College Admission Advice I’ve Thought Better Than. . .

27 11 2007

What I started to comment on but thought better of it, from a homeschooling adviser and big e-list leader on college admissions (someone I don’t know and who doesn’t know me, and understandably wouldn’t want a strange unschooler challenging her “expertise”):

> If you’re giving them what they ask for, I don’t think it’s too much.
> If you’re giving them what they need to best evaluate your child, I
> don’t think it’s too much. . .
> I actually find it a good sign that the colleges are requesting all
> that info. It means they are taking homeschooled applicants
> seriously, and want both to give the HSers an even chance and to make
> sure the college selects the students who have the best chance to do
> well there
. It lets the student who took challenges shine, and the
> one who just did the minimum work take the consequences because they
> aren’t painting all HSers with the same brush.

So I will challenge it here instead! 😉
This is the most neutral, respectful response I had drafted, before I gave up and came back here:

As a career ed policy researcher/administrator (unschooling two into college) I have a different, probably eccentric, view.

I must take issue with any suggestion that it’s a good thing for home education or individual homeschoolers, that any students be made to suffer “consequences” (not be admitted to college?) simply because their personal path didn’t involve years of traditional school coursework and pro forma record-keeping. Also I can no longer accept that hypercompetitive college admissions are in fact based on an even-handed and educationally valid assessment of each child’s success potential.

Arguably there was a time when universal idealism about institutions of higher learning served American kids and American values well, but if there ever were such a time, it is no more.

“Harvard: More Marine Corps or Modeling Agency?”

“Stress for Success: How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Ivies?”

“Homeschoolers Outthinking College Gatekeepers”

“College Name Game Major Act of Irrationality”

“Garbage In, Garbage Out? Getting Into School”

“Black Swan/Ugly Duckling School Software Found in Florida”

“Homeschooling Is Sustainable Education Alternative”

“Schools Teach Last Test While Education Writes Next One”

“Supporting an Education Habit”

“Schoolkids Aren’t Conscripts in Your Ideological Army!”

“School Socialization Should Shame Us All”



5 responses

28 11 2007
Rolfe Schmidt

Most colleges are overpriced and indistinguishable these days anyway. The schools should really be competing for the students, trying to convince them that they are worth the time and money.

It doesn’t matter what school you go to, you’re still going to have to do some hard work and learn on your own if you want an education. A competitive school can help set a higher standard for you, but once you’re out of school you’ll need to set your own standards anyway so I’m not sure that is needed.

If you’re really interested in a subject and have specific faculty at a prestigious institution you want to work with, then you should probably be in grad school. Grad school admissions have a lot less BS.

29 11 2007

Don’t you think Rolfe is a brilliant, introspective, thoroughly engaged example of the dad-brains we talk about in posts like this? 🙂

I see unschooling our own thinking as indivisible from successfully unschooling with children . . .
why I’m grudgingly coming to suspect typical dad-brains may be naturally better at this than typical mom-brains. . .

Not that I think any of us (mom or dad) is merely “typical” — you know what I mean! Maybe this is what COD was getting at, here?

NHEN forums frequenter dad “Paul” has always struck me this way, too. The other day he reminded me that my stressing over Favorite Daughter’s current challenge of unrelated prerequisites like algebra and earth sciences, for university access to her beloved literature and creative writing, musical theatre/opera and humanities was silly, because the arts can be studied to one’s heart’s content — perhaps are more likely to be mastered! — without traditional undergrad matriculation.

29 11 2007

Yes, I do. 🙂

And we are fortunate here to be interacting with people, Moms and Dads, who really think about things instead of just spewing some party line.

It is a refreshing break from so much of the other input we get every day.


30 11 2007
Rolfe Schmidt

Thanks for that compliment! And I’m just trying to have fun…

It is refreshing to be able to interact with thoughtful, interesting people on the internet. I’m hoping that the diversity of voices online will start spilling over more to the offline world.

30 11 2007

“. . .thoughtful, interesting people on the internet. . .hoping that the diversity of voices online will start spilling over more to the offline world.”

Me too, but I haven’t been holding my breath. I engage with great enthusiasm and rapid-fire ideas, until most people get this glazed and frightened look —

When our kids were little, we had a beautiful piece of wooded property on a small (12-acre) bass fishing pond, taking lots of time to design the perfect “last” home we would build on it. [never actually did, as it turned out]
I jumped into every aspect of the project, educating myself and exploring options, and inadvertently terrified whole segments of the local construction industry. Our builder said the cabinet shop owner begged him not to send me in with questions again, that I was overwhelming and incomprehensible to this simple, literal-minded fellow . . .

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