Can a homeschooler get into college without an accredited diploma?
It’s a common question. A valid question. But also, a question that misses the point. The POINT is getting into college. Accreditation is just a long and somewhat misunderstood word that is sometimes thrown around for all the wrong reasons. Let’s look at some other questions that are more important in the long run….
What IS an accredited diploma, anyway?
An accredited diploma is a diploma issued by school that has received accreditation from a recognized accrediting organization. All accrediting organizations are non-governmental, private agencies, meaning that no one accrediting agency has an “official” authority over any other one. Accreditation is also completely voluntary, meaning many private schools and even some public schools are not accredited. The main idea behind accreditation is to create an “acceptable” norm for quality education. But with the wide variety of accreditation agencies, this norm can be widely varied as well.
Who needs an accredited high school diploma?
Fewer and fewer colleges are specifying the need for a diploma from an accredited high school. Homeschooling can likely be thanked for a portion of that trend. The multitude of successful homeschool graduates who have gone on to more than ruin the curve of expectations in college have pushed colleges and universities around the world toward realizing that the type of diploma one receives has little to do with one’s promise for higher education success.
But, as with most trends, there are always those who are either too stubborn or too slow to catch up. Therefore, it is wise to take a sampling of colleges your homeschooler may be interested in applying to, and seeing if their college admissions requirements include accreditation of any sort. It’s also important to note that even when a college creates a specific request for an accreditated diploma, it usually offers an alternative in the way of minimum SAT or ACT scores.
For instance, the University of Georgia (UGA) states the following on their admission information for home educated students and/or graduates of non-accredited high school programs:
If a student cannot verify completion of the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) with an official accredited transcript, he or she must demonstrate very high academic ability by having earned an SAT or ACT score equal to or above the average scores of the first-year students admitted to UGA for the prior Fall term.