BARNEBEY’S STUDY OF UNIVERSITY ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR HOME SCHOOLED APPLICANTS, AND A FOLLOW-UP
What are the admissions requirements, and how do they compare, of 210 selected four year public and private universities in the United States with respect to applicants who have been home schooled? Leslie F. Barnebey pursued this question in her Ed.D. dissertation (“American University Admission
Requirements for Home Schooled Applicants, in 1984•) which was completed at Brigham Young University in 1986. She also determined whether any of four characteristics (Carnegie type, size, support, or location) of the institutions affected the admission of home schooled applicants and explored the attitude of admission officers toward these applicants.
The researcher developed a questionnaire and mailed it to “the principal admissions officer of each of the 210 four year universities and colleges listed in the Carnegie Catalog Study …” (p. 39). She was able to use 83.8% of the mailed questionnaires for data analysis. Twenty(c)one percent indicated that their universities had accepted home schooled applicants. Chi Square was the method used to analyze the frequencies of responses given by the admissions officers in order to detect any significant differences.
Barnebey stated four hypotheses to be tested. One dealt with whether differences would exist depending on the type, size, support, or location of the institution. Type of university was based upon the Carnegie Catalog Study which grouped universities by academic characteristics: research, doctorate, comprehensive, and liberal arts. The researcher set four categories for size (small, medium, large, and very large). Support had two categories: state and private. Location was determined by two methods. One version was based upon zip code and resulted in five regions. The second version was based upon section of the United States and resulted in three categories. Data analysis revealed that “There were significant differences based upon the support attribute with the Private universities being more likely to accept home schooled applicants than the Public universities” (p. 142). There were no significant differences based upon type, size, or location.
In terms of the second hypothesis, Barnebey found that “There were significant differences between the universities that had accepted home schooled students and those which had not, in the requirement for the submittal of an Essay, Other References [besides those from school personnel], and the ACH Achievement Tests]. Each of these documents was required more often by the Accept group of universities” (p. 143). About 82% of all of the universities required Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, about 70% required American College Testing (ACT) scores, and about 97% typically required high school grades.
Data pertinent to the third hypothesis showed that “There were significant differences in documentation requirements when the university knew that the applicant was a home schooled
student” (p. 144). The universities which accepted home schooled applicants significantly more often required letters/references, an essay, and the ACH.
Fourth, “There were significant differences of attitude of the admission officers between the …” (p. 144) accepting and non(c)accepting universities. At a more detailed level, the following was found: (1) 83.4% accept the (General Education Diploma) GED in lieu of high school transcripts, (2) 73% of the
“admission officers from non(c)accepting universities would encourage home schooled applicants to attend a junior or community college while 38.7 percent of the admission officers from the accepting group had such an opinion” and “This difference was significant” (p. 137), (3) 70.4% of officers from non(c)accepting universities believed home schooled applicants would be less successful than other applicants, while 76.5% of officers from accepting universities believed the home schooled would be about as successful as other applicants; the difference between the aforementioned admission officers was significant, and (4) 91.4% of the universities do not have a formal policy concerning the admission of home schooled applicants.
Barnebey concluded that home schooled applicants were accepted into a wide range of four year universities and colleges, especially into large, private, research oriented universities. She also suggested that perhaps smaller, liberal arts colleges and universities were less willing to accept the home schooled “due to fears related to accreditation, funding and other factors concerning possible questions of institutional
integrity” (p. 146).
As a follow(c)up to Barnebey’s study, this author randomly selected three universities and two colleges in the United States from “Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, 15th edition• and contacted their admissions offices by telephone on October 27, 1987. A subjective evaluation was made to select the six
questions that Barnebey used that would be of greatest interest to home educated youth and their parents. The following six questions from Barnebey’s instrument were used: (1) Does your school have an official policy regarding the admission of home schooled students? (2) If you did “not reject• these applications
[by home schooled youth], were “additional• documents/tests (e.g., ACH, SAT, ACT, letters of recommendation, essay, high school equivalency tests) required in lieu of high school transcripts?
(3) Would the “absence• of any of these documents (e.g., ACH, SAT, ACT, letters of recommendation, essay, high school equivalency tests) result in automatic disqualification of a candidate? If so, which document(s)? (4) Does your admissions office accept high school equivalency test results in lieu of high school transcripts? (5) Would you encourage home schooled applicants to attend a junior/community college before applying to your university? (6) Do you encourage all or most of your other applicants to attend a junior/community college before applying to your university? The respondent in the admissions offices were also asked if they had “any other comments.”
None of the five institutions possessed a formal policy regarding the admission of home schooled students, although one university only accepted applicants from “accredited institutions.” All five required the ACT, SAT, ACH, or GED or some combination thereof. Some of the institutions would automatically disqualify an applicant if he did not have the required achievement scores to report, and two said they would
probably require an interview with a home schooled applicant. Four of the five said they would accept high school equivalency test results in lieu of high school transcripts. Two said they would generally encourage home schooled applicants to attend a junior or community college before applying to their institutions, and two others said they would encourage junior or community college attendance if the applicant’s standard test
scores were low. None of the five encouraged other applicants to attend a junior or community college first unless their test scores were low. Only five institutions were surveyed by this author, but it appears that their responses confirm what was found by Barnebey in her research.
What can be gleaned from the aforementioned information by a home school parent? It emerges that their children should be prepared to take some standard tests, and very likely one will be the SAT. If their scores are high, not many universities will question their potential for academic success. If their scores
are average or low, the admissions officer will probably be more interested in other verifications of potential for success such as interviews, references, and a sample of the individual applicant’s essay writing abilities. In summary, home school parents and their children will not know what to expect from a particular college or university until they contact its admissions office.
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