From Homeschool to Full Scholarship US College University

I am sharing here the experience of a family that home schooled their kids in India from 2009 to 2018: 

Their oldest child has gained admittance into several extremely selective universities in the US though he has been homeschooled from standard 4 until now (nearly entirely in India; they did just one year in the US).  

Here goes:

As you may know, there are as many ways to do home education as there are parenting styles.  We fall somewhere in between homeschooling and unschooling.  That is, we use eclectic materials in a relaxed manner dependent on the child’s interests, but also have required subjects, though far fewer requirements than most traditional homeschoolers, especially in the lower grades.  We encourage lots of free time for personal exploration.  Our second grader finishes her required work in about half an hour, and our 5th grader in about two hours.  The rest of the day they are free to do their own projects.  Our high schoolers, on the other hand, have several hours of work each day, though the type of work is highly dependent on their individual interests.

 

Or oldest is finishing 12th standard and will be attending Cornell University in New York as an engineering student.  He also gained admission to the Engineering programs at University of Michigan and Georgia Institute of Technology, received the highest merit scholarship at University of Maryland College Park Engineering, and received a full-ride (full cost of attendance) scholarship at University of Central Florida – all with a home-made transcript, applying as a homeschooler.

 

For home educators desiring to send students to the US for university, here are some guidelines:

 

  1. For US Universities, only what is done in 9th-12th grade will be part of the application for admission (and since you apply during 12th standard, the only completed courses will be those taken in 9th-11th.)
  2. Look up admission requirements at the universities you are interested in to make sure your student is taking the required courses.  For example, many universities require 4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3 years of science, 2 years of social studies, 2 years of foreign language, etc.  This will vary by university and by desired program of study.  Look this up before your child is in 9th so that you can roughly plan out their high school years (9th-12th).  Because you are homeschooling, you can be creative – for example, instead of 10th grade English, you can do 20th Century Literature and Composition or A Survey of Dystopian Fiction, or whatever your child is interested in.  A science class could be a year long study of black holes, if that was what fascinated your child that year (the course description should explain how this was done at a high school level.)
  3. Along with a transcript, you should provide course descriptions for each course, describing what textbooks or other resources were used.  You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s helpful, especially if your student has taken advantage of home education to study and do some unique things!  
  4. Standardized tests are especially important for homeschoolers seeking admission to US universities.   Here in India you can sit for:  SAT or ACT (you need one of these, not both – you can take practice tests and see which one you do better in), SAT subject tests, and AP (Advanced Placement) tests in various subjects.  College Board (collegeboard.org) is where you sign up for SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests.  ACT (act.org) is a separate organization.  Most universities require either the SAT or ACT, and many require 2-3 SAT subject tests, especially if you are a homeschooler.  No university requires AP tests, but they are great for showing college-level learning. 
  5. Competitions may be another way of proving what your child has accomplished; they are great if you have a child who likes them.  Olympiads, math competitions, etc. all are great for homeschoolers.
  6. If your child is a US citizen, have him/her sit for the PSAT.  You can call around to International schools in your area to see where it is being given.  If your child does very well on the PSAT, they can become a National Merit Scholar and get a FULL RIDE (FULL COST OF ATTENDANCE) or FULL TUITION scholarship at many universities.  Our son’s full ride scholarship at the University of Central Florida was based on being National Merit.  UCF has a wonderful program for National Merit students, as does University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, and many others.
  7. There are many on-line high school courses that are asynchronous, so that the time difference is not an issue.  Our students have taken several classes through PA Homeschoolers as well as WriteAtHome, which offers online English classes.  There are MANY providers of asynchronous online classes that students can take from India.

If you have any questions do drop in a line and I will get back to you!

 

 

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IGCSE students applying for admission to a local Junior College after 10th grade exams

Many homeschooled children are taking the IGCSE exams at the tenth grade level [IGCSE/O Level] in India. Some of them would like to join Junior colleges in their respective states. What should they do to get admission into any Junior College in their state? What about the state of Maharashtra, and the Mumbai University?



These are the things that we are currently aware of in this respect:

IGCSE/O Level: Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education states that students who have passed IGCSE/O Levels (minimum 5 subjects with English) are considered eligible for admission to the first year of Jr. College (Std. XI) affiliated to this Board.

http://recognition.cie.org.uk/OrganisationDetails.aspx?QI=2&RI=863 [This is from the Cambridge website. You can search for any Country and Exam here]

Tanya Valecha, the Principal of Rustomjee Cambridge IGCSE School in North Mumbai, Maharashtra, said “There is an equivalency booklet released by the Maharashtra state education department and available at their Navi Mumbai and Pune office. Not sure if it is available online. This book states all the boards from across the world which are equivalent to the SSC [Tenth grade State Board Secondary School Certificate] and in what context e.g.: 5 subjects at O levels with English is equivalent to SSC and the student is eligible for admission to a junior college in Maharashtra.

She also mentioned “For admissions to junior college, the following steps are taken by our students who write the IGCSE exam.

1. They need to apply online or offline in minority /in house quota at schools as per dates prescribed by the board.

2. They are issued the following documents from CIE – statement of marks, IGCSE certificate and migration certificate

3. They are issued the following documents by the school –

  • School leaving certificate,
  • Bonafide certificate and
  • Transcript of marks as per format of department.

4. If they apply for a diploma, they need to acquire an equivalency certificate from Navi Mumbai in their name.

5. If they do HSC, once the admission process is completed at a junior college, the student needs to fill up an eligibility form (available at college for a nominal fee) .and submit to his college

6. The college then proceeds and completes the process. The college may also write to school/board for verification.”

I found this form from Mumbai University for application for Provisional Statement of Eligibility for students from another Board or even another country seeking admission to Mumbai University:

http://www.mu.ac.in/eligibilityform.pdf

For those students wanting to take up professional courses, these are the requirements mentioned by some Universities like Manipal: Candidates intending to join Medical or Engineering degree programs are required to have obtained A Level passes in Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Mathematics besides five passes at GCE O Level/GCSE/IGCSE.

Figure 1 Homeschooling or teaching children at home is a growing trend in India

So as of now, homeschooled children in India taking the IGCSE exams at the tenth grade level should be able to get admission into Junior Colleges in Maharashtra [and other states also] by following the above steps.


Have a wonderful homeschooling learning journey. J If you need any clarifications please write to me.

PS:

I also found one Equivalency Booklet issued by a University in India online, http://gndu.ac.in/gndu2014/Downloads_pdf/eq_book.pdf

This form lists the Cambridge Exam as equivalent to the tenth grade exams.

There is also a Migration Certificate and an Equivalence certificate available online for those seeking admission for higher education: http://www.msbte.com/msbte_html/admins/files/stud_cen_act/Certificate_MIG_EQU_TRANS.pdf