enclosed form to provide the admissions committee with the information they need. Enclosed is an information sheet outlining some basic requirements for home schooled applicants.

One challenge for our admissions committee is to assess the records of home schooled applicants compared with those of students being educated in more traditional environments. If your home schooling is being done in conjunction with a school district or with a home-schooling association that provides transcripts with classes and grades on them and will award you a diploma, our evaluation of your record will probably be straight forward. If your home schooling is being done at home independent of affiliation with such an organization, you will be asked to provide end-of-year evaluations by a state-approved administrator or third party.

Should your school district or state not require an evaluation from a state-approved administrator or third party, the committee will need you to provide information from your school district or state that outlines what is needed to fulfill high school requirements and earn a diploma, if diplomas are awarded to home schooled students. Home schooling regulations vary from district to district and state to state and researching such differences is beyond the scope of our staff, so the provision of the information which has informed your educational choices needs to come from you or your family.

Another challenge for some students is the University requirement that admitted, deposited students submit a final official high school transcript showing date of graduation. If your state or district does not provide for that, we will again need information outlining the policies of the home schooling plan you have undertaken. Once we have this information, we will consult the Dean of the school in which you're interested, to determine whether there is an acceptable alternative to this requirement. Admitted students who cannot provide a final high school transcript showing date of graduation or its equivalent are not able to register for the spring term, without a resolution of this question, though they are able to register for the fall term.

Please review our information sheet and response form and if you are not able to provide what is described, submit the information that you feel will best describe your home schooling plan, along with whatever is applicable on the response form.


(See next post for the information sheets)

#2 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:28 PM

Information sheet 1:

(This first part is for PA residents - including us. The rest is for all.)

Pennsylvania Act 169 of 1988 permits parents, guardians, and legal custodians to teach their child at home. The parent or guardian has a responsibility for educating the child.

For a secondary school level student to graduate from a state-approved home education program, the student must complete the following requirements:

4 years English
3 years mathematics
3 years science
3 years social studies
2 years arts and humanities

However, students applying to the University of Pittsburgh professional schools, like engineering, business, and nursing must fulfill the specific requirements of those schools. As with other applicants for admission to the University of Pittsburgh, each home-schooled applicant is evaluated individually based upon required academic coursework and satisfactory standardized tests (SAT I or the ACT).

To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results.

Generally home schooled students will receive a high school diploma through a local high school or from an organization governed by a State Board of Education, such as the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Association. As with other applicants, home schooled students who are admitted to the University of Pittsburgh will need to submit a final official high school transcript showing date of graduation or something comparable in order to register for their second term.
[Bold theirs.]

Third page coming.

#3 debbiec

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:38 PM

"To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results."


"Either" meaning 1 of the 3 items ~ would not ACT score satisfy?

#4 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:39 PM

This is the information sheet we have to fill out - other than name and birth date, etc.

Academic records I can provide in support of my application for admission: (check all that apply)

___ My home schooling is being done in conjunction with a school district which will provide me with a transcript showing classes and grades. The school district will award my diploma. Name of school district ___.

___ I am doing my homes schooling through a home schooling association that will provide a transcript and award my diploma. Name ___.

___ My parent(s), guardian, or legal custodian is/are teaching me at home. They will provide a transcript of all the courses I've taken, year by year, course descriptions, and end-of-year evaluations of the courses I've completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned by my local school board or a state-approved home school organization: Name of evaluator ___ approved by ___

___ I will be able to provide a final, official transcript showing my date of graduation.

___ I will not be able to provide a final, official transcript showing date of graduation.

___ My parent(s)/guardian(s) are teaching me at home. I can provide a list of courses completed from grades 9-11, and course descriptions of the classes I have taken, but our state of ___ does not require a state-approved evaluator. (check all that apply)

___ Attached are my course descriptions from grades 9-11.
___ My state awards a diploma to home schooled students who fulfill the state requirements. Attached is information from my school district or state that outlines what is required to fulfill state graduations requirements and earn a diploma, or,
___ My state does not award a diploma to home schooled students. Attached is information from my school district or state that outlines what is required to fulfill state graduation requirements.


#5 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:46 PM

"To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results."


"Either" meaning 1 of the 3 items ~ would not ACT score satisfy?


After #2 the word is "and." You need either of the first two and test results.

We have an evaluator, but they aren't assigned to us. In PA we pick our evaluator. They need state teaching credentials.

We make our own transcript. I can call it official. Will they? (This is MY biggest issue.) We are not with any organization nor does our school district look at transcripts. The rest is merely paperwork.

Our district supplies a letter each year that says they have received and evaluated our portfolio and that the student (named) had a satisfactory learning experience for the school year just ended. Will that suffice?

I honestly am not sure by reading and re-reading the letter. I don't think I'd trust an answer if I called. When we talked with people before even keeping Pitt on our initial list we were told they didn't have extra requirements for homeschoolers. I suppose they aren't considering this extra (we need a transcript from all students), but I do if they won't accept ours - esp with outside confirmation coming from a few reputable sources.

I should add that there is no number to call on the form we are to return. When we received an e-mail from Pitt it was to tell us they had not received middle son's transcript - that we had already sent. We looked up the number and called the lady who sent the e-mail leaving a message, but the call still hasn't been returned. Hubby sent another transcript, but now, after receiving this, I'm wondering if it's the transcript itself they aren't accepting since it's not "official." We have no way of making it official if they want third party oversight. I don't want junior going there only to be left out spring semester or allowed to stay at the whim of a dean. Also, I wonder if this would make him ineligible for scholarships? With a nice financial award already in his pocket for Alabama there's no way he's paying full price to go anywhere.

The whole thing just really turns me off - considering what middle son has accomplished to prove his education (and they already have that - ACT, AP, CC transcript).

Edited by creekland, 04 November 2011 - 03:53 PM.


#6 debbiec

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:54 PM

Didn't you guys get into Alabama too? They have that "certified" transcript language as well.

I read that on the Alabama website and was thankful ds decided to pass (though the Honors College and scholarsihps were very tempting and we are closer than you are).

From the AL website:

"
Creekland ~



did you guys get into Alabama? I noted this on their website:
Home-Schooled Students

The University of Alabama welcomes applications from students who are schooled in the home. Home-schooled applicants should meet the following requirements for admission:
  • Home-schooled applicants should meet the ACT/SAT, including the writing essay section, and grade point average (GPA) requirements of general admission if they present certified transcripts at the completion of their programs. Refer to the “General Undergraduate Admission Requirements” section.
  • Students who do not present certified transcripts must take the GED and meet the admission requirements as outlined in the University of Alabama GED Admission Policy. See “Non-graduates of high school” under “Special Programs” below."
The "certified transcript" was something I wasn't clear about but thankfully, we just decided not to apply (too large a campus for ds). I thought your ds was already admitted and wondering how you handled that, not wanting to hijack your Pitt thread though. Being a large state school, it came to mind when I read about your Pitt concerns.

#7 FaithManor

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 03:57 PM

My concern here is that it is worded in such as way to be somewhat ambiguous from top to bottom which I have found means, at least in terms of college admission's departments, open for interpretation. This creates the exasperating condition of having more than one opinion from one department on how to correctly document x, y, and z in order to satisfy requirements. UGH!

I think you are right that calling is not likely to produce a satisfactory answer.

We had this problem with U of M (Ann Arbor campus). I nearly gave up on them before we finally found someone who would issue a definitive answer that the department would stand firm on; it made my brain wonky for a couple of weeks. I had to go in person. So this would be a huge issue if the campus were a great distance.

MSU, on the other hand, had at that time one liason for homeschooled students who really knew his stuff and had the definitive answer for everything. Though dd did not choose MSU, I did make sure his boss knew that I appreciated the school's choice of individual to field homeschool applications and questions. It sure did streamline the process.

Faith

#8 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:09 PM

Didn't you guys get into Alabama too? They have that "certified" transcript language as well.

I read that on the Alabama website and was thankful ds decided to pass (though the Honors College and scholarsihps were very tempting and we are closer than you are).

From the AL website:

"
Creekland ~



did you guys get into Alabama? I noted this on their website:
Home-Schooled Students

The University of Alabama welcomes applications from students who are schooled in the home. Home-schooled applicants should meet the following requirements for admission:

  • Home-schooled applicants should meet the ACT/SAT, including the writing essay section, and grade point average (GPA) requirements of general admission if they present certified transcripts at the completion of their programs. Refer to the “General Undergraduate Admission Requirements” section.
  • Students who do not present certified transcripts must take the GED and meet the admission requirements as outlined in the University of Alabama GED Admission Policy. See “Non-graduates of high school” under “Special Programs” below."
The "certified transcript" was something I wasn't clear about but thankfully, we just decided not to apply (too large a campus for ds). I thought your ds was already admitted and wondering how you handled that, not wanting to hijack your Pitt thread though. Being a large state school, it came to mind when I read about your Pitt concerns.


Yes, my guy is accepted to Alabama already. They were quite clear that all they needed was a mailed transcript that was signed and called official. They will need a final transcript too, but are ok with it coming from us - signed - not notarized. Since this could be interpreted differently, it's possible they would do so without having the grade confirmations from cc or AP, but I kind of doubt it for students who are eligible for their Honors College. The SAT or ACT counts for a bit.

They've already told him they will give him credit for his cc classes too (and AP when and if we officially send scores to them).

ps I don't see this as hijacking a thread. I see this as a bunch of guidance counselors sharing info about colleges and what is happening with regards to homeschoolers. It's ok to bring in any similar issues IMO.

#9 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:13 PM

My concern here is that it is worded in such as way to be somewhat ambiguous from top to bottom which I have found means, at least in terms of college admission's departments, open for interpretation. This creates the exasperating condition of having more than one opinion from one department on how to correctly document x, y, and z in order to satisfy requirements. UGH!

Faith


And this is exactly what I have a problem with. My gut tells me it will be a formality for my guy and it's no big deal. But do I really want to trust his future to a gut feeling? What if someone hates homeschoolers and insists on something? Will a copied letter from our district saying each year was satisfactorily completed work - or not? It's still not an official transcript from any third party.

#10 beaners

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:36 PM

After #2 the word is "and." You need either of the first two and test results.

We have an evaluator, but they aren't assigned to us. In PA we pick our evaluator. They need state teaching credentials.

We make our own transcript. I can call it official. Will they? (This is MY biggest issue.) We are not with any organization nor does our school district look at transcripts. The rest is merely paperwork.

Our district supplies a letter each year that says they have received and evaluated our portfolio and that the student (named) had a satisfactory learning experience for the school year just ended. Will that suffice?

I honestly am not sure by reading and re-reading the letter. I don't think I'd trust an answer if I called. When we talked with people before even keeping Pitt on our initial list we were told they didn't have extra requirements for homeschoolers. I suppose they aren't considering this extra (we need a transcript from all students), but I do if they won't accept ours - esp with outside confirmation coming from a few reputable sources.

I should add that there is no number to call on the form we are to return. When we received an e-mail from Pitt it was to tell us they had not received middle son's transcript - that we had already sent. We looked up the number and called the lady who sent the e-mail leaving a message, but the call still hasn't been returned. Hubby sent another transcript, but now, after receiving this, I'm wondering if it's the transcript itself they aren't accepting since it's not "official." We have no way of making it official if they want third party oversight. I don't want junior going there only to be left out spring semester or allowed to stay at the whim of a dean. Also, I wonder if this would make him ineligible for scholarships? With a nice financial award already in his pocket for Alabama there's no way he's paying full price to go anywhere.

The whole thing just really turns me off - considering what middle son has accomplished to prove his education (and they already have that - ACT, AP, CC transcript).



I wonder if they are specifically referring to transcripts from one of the accreditation organizations? Could those be official transcripts? I think you need a diploma from an outside source (one of these groups) for state funding for college. I'm more than a decade from that point, so I'm just going by what I've read.

#11 Nissi

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:43 PM

Thanks for sharing.

#12 creekland

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:49 PM

I wonder if they are specifically referring to transcripts from one of the accreditation organizations? Could those be official transcripts? I think you need a diploma from an outside source (one of these groups) for state funding for college. I'm more than a decade from that point, so I'm just going by what I've read.


From what we've experienced with oldest son, we don't need a diploma from an outside source for state funding. We do need the official letters from our school district saying that things have been satisfactorily completed.

That said, since oldest son is going out of state, we didn't follow up on anything more than preliminary since the funding for him would have amounted to $300. In state would have been a different story, but he got more from going out of state. Therefore, if there had been an issue with just our letters from our district, we wouldn't know about it to the point of completion.

#13 In The Great White North

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 06:38 PM

I'm just glad dd didn't like Pitt. (She thought the freshmen dorms looked like a jail and the class she visited was a waste of time. The line for food was too long so she didn't even try it.)

We have no oversight from the district, the state doesn't issue diplomas and accepts a "portfolio" instead of an evaluation from an accredited teacher.


They would have a lot of fun with us.

#14 snowbeltmom

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for posting the letter.

My sil is from Pittsburgh, and she mentioned that we should check out Pitt for our oldest. I e-mailed Pitt's admissions office this past summer with a few questions after reading their homeschool requirements posted on their website. I never received a response.

Pitt's homeschooling documentation requirements are ridiculous. Either Pitt is woefully ignorant of the homeschooling laws in most states, or they just don't want homeschoolers to apply to their school.

#15 choirfarm

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:04 PM

Wow!! I wonder if any homeschoolers get in from Texas. It is WAY too far for my son to even be interested in, but we don't have to have any documentation here in Texas at all. We are considered private schools, but can do pretty much anything we want.

Christine

#16 snowbeltmom

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:25 PM

The whole thing just really turns me off - considering what middle son has accomplished to prove his education (and they already have that - ACT, AP, CC transcript).


:iagree:

I find it highly insulting that they would require any additional frivolous documentation from your son. An ACT score in the 99% is not enough proof that homeschooling has prepared your son for college? :confused:

It would be impossible for my son to meet their documentation requirements; our state does not have that much oversight of homeschoolers.

#17 Ellie

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 09:41 PM

I wonder if they are specifically referring to transcripts from one of the accreditation organizations? Could those be official transcripts? I think you need a diploma from an outside source (one of these groups) for state funding for college. I'm more than a decade from that point, so I'm just going by what I've read.

You mean from a school accredited by a regional accrediting organization, as the organizations themselves do not issue transcripts or diplomas.

Many homeschool graduates have received scholarships with parent-generated transcripts and diplomas.

#18 creekland

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:50 AM

We have no oversight from the district, the state doesn't issue diplomas and accepts a "portfolio" instead of an evaluation from an accredited teacher.

They would have a lot of fun with us.


Pitt's homeschooling documentation requirements are ridiculous. Either Pitt is woefully ignorant of the homeschooling laws in most states, or they just don't want homeschoolers to apply to their school.


we don't have to have any documentation here in Texas at all. We are considered private schools, but can do pretty much anything we want.

Christine


It would be impossible for my son to meet their documentation requirements; our state does not have that much oversight of homeschoolers.


And these quotes state the reason I posted the whole thing. Personally, we've been looking for homeschool friendly colleges to apply to as I don't feel any particular draw to jump through oodles of hoops to satisfy those who aren't homeschool friendly. There are simply too many good colleges out there to bother. I know PA is a highly regulated state and we have advantages due to that when it comes to some college applications. However, if even that isn't "enough" for Pitt, well, I just wanted to share so everyone could know what they're getting into and either skip it, or be prepared.

I'm also a little frustrated because we did contact them in the beginning of our search and asked about homeschool "extras." At the time we were told there weren't any. As I said before, this may be a difference in interpretation since they mention they want these things (diploma) from ALL students, but all of us know that's a genuine BIG difference. Then too, for those of you from states without regulation, you've got a bit more to provide.

You mean from a school accredited by a regional accrediting organization, as the organizations themselves do not issue transcripts or diplomas.

Many homeschool graduates have received scholarships with parent-generated transcripts and diplomas.


PA has a separate scholarship fund for students within the state. Most of the money needs to be used at in-state schools. One can get a small amount if going to an out-of-state school. I think she's specifically referring to this fund. In our state students have to prove they've graduated to the state's standards. I believe the final letter from our school district qualifies that. Some choose to skip the final evaluation and portfolio. As far as the state is concerned, they didn't graduate, but instead, are homeschool drop outs. Therefore, they don't get $$.

From us, this may be all Pitt needs too, since we can provide them with the evaluator stuff, but I would need it in writing before we would continue to pursue them.

Otherwise, yes, homeschool grads definitely can receive other scholarships with just parent-generated transcripts and diplomas. My oldest has. ;)

I find it highly insulting that they would require any additional frivolous documentation from your son. An ACT score in the 99% is not enough proof that homeschooling has prepared your son for college? :confused:


And this is what has me puzzled. Every other school he has applied to and some we showed significant interest in, but chose not to apply to, have been chasing him down (including phone calls from some). He's a desirable candidate for pretty much any school - but Pitt isn't sure? It's not like they have ALL high candidate applicants like some top schools do. If they were worried about how he'd do in a classroom all they'd have to do is read the recommendations (they have) from his cc professors.

But I know it's a form letter. They just don't realize how insulting it is to some of us who have made sure our students have proven themselves. That's where Alabama "gets it" and Pitt doesn't.

If Pitt is so concerned about that final eval (which they might be since they are a state-related school and those are our state laws), then they should reword things to that effect. (If homeschooling in PA, make sure you complete your senior year portfolio and evaluation so you can send the final satisfactory letter in with your senior year transcript. That would make much more sense and be much less offensive.)

#19 beaners

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:21 AM

You mean from a school accredited by a regional accrediting organization, as the organizations themselves do not issue transcripts or diplomas.

Many homeschool graduates have received scholarships with parent-generated transcripts and diplomas.



Sorry, I was referring to programs that can issue PA diplomas. Some are accredited and some aren't, it turns out. Any of the ones approved by the state count toward the requirement for scholarship money from the state of Pennsylvania itself. One of the other options is a superintendent signature, which it sounds like creekland has or can get.

#20 2cents

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:36 AM

You mean from a school accredited by a regional accrediting organization, as the organizations themselves do not issue transcripts or diplomas.

Many homeschool graduates have received scholarships with parent-generated transcripts and diplomas.


Yes! Mine did. I made his transcript and UCF never questioned it. As far as it being 'official', it is as official as they come. I would tell anyone who questions it that our approved Intent To Homeschool and compliance with the state regs have made our school 'official' and there should be no further questioning. Those Pitt regs are IMO unclear and possibly designed to discourage homeschoolers.

#21 Mona100

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:18 PM

Didn't you guys get into Alabama too? They have that "certified" transcript language as well.

I read that on the Alabama website and was thankful ds decided to pass (though the Honors College and scholarsihps were very tempting and we are closer than you are).

From the AL website:

"
Creekland ~



did you guys get into Alabama? I noted this on their website:
Home-Schooled Students


The University of Alabama welcomes applications from students who are schooled in the home. Home-schooled applicants should meet the following requirements for admission:

  • Home-schooled applicants should meet the ACT/SAT, including the writing essay section, and grade point average (GPA) requirements of general admission if they present certified transcripts at the completion of their programs. Refer to the “General Undergraduate Admission Requirements” section.
  • Students who do not present certified transcripts must take the GED and meet the admission requirements as outlined in the University of Alabama GED Admission Policy. See “Non-graduates of high school” under “Special Programs” below."
The "certified transcript" was something I wasn't clear about but thankfully, we just decided not to apply (too large a campus for ds). I thought your ds was already admitted and wondering how you handled that, not wanting to hijack your Pitt thread though. Being a large state school, it came to mind when I read about your Pitt concerns.


In the state of Alabama, everyone who homeschools has to be a member of an umbrella school. Maybe that is where the "certified transcripts" comes from. When my daughter graduates, her transcript will come from the umbrella school with all the grades provided by me (the parent).

#22 plansrme

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:03 PM

Thank you for posting this.

I love that you can pay your deposit, go to school (successfully) for a semester and then be booted out for not having graduated from high school. Any nitwit can graduate from high school, and it can (often does, from the looks of it) mean nothing, but a homeschooler could be kicked out of Pitt for not being able to satisfy a meaningless standard. Nice, Pitt!

Terri

#23 creekland

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:06 PM

Alabama was certainly ok with PA having different rules. I suppose the reverse would also be true for Pitt with AL homeschoolers since your transcript would come from elsewhere "officially." Of course, you'd have to provide Pitt with your state's rules, but that wouldn't be difficult.

What I don't really get is why Pitt has trouble with homeschoolers who are in state - and merely over the transcript. We don't have to have our transcript coming from anywhere else to be legal here. We only need the annual evaluations and portfolios approved by our local district (and testing in some earlier grades).

If our state is ok with that, it seems our state related schools should be too.

#24 Piano&ViolinMom

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

I am afraid that creekland is exactly right. Has Pitt been accepting homeschool kids (from Pennsylvania) only when they can send their transcripts through homeschool organizations like "PA Homeschoolers" ?

#25 creekland

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 06:52 AM

I am afraid that creekland is exactly right. Has Pitt been accepting homeschool kids (from Pennsylvania) only when they can send their transcripts through homeschool organizations like "PA Homeschoolers" ?


I honestly don't know. It definitely appears that they prefer it that way. They've made my list of "homeschooling unfriendly" schools at this point, and again, this is why I share the info.

Middle son is rather bummed that he spent a good bit of time on their essay (not a common app school) all for naught considering the new light that they've shed. We had come close to dropping the school after our visit and lack of enthusiasm for the place on "So You Want to be a Doctor" day, but they are fairly well known for neuroscience (a major he would prefer that Alabama doesn't have), they have several teaching hospitals right on campus and next to the school (ideal for pre-meds and why Pitt is considered better for pre-med with research than our other state related schools) and they are closer to home. If he had gotten a decent (at least matching) financial package from them he would have put them on his list for a re-visit with classes, etc. and then compared schools.

Such is life. We haven't made a final decision about dropping them vs pursuing it, but I know where my vote lies. Still, it's his future and I defer to that.

Neuroscience is also a major at Furman and Wash U has a similar major that is appealing to my guy. U of Rochester also offers it with tons of research. He may just go back to adding them as an option instead (their location and longer winter makes them iffy to him). He needs to decide soon.

I sometimes forget he also applied to Baylor. I don't know if they have it or not.

#26 Gwen in VA

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:18 AM

I am so disappointed in Pitt!

Ds was accepted to Pitt with a full-ride four years ago. He was treated with nothing but kindness and respect during the entire application process. When he went to interview for the full-ride scholarship, the people he interviewed with were extremely pleased with his homeschooling. We have nothing but positive things to say about our experience dealing with Pitt admissions.....

It sounds like some red-tape-happy person has gotten into power somewhere at Pitt.........

#27 Piano&ViolinMom

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 12:40 PM

Pitt problem toward homeschooled kids from Pennsylvania is more than giving us, homeschool parents, simple disappointment. Have to wonder if Pitt is the one not following PA state homeschool law, when the law allows you to get transcripts from associations like PA Homeschoolers, or allow the school districts to certify kids’ homeschool completion based on yearly evaluations of Portfolio. Or, kids even can request Diploma from PA state upon getting 30+ college credits.
My son’s college transcript with more than 30+ did nothing in Pitt, and placed him as an “Incomplete” applicant. Then we requested the school district’s homeschool evaluating teacher to send letter to Pitt. The teacher said my son has done a lot more than required. The Pitt responded with one simple line that “It’s not sufficient”. So, at this moment, I assume that homeschool kids in Pennsylvania cannot prove legal homeschooling status to our own state college, Pitt, unless we associate with PA Homeschoolers organization and get transcript from them?

#28 snowbeltmom

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:38 PM

Is Pitt's policy in violation of federal laws?

#29 creekland

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 03:52 PM

I am so disappointed in Pitt!

Ds was accepted to Pitt with a full-ride four years ago. He was treated with nothing but kindness and respect during the entire application process. When he went to interview for the full-ride scholarship, the people he interviewed with were extremely pleased with his homeschooling. We have nothing but positive things to say about our experience dealing with Pitt admissions.....

It sounds like some red-tape-happy person has gotten into power somewhere at Pitt.........


Pitt problem toward homeschooled kids from Pennsylvania is more than giving us, homeschool parents, simple disappointment. Have to wonder if Pitt is the one not following PA state homeschool law, when the law allows you to get transcripts from associations like PA Homeschoolers, or allow the school districts to certify kids’ homeschool completion based on yearly evaluations of Portfolio. Or, kids even can request Diploma from PA state upon getting 30+ college credits.
My son’s college transcript with more than 30+ did nothing in Pitt, and placed him as an “Incomplete” applicant. Then we requested the school district’s homeschool evaluating teacher to send letter to Pitt. The teacher said my son has done a lot more than required. The Pitt responded with one simple line that “It’s not sufficient”. So, at this moment, I assume that homeschool kids in Pennsylvania cannot prove legal homeschooling status to our own state college, Pitt, unless we associate with PA Homeschoolers organization and get transcript from them?



With the disparity of experiences and the belief that the letter we received was a form letter, it sure sounds like regime change - and not for the better for homeschoolers.


Is Pitt's policy in violation of federal laws?


Pitt is a state-related school meaning it is only partially supported by our state (vs our true state schools that are more fully supported). I don't know if that means they need to follow state and/or federal laws as a public school or if they can pick more of their own as a private school can do.

I do know, as it appears to be written, they require MORE than our state homeschooling laws require with the transcript issue. It also boggles my mind that they can use that issue to kick someone out after first semester. Kids at our school who have their admittance rescinded (rare, but certainly happens with poor grades or behavioral issues) are notified before they can begin fall semester.

#30 snowbeltmom

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 04:28 PM

I do know, as it appears to be written, they require MORE than our state homeschooling laws require with the transcript issue. It also boggles my mind that they can use that issue to kick someone out after first semester. Kids at our school who have their admittance rescinded (rare, but certainly happens with poor grades or behavioral issues) are notified before they can begin fall semester.

:iagree:

I would not be able to provide a transcript that met Pitt's requirements. My state/local school board does not assign an evaluator, nor do we have a state approved organization that would issue a high school diploma to a homeschooler.

Thankfully, there are many colleges out there who "get it", and we don't have to deal with institutions that lack basic common sense.

#31 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 07:58 PM

And this is what has me puzzled. Every other school he has applied to and some we showed significant interest in, but chose not to apply to, have been chasing him down (including phone calls from some). He's a desirable candidate for pretty much any school - but Pitt isn't sure? It's not like they have ALL high candidate applicants like some top schools do. If they were worried about how he'd do in a classroom all they'd have to do is read the recommendations (they have) from his cc professors.

But I know it's a form letter. They just don't realize how insulting it is to some of us who have made sure our students have proven themselves. That's where Alabama "gets it" and Pitt doesn't.

If Pitt is so concerned about that final eval (which they might be since they are a state-related school and those are our state laws), then they should reword things to that effect. (If homeschooling in PA, make sure you complete your senior year portfolio and evaluation so you can send the final satisfactory letter in with your senior year transcript. That would make much more sense and be much less offensive.)


We've homeschooled in four different locations. In none of them were there any requirements for homeschool diplomas, any more than there were state laws governing private school graduation requirements.

If you do decide not to pursue Pitt, I think I would send a letter (with the form letters you received as enclosures) to the Dean of Admissions discussing what you wrote above. If they are concerned about students following state law, then that is what they should say.

As it stands, it makes them look uninformed and more than a little unprofessional to have so little idea about what form homeschooling typically takes (imho, the setup in PA with the emphais on outside evaluations is atypical).

#32 creekland

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 05:44 AM

We've homeschooled in four different locations. In none of them were there any requirements for homeschool diplomas, any more than there were state laws governing private school graduation requirements.

If you do decide not to pursue Pitt, I think I would send a letter (with the form letters you received as enclosures) to the Dean of Admissions discussing what you wrote above. If they are concerned about students following state law, then that is what they should say.

As it stands, it makes them look uninformed and more than a little unprofessional to have so little idea about what form homeschooling typically takes (imho, the setup in PA with the emphais on outside evaluations is atypical).


:iagree: And with the latest info about someone else also having issues with even more college credits than my guy has, I think we will withdraw his application. Quite honestly, he still wanted to let it stay (the couple of pluses Pitt had were worthy of keeping it on our list), but I think we're fighting a losing battle and it isn't worth the time/effort (beyond that final letter - he will send one and I will send one). He agreed with me after reading about others with issues.

I'm going to try to find time today to do one last college search for others that might be nearby with neuroscience majors and teaching hospitals close by. And he probably will finish the application to U of Rochester (as they have them both). But, as he told me, he still likes the idea of microbio (& disease study) too, so he might just end up that way. Still, it'd be nice if he had a choice this spring - after visiting each possibility again.

#33 cupajoe

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 07:57 AM

I haven't read the responses, as I'm headed out the door to co-op this morning. However, I wanted to reply quickly.
I received the same paperwork approximately 4 weeks ago. I simply checked that we are homeschoolers and our state does NOT require an evaluator each year. I also checked that I am including complete course descriptions, etc.
I sent the letter along with our course descriptions (I did not include a syllabus for each course...only the complete course descriptions), along with another copy of our transcripts (both homeschool and FLVS for AP Courses).
This was very easy to do, and dd just received her acceptance letter to Pittsburgh last week, so it must have been enough!
I will read through the entire thread when I return, and answer any other specific concerns, and see if I have any helpful information to add.
Blessings!

#34 Piano&ViolinMom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 08:34 AM

^ Glad to hear you case was successful!

#35 snowbeltmom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 08:55 AM

This was very easy to do, and dd just received her acceptance letter to Pittsburgh last week, so it must have been enough!
I will read through the entire thread when I return, and answer any other specific concerns, and see if I have any helpful information to add.
Blessings!

Congratulations to your dd!

My concern, based on this excerpt from Pitt's letter, would be if you will have any problems getting your final transcript approved and if your dd will be able to register for 2nd semester classes. Here is the excerpt from Creekland's post:

"Another challenge for some students is the University requirement that admitted, deposited students submit a final official high school transcript showing date of graduation. If your state or district does not provide for that, we will again need information outlining the policies of the home schooling plan you have undertaken. Once we have this information, we will consult the Dean of the school in which you're interested, to determine whether there is an acceptable alternative to this requirement. Admitted students who cannot provide a final high school transcript showing date of graduation or its equivalent are not able to register for the spring term, without a resolution of this question, though they are able to register for the fall term."

It appears that Pitt does not have any trouble admitting a student based on the homeschooling documentation, but being able to register for the 2nd semester may pose a problem since Pitt seems to find the homeschooled FINAL transcript a "challenge." The specific language that I find problematic is, "If your state or district does not provide for that, we will again need information outlining the policies of the home schooling plan you have undertaken." I don't understand why an applicant would have to go through the whole process again once the student has been admitted?:confused::confused::confused:




#36 transientChris

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:09 AM

My dd has a full tuition scholarship from Alabama and she does not have a GED. We sent an official transcript (with a seal) and had no problems. I think she applied online and then we just followed the normal directions, not even looking at the homeschool ones since we didn't find those until much later. They not only gave her a full scholarship but awarded her credit for all her CC courses and her AP class and so she will be a sophomore in January. Oh, and she will be helping in research next semester.

#37 snowbeltmom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:39 AM

My dd has a full tuition scholarship from Alabama and she does not have a GED. We sent an official transcript (with a seal) and had no problems.


Congratulations to your dd!!

My concern is that Pitt's definition of "official transcript" requires a third-party validation that many homeschoolers would not be able to satisfy. While including the word "official" and signing the homeschool transcript is all that other colleges require, it appears that Pitt won't accept that. :confused:

Here is another excerpt from Creekland's post:
To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results.

The bolded segments are mine. I would not be able to provide documentation that met those requirements as they are listed. Would it be enough for me to simply state that my state does not have any state-approved home school organizations, not does the local school board assign a homeschool evaluator or supervisor? I don't know the answer to that, but based on Pitt's statements, I would not assume that I did satisfy Pitt's requirements based solely on acceptance to the school.






#38 creekland

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:50 AM

Congratulations to your dd!!

My concern is that Pitt's definition of "official transcript" requires a third-party validation that many homeschoolers would not be able to satisfy. While including the word "official" and signing the homeschool transcript is all that other colleges require, it appears that Pitt won't accept that. :confused:

Here is another excerpt from Creekland's post:
To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results.

The bolded segments are mine. I would not be able to provide documentation that met those requirements as they are listed. Would it be enough for me to simply state that my state does not have any state-approved home school organizations, not does the local school board assign a homeschool evaluator or supervisor? I don't know the answer to that, but based on Pitt's statements, I would not assume that I did satisfy Pitt's requirements based solely on acceptance to the school.


Yes, and we are in PA. We have homeschooled legally each year and I plan to continue with the evaluation this final year. However, neither our district nor our evaluator supply us with our transcript. They merely check to be certain we make progress each year.

I can check off all the appropriate boxes and I assume middle son would be accepted. However, what happens when someone decides he doesn't have the proper final transcript since it just came from us and not from any third party? They check with the Dean, who presumably won't care if the stats are there I suppose, but what if he does? I wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on and my guy would be out of luck.

The chance may be minuscule, but right now, with other good schools out there, I don't want to take any chance.

And for those from states with less accountability... you'd have to prove more. I MIGHT be able to get away with just including our last evaluator and school district letters saying we were in compliance with state law - that comes from a third party. If we were to pursue Pitt, that would be my plan. If there is no third party anywhere and the Dean isn't pro-homeschooling (someone isn't if they just started this within the past 4 years), then what?

#39 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:56 AM

Have you considered asking a state homeschool organization or HSLDA?

I vaguely remember that there was a cycle of legislation or proposed legislation back around 2001-2003 in PA that involved the topic of homeschool diplomas being certified by outside bodies. As I recall from reading email debates on the NHEN Legislative list, there were concerns of just this sort of consequence. I don't remember all the entities involved, since we weren't in PA. (I hope this isn't opening up a big can of worms or a rehashing of old fights. I do remember heated opinions, but not how things ended up. I have often wondered if the PA Homeschoolers that I see mentioned in discussions of online classes is the same group that was advocating for homeschool diplomas to be "certified" by outside groups.)

If it's a school that the OP's ds still wants, it might be worth a little effort to get it settled. But I would be looking for something from the admissions office that their acceptance decision was final and not pending further documentation before my kid (or my money) headed off to that college. If your homeschooling has been within the requirements of the law, I would think that a statement that this is the case, with enclosures of the relevant law, would suffice. If the school is going to be pig headed, then that might be an indication of the way they will work with enrolled students on meeting degree requirements, applying to internships, coordinating study abroad, etc. (In other words, this might be symptomatic of the general attitude in administrative offices at the school.)

#40 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:05 AM

Congratulations to your dd!!

My concern is that Pitt's definition of "official transcript" requires a third-party validation that many homeschoolers would not be able to satisfy. While including the word "official" and signing the homeschool transcript is all that other colleges require, it appears that Pitt won't accept that. :confused:

Here is another excerpt from Creekland's post:
To support the admissions application, we need either:

1. a transcript from a third party organization or evaluator, or,
2. documentation showing the courses a student has studied, year by year, and all end-of-year evaluations of these courses completed by a home school evaluator or supervisor assigned to the student by the local school board or a state-approved home school organization, and,
3. the SAT I or ACT test results.

The bolded segments are mine. I would not be able to provide documentation that met those requirements as they are listed. Would it be enough for me to simply state that my state does not have any state-approved home school organizations, not does the local school board assign a homeschool evaluator or supervisor? I don't know the answer to that, but based on Pitt's statements, I would not assume that I did satisfy Pitt's requirements based solely on acceptance to the school.





Are there any states in which there are "state approved homeschool organizations"? Are they trying to refer to umbrella schools here or states where one registeres with a church school?

I'm stuck with how any homeschooled student from Virginia could meet either requirement listed above. It would seem that even a student who had taken all of his classes from various online sources would not be able to provide what they are looking for, unless they were totally enrolled with one source. But it seems they would be just as confused with my kids' having German from OSU and math from AoPS and science from the local community college and history and English somewhere else. Really what strikes me is that they aren't interested in homeschoolers, but will consider students who did their distance education from accredited schools from their home.

What about submitting course information to a cover school like Crossroads Christian School? Would that suffice for providing a transcript from an outside source?

I find the whole thing a little silly since any such outside source has no information about the comprehension of the books read or the discussions had, but only logs of hours and test results. But to quote a favorite receipt from a group we once donated to: "When the Midianites find you threshing grain in the wine vat, show them this. It will confuse them."

#41 Piano&ViolinMom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:28 AM

Here are two quotes I found from another homeschool forum. Do these quotes have merit to reflect why homeschoolers in PA (who are not associated with homeschool associations) are now facing problems in getting admissions from own state colleges?

There's no such animal as "state-approved" home school organizations in 49 states. In Penn you have a situation where a business has activity lobbied
colleges in Penn that they need one of these special diplomas they sell. This is
why Penn is dead last in homeschool freedoms. You can't really blame the
colleges there, not when they have been convinced they need these extra hoops
from homeschoolers by a homeschool organization. ……Many times I do think that colleges have no idea what other colleges do related to homeschool admissions.




Hah. As I suspected, it seems that PA Homeschoolers - the privately owned organization, not homeschoolers who live in PA - fingers have been in this pie. And the college does not know PA law, much less the law of any other state.……There are no homeschool organizations governed by the PDE. There are some
diploma programs *recognized* by PDE…….In truth, I think most homeschoolers in PA would have trouble meeting the requirements laid out in this letter. I do not know if Pitt actively does not
want homeschoolers or if the admissions office is just woefully ignorant.






#42 Piano&ViolinMom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:59 AM

Just saying we are really confused about Pitt's process with homeschool kids who are not associated with any homeschool organizations (like PA Homeschoolers Association) when the state law does not require homeschoolers to obtain it's membership.

#43 *LC

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:42 AM

I'm going to try to find time today to do one last college search for others that might be nearby with neuroscience majors and teaching hospitals close by. And he probably will finish the application to U of Rochester (as they have them both). But, as he told me, he still likes the idea of microbio (& disease study) too, so he might just end up that way. Still, it'd be nice if he had a choice this spring - after visiting each possibility again.


Vanderbilt has a neuroscience major and a hospital on campus. I couldn't think of the right way to say the following, so I copied it from the Vanderbilt website.



Posted ImageSecond: Vanderbilt will meet 100% of a family’s demonstrated financial need. With the additional investment that we make in your future, many students often pay no more to attend Vanderbilt than they would pay to attend a college with a lower total cost.
Posted ImageThird: Financial aid awards do not include loans. Instead of offering need-based loans to undergraduate students, Vanderbilt offers additional grant assistance. This initiative does not involve income bands or “cut-offs” to determine levels of eligibility and instead applies to admitted undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need.

#44 snowbeltmom

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:30 PM

Just saying we are really confused about Pitt's process with homeschool kids who are not associated with any homeschool organizations (like PA Homeschoolers Association) when the state law does not require homeschoolers to obtain it's membership.


I am really confused about how Pitt could admit a student and then refuse to permit them to register for 2nd semester classes. Are the admissions folk that callous? How can they take a student's money, permit them to matriculate at the college, only to forbid them to continue.

At the very least, Pitt should make sure the homeschooled student has provided all the required documentation BEFORE the student is admitted. The final transcript should just be a formality, and the only time the final transcript should be a "challenge" is if the student's academic performance took a major nose-dive that last semester of high school.

#45 creekland

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 05:11 PM

Here are two quotes I found from another homeschool forum. Do these quotes have merit to reflect why homeschoolers in PA (who are not associated with homeschool associations) are now facing problems in getting admissions from own state colleges?


It is my understanding (via hearsay so take it for what it's worth) that it is the privately owned main homeschooling group in PA (PA Homeschoolers) who pushed many colleges in PA for the change. The natural assumption would be that they (PA Homeschoolers) want to improve their coffers. This would do so in a big way as anyone wanting a state college would now need a third party involved for the transcript where we didn't before. They won't get money from me, however. It turns me off - plus - my youngest chose ps, so middle son is my last homeschooler.

Middle son has the stats to have other options at affordable costs and he'll simply go out of state.

I personally feel that this change will be a loss for PA State and State Related schools as the majority of top homeschoolers I've come across don't join organizations who provide a transcript. Some states mandate it. Most do not. Ours doesn't.

#46 creekland

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 05:13 PM

Vanderbilt has a neuroscience major and a hospital on campus. I couldn't think of the right way to say the following, so I copied it from the Vanderbilt website.



Posted ImageSecond: Vanderbilt will meet 100% of a family’s demonstrated financial need. With the additional investment that we make in your future, many students often pay no more to attend Vanderbilt than they would pay to attend a college with a lower total cost.
Posted ImageThird: Financial aid awards do not include loans. Instead of offering need-based loans to undergraduate students, Vanderbilt offers additional grant assistance. This initiative does not involve income bands or “cut-offs” to determine levels of eligibility and instead applies to admitted undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need.


Thanks. Vanderbilt is a school that made our original list, but kiddo didn't care for the huge Greek scene there. Maybe we'll look at it again.

#47 Medstudent

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 03:40 PM

Thanks. Vanderbilt is a school that made our original list, but kiddo didn't care for the huge Greek scene there. Maybe we'll look at it again.


I think you should. It has a lot of the benefits you're looking for- great campus, high-ranked med school associated with it, an early acceptance program to said med school, lots of money and opportunities for research, a hospital on campus, a safe neighborhood, and a well-respected neuroscience major. Yes, a lot of the students are rich, fratty Southern people, but most premeds can't afford to mess around that much so your son probably wouldn't be associated with those people much anyway.

#48 creekland

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 05:30 AM

I think you should. It has a lot of the benefits you're looking for- great campus, high-ranked med school associated with it, an early acceptance program to said med school, lots of money and opportunities for research, a hospital on campus, a safe neighborhood, and a well-respected neuroscience major. Yes, a lot of the students are rich, fratty Southern people, but most premeds can't afford to mess around that much so your son probably wouldn't be associated with those people much anyway.


I'll have him check to see what it would take to send them an application. If it's not much extra effort, we'll probably have him apply, see if he gets accepted with a financially acceptable package, then visit (along with any others) to make his final decision.

#49 Vida Winter

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 03:21 PM

Do we have a list of homeschool-friendly colleges? I'd just as soon avoid the ones that are problematic. Oregon is bad enough but since it's our own state dd will apply anyway. They don't even want to look at transcripts from home school students although they will take a copy to put in the student's file. They would rather see a GED. Honestly.

#50 Jane in NC

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 03:36 PM

Do we have a list of homeschool-friendly colleges? I'd just as soon avoid the ones that are problematic. Oregon is bad enough but since it's our own state dd will apply anyway. They don't even want to look at transcripts from home school students although they will take a copy to put in the student's file. They would rather see a GED. Honestly.


My experience leads me to believe that there are more homeschool-friendly colleges than non-homeschool-friendly colleges. I think that Creekland is on the right track to alert parents of potential problems when they occur.



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