The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP) initiated the Post-Secondary Admissions Project in January of 2001 in order to study the situation regarding access of home educated students to colleges and universities and to address any admissions issues that arise. We also aim to act as a bridge between the homeschooling community and admissions personnel. We’ve been helping college and university officials understand the background of the homeschool movement and the applications they will inevitably receive as the movement continues to grow, as well as assisting families to effectively design and document their chosen educational approach during the high school years based on requirements determined by post secondary institutions.
While some Ontario universities have accepted homeschoolers over the years, there had been more and more stories surfacing about the inadequacies of the framework within which homeschoolers and admissions offices were operating. For several years the OFTP had discussions with Ministry representatives, admissions personnel from various post secondary institutions, home educating families that had been through the admissions process, and families who were structuring an educational path for the high school years. We have compiled enough information to provide a broad picture of the issues related to post secondary admissions and have developed some ideas about how the homeschooling community and admissions officers can work together.
What have we accomplished?
- We requested and were granted an amendment to the “Ontario Operating Funds Distribution Manual” which now provides funding to universities for students who apply for admission but do not have an OSSD.
- We produced a 49 page report called “Developing Homeschool Admission Policies“. In June 2001 we presented this to Karel Swift, registrar of the University of Toronto, and Keith Alnwick, registrar of Ryerson Polytechnic University, who were acting as representatives of the Ontario Council of University Admissions.
- This report was also distributed to admissions personnel from various universities during University Fair in Toronto in September 2001. As a result, we were invited to send a speaker to the annual conference of the Ontario Universities Registrars Association (OURA) in February 2002.
- We worked with Leo Groarke of Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus, on their new proposed homeschool admissions policy.
- We met with the registrar and manager of Admissions at George Brown College in Toronto and provided them with information about homeschooling. They expressed a willingness to work with OFTP in lobbying the government to change some policies that affect eligibility of homeschool attendance at colleges.
- A representative of our project met with St. Clair College. As a result, the college instituted an entry policy for homeschoolers.
- In February 2002 a representative made a presentation at the annual conference of the (OURA) Ontario University Registrars’ Association.
- We contacted and sent a report to all of the colleges in Ontario, hoping to increase awareness of homeschool admissions issues with these schools.
- We contacted financial aid offices across Ontario, with the goals of educating personnel about homeschool admissions and learning about what issues need to be addressed.
- We were invited to provide feedback to Ottawa University’s draft proposal for a new homeschool admission policy, which they were preparing for the fall of 2002.
We have identified some important issues that need to be addressed:
- the age restriction for college courses which limits the ability for homeschoolers to accumulate a few college level grades for their “transcript”
- access to Advanced Placement tests (AP tests)
- scholarships and financial aid — we contacted various organizations to determine eligibility for homeschoolers and provide information
- the age restrictions for the Independent Learning Centre (ILC) and availability of courses that can be accessed online.
Our ongoing research:
If you have any homeschooled children who have applied (successfully or not) to enter college or university, or know of any other homeschooling families who have experience in this area, please contact us or encourage others to do so. You may fill out our questionnaire*.
The questionnaire is completely confidential. It has helped us identify issues that homeschoolers are facing, colleges/universities that are homeschool friendly (or not), and schools that are granting scholarships to homeschoolers (or not). Please share your stories. The whole community is richer for it.
OFTP Post-Secondary Admissions Project contact: Dr. Carlo Ricci, PSAproject@ontariohomeschool.org.