What's the word on homeschooling next year because of COVID-19?
Hi. I'm a rising senior. I have one living parent, my mom, who has lung illnesses and other health problems. She is at high risk for serious complications if she gets COVID-19. My school has not announced it's plans for next year with the virus, but if classes in person, I don't feel comfortable going because of my mom.
If they offer a solely online option, I will probably take it. But if not, I am considering homeschooling. I would self study for the AP tests of the classes I would have taken at high school and the national Latin Exam for the appropriate Latin class.
The thing is, these test results will be in after I got accepted or not accepted into my top schools: Brown, Penn, Cornell, and WashU. I am curious how T20 colleges like this view homeschooling. I would explain that it is because of COVID-19. I took AP Bio and AP Lang this year and got 5s. Are there other tests I can take to demonstrate proficiency? I have never been homeschooled.
I suppose they would see it as less rigorous and the grades I receive would not be as meaningful. In addition to top school admissions, I also hope to get a good scholarship offer at less competitive schools like Pitt and BU.
Please let me know what you think the effect of homeschooling would be on competitivity. At the end of the day I will make the decision surrounding my mom's health but I want to be informed about potential options. Homeschooling is one of them.
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Colleges are likely to be fairly understanding of differing circumstances this upcoming year. I don't think anyone would see your decision as "the easy way out" or "slacking off," in the way that some colleges could potentially have viewed something like this in the past. The decision not to attend in-person classes during your senior year of high school is certainly a difficult one, and colleges are likely to recognize that your decision was made after a lot of serious consideration.
If you choose to do homeschooling, the story that you tell in your application becomes particularly important (as does your performance during your first three years of high school). Senior year performance tends not to be that important, even in normal circumstances—the main thing selective colleges are looking for is how much you're challenging yourself coursework-wise during your senior year. So long as you've been taking a rigorous course load throughout high school, I think you'll be fine on this front.
If you have an opportunity to write an additional essay for some of your schools about any "special circumstances," I think you should take advantage of that—I wouldn't recommend you focus your personal statement or any supplemental essays on this decision, unless it's SUPER relevant. Instead, show colleges that you're still like any other applicant, but you're going the extra mile to explain your current situation by writing an additional essay explaining your decision.
Lastly, I'd encourage you to reach out to admissions officers at the schools you want to attend. See if you can get a sense from them on how they'd perceive homeschooling and if they have any advice on how to present it well on your application!
Best of luck with everything and hoping that you and your mom stay healthy during this difficult time!