Parents and students often ask our Admissions Officers how we evaluate homeschooled students. The application and review processes are the same for students from all academic backgrounds: we consider your application within the context of your high school experience. Every year, Caltech enrolls students who were homeschooled who engage deeply in our community and thrive in our academic curriculum.
We want to understand your program, why your family chose home schooling, and how you set about choosing your curriculum. We see applicants with diverse experiences, including students:
- with instruction carried out solely by parents;
- with shared instruction with other homeschooling resources in their community;
- who use formal homeschooling curricula or who take the majority of courses through an online homeschooling organization;
- who take some courses in a traditional high school;
- who take some or all of their junior- and senior-year courses at a college.
Regardless of how your homeschool education has been structured, be sure to clarify it for the admissions committee.
Academic Preparation and Performance
Caltech's required academic preparation is the same for students of all academic backgrounds. Whether you take classes through a local college, online, in a traditional high school, or as independent study, we need to see official grades for them. Your application should include any official school transcripts that you have received, and your homeschool supervisor (often a parent) can create a transcript for the classes that they have taught you.
Secondary School Report
The person involved in your education who most closely approximates the role of a college counselor or principal should complete your Secondary School Report (SSR). This may be a parent or whoever is overseeing your studies. The SSR is available through the application that you use. This is a great place for your homeschool supervisor to describe your homeschool program to us. This gives the admissions committee the context mentioned earlier.
Letters of Evaluation
Your teachers give us an idea of how you work in a classroom setting: how you engage with course material, interact with others, perform in class, for example. They have a unique perspective on your academic potential.
Caltech requires two letters of evaluation
- one from a STEM teacher
- one from a humanities or social sciences teacher
If you have taken courses at a high school or college, feel free to choose from these instructors. If all of your instructors have been parents, we require an additional recommendation from someone you know who can describe your ability to do demanding college-level academic work.
Check out our Writing Advice for Recommenders for more information.
For questions about homeschool admissions, please contact our Homeschool Coordinator, Karla Paulina Arriaga, at +1 626-395-6341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.