There are several ways to apply to university: as a traditional high school graduate, as a mature student and as a “homeschooler.”
ARE YOU A HOMESCHOOLER AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT?
According to Ontario universities, a homeschooler is a student who has not earned a high school diploma because they have undertaken a program of self-study or enrolled in a program that does not lead to a provincial high school diploma.
Not everyone who follows an alternative high school experience will identify with the label “homeschooler,” just as many self-described homeschoolers are actually following accredited curriculum studies and may even earn a high school diploma.
But if you have been doing self-study at home, enrolled at a non-accredited private school or program, following a well-known curriculum program that does not lead to a government diploma, or learning through travel and experiences, you can apply to university under the category of homeschooler. This includes students who have attended schools in younger grades but decided to leave at the high school level for a non-traditional high school experience.
ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
A homeschooler (any student who choses a high school education path that does not lead to a provincial high school diploma) will apply to Ontario universities through the OUAC website, just like every other applicant. But the admissions criteria will vary from university to university.
Many universities will have two different admission paths so you can choose the admission criteria that is most appropriate for your situation. Others admit strictly on a case-by-case basis, so contacting the university a year or two before you plan to apply is key to ensure you can take any tests prepare any documentation they will require.
BENEFITS TO APPLYING AS A HOMESCHOOLER
- Your application may be judged on more than just marks alone – Homeschoolers often have the opportunity to showcase other strengths, skills and experiences.
- Get to know an admissions counselor – Regular applicants might never make personal contact with the school through the entire admissions process. Homeschoolers often have to clarify admission details and discuss their personal situation, making a personal connection in the process. This often gives you a better insight into the schools you’re considering and seeing how they handle your application can give you a preview of how you would be treated as a student there.
- You can choose your own high school experience – If your local high school doesn’t offer the kind of education you want, you can create your own experience:
- take online classes (formal or informal)
- study from books, mentors and other resource material
- travel or participate in unique programs
- fit your high school academics around your schedule while pursuing competitive or professional activities such as acting, athletic training or music performance
CAN I JUST DECIDE TO BECOME A HOMESCHOOLER? EVEN AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT?
Yes, homeschooling is legal in all Canadian provinces, but each province has its own requirement for notifying the government of your intention and its own set educational requirements that homeschoolers must respect while pursuing a high school education outside of an accredited school.
DO HOMESCHOOLERS FACE ANY DIFFICULTIES IN THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS OR APPLYING TO UNIVERSITY?
Remember, homeschoolers do not earn a high school diploma. So it is important to decide whether you need a high school diploma before deciding to homeschool for high school.
Many Canadian universities accept homeschoolers, but some do not. Of the universities that do accept homeschoolers, some universities may restrict the programs or scholarships you can apply to if they have trouble evaluating your prerequisites.
Community colleges may require a high school diploma, depending on the province. (Ontario colleges, for example, do require a high school diploma unless the student waits until he or she is old enough to apply as a mature student.)