Does a homeschool graduate need a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) in order to be a “real” graduate? Is a homeschool diploma considered a legitimate diploma?
There was a time, back in the dark ages of homeschooling (when only a few courageous pioneers were bravely bucking the system) that most of what was done by homeschoolers was deemed illegitimate, including bestowing on them a “homemade diploma.” I remember being in that camp myself, laughing at what I thought were the backward, uninformed few who wanted to keep their children behind closed doors. (I was a teenager at the time, who knew nothing about homeschooling … little did I know that I would one day be among the ranks of the “backward and uninformed,” proving, as usual, that God has a keen sense of humor.) Along with many other people, I wondered how those poor homeschoolers would ever get into college without a “real” high school diploma.
While it’s true that a number of colleges used to require homeschooled students to obtain GEDs prior to acceptance, that has been changing. (Apparently that isn’t the case everywhere, however, as Valorie pointed out in this post about admission requirements at some schools in New York.) The reason behind the GED requirement, for many institutions, had more to do with their concern about receiving federal funding than with concern over the adequacy of a homeschooler’s education.
The federal funding issue, though, has been addressed and colleges and universities have been assured that they will not lose funding by admitting homeschooled students. Many institutions now recognize that homeschooling can offer a rich and varied curriculum and can produce independent, enthusiastic students. Some universities, such as Harvard, don’t even separate homeschoolers’ applications from those of traditionally schooled kids — they are handled as “just another application.”
Although we have a few years to go before we have to tackle the college admissions process, the fact that my oldest daughter is already a teen has me looking ahead. It’s time to start collecting data, and finding homeschool-friendly colleges that have moved beyond the GED thinking. It’s time to think about how to organize records and transcripts over the next few years, and how to present those for college admission. I feel blessed to be homeschooling in a time when it’s recognized, more and more, that a homeschool diploma is indeed as legitimate as any other high school diploma.