A Brief Review of “The Impact of Homeschooling on the Adjustment of College Students” by Drenovsky and Cohen

PERSPECTIVES – News and Comments1

A Brief Review of “The Impact of Homeschooling on the Adjustment of College Students” by Drenovsky and Cohen

Brian D. Ray

National Home Education Research Institute, Salem, Oregon, USA

Keywords: homeschooling, college success, adults.

Are they not a bit fringy? How will they adjust if they go on to college? Young home-educated adults have been asked these things? Researchers wonder and study question.

Drenovsky and Cohen (2012) decided to compare the self-esteem and depression levels of college students who had been home educated to those who had not. The researchers collected data via an online survey to likely graduates of homeschooling, and to a comparison group of eighty non-homeschooled college students at a public four-year university in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States  and  had 185 participants. “Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (64%) were homeschooled for 10-12 years of their primary and secondary education.”

The academics found that there was no statistical difference in self-esteem between those who had been home educated and those who had not. On the other hand, they found “…that those students with a history of homeschooling did have significantly lower depression scores than those who had never been homeschooled.” Furthermore, their data revealed “… that homeschooled students report that they have achieved greater academic success and that they rate their entire college educational experience more positively than students who were never homeschooled.”

Their statistical analysis involved a multiple regression to account for which variables (e.g., age, gender, having been homeschooled or not, involvement in various “extracurricular activities during his/her primary and secondary schooling) explained differences in self-esteem and depression between the home educated and others.

Consistent with the ever-expanding body of research on homeschooling (e.g., Ray, 2005), the researchers wrote the following:

These results point to the positive outcomes of homeschooling. Despite the stereotypes about homeschooled students that may exist, this study finds that college students who have homeschooling backgrounds are not suffering from these stereotypes. Their self-esteem is not significantly lower than that of other college students, and a key indicator of mental health (depression) is significantly better among the homeschooled students. Those students in the sample with homeschooled backgrounds are not only adjusted psychologically, but they also report higher academic achievement in many different college and university settings, ranging from private colleges to large public universities. Equally important, they provide excellent overall evaluations of their entire college experience.

Those new to the (old) world of home-based education wonder, negative critics of homeschooling continue, and critics of research on home-based education are voicing their thoughts that most research that compares the outcomes of homeschooling to other forms of schooling have a lot of limitations but this study suggests, once again, positive things tend to be associated with parent-led home-based education.


Drenovsky, Cynthia K., & Cohen, Isaiah. (2012). The impact of homeschooling on the adjustment of college students. International Social Science Review, 87(1).

Ray, Brian D. (2005). A homeschool research story. In Bruce S. Cooper (Ed.), Home schooling in full view: A reader, p. 1-19. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. ¯


  1. The “Perspectives – News and Comments” section of this journal consists of articles that have not undergone peer review.