9 responses to “Does anyone know of any colleges that are particularly unschooler friendly?”

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    Antioch College in Yellowsprings, OH
    Evergreen State College in Olympia WA
    Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont; Port Townsend, Washington; and Seattle, Washington
    Hampshire College (struggling) in Amherst MA

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    I imagine Blake Boles’ book College Without High School has some details on this:

    “Blake Boles has written a remarkable how-to handbook that is destined to change the lives of young people across North America. I highly recommend Blake’s book to any middle school or high school student seeking more excitement and engagement in their educational journey. Smart parents should buy this book for their kids and be bold enough to encourage them to forge ahead in new ways. ” – Maya Frost

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    A bunch of answers have come in through some postings on Reddit I did:

    Unschoolers can apply nearly anywhere, and succeed.

    Colleges generally require:

    SAT/ACT scores.
    Complete High School Transcripts.
    Application essay or in some cases essays.
    Unschoolers should be able to provide these. Parents keeping some kind of records that can be translated into transcripts is very helpful.

    It also helps a great deal and sometimes is required to have:

    3 recommendation letters from different people who know the student well and have taught them an academic subject. The letters should be expected to praise the student as remarkable and an excellent fit for the school. At most one should be from a teacher who is also a parent. Sometimes a letter from a boss at a summer internship outlining how they did fantastic work that saved the company money and improved things can be used instead of a letter from a teacher or tutor. This requirement of someone outside the family who taught the student might be a problem for unschoolers if they don’t prepare in advance for this. Not all schools require this, public schools generally don’t. But even if not required it can be extremely helpful to have strong recommendations.

    Some colleges want to see essay writing samples demonstrating that one can do college level analysis and argumentation, is not illiterate, and has interesting and provocative ideas that they are able to support with facts.

    Always helpful is something that looks like public service showing the student is interested in and engaged with making the world a better place and not just looking out for themselves.

    If it’s impossible to meet these, hit the community college, do great, then transfer.

    Most are. I know that data came out about Stanford letting in a high percentage of homeschoolers vs the general public. I’d think that portfolios and an interview would be the key to getting accepted.


    Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA


    Deep Strings in CA, Amherst College in MA. Blake Boles is also a great resource if you follow him. Good luck!


    New college of Florida


    Twyford CofA high school. I go there and people are so interested about it


    Colleges seldom pay attention to where students went to high school. They are more concerned with whether you meet their enrollment requirements, which are typically based on college entry test scores, such as the SAT.


    Your local community college. I’ve heard Evergreen State in WA is pretty flexible and welcoming to unschoolers.

    I think you can apply anywhere. But someone (a parent) is going to need to be willing to work up a transcript for you. And at a minimum you need an ACT or SAT score. It might help if you have 2-3 dual enrollment classes or SAT-2 tests or AP tests or CLEP tests (or some combo).

    But if you do 2 years at a CC, you have all sorts of transfer options.

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    Here’s a few responses from parents who I asked on Facebook:


    I know people will argue that there’s a difference but consider asking some Sudbury schools which colleges are friendly to their graduates. Although they get a diploma of sorts, they do not have grades/GPA so often get in-person interviews, or so I’ve heard.
    Another option is to start with community college and transfer to a 4-year college.


    St John’s College in Annapolis


    College of the Atlantic, Hampshire, Warren Wilson College


    I guess there’s the question of unschooler-friendly in terms of admissions, and then what the programs themselves are like.

    The latter would depend on what and how you want to study and what you want to do.

    I’ve researched colleges and from what I’ve seen, most of the unschooler-admissons-friendly colleges still look like they have a lot of curriculum and classes, even if they are more flexible than usual.

    One exception I’ve found is Goddard, which has a very individualized low-residency program, but some of the reviews I read in addition to the high tuition cost made it a no-go for me. It does look like it works well for some people.

    Another exception is Wayfindng Academy — https://wayfindingacademy.org/student-experience — which has a 2-year program that is different from most colleges. I’d likely have gone there if it existed and I knew about it in my early 20’s.

    By now I know what I want to do and I’m leaning toward the Open Masters Program approach — https://www.openmasters.org/ — it’s not school at all, just re-creating some elements of it outside of a formal insttution. I think Open Masters can work best in most cases when a number of people can gather around a certain focus. But the idea of creating a learning environment without a college is worth knowing about at least.

    I’m interested in any more suggestions or experiences people have for SDE-friendly colleges.

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    Just got another message about this via reddit:

    University of the People. All open-source textbooks, online curriculum, $100 per class.
    Downside is that they only offer a limited number of degrees, but take a look!

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    One more via reddit:

    A counterintuitive recommendation, because they have no class options for anyone: it is an all-required program. But I highly recommend St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico or Annapolis, Maryland.

    I am a graduate and recommend it to unschoolers because there are no textbooks, no tests, and no focus on grades. Every single class is completely discussion based in small groups and the whole point of the curriculum is to get at the heart of every single topic that is covered, not by absorbing rote knowledge but by discussing the original treatises by the authors who wrote the subjects in the first place.

    Also, the “professors” are called “tutors”, they often don’t have expertise in the area they are teaching this year, which rotates every year, and they are there to model in-depth learning and not to profess what anyone else thinks you should know.


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    One I want to add to the mix here is Praxis, an alternative to college. It’s a “zero net tuition” program, where you pay for 6 months of classes and then get connected with an internship/apprentiship at a startup where you get paid, and then pay ends up covering the 6 months of tuition you were paying: https://discoverpraxis.com/

    Also got one more message from Reddit:
    For certain personality types, tests-by-examination might work. Schools like Excelsior, Thomas Edison State University, and Charter Oak let you test out of some of their degrees with things like CLEP, TECEP, UExcel, DSST Exams, etc.

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