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Articles / Applying to College / Christian Home-school Curriculum and Admission to Liberal College

Christian Home-school Curriculum and Admission to Liberal College

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 30, 2008

Question: I've been home-schooled my whole life, and my curriculum has come from two main sources: Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book (Pensacola Christian College). Now I am trying to get into a self-proclaimed "prestigious" school that tries VERY hard to be Ivy League caliber. Even though I actually qualify very well academically, I'm terribly worried that I'll be rejected simply because of where my curriculum came from - I am conservative, not the liberal they want. Something similar to this happened in California. Am I being unreasonable to worry? Is there an actual bias against this curriculum just because some call it "narrow-minded"?

Actually, by discussing this perceived biased against the Christian curriculum, you're showing liberal institutions that you are exactly what they DO want. You'll bring an atypical background to their campus, but you're also savvy enough to be aware of what goes on beyond your living room. A less-informed home-schooled student might not even realize that such prejudices exist.

So, here's what I suggest: At some point in your application (in your essay if appropriate, supplemental letter, "additional information" section, etc.) explain the curriculum you have pursued, but also point out (ideally in a humorous and not defensive way) that you know that your academic background may make you an anomaly on campus. Acknowledge that you're aware that some classmates might toss tomatoes your way when they hear "Bob Jones." Explain that you've been able to discern both the pros and the cons of these teachings, and that one of the reasons you've selected [name of purportedly prestigious school] is because you are eager to interact with students who may have come of age in an academic and religious climate different than your own.

Above all, don't worry. Colleges really do seek diversity, especially when it means accepting students who have an awareness of the world that extends past their own little corner of it.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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