I’ve been promising an entry specifically for homeschooled applicants and other interested parties for a long time now; this is an early version of something that will eventually be posted as official content on the MIT Admissions homepage. That page will launch soon, and I’d recommend bookmarking that page, and not this entry. But this should get the ball rolling a bit, I hope.
MIT has a long history of admitting homeschooled students, and these students are successful and vibrant members of our community.
Over the past 5-10 years, we have seen a surge in homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled applicants still make up less than 1% of our applicant pool, and homeschooled students corresponding still make up less than 1% of our student body, but these numbers are growing. These students come from urban, rural, and suburban neighborhoods; they have been schooled in the home and under the umbrella of larger communities; some have been granted a formal high school diploma, while others were not. Please note that we do not require a high school diploma or GED from our applicants.
At MIT, we do not have separate requirements for homeschooled applicants. Homeschooled applicants, like all of our applicants, are considered within their context, which includes schooling choice, family situation, geographic, location, resources, opportunities, and challenges. However, we do have some tips for homeschooled students, based on successful applicants we have admitted in the past.
- One quality that we look for in all of our applicants is evidence of having taken initiative, showing an entrepreneurial spirit, taking full advantage of opportunities. Many of our admitted homeschooled applicants have really shined in this area. These students truly take advantage of their less constrained educational environment to take on exciting projects, go in depth in topics that excite them, create new opportunities for themseleves and others, and more.
- The vast majority of our admitted homeschool students have taken advantage of advanced classes outside the homeschool setting, such as through a local college or an online school such as EPGY. Transcripts of these courses, in addition to evaluation of the homeschooling portfolio, are very helpful. Some students will also take advantage of MIT’s OpenCourseWare.
- Most of our homeschooled students have taken advantage of extracurricular activities and community groups, such as community orchestras and theater, athletics groups, scouting, religious groups, volunteer work, work for pay, etc. Our homeschooled applicants, like all of our students, are active in their communities.
- Many (but certainly not all) of our homeschooled students have been active in summer programs. For some students, summer programs (see some recommended examples in this entry; some programs I have frequently seen in homeschooled applicants include CTY, TIP, PROMYS, MathCamp, RSI, Tanglewood, and Interlochen, among many others) are a great opportunity to work with other students from diverse backgrounds in a colloborative manner. Summer program mentors and job supervisors can also be great choices to write college recommendations.
- Extra recommendations can be especially helpful for many homeschooled applicants. We welcome a recommendation from a parent, but require at least three recommendations in total (usually a counselor and two teachers). We encourage you to submit additional recommendations (but don’t submit more than 5 total recommendations) from those who know you well, such as coaches, mentors, job supervisors, clergy, etc.
- MIT has alumni volunteers called Educational Counselors throughout the world who conduct interviews on behalf of MIT Admissions. We strongly encourage all of our applicants to take advantage of the interview, if available.
I hope this is somewhat helpful to those of you in the homeschool community. I’m happy to take questions on this topic as well.