Record: Michael F. Cogan, “Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students” in Journal of College Admission 208: 18-25(2010). Full article available here.

Summary: Cogan acknowledges the lack of satisfactory, empirical research concerning homeschooled students’ academic achievements and/or outcomes at the collegiate level. In an effort to correct the deficiency, he compares the academic outcomes (or academic standing as evidenced by comparative GPAs) of homeschooled students to those of traditionally-educated students enrolled at a mid-sized doctoral institution in the Midwest.

Cogan utilizes a sophisticated multiple regression analysis to control for specific demographic and pre-college factors, which allows him to claim that homeschooled students maintain higher first-year and fourth-year GPAs than their conventionally-schooled peers.  Additional testing controlling for the same factors concludes that there is no marked difference between the yearly retention and four-year graduation rates of students who were homeschooled and students who were educated in a more conventional manner.

The results of Cogan’s regression analyses and logistic regression testing reveal the high academic achievement outcomes of homeschooled students in the higher education arena, providing college and university admissions counselors with strong evidence that homeschooled students are indeed as prepared as—if not more prepared than—their non-homeschooled peers to engage in academics at the post-secondary level.  Cogan acknowledges that his study cannot be generalized to the entire national population, and he concludes with calls for similar studies elsewhere to corroborate his findings.

Appraisal: This article will not surprise anyone in college admissions.  Colleges and universities discovered long ago that homeschoolers typically make great students.  Many years ago HSLDA maintained a list of U.S. universities and colleges that had homeschooler-friendly admissions policies.  They eventually discontinued the list because pretty much every college in the country now has such policies.  As other research we’ve reviewed has pointed out, not all of these policies are as clear or as accommodating as they might be, but on the whole homeschoolers are very welcome at nearly all institutions of higher education.  Why?  Cogan tells us with statistics what administrators have known anecdotally for a long time.  Homeschoolers typically perform as well or better than their traditioanlly-schooled peers, and they don’t drop out of school.  That’s the kind of student any institution covets.

Milton Gaither, Messiah College, author of Homeschool: An American History.

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