Can Homeschoolers Do Well in College?

Last Updated Jul 22, 2010 5:39 PM EDT

Can students who enter college after years of homeschooling do well?
It's a more relevant question today since the number of college students who have been homeschooled has exploded. Back in the 1970s, only 13,000 students were homeschooled while today there are more than 1.5 million.

A new study published in The Journal of College Admission suggests that homeschool students enjoy higher ACT scores, grade point averages and graduation rates compared with other college students. The finding are especially interesting because there has been a paucity of research focused on how homeschooled students fare in college.

The research, which was conducted by Michael Cogan, the director of institutional research and analysis at the University of St. Thomas, focused on the experiences of homeschooled students at an unnamed medium-sized university in the upper Midwest.

Here are some of Cogan's findings:
  1. Homeschool students earned a higher ACT score (26.5) versus 25.0 for other incoming freshmen.
  2. Homeschool students earned more college credits (14.7) prior to their freshmen year than other students (6.0).
  3. Homeschooled freshmen were less likely to live on campus (72.4%) than the rest of the freshmen class (92.7%).
  4. Homeschoolers were more likely to identify themselves as Roman Catholic (68.4%).
  5. Homeschool freshmen earned a higher grade points average (3.37) their first semester in college compared with the other freshmen (3.08).
  6. Homeschool students finished their freshmen year with a better GPA (3.41) than the rest of their class (3.12).
  7. The GPA advantage was still present when homeschoolers were college seniors. Their average GPA was 3.46 versus 3.16 for other seniors.
  8. Homeschool students graduated from college at a higher rate (66.7%) than their peers (57.5%).
Of course, the big knock on homeschool students is that they never develop social skills since their classrooms are often their kitchen tables and their mothers are often their teachers. Cogan, however, noted that another homeschool study that looked at more than 7,300 adults, who had been homeschooled, determined that the homeschool graduates were more likely to have voted and participated in community service than other adults.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.
Homeschool image by Alexik. CC 2.0.

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